John McCain Republican Candidate
|National Security |
Law of International Organizations/Multilateralism and enforcement Public International Law
- "We need to help the Pakistani government go into Waziristan, where I visited, a very rough country, and -- and get the support of the people, and get them to work with us and turn against the cruel Taliban and others. And by working and coordinating our efforts together, not threatening to attack them, but working with them, and where necessary use force, but talk softly, but carry a big stick." OCT 7, 2008 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
- "We've got to show moral support for Ukraine. We've got to advocate for their membership in NATO. We have to make the Russians understand that there are penalties for these this kind of behavior, this kind of naked aggression into Georgia, a tiny country and a tiny democracy." OCT 7, 2008 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
- "Let -- let -- let me say that we obviously would not wait for the United Nations Security Council. I think the realities are that both Russia and China would probably pose significant obstacles. And our challenge right now is the Iranians continue on the path to acquiring nuclear weapons, and it's a great threat. It's not just a threat -- threat to the state of Israel. It's a threat to the stability of the entire Middle East. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, all the other countries will acquire them, too. The tensions will be ratcheted up."
- "I want to make sure that the Iranians are put enough -- that we put enough pressure on the Iranians by joining with our allies, imposing significant, tough sanctions to modify their behavior. And I think we can do that.
I think, joining with our allies and friends in a league of democracies, that we can effectively abridge their behavior, and hopefully they would abandon this quest that they are on for nuclear weapons." OCT 7, 2008 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
USA Foreign Relations Law
- "The United States of America, Tom, is the greatest force for good, as I said. And we must do whatever we can to prevent genocide, whatever we can to prevent these terrible calamities that we have said never again. But it also has to be tempered with our ability to beneficially affect the situation. That requires a cool hand at the tiller. This requires a person who understands what our -- the limits of our capability are. We went in to Somalia as a peacemaking organization, we ended up trying to be -- excuse me, as a peacekeeping organization, we ended up trying to be peacemakers and we ended up having to withdraw in humiliation. In Lebanon, I stood up to President Reagan, my hero, and said, if we send Marines in there, how can we possibly beneficially affect this situation? And said we shouldn't. Unfortunately, almost 300 brave young Marines were killed. So you have to temper your decisions with the ability to beneficially affect the situation and realize you're sending America's most precious asset, American blood, into harm's way. … And, again, I know those situations. And I understand that we have to say never again to a Holocaust and never again to Rwanda. But we had also better be darn sure we don't leave and make the situation worse, thereby exacerbating our reputation and our ability to address crises in other parts of the world." OCT 7, 2008 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
- "International monitors must gain immediate access to war-torn areas in order to avert an even greater humanitarian disaster, and we should ensure that emergency aid lifted by air and sea is delivered." McCain, “We Are All Georgians” The Wall Street Journal (August 14, 2008)
- "The United States should launch a major program designed not to increase handouts but rather to build capacity, improve education, cut red tape, and reduce the corruption that is the foremost impediment to economic growth. We should target assistance and micro-lending to the economically isolated and often indigenous populations among our free trade partners. " McCain, Speech to the Florida Association Broadcasters (June 20, 2007)
- "We need to promote economic growth and opportunities, especially for women, where they do not currently exist. Too often, trade restrictions -- combined with costly agricultural subsidies for the special interests -- choke off the opportunities for poor farmers and workers abroad to help themselves. That has to change. And by promoting free trade, and ending unfair subsides, I intend to be the agent of change." McCain, Remarks to the Clinton Global Initiative (September 25, 2008)
- "With our allies, we now must stand in united purpose to persuade the Russian government to end violence permanently and withdraw its troops from Georgia. International monitors must gain immediate access to war-torn areas in order to avert an even greater humanitarian disaster, and we should ensure that emergency aid lifted by air and sea is delivered. " McCain, “We Are All Georgians” Wall Street Journal (August 14, 2008)
- "Today's resignation of Fidel Castro is nearly half a century overdue. For decades, Castro oversaw an apparatus of repression that denied liberty to the people who suffered under his dictatorship.
