John McCain’s visit this week to Europe and the Middle East will include a number of meetings with world leaders, who will be using those sessions to reacquaint themselves with the GOP nominee and to get a sense of what international relations would be like in a McCain Administration. At the Los Angeles Times, Paul Richter (AKA Swampspouse) looks at the wide range of approaches that McCain has taken over the course of his Senate career, on issues that range from Somalia and Haiti to Bosnia and the first Gulf War. He also notes that the advisers in McCain’s circle now are an uneasy mix of neoconservatives and “realists”:
The presumptive GOP nominee for president, McCain — who leads a congressional delegation to Europe and the Middle East this week — has adopted a surprising diversity of views on foreign policy issues during his 25 years in Congress. It is a pattern that brings uncertainty to the path he would take if elected.
McCain, an ex-Navy pilot and Vietnam POW who has built his campaign around his national security expertise, has advanced views on Iraq and Iran that are tough and assertive, and that seem to put him squarely in the neoconservative camp.
Yet McCain has on many occasions resisted calls for use of U.S. troops. Even now, he adopts positions that are closer to those of traditional, pragmatic Republicans than the more hawkish neoconservatives.
One sign of the internal contradictions in his views is growing friction between rival camps of McCain supporters — between neoconservatives and those with more traditional views, widely called “realists.” Both sides believe they have assurances from McCain that he would largely follow their path, and that like-minded allies would have key roles in the new administration.