Neither hero nor villain, McCain was a creature of realpolitik

your say September 13, 2018 01:00

Re: “One undeniable fact about John McCain: He backed ISIS fighters”, Have Your Say, September 10.

Clara Holzer on Monday offered us the ordinary person’s view about the serious issues of realpolitik. In discussing a subject in which she is evidently untutored, she attacks a man recently taken from us by that great good night, and who consequentially is constrained by the eternal silence of the dead. I take it here that Holzer has invested herself with the cloak of righteousness, and thus feels compelled to sit in judgement on a fellow mortal, while conveniently ignoring the belief that such pronouncements are, according to billions of people, given only by a higher authority.

Holzer takes the late John McCain to task for being “one of the worst warmongers in the United States”. I take it then that she places McCain in the august company of John Kennedy, George Bush (junior and senior) Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, among others. Given her reasoning, it would seem that an entire American political class gratuitously rattles sabres, pursues gunboat diplomacy, and discharges organised violence in pursuit of what might nobly be called safeguarding democracy. Look at the world as it really is, Clara, not the way we think it should be.

She illustrates of what she writes with McCain’s seemingly unequivocal support for the Islamic State, while slyly avoiding facts like McCain’s interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on May 29 last year, in which he states that IS do “terrible things”. Given its greater military capability and geographical reach, not to mention its proven attempts to destabilise democracies including that of the US, McCain said in the same interview that  “[Vladimir] Putin was the “most important threat, more so than ISIS”. I agree, as do many acknowledged experts on this subject. 

Look at the big picture, Clara, and try to understand that there are forces abroad of which you are apparently dimly aware, and that decision-makers sometimes have to make hard choices while others freed of such responsibility luxuriate in some currently unattainable perfect world.

Dr Frank


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