What if John McCain Is Right About Iraq?

What if John McCain Is Right About Iraq?

The loneliness of McCain’s stand against Obama is further evidence of how deeply we still feel snake-bit, as a nation, by the historically long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. War is always terrible, but we are clearly a nation hung over from too much of it—repelled by the very mention of it. Not only is there an enduring distaste for robust intervention abroad, policymakers seem paralyzed by a reluctance to have even a reasonable national security discussion about it, no matter the new dangers. The debate has been reduced to a simplistic binary choice: Get in or stay out, with the vast majority preferring the latter. All but gone is any larger strategic sense of America’s role in the world, or even the time-tested idea of coercive diplomacy backed by force, which McCain supports and Obama’s predecessor, Bill Clinton, also employed. (McCain’s advocacy of force in both Syria and Iraq was always based on the idea that Assad and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki must be forced to negotiate with their opponents.)

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