Bloomberg's Hans Nichols looks at both McCain's own words and the opinions of his own neoconservative advisors and finds that John McCain is even more belligerent than Dubya. Especially when it comes to nations like Russia and China that could actually put up some fight against a U.S. military which would still be overstretched by the perpetual occupation of Iraq.
On China, he has said he will make it clear to the government that the U.S. is unhappy at the weakness of the currency and the ``repression of democracy.'' He also vows to oppose any effort by China to force reunification with Taiwan.And what a wonderfully hawkish set of advisors too. The American Enterprise Institute is the neocon mothership and Gary Schmitt "helped found and direct the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a key neoconservative letterhead group formed in 1997 that played a leading role advocating war in Iraq and an expansive war on terror in the wake of 9/11." Others who commented for the article include the CEO of the neocon Hudson Institute that backed Bolton as UN ambassador as well as neoconservative and gun-lobbyist Randy Scheunemann, who is a long-time friend of McCain's and his senior foreign policy advisor. Back in August 2006, when asked about McCain retaining less hawkish advisors such as Colin Powell and Brent Scowcroft, Scheunemann had this to offer:
``He thinks we need to make sure that the hard edge of the balance is kept up,'' said Gary Schmitt, a McCain adviser and senior fellow at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute.
On North Korea, he questions the agreement by the administration to provide nuclear fuel in exchange for the country suspending its nuclear-enrichment program.
``The jury is still out on North Korea, and Senator McCain has been a little more skeptical about the route they've gone,'' said Schmitt.
McCain has also differentiated his Russia policy from that of the White House, insisting that when he looks at the eyes of departing President Vladimir Putin, he see the ``K.G.B,'' not the man Bush once said was ``deeply committed to his country.''
After the Russian elections earlier this month, McCain said they were ``clearly rigged.'' Bush told President-elect Dmitry Medvedev he wanted a ``close working relationship.''
The foreign policy chief for Mr. McCain's presidential bid in 2000, Randy Scheunemann, said that while the senator consults widely, his policy stands track more with the neoconservatives than with the so-called realists.John McCain is looking to enact a more bellicose neoconservative agenda than even Bush and Cheney should he become president, especially in his confrontational approach to nations with real nukes and real militaries at a time when the U.S. military is already stretched to breaking point. Should he sit in the Oval Office, the chances of that infamous red phone ringing at 3 am would rise considerably.
"I don't think, given where John has been for the last four or five years on the Iraq war and foreign policy issues, anyone would mistake Scowcroft for a close adviser," Mr. Scheunemann said. He said if Mr. Scowcroft was a close adviser, Mr. McCain "was not taking the advice. Speaking out against the Saudis and the Chinese is not something you would associate with Scowcroft, but it is something you would associate with Kristol or Kagan."