Yet freedom for the Cuban people is not yet at hand, and the Castro brothers clearly intend to maintain their grip on power. That is why we must press the Cuban regime to release all political prisoners unconditionally, to legalize all political parties, labor unions and free media, and to schedule internationally monitored elections.
Cuba's transition to democracy is inevitable; it is a matter of when - not if. With the resignation of Fidel Castro, the Cuban people have an opportunity to move forward and continue pushing for the moment that they will truly be free. America can and should help hasten the sparking of freedom in Cuba. The Cuban people have waited long enough." Statement on the Resignation of Fidel Castro
- "We are now going to have the courts flooded with so-called ... habeas corpus suits against the government, whether it be about the diet, whether it be about the reading material. And we are going to be bollixed up in a way that is terribly unfortunate because we need to go ahead and adjudicate these cases" John McCain on Guantanamo Bay Detainees court ruling; provided by Fox News, June 13, 2008
- "I agree with the [Bush] doctrine [of preemptive use of force]..." ABC/WMUR Republican Debate, Manchester, NH, 1/5/08
- "...Because it's clear the definition of torture. It's in violation of laws we have passed., and again, I would hope that we would understand, my friends, that life is not '24' and Jack Bauer.
Life is interrogation techniques which are humane and yet effective. And I just came back from visiting a prison in Iraq. The Army general there said that techniques under the Army Field Manual are working and working effectively, and he didn't think they need to do anything else.
My friends, this is what America is all about. This is a defining issue and, clearly, we should be able, if we want to be commander in chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, to take a definite and positive position on, and that is, we will never allow torture to take place in the United States of America." CNN/YouTube Republican Debate, St. Petersburg, FL, 11.28.07
- "My administration, with its partners, will help friendly Muslim states establish the building blocks of open and tolerant societies. And we will nurture a culture of hope and economic opportunity by establishing a free-trade area from Morocco to Afghanistan, open to all who do not sponsor terrorism." John McCain, "An Enduring Peace Built on Freedom," Foreign Affairs, November/December 2007
- "Waterboarding, under any circumstances, represents a clear violation of U.S. law. In 2005, the President signed into law a prohibition on cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment as those terms are understood under the standards of the U.S. Constitution. There was at that time a debate over the way in which the Administration was likely to interpret these prohibitions. We stated then our strong belief that a fair reading of the "McCain Amendment" outlaws waterboarding and other extreme techniques. It is, or should be, beyond dispute that waterboarding "shocks the conscience."
"It is also incontestable that waterboarding is outlawed by the 2006 Military Commissions Act (MCA), and it was the clear intent of Congress to prohibit the practice. As the authors of the statute, we would note that the MCA enumerates grave breaches of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions that constitute offenses under the War Crimes Act. Among these is an explicit prohibition on acts that inflict "serious and non-transitory mental harm," which the MCA states (but your letter omits) "need not be prolonged." Staging a mock execution by inducing the misperception of drowning is a clear violation of this standard. Indeed, during the negotiations, we were personally assured by Administration officials that this language, which applies to all agencies of the U.S. Government, prohibited waterboarding....
