Let’s all take a moment and be thankful that Senator John McCain was not successful in his bid to become the President of the United States. Over the past couple of years, our favorite Arizona alta cocker has shown repeatedly that his reputation for foreign policy wisdom is certainly not based on fact. Over and over again, he has made bizarre pronouncements about Eastern Europe, North Korea, and (many times) the Middle East. And now China.
China’s rise as a military power may “not necessarily” trigger conflicts but will require US and Australian cooperation to rein in the Asian titan, senior US Senator John McCain said Tuesday.
Advice to McCain — #1 — You might want to refrain from any language that suggests that the US should “rein in” China. I understand that you may not have used those exact words, but that does seem like a decent characterization based on what you said next. You see, China (and any other nation in the world) doesn’t take kindly to containment policies, particularly after what it experienced during the Cold War.
“I do not predict any conflicts, but I do say that the best way to prevent that is for the United States and Australia to assert the basic principles that conduct of all nations should adhere to,” he told reporters.
Advice to McCain — #2 — It’s good to have principles and to stick by them (something McCain, in fact, has failed to do in the past on a number of occasions). On the other hand, saying that the US should assert such principles that apply to all nations sounds rather arrogant and coercive. But heck, if you can’t be an asshole about it, what’s the point of being a superpower in the first place?
“Australia and the United States must ensure that basics like freedom of the seas are observed by the Chinese,” McCain said, during a joint public appearance with visiting Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who did not comment.
Advice to McCain — #3 — Understood Senator, you want the US and Australia to make sure to keep those pesky Chinese naval vessels off your front lawn. But one last piece of advice here:† if you’re going to say stupid, inflammatory things about China, best not to do so at a joint appearance with the Australian Prime Minister, who actually is accountable for the things that come out of her mouth. Too bad she didn’t comment. I would have liked to hear her say, on international television, something to the effect of “You stupid old fart! Are you deliberately trying to sabotage my visit?”