McCain: Obama Has Abandoned America's Foreign Policy Values
The Republican Party's 2008 presidential nominee delivered a scathing rebuke of President Obama's foreign policy over the past four years, noting "always we have led from the front, never from behind."
"I had hopes once of addressing under different circumstances, but our fellow Americans had another plan four years ago and I accept their decision," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said. "I've been blessed for so long to play a role in our nation's affairs and I am conscious of the debt I owe America. And I thank you for the honor."
The senator, who celebrates his 76th birthday today, said the U.S. is "now being tested by an array of threats that are more complex, more numerous, and just as deeply and deadly as I can recall in my lifetime."
And over his 2008 rival's term, McCain said, America has "drifted away from our proudest traditions of global leadership."
"We can't afford to cause our friends and allies, from Latin America to Europe to Asia to the Middle East, and especially in Israel, a nation under existential threat, to doubt America's leadership," he said. "We can't afford to give governments in Russia and China a veto over how we defend our interests and the progress of our values in the world."
McCain said that Obama's Afghanistan withdrawal timetable has "emboldened our enemies," and he slammed national security leaks: "We can't afford to have the security of our nation and those who bravely defend it endangered because their government leaks the secrets of their heroic operations to the media."
He also lashed out at the $500 billion in defense sequestration cuts -- which Obama is using to leverage an extension of Bush-era tax cuts on lower- and middle-income brackets only.
"Most of all, we can't afford to abandon the cause of human freedom. When long-suffering peoples demand liberation from their jailers and torturers and tyrants, the leader of the free world must stand with them," McCain said. "Unfortunately, this is not happening. When Iranians rose up by the millions against their repressive rulers, when they beseeched our president, chanting in English, 'Are you with us or are you with them?' When the entire world watched as a brave young woman named Neda was shot and bled to death in a street in Tehran, the president missed an historic opportunity to throw America's full moral support behind an Iranian revolution that shared one of our highest interests: ridding Iran of a brutal dictatorship that terrorized the Middle East and threatens the world."
The senator talked about the deteriorating situation in Syria, where "with the full backing of Iran and Hezbollah and Russia, with tanks and helicopters and fighter jets, Bashar Asaad is murdering men, women, and children."
"In other times, when other courageous people fought for their freedom against sworn enemies of the United States, American presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, have acted to help them prevail," McCain said. "Sadly for the lonely voices of descent in Syria and Iran and elsewhere in the world will feel forgotten in their darkness and sadly for us, as well. Our president is not being true to our values."