Alex Massie

Imperialists for Obama!

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Via Clive Davis, I see that Niall Feguson has abandoned John McCain. In a Guardian interview he says:

He denies suggestions that Colossus, specifically, was written with half an eye on influencing the White House - but he became, for a time, one of John McCain's foreign policy advisers. "I must say that since he won the nomination, which I was very happy about, I've played virtually no role. In fact, I've played no role. Because, uh" - he is suddenly, uncharacteristically halting - "how to describe it? - I felt much less ... enthused, I think is probably the word, now that it's between him and Obama. And I felt much more uncomfortable with some of the positions he has had to take in order to secure the conservative vote."

Presumably this means that Ferguson is reasonably comfortable with Obama's foreign policy views. Given Niall's own positions, one might think this likely to disconcert some of Obama's more "progressive" supporters while, of course, also confirming the paleocon view that there's much less between the candidates' foreign policy "vision" (which is not to be confused with jjudgement and temperament) than is generally thought the case.

Then again, Niall likes to think of himself as a 19th - or 18th - century liberal, so it's no great surprise that he doesn't have an obvious home in either party at present. Of course, Colossus argued that, in the end, the United States didn't have the stomach to do empire properly. I don't suspect he really thinks this will change under Obama, but, rather, Obama's upside is greater than McCain's and his downside, in foreign policy terms at least, no lower.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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