The third and final US Presidential debate (15 October 2008) between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama in Hempstead, N.Y., had a focus on US domestic policy but there was allusion by Senator McCain that had damaging international implications.
Here is the pertinent reference from the written transcript and video of the debate:
MR. SCHIEFFER: The question was, what are you going to cut?
SEN. MCCAIN: Okay. All right. Energy -- on -- well, first --second of all, energy-independent -- we have to nuclear power. We have to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don't like us very much.
Senator McCain proceeded to outline initiatives in alternative energy supplies such as wind, tide, solar, natural gas, nuclear, offshore drilling, in order to highlight the economic case for energy-independence.
But McCain sours international relationships with comments about “countries that don’t like us.” With the US reputation having plummeted around the world as sharply as the Dow Jones Index, John McCain does his chances little good to enhance the US reputation and he demonstrates his inadequate skills in international diplomacy.
This jibe in the Wednesday night Presidential debate before a huge international audience follows his comments in last Friday night’s about Arabs.
At one point, last Friday night, McCain passed his wireless microphone to a volunteer who said, “I can't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's not, he's not uh — he's an Arab. He's not — " before McCain retook the microphone and replied:
“No, ma'am. He's a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about. He's not [an Arab].”
McCain appears to enforce the view that Arabs are indecent people that you cannot trust.
In whatever capacity John McCain serves in the future, while he may encourage trade with Arab nations he appears to have a problem with Arabs. He is not exhibiting the wise and peaceful diplomacy that the US and the world desperately needs.
John McCain: What is Wrong with Arabs? ETE, 14 October 2008.
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: John McCain at the third Presidential debate in New York. (Photo courtesy of AFP)
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