Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, took the stage at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night. McCain's speech, which condemned President Barack Obama's foreign policy, reeked of disingenuous American exceptionalism and broadly encouraged the United States to take on the role of world policeman.
Even McCain's entrance was marred with shameful militaristic pandering. The 76-year-old war veteran walked out to Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone," obviously recalling the '80s action flick "Top Gun." It's a shame that McCain, who knows the horrors of war all too well, would readily embrace such a glamorous portrayal of warfare.
From then on out, McCain's speech reinforced this glorified view of war, placing America as the supreme ruling force of the planet. "At our best, America has led. We have led by our example as a shining city on a hill," McCain stated near the beginning of his address.
Throughout, McCain reinforced this view, promising that Mitt Romney would reaffirm America's place as the only force capable of making decisions for the rest of the world. In closing, McCain reiterated that "America is still the best hope of mankind."
But sometimes other nations don't want to follow America's every whim.
Earlier in his speech, McCain vowed that "Israel, a nation under existential threat," must not be put into a position where it might "doubt American leadership" as a section of the crowd began to chant a familiar refrain of "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
Listening to McCain, one might almost forget that Israel is its own sovereign nation and not America's only state located in the Middle East.
Continuing on his militaristic theme, McCain's speech focused strongly on the sacrifice of America's soldiers, and while his tributes to them seemed genuinely heartfelt, it's hard not to notice that the rest of his speech centered around asking more and more soldiers to sacrifice their lives.
"May God bless all who have severed and serve today as He blessed us with His service," McCain said before transitioning into the reasons he believes that Americans must continue to fight abroad.
A large part of McCain's speech consisted of the senator attacking Obama for setting a timetable to leave Afghanistan and cut military spending. For McCain, apparently even one cent taken away from the military is a tragedy.
The senator opined that cutting military spending "would be devastating," all while ignoring the fact that the United States has spent 10 years and untold billions of dollars in Afghanistan with little to show for it. Apparently McCain believes in fighting a permanent war overseas.
"Unfortunately, for four years, we've drifted away from our proudest traditions of global leadership," McCain said. "We've let the challenges we face both at home and abroad become much more complex." Apparently Mitt Romney will make those problems easier to understand by blowing them all up.
In one of the oddest moments of the speech, McCain insisted that Russia and China must have no veto over American actions, a reference to the United Nationsl Secirity Council. The anti-U.N. sentiment seems completely out of place in many ways, and oddly creepy in others. Do we really want to live in a world where other nations have no say in what happens on their own soil?
One of the major concerns of McCain's speech was Iran's development of nuclear weapons. In March, Romney predicted that if Obama were elected to another term, "Iran will have a nuclear weapon and the world will change."
McCain echoed this sentiment, stating that the United States must take a hard line against Iran's current regime. McCain painted Iran as a menace to freedom across the world and stated that Obama should have thrown his support behind Iran's failed 2009 "Green Revolution."
"We can't afford to abandon the cause of human freedom," McCain said. "When Iranians rose up by the millions against their oppressive rulers ... the president missed an historic opportunity to throw America's full moral support behind an Iranian revolution."
While McCain has a strong point here, he seemed not to be making a point about a specific incident, but stating that America always has the right to intervene abroad. It sets a scary precedent if we allow ourselves to have authority over other nations as well.