John McCain on Iran: and the Stupid Keeps on Rollin’

Okay, let’s just clear the air right now. Military experience does not equal a mastery of foreign policy. It means you have military experience.

Don’t get me wrong; as someone with ten years of military experience, it is a very desirable thing to have. But my ten years and presence in many countries does not mean that I should be handed a post in the State Department.

Okay, maybe I’m being a little unfair; McCain’s military experience is far superior to mine, but one thing that we have to take into account in this general election is that you don’t magically gain a great deal of insight into foreign cultures and governments by wearing the uniform. You can, and indeed you may have a better chance of understanding of foreign countries by virtue of exposure, but it’s not a given.

And, indeed, if all you are relying upon is military experience without other types of experience such as diplomatic experience, you run the risk of being considerably lopsided even if you do take away a greater knowledge of foreign entities.

But, as I say, it’s not guaranteed that exemplary military service will automatically result in foreign policy mastery.

John McCain would be a perfect example. In fact, admitting that McCain has no capacity for foreign policy mastery is being too kind. Here is a man who doesn’t even grasp some of the rudimentary concepts.

For instance, McCain has the habit of making the same mistake that many other right wing pundits and members of the chattering class have in assuming that President Ahmadinejad is the leading force behind Iran’s foreign policy.

As the left has attempted to point out time and again, Ahmadinejad simply isn’t that powerful of a guy. He’s prominent. He’s in the headlines a lot, but true power, especially true power on the foreign policy front, lies with the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Instead of recognizing this, though, the foreign policy “expert” John McCain relies upon the expertise of, wait for it, the American people:

MCCAIN: I mean, the fact is he’s the acknowledged leader of that country and you may disagree, but that’s a uh, that’s your right to do so, but I think if you asked any average American who the leader of Iran is, I think they’d know. Go ahead. Or anyone who’s well-versed in the issue.

Thus McCain is running on something of a populist foreign policy message. But here’s the problem, the American people are not foreign policy experts. They don’t study foreign governments on the whole, they aren’t in on classified intelligence reports, hell, many of them don’t even get more than five to ten minutes of news a day.

We’re going to cede foreign policy expertise to the American people? We want a hairdresser in Hampton Roads Virginia to be the determining factor of who the leading political figure of Iran is? We really want an auto mechanic in Boise Idaho to determine the threat level of Iran to the US homeland? Do we really, truly, want the expertise of a nuclear physicist out in Livermore California providing religious context for radical Islamic terrorism?

Frankly, no.

That’s not their job, that’s why we elect officials whom we hope will appoint other officials who have spent their lives not studying how atoms interact with each other, or perfecting their hair coloring technique, or can rebuild an engine from its most basic parts, but instead who have studied the intricacies of Iran’s government, or have a well grounded understanding of the socio-economic impact of Islam in the Middle East.

Remember, the American people by a large margin believed, long after it was discredited, that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were in cahoots with each other.

I’m not trying to say that the American people are stupid. Far from it. I’m saying that for a vast majority of them, it’s not their job to know who is in charge of Iran. It is, however, sort of part of McCain’s job as a Senator, and it would definitely be his job as president, to know who is in charge of Iran, and he doesn’t.

Stupid, stupid.

Or is it?

There’s another possibility here that I wonder how many people are taking into account, and that is the intentional elevation of Ahmadinejad in his governmental powers by those who are most invested in the idea of making war with Iran.

While Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may not control either the country’s foreign policy nor its nuclear program, the man is highly visible, and has a propensity to say some incredibly controversial things.

By contrast, Khamenei hardly every nets a headline that reaches American eyes.

The volatile words that Ahmadinejad says are the kinds of words that can easily increase anti-Iranian sentiment, particularly from Western allies of Israel. Further, the groundwork to establish Ahmadinejad as the head honcho is already laid down by our own governmental system.

For Americans, president is a uniquely qualified term. Our president is in charge of the military, and policies foreign and domestic. He is the Chief military officer, executive officer, and the head of state. There are, in fact, quite a few roles played by the American president that are dispersed among different offices in other countries, countries such as Iran.

So, while in America, the term president may border on omnipotence, in other countries that term is far less powerful. Thus, by superimposing our definition of the office onto other offices that hold the same title but not the same power, it is relatively easy to convince people that Ahmadinejad is analogous to our own president in power.

And when you take someone who has that kind of power, and attribute to him the sentiments and words that he has expressed since taking power, you now have created a villain that is worthy of going to war against.

Or at least so goes a possible tactic that the McCain camp and those who are attempting to build a case for war against Iran may be trying to pass off.

It’s either this kind of machination at work, or these people really are as stupid on foreign policy as they sound.

Either way, not good. Not good at all.

More at Memeorandum: JustOneMinute, Weekly Standard, Brave New Films blog, The Political Carnival, The Carpetbagger Report, Gateway Pundit, The Sundries Shack, The Jed Report, LiberalOasis, Newshoggers.com, Macsmind, Wonk Room and Swampland

3 Responses to “John McCain on Iran: and the Stupid Keeps on Rollin’”

  1. mccains rev wright is gwb lol

  2. I know, isn’t it funny?

  3. Jimmie says:

    It’s an interesting theory. How do you reckon it with the fact that Barack Obama has conflated him to exactly the same position (see the video in my post)?

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