It is not by chance that “Rambo” is used as a middle name for John McCain. One of Rambo’s famous lines from the movie Rambo (First Blood) went like this: “Trautman: Look John, we can’t have you running around out there wasting friendly civilians. Rambo: There are no friendly civilians!”
John McCain’s recent irrational outburst calling the democratically elected prime minister of Hungary (a NATO ally) “neofascist” is just one of several embarrassing moments in the unpredictable Senator’s career. Further, it reflects a serious lack of knowledge of history as fascism was, by definition, an Italian movement promoted by Benito Mussolini that had little if anything to do with modern-day politics in any European nation. What is amusing though is that, if anyone saw the video of the senator’s irrational outburst on December 3, 2014, one cannot sidestep the resemblance to Ferenc Gyurcsany, a surviving stone-age relic of the Kadar-groomed socialist elite, whose similar rages and uncontrollable gesticulations display a hideous resemblance to the over-aged senator’s behavior.
The 78-year old McCain’s radical flare-ups have often been whitewashed and tamed by rationalizations that he is a war hero, a Vietnam veteran who should be allowed more leeway when exercising such despicable behavior. One is at a loss for words trying to explain why. Why should someone who had been locked into a ditch in southeast Asia for years be granted a special status as a politician when it comes to diplomacy and proper behavior? With his recent name-calling, the senator has insulted a NATO ally, not just the prime minister of Hungary, but the voters of Hungary as well, who have recently reinforced Viktor Orban in his seat three consecutive times this year at the polls. First, at national parliamentary elections in April, followed by European Union parliamentary elections in May, then just a few weeks ago, at local and municipal elections whereas Mr. Orban’s party has won overwhelmingly in fair and democratic elections. Does Mr. McCain have an issue with democratic elections or democracy as such? Is he politically deaf and blind, ignoring the will of an entire sovereign nation? Apparently so.
But this time, this pugnacious behavior should not go unpunished. The U.S. Senate should discipline the Senator, or at the minimum, fine him for such reprehensible conduct. Or better yet, his appointment as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee ought to be withdrawn. People in elected offices should talk and behave prudently. But let’s forget ethical codes and protocol guide books. What is much worse is that the Senator has essentially lied about the leader of Hungary, defaming an entire nation that has contributed so much to democracy and freedom by sending its talented emigrants to the United States for over a century now. McCain’s name-calling therefore has not just been an error in judgement, it is simply unlawful behavior. You cannot burst into a violent rage and call leaders of allied countries names on the Senate floor. That amounts to defamation and slander, for which he ought to be reprimanded. But who would want to punish an old Vietnam veteran for a slip of a tongue? Probably no one. Brave new world, one might ponder…
On the other hand, this outburst is not an isolated incident. It is just one tumble in a series of missteps that U.S. foreign policymakers have committed recently. This Rambo-like activism and adventurist style that the U.S. State Department, the Obama administration and U.S. Congress have displayed, all add up to a truculant and interventionist foreign policy that so far has been uncharacteristic of U.S. global behavior, even under George W. Bush.
The recent Republican victory in November at U.S. congressional elections will likely promote a neoconservative foreign policy condoned by the new Congress for years to come. Political pressures for a new Cold War undoubtedly will increase. Although neoconservative thinking has been entrenched in the Democratic Party since the Truman years, it has come to dominate Republican Party thinking only in recent decades. The second Iraq War and subsequent Middle East policy is an example of both parties embracing neoconservatism.
U.S. moves reviving the Cold War in Europe are no surprise to observers familiar with neoconservative foreign policy. Although anti-Russia posturing is standard for neoconservatives, support for interference in the internal affairs of Central and Eastern European countries has not been actively pursued until now. The case of Ukraine is well known, and the United States made no secret of spending over $5 billion over the past two decades for color revolution and regime change there. More recently, U.S. coercion in various forms has targeted Hungary and the Czech Republic. In the eyes of policymakers, these countries are developing too close diplomatic and economic relations with Russia and China. Washington wants to isolate Russia and contain China.
The ideology of Fidesz rejects the neoliberal economics of the “Washington Consensus.” The Hungarian citizens’ party is committed to European integration, but sees a positive role for connectivity eastward on a Eurasian basis to support global development within a diverse multipolar environment. Given this forward-looking orientation, it is not surprising that Mr. Orban and his political formation are targeted by neoconservatives formulating U.S. foreign policy. For Washington and some influential circles in Europe, Hungary’s stance is not acceptable. In their view, it cuts against a hegemonic transatlantic Western order as the center of world politics and economics.
Mechanisms that Washington uses to interfere in the internal politics of targeted countries are the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and CAP (the Center for American Progress), the latter of which is largely financed by George Soros and highlighted by Hillary Clinton as an intellectual strategist. Czech President Milos Zeman was slammed in a recent Washington Post op-ed by Carl Gershman, head of NED. Gershman stridently objects to the Czech Republic’s positive relations with Russia and China. Gershman’s personally insulting remarks against the Czech president are typical of the smear tactics of the neoconservatives and their allies. Gershman harshly attacked Zeman’s friendly recent visit to China and castigated the Czech position that Tibet and Taiwan are internal matters. Because NED is a government funded entity interfacing closely with the State Department and Congress, Gershman’s attack is seen by critics as unseemly and counterproductive.
But let’s return to our focal point and Mr. McCain. One would be quite subdued declaring that the senator’s past has not been flawless. His record is one colored by corruption scandals, unfaithfulness in his marital life, belligerent foreign policy initiatives and audacious communication techniques.
A few quotes on Mr. McCain:
- „Senator John McCain, a noted traitor and scumbag”… Veterans Today, a reputable military and foreign affairs journal, January 6, 2011.
- “John McCain is one of five senators in a corruption scandal called the Keating Five.” Political Corruption in America: An Encyclopedia of Scandals, Power, and Greed – Editor, Mark Grossman
- „John McCain is a perfect symbol of old time Washington corruption. And all of his phony rhetoric about being some sort of a government “reformer” is just pure political baloney that McCain adopted after he nearly lost his seat in the senate because of his corrupt business dealings with racketeer Charles Keating. For a fact, McCain is part of the Washington problem, not part of the solution.” Freerepublic.com, September 19, 2008.
- „Senator John McCain is battling persistent, and false, Internet rumors that he not only helped invent Islamic State in Iraq and Syria but also knows its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after a picture of him with members of Free Syrian Army was misinterpreted and purposely doctored.” The New York Times, September 12, 2014.
Based on the above cited references, John McCain has a serious credibility problem. Although I voted for the guy 6 years ago for President, I am now totally disenchanted by his policies and his behavior. He has lost his credibility and common sense. Not to mention his diplomatic virtues. John McCain has sunk to a new low, flunked as a diplomat and I feel embarrassed for trusting him. I am actually at a loss for words trying to describe what I think of him, although one particular body part situated in one’s back comes to mind, and specifically the alongated hollow duct channel smack in the middle of that body part. He has done a lot of damage to the reputability of U.S. foreign policy once again and this damage can hardly be repaired in an instance by a simple repudiation of his words.
Shame on the Senator! It is difficult to predict how relations can be repaired between the voters of Hungary and the maverick Senator from Arizona. However, one might surmise that a loud and humble apology by him may be the first step out of this diplomatic mess.
Adam Topolansky, a former GS-13 U.S. government employee