McCain vs Obama: Part V - Foreign Policy/National Security

Over the past week, since Sarah Palin was announced as McCain’s vice presidential nominee, the media has been relentlessly pointing out her lack of foreign policy experience, while completely ignoring the lack of foreign policy experience of Barrack Obama. To them, it would seem, it is more important that the GOP vice president have foreign policy experience than it is for the Democrat president. Does this seem logical to anyone? It sure doesn’t to me.

However, in the real world, it is very important for the President to have foreign policy experience…or at least a concept of what foreign policy entails. It is also extremely important in this dangerous world that our president have a complete understanding of the threats from our enemies and a strong commitment to protect and defend this nation and its people.

So, how do the candidates see their role in foreign policy matters and what is their commitment to our national security? Let’s compare what they said in their speeches.

*Part V – Foreign Policy/National Security:*


“Today the prospect of a better world remains within our reach. But we must see the threats to peace and liberty in our time clearly and face them as Americans before us did: with confidence, wisdom, and resolve.

We have dealt a serious blow to Al Qaeda in recent years, but they’re not defeated, and they’ll strike us again, if they can. Iran remains the chief state sponsor of terrorism and is on the path to acquiring nuclear weapons. Russia’s leaders, rich with oil wealth and corrupt with power, have rejected democratic ideals and the obligations of a responsible power. They invaded a small, democratic neighbor to gain more control over the world’s oil supply, intimidate other neighbors, and further their ambitions of re-assembling the Russian empire. And the brave people of Georgia need our solidarity and our prayers. As president, I’ll work to establish good relations with Russia so that we need not fear a return to the Cold War. But we can’t turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people.We face many dangerous threats in this dangerous world, but I’m not afraid of them. I’m prepared for them. I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it shouldn’t do. I know how the world works. I know the good and the evil in it. I know how to work with leaders who share our dreams of a freer, safer and more prosperous world, and how to stand up to those who don’t. I know how to secure the peace.”


“And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we’re wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That’s not the judgment we need. That won’t keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice – but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans — Democrats and Republicans – have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.”

Obama promises us that he will never hesitate to defend this nation. However, in October, 2007 in a video presentation to the non-profit group “Caucus for Priorities” he outlines how he will defend this nation. He states, “I am the only major candidate who opposed this war from the beginning and as President, I will end it.

Second, I will cut 10’s of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems and I will institute an independent defense priorities board to insure that the quadrenial defense review is not used to justify unnecessary spending.

Third, I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal I will not seek to develop new nuclear weapons. I will seek a global ban on production of fissile material and will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBM’s off hair trigger alert and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenal.”

So I ask you…does he have a complete level of understanding of threats to our safety that will help you sleep soundly at night? Not for me. His real plan scares the heck out of me. It will just say to the terrorists of the world…”America is open for business.”