[I]f you had to sum up John McCain’s foreign policy beliefs in a single word, that word would probably be “Grrrr!” Whatever the situation is, McCain’s view is always that we should be tougher than whatever the White House is doing. […]That is, I promise you, the extent of the sophistication of McCain’s foreign policy thinking. Despite the fact that he is regularly lauded by the reporters who have worshipped him for so long as an “expert” in foreign policy with deep “knowledge” and “experience,” I have never heard him say a single thing that demonstrated any kind of understanding of any foreign country or foreign crisis beyond what you could have gleaned from watching a three-minute report on the Today show.
[McCain] made every wrong judgment call that could be made after 9/11. It’s not just that he echoed the Bush administration’s constant innuendos that Iraq collaborated with Al Qaeda’s attack on America. Or that he hyped the faulty W.M.D. evidence to the hysterical extreme of fingering Iraq for the anthrax attacks in Washington. Or that he promised we would win the Iraq war “easily.” Or that he predicted that the Sunnis and the Shiites would “probably get along” in post-Saddam Iraq because there was “not a history of clashes” between them.
What’s more mortifying still is that McCain was just as wrong about Afghanistan and Pakistan. He routinely minimized or dismissed the growing threats in both countries over the past six years, lest they draw American resources away from his pet crusade in Iraq.
Two years after 9/11 he was claiming that we could “in the long term” somehow “muddle through” in Afghanistan. (He now has the chutzpah to accuse President Obama of wanting to “muddle through” there.) Even after the insurgency accelerated in Afghanistan in 2005, McCain was still bragging about the “remarkable success” of that prematurely abandoned war. In 2007, some 15 months after the Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf signed a phony “truce” ceding territory on the Afghanistan border to terrorists, McCain gave Musharraf a thumb’s up. As a presidential candidate in the summer of 2008, McCain cared so little about Afghanistan it didn’t even merit a mention among the national security planks on his campaign Web site.
He takes no responsibility for any of this.