"We must wage and win the war on terror, but doing so is fully compatible with fidelity to our laws and deepest values." Letter of Response to Attorney General nominee from Senators McCain, Warner, and Graham, 10/31/07
- "General Vessey said any information that we may gain through the use of torture can never, ever be counterbalanced by the damage it does to America's reputation and the risk...that when an American is in the hands of an enemy, that they will use the fact that we tortured people as an excuse to torture our brave men and women in the military. I'm not prepared to expose them to that." Fox News Republican Presidential Candidates Debate in Durham, NH, 9/5/07
- "To be successful international leaders, we need to be good international citizens. This means upholding and strengthening international laws and norms, including the laws of war. We must champion the Geneva Conventions, and we must fulfill the letter and the spirit of our international obligations. It is profoundly in our interest to do so, since our failure to abide by these rules puts our own soldiers at risk. Our moral standing in the world requires that we respect what are, after all, American principles of justice. Our values will always triumph in any war of ideas, and we can't let failings like prisoner abuse tarnish our image. If we are model citizens of the world, more people around the world will look to us as a model." Address to the Hoover Institution on U.S. Foreign Policy, 5/1/07
International Security and Non-Proliferation
- "Well, obviously we should make sure that every nation respects human rights, and we should advocate that and try to enforce it. But I will open every market in the world to Iowa's agricultural products. I'm the biggest free marketer and free trader that you will ever see." Des Moines Register Republican Presidential Debate, Johnston, IA, 12/12/07
- "To unite us with friends and allies in a common prosperity, as president I will aggressively promote global trade liberalization at the World Trade Organization and expand America's free-trade agreements to friendly nations on every continent." John McCain, "An Enduring Peace Built on Freedom," Foreign Affairs, November/December 2007
- "The United States should set the standard for trade liberalization in Asia. Completing free-trade agreements with Malaysia and Thailand, realizing the full potential of our new trade agreement with South Korea, and institutionalizing economic partnerships with India and Indonesia so that they build on existing agreements with Australia and Singapore should set the stage for an ambitious Pacific-wide effort to liberalize trade. Such trade liberalization would benefit Americans and Asians alike." John McCain, "An Enduring Peace Built on Freedom," Foreign Affairs, November/December 2007
- "It sounds like a lot of fun to bash Chinese and others, but free trade has been the engine of our economy in the last half of this year, it will continue to be, and free trade should be the continuing principle that guides this nation's economy." CNBC/Wall street Journal Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan, 10/9/07
- "We need to build on the passage of the Central America Free Trade Agreement by expanding U.S. trade with the region. Let's start by ratifying the trade agreements with Panama, Peru, and Colombia that are already completed, and pushing forward the Free Trade Area of the Americas.... My administration would reduce barriers to trade and press for renewed Trade Promotion Authority." Address on Latin America to the Florida Association of Broadcasters, 6/20/07
International Criminal Court
- "The goal of our diplomacy must be an agreement that advances America's national interests in the full denuclearization of North Korea and the cessation and full accounting of North Korea's proliferation activities. Any agreement must be completely verifiable, and must take into account the interests of our democratic allies in South Korea and Japan. In addition, it would be a serious mistake to exclude from the negotiations our legitimate concerns regarding North Korea's egregious human rights abuses." Statement By John McCain On Syria And North Korea April 25, 2008
- "The nuclear nonproliferation regime is broken for one clear reason: the mistaken assumption behind the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) that nuclear technology can spread without nuclear weapons eventually following. The next U.S. president must convene a summit of the world's leading powers -- none of which have an interest in seeing a world full of nuclear-armed states -- with three agenda items. First, the notion that non-nuclear-weapons states have a right to nuclear technology must be revisited. Second, the burden of proof for suspected violators of the NPT must be reversed. Instead of requiring the International Atomic Energy Agency board to reach unanimous agreement in order to act, as is the case today, there should be an automatic suspension of nuclear assistance to states that the agency cannot guarantee are in full compliance with safeguard agreements. Finally, the IAEA's annual budget of $130 million must be substantially increased so that the agency can meet its monitoring and safeguarding tasks." John McCain, "An Enduring Peace Built on Freedom," Foreign Affairs, November/December 2007
- "At the end of the day, we cannot allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. Now I believe that we can do a lot of things. We can have a league of democracies to impose sanctions and to cut off the -- many of the things and benefits that the Iranians are now getting from other democracies. I think it's clear that the United Nations Security Council will not act effectively with Russia and China behaving as they are....
