McCain’s Libya gambit

If you’re in a person in Libya, would you be able to tell today who’s in charge of the United States foreign policy? Sen. John McCain has made a surprise trip to Libya today and it’s not to defend the U.S. strategy there.

McCain, who is a political rival of President Barack Obama, traveled to Benghazi today and a few minutes ago chided the United States — and Obama — by declaring “the U.S. should do more.”

It’s unusual for such a high-profile politician to so flagrantly upstage a president on the international stage in a war zone, but the usual complaint that that’s bad for troop morale doesn’t apply here because there are no U.S. troops in Libya … yet.

Neither the White House, nor the State Department, nor the Department of Defense have issued a statement on McCain’s mission, a possible indication McCain is using the Libyan stage to try to pressure Obama into widening the new war.

“For the United States to withdraw our unique offensive capabilities at this time would send the wrong signal,” McCain said earlier this month when the initial U.S. foray into Libya was turned over to NATO.

  • OctaneBoy

    I voted for McCain and don’t question his motives. His quote today was (paraphrasing) “this thing has to be over and done.” I don’t see that as necessarily widening the war.

    NATO is not getting it done. Obama’s too busy shaking the money tree in California to be relevent. Would be interesting to find out who average Lybians look to for hope regarding the elimination of Gaddafi.

  • mat

    It is so sad the two positions we have in this country on this are a) Repub “we need to kill more people faster to save people” and b) Demos “We need to be gentle when we kill people”. Just as bad as a) Repub “We need to get serious about debt and only add 6 trillion over the next decade before we balance our budget” and b) Demos “We need to be serious about debt and only increase the deficit a small amount in future years”

    We don’t need a third party we just need to get rid of the two stupid ones we have now. I have no desire to support killing Khaddafi, his family, supporters or those who oppose him. This is for Libya to deal with and they are capable of doing it. Stay out of Libya, stay out of Iran. Leave Iraq, leave Afghanistan, leave Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, The Phillipines. The empire must end, please let us do it on our own terms.

  • John P.

    So, McCain wants us to do more militarily … like in Iraq? Maybe he’s having memory issues. No Thanks.

  • Bob Collins

    When you ask, “What MORE we can do for you,” that’s the very definition of widening a war.

    But the greater issue isn’t whether McCain’s position is right or wrong. It’s whether this rewriting of the norms is a good idea and projects the U.S. in a favorable light in the world.

    The other possibility, of course, is that McCain is running cover for Obama.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing one of the reporters accompanying the senator or a reporter covering the White House get around to asking the question.

  • bsimon

    There was a time when Senator McCain would have criticized someone performing such a stunt for undermining our foreign policy credibility. The tradition was that we kept our squabbles at home, and showed a united front overseas. It seems the senator has decided that he now knows better.

  • bob

    Pressure from McCain notwithstanding, we’re already widening the war by using drone weapons.

    My guess is that we’ll soon greenlight the use of drones to take out Gaddafi. Welcome to the cluster****.

  • lucy

    //If you’re in a person in Libya, would you be able to tell today who’s in charge of the United States foreign policy?

    If I were in a person in Libya, I would be in Gaddafi’s person persuading him to step down from his position.

    Mat is right in saying it is all a very sad picture and along with the stupid parties we should also do something about the greed behind the parties that controls them.

    And that is just a beginning to the better world we can make***

  • Jim Shapiro

    Maybe this sad excuse for a diplomat should take a little side trip to Damascus while he’s in the neighborhood. No such thing as too many wars for this pathetic hypocrit who’s main claim to fame was that he got shot down while bombing farmers.

  • Cindy R

    Where was McCain when countless thousands were being slaughtered in Bosnia? In Burma / Myanmar? Oh gosh, no oil there. Political grandstanding. Call Sarah.

  • tboom

    Bob,

    Seems to me McCain is changing the norms. He looks bitter about not being President and not being in control of foreign policy. Also looks like he doesn’t care about his own image or how much harm he’s doing to the future of foreign policy. He recognizes he’s too old for another presidential run.

    Not sure how he could be running political cover. Unless the plan is to use McCain as a foil, making a President running two wars look like a dove as he enters a third.

  • Susan

    McCain is a pathetic old man who is bitter about being so close to the White House and losing.

    He flip flops according to the wind and that is even more pathetic considering he is at the end stages of his life.

  • lucy

    //But the greater issue isn’t whether McCain’s position is right or wrong. It’s whether this rewriting of the norms is a good idea and projects the U.S. in a favorable light in the world.

    Ah, I see. It is about making the US look *good* to the rest of the world.

    Given our past history of the lengths our country will go to, the prices we are willing to pay (thousands upon thousands of lives) in order to maintain it’s *freedom*, I would think involvement in another war would be a notsogoodpersuasion.

    Perhaps McCain should consider a softer, more gentle approach to his typical thought pattern in extending the olive branch by telling Khaddafi he has nice hair or even compliment him on his shoes.