The Spectacle Blog

Questions for John McCain

By on 5.16.08 | 1:11AM

John McCain knows a lot more about diplomacy than I do, which isn't tough since I don't know anything. But ignorant voters like me must muddle through the issue as best we can. So I ask, earnestly, that someone explain to me why Senator McCain's criticism of Barack Obama makes sense.

"It's the highest degree of naivete and inexperience that would indicate that anyone would want to sit down in face to face talks with the Iranians, including their president, who just a few days ago pronounced Israel a 'stinking corpse,'" McCain said.

He asked rhetorically, "My question ... to Senator Obama is, what do you want to talk about with him? President Ahmadinejad's statement that Israel is a 'stinking corpse'? That they want to wipe Israel off the map? That they continue to supply these terrible, most lethal, explosive devices that are killing young Americans? What do you want to talk to him about?"

Geez, isn't it obvious? Obama wants to talk about Iran's indefensible attitude toward Israel, its nuclear program and its meddling in Iraq! Am I missing something here?

McCain said he would only support talks with Iran if the Persian nation retracted its rhetoric about wiping Israel off the map, abandoned its nuclear weapons program, stopped exporting weapons, and stopped sponsoring terrorism.

Again, maybe I'm missing something, but if all those things happened wouldn't any need to talk to Iran be obviated? It just seems so weird to say, "We're not going to negotiate unless you concede everything we'd hope to gain in negotiations."

I actually doubt that sitting down with the leader of Iran will improve our relationship, but I can't say that if John McCain or Barack Obama decided to give it a try I'd lose much sleep over it -- seems unlikely that it would make the Iranians hate Israel more, or seek a nuclear weapon more aggressively, or meddle in Iraq even more.

"I feel in the strongest terms that if you sat down across the table from these state sponsors of terrorist organizations, you would give them prestige enhancement and a bigger influence in the region, which I think would directly counter to America's national security interests," McCain said.

I wish Sen. McCain would articulate the process by which this would happen. I'm prepared to be convinced that "across the table" meetings are a bad idea. But I don't understand the cause and effect relationship he asserts. Are there Middle Eastern states that aren't allied with us who would look upon Iran more favorably were we to meet with them? Which states? In what ways would Iran's influence therefore be greater? How would this influence threaten our security.

If I don't understand these things I'm sure other voters don't either. Please, Senator McCain, help us better understand your position.Your arguments aren't nearly as obvious as you seem to think they are.

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