Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, the failed 2008 GOP presidential nominee who was once respected as a hawkish defender of American national security interests, has transformed into a liberal RINO in recent years, touting globalism in vehement opposition to President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies.
That transformation was made all too clear in McCain’s new memoir, “The Restless Wave,” in which the ailing senator makes his case for why America should stay involved in the affairs of nations all over the world.
Globalism vs. “America First”
A glowing review from Jim Hartman in the Nevada Appeal documented McCain’s defense of some 70 years plus of American foreign policies that immersed the United States in a commitment to globalism.
Of course, President Trump has a decidedly different outlook on foreign policy, one that places the interests of “America First.”
Trump’s overarching goal seeks to untangle our nation from some of the international commitments that come at great cost to American taxpayers and service members — and don’t always have a beneficial outcome.
The senator himself admitted that many Americans have become skeptical of our nation’s costly foreign wars, and acknowledged that many of our allies have taken full advantage of the “free ride” they’ve been given for decades.
Yet, he insists it is all quite necessary, vital even, to the interests of our nation’s security and standing on the world stage, despite the cost.
Mark Salter, who co-authored “The Restless Wave,” explained McCain’s perspective: “I think [McCain’s] probably chief priority is to continue to advocate for America’s leadership of the liberal international order that we organized and lead for 75 years.”
“Our alliances, our care for refugees, all the things he’s served – I don’t know that people really appreciate the high esteem he’s held in by oppressed people almost everywhere,” Salter added. “From Burma to Byelorussia, there are people that will tell you he’s the most important American in their lives. And that’s probably the legacy he’s proudest of.”
McCain’s memoir included anecdotal accounts of visiting with imprisoned activists and dissidents in this country and others, and urged Americans to remain committed to the ideal that a “shared devotion to human rights is our truest heritage and our most important loyalty.”
After spending years in brutal captivity at the hands of the communist North Vietnamese, the Vietnam veteran made a point of visiting U.S. troops who were deployed to far-flung regions of the globe to defend, and in some cases extend, American interests around the world.
Out of Touch
In the end, and in spite of the obvious shift in the thinking of the American electorate — as evidenced by Trump’s election — McCain is staking his legacy on globalist ideals. But for many Republicans, it’s an increasingly out-of-touch position.
Undermining Trump’s G-7 summit comments on trade, McCain tweeted in June, “To our allies: bipartisan majorities of Americans remain pro-free trade, pro-globalization & supportive of alliances based on 70 years of shared values. Americans stand with you, even if our president doesn’t.” But plenty of Twitter users hit back, saying they’re tired of free trade policies that hurt the economy.
Even Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally, couldn’t fully get behind McCain on this one, telling The Week, “I’m not sure the majority of Americans believe globalism and free trade is in our interest.”
Sen. McCain has proudly served this country, both in uniform and as a politician, and we most certainly thank him for his service and sacrifice.
That said, we sharply differ from him when it comes to his staunch opposition to Trump’s shift in foreign policy focus and his repeated insistence that America remain on the hook financially and militarily for the benefit of other nations at the expense of our own.