We need to work together with our allies, but at the end of the day, it's the United States of America that will make the final decision." Fox News Republican Presidential Candidates Debate in Durham, NH, 9/5/07
Climate Change and Environment
- "...U.S. and allied intelligence assets, including satellite technology, should be dedicated to record any atrocities that occur in Darfur so that future prosecutions can take place. We should publicly remind Khartoum that the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes in Darfur and that Sudanese leaders will be held personally accountable for attacks on civilians." John McCain and Bob Dole, "Rescue Darfur Now," The Washington Post, 9/10/06, B07
International Institutions/UN Reform
- "At the same time, we will continue in good faith to negotiate with China and other nations to enact the standards and controls that are in the interest of every nation -- whatever their stage of economic development. And America can take the lead in offering these developing nations the low-carbon technologies that we will make and they will need. One good idea or invention to reduce carbon emissions is worth a thousand finely crafted proposals at a conference table. And the governments of these developing economic powers will soon recognize, as America is beginning to do, their urgent need for cleaner-burning fuels and safer sources of energy." May 12, 2008
- "Now, suppose that the governor and I are wrong, and there's no such thing as climate change. And we adopt these green technologies, of which America and the innovative skills we have and the entrepreneurship and the free market which is embodied by Senator Lieberman's and mine cap-and-trade proposal is enacted, and there's no such thing as climate change. Then all we've done is give our kids a cleaner world.
But suppose we do nothing. Suppose we do nothing, and we don't eliminate this $400 billion dependence we have on foreign oil. Some of that money goes to terrorist organizations and also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Then what kind of a world have we given our children?" CNN/Politico/Los Angeles Times Republican Debate, Reagan Library, 1/30/08
- "We are feeling here in California pollution from China. It is a global issue, and we have to address it globally. And I would not agree to any global agreement without India and China being part of it." CNN/Politico/Los Angeles Times Republican Debate, Reagan Library, 1/30/08
- "I believe that America did the right thing by not joining the Kyoto Treaty. But I believe that if we could get China and India into it, then the United States should seriously consider -- on our terms -- joining with every other nation in the world to try to reduce greenhouse gases. It's got to be a global effort." Video on campaign website
- "And [Vladimir Putin]'s going to cause us to set up a league of democracies to address issues from Darfur to Burma to Iran and others, because he and the Chinese are blocking meaningful action to keep us in a peaceful world in the United Nations." Fox News Republican Debate, Orlando, FL, 10/21/07
- "The NATO alliance has begun to deal with this gap by promoting global partnerships between current members of the alliance and the other great democracies in Asia and elsewhere. We should go further and start bringing democratic peoples and nations from around the world into one common organization, a worldwide League of Democracies. This would not be like the universal-membership and failed League of Nations' of Woodrow Wilson but much more like what Theodore Roosevelt envisioned: like-minded nations working together in the cause of peace. The new League of Democracies would form the core of an international order of peace based on freedom. It could act where the UN fails to act, to relieve human suffering in places like Darfur. It could join to fight the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa and fashion better policies to confront the crisis of our environment. It could provide unimpeded market access to t hose who share the values of economic and political freedom, an advantage no state-based system could attain. It could bring concerted pressure to bear on tyrants in Burma or Zimbabwe, with or without Moscow's and Beijing's approval. It could unite to impose sanctions on Iran and thwart its nuclear ambitions. It could provide support to struggling democracies in Ukraine and Serbia and help countries like Thailand back on the path to democracy.
"This League of Democracies would not supplant the United Nations or other international organizations. It would complement them. But it would be the one organization where the world's democracies could come together to discuss problems and solutions on the basis of shared principles and a common vision of the future. If I am elected president, I will call a summit of the world's democracies in my first year to seek the views of my democratic counterparts and begin exploring the practical steps necessary to realize this vision.": Address to the Hoover Institution on U.S. Foreign Policy, 5/1/07