Friday, March 28, 2008

McCain Through The AP's BDS Lens

McCain gave a good speech on foreign policy that the AP then took and put through their own unique BDS spin cycle, framing it only as a split from Bush foreign policy while missing the import of McCain's radical foreign policy proposal for neutering the UN and strengthening Western democracies.


McCain recently gave a foreign policy speech that was notable for several points and which signaled a dissatisfaction with the status quo. It was a plain vanilla speech in many ways, at least until interpreted by the AP:

"Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed, . . . We need to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies."

This is typical of the humility of McCain that one hears in his many speeches. Given that many of our "allies" as acting as craven and spoiled children, if he can make them cooperate by ignoring their recent past actions and making them feel more important, so be it. It is always much easier to get cooperation with honey than curses. But the AP takes this and puts it through their own unique spin cycle, transferring their own beliefs onto McCain and then interpreting his speech in that light:

McCain's speech was intended to signal to leaders abroad - and voters at home - that he would end an era of what critics have called Bush's cowboy diplomay. McCain never mentioned Bush's name, though he evoked former Democratic Presidents Truman and Kennedy.

It was, in effect, a fresh acknowledgment from the Arizona senator that the United States' standing on the world stage has been tarnished and that the country has an image problem under Bush.

Critics at home and abroad have accused Bush of employing a go-it-alone foreign policy in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when the administration spurned international calls for caution and led the invasion into Iraq.

Wow, talk about spin. This is the AP redlining the rpm's. The cowboy diplomacy label is a canard. When Bush entered office, our "allies" were Shroeder in Germany and Chirac in France, both of whom were highly anti-American. The "cowboy diplomacy" label grew out of Bush's refusal to give them a say in our foreign policy. Bush has always sought out support from other countries - as well documented today in a WSJ article. There is no apparent split here between McCain and Bush, merely a different method of expression.

To continue:

"The United States cannot lead by virtue of its power alone," McCain said in the speech, noting that the United States did not single-handedly win the Cold War or other conflicts in its history. Instead, he said, the country must lead by attracting others to its cause, demonstrating the virtues of freedom and democracy, defending the rules of an international civilized society and creating new international institutions.

McCain wants to lead the nation as he leads his life - in accordance with principles, not hypocrisy. And McCain is correct that we need lots of allies if we are to effectively deal with the potentially existential problems we face today, both militarilly and economically. There is nothing in those words that conflicts with Bush foreign policy, yet the AP acts as if this is a complete change.

McCain is in fact proposing some radical changes in his foreign policy, though because they do not obviously conflict with the Bush media construct into which AP is fully invested, the AP misses it. McCain wants to set up a sort of shadow UN composed only of democracies. It would wholly neuter that most cherished of leftist institutions. Yet the import of all of that seems to pass by the AP, who report without comment:

. . . [McCain] renewed his call for creating a new global compact of more than 100 democratic countries to advance shared values and defend shared interests. Later, he told reporters he discussed his League of Democracies idea last week with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

You can read the AP article here. The only way in which the AP can report McCain's speech as a stark divergence from Bush's policies is if they have fallen into the trap of believing their own spin over the last eight years.

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