McCain: US can't lead by power alone

Presidentila candidate stresses importance of working with allies on issues including the war on terror and global warming.

mccain 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
mccain 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Fresh from his trip to Israel and other Middle Eastern and European nations, Arizona Senator John McCain delivered a major foreign policy address Wednesday that stressed the importance of working with allies on issues including the war on terror and global warming. His address echoed Bush administration themes that radical Islamic terrorism is "the transcendent challenge of our time" and that "we can no longer delude ourselves that relying on these outdated autocracies is the safest bet" for dealing with that challenge. But his remarks were seen as a rebuke of the current US approach to diplomacy and an effort to reassure international players that McCain would not be one to rush to war. "The United States cannot lead by virtue of its power alone," said McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. "We need to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies." His foreign policy advisors later added in a conference call with reporters, though, that "nobody's going to have a veto on the president['s decisions]." McCain laid out new priorities, including an international arms reduction effort, alongside old ones such as forming a league of democracies to provide an international counterpoint to the United Nations. He singled out Israel as one of the world's leading democracies. And he gave himself an ideological label - a "realistic idealist" - which he said came from "hard experience and the judgment it informs." The approach suggested a compromise between the "neoconservative" school adhered to by President George W. Bush and the "realist" school of former President George H.W. Bush, both of whose former advisors are consulting with McCain.