For a man who's running on a platform of foreign policy expertise, Senator John McCain certainly hasn't shown it recently. Two articles this week presented interesting McCain inconsistencies and a faux pas that beg the question: just how polished is this presidential candidate's foreign policy judgment?
The Los Angeles Times revealed that Senator McCain has been waffling between a realist viewpoint and a neoconservative perspective in regards to foreign policy for the past two and a half decades:
"The presumptive GOP nominee for president [...] has adopted a surprising diversity of views on foreign policy issues during his 25 years in Congress. It is a pattern that brings uncertainty to the path he would take if elected."
He has seesawed back and forth, presenting contradictions as he offers potential realist advisors - Brent Scowcroft and Richard Armitage - on one hand and neocons Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan on the other.
We take no comfort in the article's disclosure that:
"In 1998, he suggested to the Weekly Standard magazine that as president he would seek to develop a kind of consensus foreign policy, consulting the 'best minds I know,' including President Carter's national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski; Clinton secretary of State Warren Christopher; President George H.W. Bush's secretary of State, James A. Baker III; Scowcroft; and Kissinger."
Additionally, the Washington Post reported that while in Jordan yesterday, Senator McCain confused Sunni insurgents with Shiite extremists. Not until Senator Lieberman stepped up to whisper accurate information to the presumptive GOP presidential nominee did McCain correct himself.
We expect a U.S. presidential candidate who prides himself on his foreign policy competence to know the difference between al-Qaeda and Shiite extremists and to maintain a consistent foreign policy point of view based on facts.