John McCain and the League of Democracies!
Matt Welch has a terrific rundown about McCain’s foreign policy and the absurdity thereto, both of McCain’s actual policies and the media’s hilarious (yet sad) distortions of same to give it the perception of centrism, rather than the reality, which is pretty much blatant American imperialism on a grand scale. I’d encourage you to read the whole thing, but one of the best bits is on McCain’s proposal to build a League of Democracies! under American leadership to combat evil regimes.
Now, there have been times that I have been intrigued by a League of Democracies, as has Jonathan Rauch, but regardless of whatever Rauch, Welch or McCain might think about a 21st century League of Nations, the main point is that there is no way in hell anything remotely like this is happening any time in the next decade. After eight years of a cranky, go-it-alone White House that won re-election in part by bashing limp-wristed Euro-weenies, the chances of another interventionist Republican winning enough good faith among grumbly allies to create a brand spanking new America-defined Club of Winners are something approaching zero.
I think that’s pretty much exactly right. Frankly, I think there’s a real danger of forming an organization like McCain proposes, because it’s pretty much going to guarantee that large economic powers that don’t fit the membership criteria are probably going to form some sort of alliance to oppose it (a Legion of Autocracy?), which is only going to entrench positions, provoke hositilities and diminish our influence and working relationships with those countries.
We’d be much better off, in my opinion, with working to form a coalition with other liberal democracies to work for common interests within the framework of the United Nations. True, the United Nations isn’t perfect, but as Matthew Yglesias points out, much of the dysfunction at the U.N. has to do with the indifference of countries in participating into it. There’s a great potential for making the U.N. a stronger, more effective body. But that does require actually working with the U.N., instead of doing nothing and then complaining that the U.N. “doesn’t do anything.”