Alex Massie

No One likes Us, We Don’t Care

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National Review's Andy McCarthy on a foreign policy difference between John McCain and Rudy Giuliani:

McCain is business as usual — even though there is no good reason why the quest for peace between Israel and the Palestinians should be a priority, much less that we should intensify our commitment to a settlement in the absence of Palestinian fitness for statehood. Giuliani says we can talk about it after the Palestinians grow up. That's rather a large difference, and it's far from the only one.  McCain, for example, would perpetuate the State Department way of doing things (as part of restoring our allegedly tarnished image in the world) while Giuliani argues that we need to make major changes in the State Department and Foreign Service so that they are judged by how clearly they advocate U.S. policy.

Well, I confess I have no great idea for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian problem. But resolving it would seem to be a good thing on the merits of the matter even if doing so had no other consequences or implications for American (or anyone else's) interests.

But let me simply observe that anyone who thinks the United States' image in the rest of the world has only allegedly (ie, it hasn't) been tarnished is, well, either someone who rarely speaks to foreigners or an idiot.

It may also be the case that McCain's ideas for repairing the US's image overseas would come to nothing but Giuliani seems to be of the view that foreigners will come to heel if only the United States is prepared to treat them roughly enough. This is, to put it kindly, arrant nonsense.

Furthermore, anyone who believes that these are trivial matters that can be ignored if The Right Tough Guy is in the White House comes close to automatically disqualifying themselves from being treated with any degree of seriousness on any foreign-policy-related matter in the future.

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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