Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), in his speech accepting his party’s nomination to run for president, seized on a theme of “change” and vowed to overhaul aspects of the Republican Party’s platform under the Bush administration. McCain highlighted times at which he has broken from his party’s policy line, arguing that such independence makes him more fit to lead the United States than his opponent, Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).
In terms of foreign policy, McCain credited “the leadership of a brilliant general, David Petraeus,” for improving the security situation in Iraq, and discussed his own efforts to encourage the U.S. surge strategy, saying he was willing to make an unpopular decision for the good of the war effort. McCain focused significant attention on economic concerns, saying the best way to improve the competitiveness of U.S. corporations internationally is through tax cuts that enable them to operate more efficiently. He also said he intends to shift U.S. jobs to “industries that will be the engine of our future prosperity,” rather than attempting to prop up industries that aren’t competitive internationally.
The New York Times reports the Republican convention revealed a “fierce struggle” for the “foreign policy heart of John McCain” within the Republican Party. McCain’s speech, the Times says, offered “few hints” whether he would follow a “confrontational, go-it-alone approach” toward the world, or whether he would make steps to engage countries the Bush administration has sought to isolate. McCain did make reference to the Russia-Georgia conflict in his speech, saying both that he would attempt to establish good relations with Russia to avoid a “return of the Cold War,” but also more forcefully that the United States “can’t turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world.”
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports McCain’s running-mate, first-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, has been given a crash course on foreign policy since her nomination.
– A new entry on CFR.org’s Campaign 2008 blog looks at hot debate in Minneapolis over Russia, Georgia, and the future of NATO.