I love this part of the elections process. Politicians actually give speeches that mean things. With the internet, you can find their speeches and analyze the words they use. I actually believe that the words mean things and I credit the politician themself for the ideas. Of course, they all use speech writers, but it gives a real glimpse of the candidate.
A little over a week ago, John McCain gave a speech on Foreign Policy (read the full speech here). The speech was fairly long, about 3850 words and he stayed on topic throughout. McCain started out with some background on his family that explained why he says "I detest war". McCain says that "when nations seek to resolve their differences by force of arms, a million tragedies ensue." This is an attempt to summarize his statements. I'll post my opinion of them in the coming week. I encourage you to read this summary and read his entire speech. If I missed something you think is critical, point it out.
McCain further sets the stage by saying that he is "an idealist, and (he) believe(s) it is possible in our time to make the world we live in another, better, more peaceful place, where our interests and those of our allies are more secure."
McCain quotes President Harry Truman: "God has created us and brought us to our present position of power and strength for some great purpose." McCain believes this is as true today as it was then.
"The United States must lead in the 21st century, just as in Truman's day. But leadership today means something different ... Today we are not alone. " McCain envisions a "a new global compact -- a League of Democracies"
McCain believes we should close Guantanamo, the place where we keep prisoners from the war on terror. McCain is focusing on building reputation with other countries. And he wants to acknowledge global warming and move beyond the Kyoto Treaty (which was never ratified).
McCain also makes a point out of saying that "more people live under democratic rule in Asia than in any other region of the world. " That's something that I didn't know. He wants to work with NATO to address "the dangers posed by a revanchist Russia" (I looked up the word - it means revengeful). He wants to expand the G-8 to include Brazil and India and doesn't want to "tolerate Russia's nuclear blackmail or cyber attacks" and to expand aid to Africa and to fight malaria, "the number one killer of African children under the age of five."
"If we are successful in pulling together a global coalition for peace and freedom ...It will strengthen us to confront the transcendent challenge of our time: the threat of radical Islamic terrorism"
"We learned through the tragic experience of September 11 that passive defense alone cannot protect us... we must also have an aggressive strategy of confronting and rooting out the terrorists wherever they seek to operate, and deny them bases in failed or failing states. "
But he doesn't focus only on the military aspects, "Our goal must be to win the 'hearts and minds' of the vast majority of moderate Muslims who do not want their future controlled by a minority of violent extremists. In this struggle, scholarships will be far more important than smart bombs." (That was a sound bite that no one picked up).
McCain addressed the current war on terror by saying "Our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan are critical in this respect and cannot be viewed in isolation from our broader strategy." As a student of history, McCain realizes that "We can no longer delude ourselves that relying on these out-dated autocracies is the safest bet." This policy has been in effect for decades, but it has led us to the failures we have today.
McCain's speech finished by explaining why he's running for president, he wants to "keep the country I love and have served all my life safe." It's clear that he thinks his direction in foreign policy is crucial for the safety of America.
Comments on this speech will come later this week.