Not a Gaffe? McCain Campaign Willing to Destroy Relationship with Europe to Conceal Confusion
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Worse than Bush. There can be no doubt about it now.
In McCain's bizarre interview with Spanish Owned Union Radio he refused to say whether he would meet with Spain's Prime Minister, JosÃ© Luis RodrÃguez Zapatero. Listening to the interview repeatedly, it simply seemed that McCain had no idea who Zapatero actually was.
McCain seemed to think he was a Latin American autocrat -- despite the reporter repeatedly saying "I am talking about Spain." This gaffe would seem to have very significant implications. Not knowing who the leader of Spain was or thinking Spain was in Latin America would not really be shocking coming from his running mate, but McCain has run on his foreign policy expertise and such confusion completely undercuts his credibility. Furthermore this gaffe would bring up real questions about his age. Is McCain really prepared to deal with a crisis at 3AM, when he can't even remember who the leader of Spain is during a late evening interview?
But was it a gaffe? While it definitely seemed so, now Randy Sheunemann, McCain's foreign policy adviser is shockingly saying that this is not a gaffe but an intentional expression of policy toward Spain. Instead of just admitting that it was small gaffe late in the day, the McCain campaign has decided that they care so little about governing that they are willing to potentially nuke the U.S.-Spain relationship just to get elected. Sheunemann emailed the Washington Post, saying:
The questioner asked several times about Senator McCain's willingness to meet Zapatero (and id'd him in the question so there is no doubt Senator McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred). Senator McCain refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero in this interview," he said in an e-mail.
This is beyond extreme. This is beyond reckless. This is insane.
McCain won't meet with a NATO ally, that has nearly 1,000 troops in Afghanistan, that has lost more than 20 soldiers there, has been brutally attacked by Al Qaeda, is incredibly influential in Latin America, has the seventh largest economy in the world, is a DEMOCRACY, and is a large and influential country in the EU. Won't meet with them?
The only plausible explanation for McCain not wanting to meet with Zapatero, is that, like Bush, he is still angry about Spain pulling its troops out of Iraq in 2004. If McCain carries that much of a grudge then how in the world will he rebuild our relationship with Europe, as he has said he would do. In a big foreign policy speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council in March, McCain expressed a desire to strengthen the transatlantic relationship.
We cannot build an enduring peace based on freedom by ourselves, and we do not want to. We have to strengthen our global alliances as the core of a new global compact...The bonds we share with Europe in terms of history, values, and interests are unique. Americans should welcome the rise of a strong, confident European Union as we continue to support a strong NATO.
Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, is ready to change the policy of estrangement with the Spanish government that was put in place for four years now by George Bush. He declared that he was ready to fully normalize bilateral relations and that Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was invited to the White House.
And does McCain not know that his campaign has already met with a representative of Zapatero's office? From the BBC in April:
Recently, Bernardino Leon, who is currently heading the General Secretariat of the Prime Minister's Office to attempt to foster Zapatero's interest in international issues, travelled to Washington to meet the foreign policy advisers to Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and to Republican candidate John McCain.