You may have heard that John McCain delivered some sort of irenic, “moderate” foreign policy speech, but this would be wrong. Nestled in the middle of the speech are remarkably dangerous statements. Where “mutual respect and trust” are good for how America treats every other nation, including the Chinese, the Russians are singled out as the villains:
The future of the transatlantic relationship lies in confronting the challenges of the twenty-first century worldwide: developing a common energy policy, creating a transatlantic common market tying our economies more closely together, addressing the dangers posed by a revanchist Russia, and institutionalizing our cooperation on issues such as climate change, foreign assistance, and democracy promotion.
We should start by ensuring that the G-8, the group of eight highly industrialized states, becomes again a club of leading market democracies: it should include Brazil and India but exclude Russia. Rather than tolerate Russia’s nuclear blackmail or cyber attacks, Western nations should make clear that the solidarity of NATO, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, is indivisible and that the organization’s doors remain open to all democracies committed to the defense of freedom.
In other words, restart the Cold War for no good reason. His entire view of Russia is negative, reactive and confrontational. He describes Russia as “revanchist,” a label that mostly Russophobes like to throw around because of its militant connotations, but even if that were accurate that description implies that there is something that Russia believes needs to be avenged. If Russia did not have a reason to feel revanchist before now, McCain seems intent on still more provocations and insults directed towards Moscow. Added to his very bad idea of creating a League of Democracies, which necessarily excludes two of the largest powers on earth by McCain’s definition of who should belong, this is a recipe for increased international tension, military build-ups and possibly even proxy wars.