Ishaan Tharoor makes a similar observation about McCain’s Nigeria remarks:
The Nigerian government has requested international assistance, but to assume there would be “nothing but gratitude” is simplistic, if not patronizing. No government, particularly one in a democracy, faced with a noisy opposition, wants to look helpless in the face of foreign powers.
I would add that McCain is expressing the typical hubris of those interventionists that can’t imagine why other nations wouldn’t want American “help” in the form of military action and likewise can’t imagine anything going wrong. He assumes that Nigeria’s government would simply be grateful because he always thinks that other people will be grateful for U.S. intervention so long as we say that we are doing it for their benefit. Yes, it’s simplistic and patronizing, but then so is McCain’s general worldview. His dismissive reference to the Nigerian president as “some guy” is certainly rude and insulting, but it’s almost beside the point. He could have called him by his formal title with all respect, and his proposal still would have conveyed his contempt for Nigerian sovereignty. This is much the same as the contempt he has for the sovereignty of every country where he thinks the U.S. should send its military.