MCCAIN: It’s a little bothersome that a president of the United States would denigrate the views of other people who feel that they have a right to weigh in on this issue. It’s not casual that some of us in the Senate have become engaged. It’s not casual on the part of Mitt Romney to say that it is unacceptable for the Iranians to develop a nuclear weapon. [...]
They continue to develop a nuclear weapon and there has been no change from that course despite the sanctions and all the other efforts that are being made. … and these are the following red lines Mr. Prime Minister, we will act with you if Iran reaches those red lines and those red lines could be drawn. Instead the president has decided to persuade Israel not to attack at least between now and November of 2012. It’s not helpful.Via Think Progress.
There's casual and then there's casual. It might not be casual on the part of Mitt Romney to say that it is unacceptable for the Iranians to develop a nuclear weapon; but once stating it in the form of he (Romney) would stop them from getting nukes and President Obama wouldn't, he then has to indicate what he'd do that Obama wouldn't. Considering that Obama has already made clear that nothing is off the table, Romney doesn't have anything left to work with. But what McCain is saying here is that he wants ultimatums or "red lines"--in other words, he thinks the President should give himself less room to negotiate. Really? He thinks that's a good answer?
I think that would be the recipe for a commitment to war. War isn't the only answer, it's not the best answer, it might not even be a very good answer. War is what a country should engage in when the alternative is something worse than war itself, and there are few things worse than war. That is why President Obama has tried to mitigate the saber-rattling on the part of the GOP candidates: it is not worth pressing for a military option to sound tough for an election. The option is there--that's enough. It seems McCain doesn't feel that the reality of military power can be conveyed except when used. That strikes me as a failure of the imagination. (Not that his parody-song "Bomb, Bomb Iran" from before the 2008 election wasn't very creative.)
Needless to say, I'm still glad McCain lost in 2008. I appreciate the occasional reminders, even if I'm still puzzled about why he's such a frequent guest on these Sunday chat shows. Do people by now still not know what sort of things he will say?