Tags: John McCain | Senate Armed Services Committee | Obama foreign policy

McCain 'Now Has Power' to Shape or Destroy Obama Foreign Policy

Image: McCain 'Now Has Power' to Shape or Destroy Obama Foreign Policy
(Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015 12:58 PM

At 78, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain may be the aging "lion in winter," but look for him to spring youthfully into action, newly energized by winning his long-coveted dream job as head of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

McCain's new position is the "fulfillment of a lifelong political aspiration," Mark Salter, co-author of several of McCain's books, told The New York Times.

Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, told the Times that "McCain now has the power either to destroy the president’s national security policy or shape it constructively. This is the first step to see whether he is going to use his new power to clobber Obama as he has for the past six years, or whether he will use it to try to shape and improve Obama's policy."

So far, it looks like "clobber."

McCain, who lost the 2008 run for president to Obama and said "of course" he believes he would make a better commander in chief, termed Obama's defense policy "delusional" and "a disaster," and warned, "that attack you saw in Paris? You'll see an attack in the United States," the Times reported.

As a former Navy pilot, the son and grandson of admirals, and a prisoner of war in the infamous Hanoi Hilton for six years, McCain's attachment to the military has been a lifelong affair, and made him a painful thorn in the side of the Obama administration.

For example, he recently told CNN's "State of the Union" that the administration has "no strategy to degrade or defeat" the Islamic State.

"ISIS right now is winning," McCain said. "We need to go after them. We need to have more boots on the ground. We need a no-fly zone. We need to arm the Free Syrian Army. And we need a coherent strategy that can be presented to the Congress," The Hill reported.

McCain is furious about Obama's change of policy to intervene in Syria, after Obama assured him he would do so.

McCain told the Times, "When somebody looks you in the eye in the Oval Office and says they're going to do something, don't you take their word for it? I did. I took his word for it. And obviously I shouldn't have."

Sen. Jack Reed, D-Rhode Island, told the Times: "I sense he has found the place where his particular talents are most important and most useful to the country. He's no longer on the quest to be president, he's not being distracted by a steppingstone to the next thing, and he feels he's taking over at a crucial time to shape the policy of the United States."

McCain also is taking a modern approach to security threats, naming Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska, who stresses the need for cybersecurity, to head the Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee, Defense News notes.

Still, McCain is well aware of his advancing age, telling the Times: "Every single day is a day less that I am going to be able to serve in the Senate," and adding that he has already chosen his epitaph: "He served his country."

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At 78, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain may be the aging "lion in winter,” but look for him to spring youthfully into action, newly energized by winning his long-coveted dream job as head of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Senate Armed Services Committee, Obama foreign policy
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2015-58-13
Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015 12:58 PM
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