U.S. Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain didn’t just make a recent Middle East tour to say hello. McCain, being a former military man himself, decided rightly that he needs see for himself the current situation in countries that will be a big part of his country’s foreign policy dealings should he be sitting in the Oval Office next January 21st. After previous remarks that American forces will remain in Iraq “for 100 years, if necessary” in a manner similar to post WWII Germany and Japan, McCain realizes more than anyone that in order for his country’s 3 trillion dollar investment in post Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to bear fruit, American foreign policy must undergo some serious changes.
McCain’s visit to Israel, in which he made some very positive remarks about American Israeli relations, comes at a time when the Israeli/Palestinian issue is at a most volatile level, and is influenced considerably by radical Islamic fundamentalism; with the Islamic Republic of Iran being Israel’s greatest danger since becoming a nation. During an interview conducted with editors from the Jerusalem Post, McCain said the following concerning the Iranian threat:
“When you look at the multitude of challenges and the nature of the enemy, including a nation that is developing nuclear weapons and is dedicated to Israel’s destruction, then from my standpoint, Israel is probably at greater risk than perhaps it has been since 1947”.
McCain is careful not to appear that his country is trying to exert undue influence upon Israel’s dealing with “the Iranian and Palestinian problems”, and appears to fully understand Israel’s need to be able to defend itself against both entities, as well as by groups such as Hezbollah, who are Iranian clients. He appears to appreciate the fact that Israel is one of America’s closet allies and defense partners, and he emphasizes the term “partnership” in reference to current and future relationships between Israel and the U.S.
Dealing with ongoing Palestinian rocket attacks and Israel’s response, often referred to as a “disproportionate use of force” by many European countries, McCain repeated what he has said previously that Americans “especially in my home state of Arizona would not stand for such activity on their southern border”.
While Cain hopes that Israel will be able to reach some kind of peace agreement with Palestinian leaders such as Mahmoud Abbas, McCain is also realistic in the fact that as long as groups like Hamas (who are also tied to Iran) are in power, no final agreement is possible. “My personal feeling is that Israel should not talk to Hamas as they are dedicated to Israel’s extinction”, McCain said.
One thing is for sure; should McCain become America’s next president: he will not formulate policies that will be detrimental to Israel’s security interests, as he sees these interests as inseparable from America’s security interests. He sees the threat that Israel faces from Islamic radicalism, particularly from Iran, as no different than the one America faces, and that the greatest challenge he will have is how to fight this threat. With Israel on his team, he knows he has a strong ally in this part of the world.