May 10, 2007 12:59 pm


When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Iran is playing hardball. China and Russia are trying to get away with being free riders. Europeans whimper in the corner only too aware that they are now within the range of Iranian missiles which by the end of the year may carry a nuclear payload.

What does McCain do?

He goes to Belgium where he uses a speech and a press conference to help improve US strategic position in that war.

First, he endeavors to restore European self confidence and trust in the transatlantic alliance:

Whether we turn our attention to the regime in Iran, the displaced in Sudan, troops under NATO command in Afghanistan, or to our own citizens, individuals everywhere look to the United States and Europe for unity and leadership. . . .

Not only do we seek European leadership, we believe it is necessary to make the world a better, safer place for our interests and our values. This means true leadership -- not a group of countries that merely follows American directives, as some fear, nor a coalition that opposes American power simply because of its country of origin, as others suggest.

He reminds the Russians and the Chinese that the American Congress holds some invaluble cards:

Asked what consequences there would be if Moscow and Beijing blocked such a move, he told reporters:"Clearly it's going to affect many areas of cooperation between our two countries.

"There will be a reaction in the U.S. Congress."

Bravo! Americans may not remember, but the Russians and the Chinese know the difficulties the Jackson Vanik amendment to the 1974 Trade Act caused the USSR. The executive may be talked out of pulling the air out of the Chinese economy but there would be plenty of Congressmen who would recognize the political gold which can be mined by standing up to obstreperous Russian and Chinese governments.

Finally, he warned Iran that the military option is very much on the table (italics mine):

The Arizona senator, who has been of President Bush's most vocal supporters on the war in Iraq, dedicated much of his address to Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology.

McCain urged"immediate" action by the U.N. Security Council in the form of"multilateral sanctions" against the country and refused to rule out the possibility of military force being used against Iran."To preemptively forswear options is to weaken our diplomatic hand," said McCain. "In the end, there is only one thing worse than military action, and that is a nuclear armed Iran."

The essay version of his speech is well worth reading in its entirety. It leaves no doubt but that John McCain is not only tough but smart and a true patriot. He never forgets that we are at war and never puts victory in that war second to his personal ambitions. Indeed, my man, John McCain, comes through again.

In a similar vain, Martin Gross writes in"What McCain has to offer" as a presidential candidate:

So how does one choose the right man? C. Northcote Parkinson of Parkinson's Law fame had the answer. For every impossible job -- as per Winston Churchill or FDR in World War II or Reagan in the Cold War -- there is only one person who fits the bill. He called it a short list of selection. The times are so challenging that a prospective candidate might best be described, in caricature, by a help-wanted ad for the job.

"Wanted: A president of the United States. Must be willing to work 110 hours a week, setting aside time to fight the light heavyweight champion of the world before lunch. He must be anxious to suffer psychic torture by daily watching Oprah and Katie Couric on television in the Oval Office, then be interviewed by Mike Wallace -- all the while conducting four simultaneous wars throughout the globe as commander in chief. Must be willing to face editorial demonization by the media, tussle with congressional opposition including threats of impeachment from Sen. Russ Feingold, while dealing with Cabinet officers being discharged for corruption. He must be able to handle a low 20 percent approval rating without losing heart or his natural optimism. Most important, the president must be willing to die in office as a symbol of his dedication to the American people, a love affair that will not be requited until 30 years later. Apply Box 101, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., along with a non-refundable deposit of $10 million."

Who among the contenders would be courageous enough to respond to such a daunting ad? Only one: Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Why? Is he so hopelessly ambitious to suffer indignity for his personal goals?

Perhaps, but more important, he seems to be the only one who has that in-born authentic patriotic spirit that requires him to sacrifice for this nation. Plus he seems to have the sense of destiny, shared by Washington, Lincoln, FDR and Reagan -- that he is the only one of his time capable of the onerous job of a president under shattering fire.

Besides, after years of torture by the communists in the Hanoi Hilton, he has already survived the test of the constant attack he will have to undergo as president.

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MarkD - 5/2/2006

Ah yes, Senator First Amendment himself. He will never be president, something for which I am most appreciative.