POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Zakaria (Newsweek): McCain and Obama have fundamentally different views of the world; the reality is much closer to Obama’s view

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 27, 2008

Fareed Zakaria writes with his usual insight in Newsweek …

  • there’s clearly a fundamental difference in the way the two candidates see the world.
  • McCain …
    • We live in a very dangerous world, John McCain would respond.
    • The role for America, in such an environment, is to aggressively use its power—hard power—to fight evil, spread freedom and defeat the enemy.
  • Obama …
    • Obama’s sense of the world is more optimistic.
    • Obama speaks less of Islamic extremism in general and more of Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups specifically.
    • He argues that most people in the Islamic world want development and a better life, not jihad. America’s promise remains alive even in these countries.
    • America’s role, for Obama, is to restore its military strength, fight Al Qaeda and its ilk, and deter rogue regimes like Iran.
    • But it is also to stay calm, because in overreacting to dangers, we often cause new problems and crises. 
    • The Iraq War, for Obama, is a prime example of an alarmist overreaction, one that had the United States launch an unprovoked invasion of a country and rack up huge costs.
    • If America can keep its cool and provide the help that countries really seek—in development, modernization and democracy-building—then we will gain in both security and legitimacy.
  • There is some truth to both visions of the world, but in my view the reality is much closer to Obama’s—more so than most American politicians seem willing to admit. We live in remarkably peaceful times.

LMW COMMENT: John McCain’s world is much like that of George W. Bush: angry, confrontational, impulsive, go-it-alone. On top of that McCain admits to being a “gambling man.” I think McCain’s world is a very frightening uncertain place. Barack Obama, while clearly willing to use force against our enemies if needed, has a far more intelligent, nuanced view of how to work together with our allies and how to influence our opponents. That doesn’t mean there won’t be serious problems and threats, but in Obama’s world there will be calm reflection and reaction, as well as carefully conceived initiatives. I find Barack Obama’s world a far more comfortable place to live.

To read the entire article, click … http://www.newsweek.com/id/158764

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