February 16, 2000
Itís the nuclear button, stupid.
This is an isolationist (sorry, non-interventionist) site. To try and influence a foreign countryís politics is paradoxical for this site. Last week I was proclaiming loudly that if the Austrians wanted to elect a Blair clone who canít keep an opinion solid for a week, then that is entirely up to them. But I must appeal to you, as a concerned subject of Her Britannic Majestyís, please, please elect someone sane to your highest office. After all us Limeys will dutifully go to war on behalf of Bomber McCain, and I for one do not want this.
Look, I know that Bush ainít perfect, I know. But with the compressed primary season there is no time to worry about this. Keyes is a truly impressive candidate. Anti abortion, anti gun control, anti intervention, and unlike PJB heís a free trader. Iíd vote for him, if I lived in New Hampshire. But itís beyond that. Keyes, we must recognise does not stand a hope. As for PJB, well I want a President Buchanan, but he is in a different party now. If Bush was the front runner heading for a near inevitable coronation then, a protest candidate makes sense, but the McCain threat is real. If the core definition of Conservatism is recognizing and working with the world as it is rather than as we would want it to be, then here is a situation that we have to work with. This IS the situation that the Republicans are faced with, a two horse race between an imperfect candidate and a stark raving bonkers candidate. Itís time to forget your principles and vote for the sane guy.
"You canít say that, only a mad man would want destruction for the sake of destruction." I think that this is my point exactly. Only a brave man would claim that McCain was not several bricks short of the full house (however, considering his violent tendencies, if I was around the psychopath I would agree with everything he said). Letís look at the record. He was shot down over Vietnam, as Dubyaís father was over the Pacific. It didnít make Bush, Sr. a psycho, so McCain, Jr. should not be effected by this. He then betrayed his country to the Viet Cong, under admittedly terrifying circumstances. Speaking as someone who has not neither been tortured nor studied psychology I think that I cannot condemn him for betraying his country, I may have acted in exactly the same way. However the issue is not McCainís record (and his betrayal of his country is part of his record as surely as his earlier service for it) but McCainís present state of mind. To someone who sees himself as a strong patriot his treachery, of which only he knows the full extent, must rankle. This has led him to lose his sense of proportion. Any bellicosity is seen as patriotism. To oppose a war, any war, is treachery, and McCain has no intention of being a traitor again.
Now many McCain supporters will simply say "Cut the guy some slack, heís been through a traumatic experience." Indeed being tortured, denied medical attention and not seeing your home country must be traumatic. I thank God that I have never been through any experience remotely like that. But this is not a case of who had the best war record, but a case of whoís going to have the best record for keeping us out of wars. His trauma in the prisoner of war camp can be a reason to admire his bravery, to pity his experience or explain his mental imbalance; it is not a reason for voting for him. It is missing the point; I am not condemning him for going insane, just saying that his precarious mental state disqualifies him from leading a nuclear power.
Think, if you were in Germany in the thirties, and an enthusiastic Nazi canvassed you. "Well I donít think that Hitler is all there," "You must understand, he had a traumatic time during the war. Did you know he got an Iron Cross?" "Thatís not the issue, I just think that he is mentally unbalanced," "Heís a war hero!" "I donít doubt that he was brave in WWI, but to be honest that isnít the issue, his whole idea of living space is wrong, I want the German Republic, not some Central European empire." "People like you are what is wrong with Germany, youíre not prepared to sacrifice a bit to export German culture and ideals across the world." The real Hitler fan ainít Pat Buchanan, itís the mentally unbalanced expansionist warmonger who sits for Arizona.
Now Iím not a great Bush fan, although I do prefer Dubya to his overrated dad. But we have to remember that from the international perspective Bush has one great advantage over McCain, sanity. The fact that heís not quite sure of the President of Taiwanís name is somewhat less important than his fluent Spanish; and the idea that he doesnít know which general leads Pakistan is less important than the fact that he obviously made clear that Pakistanís internal arrangements are Pakistanís business. This slip was more important than hundreds of prepared speeches. A Bush presidency (if the campaign does not implode) will engage in realpolitik, the conduct of foreign policy for your nationís advantage. And the logical conclusion of conduct in the national interest is a non-interventionist approach. To be blinded by universalist ideals is the way to intervention, to attempt the national interest is to end up at non-interventionism. I have no doubt that a President Bush would be a good deal more interventionist than a President Buchanan or Keyes. But the time to back Keyes is past and the time to back Pat is in the future. Itís time to vote against the mad guy.
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