Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is known for speaking his mind. After all, he is the Senate’s modern-day “Maverick,” and once rode a presidential campaign tour bus called the “Straight Talk Express.”
So leave it to McCain to compare his old political foe’s Middle East policy to the, well, droppings of an elephant — and that foe’s top diplomat to the guy who has to clean up the mess.
The, um, colorful metaphor came up when McCain was discussing with your correspondent the Obama administration’s handling of decades-old relationships in the Middle East for an article you can find on DefenseNews.com in coming days. (That’s a tease, dear reader. And a hint.)
As McCain sees it, nations like Saudi Arabia cultivating closer ties to China is President Barack Obama’s fault.
“Sure, I worry about it. They are adjusting to a world without US leadership. And it is the result of a diminution of US leadership, which is the direct responsibility of the president of the United States.”
McCain and other Republicans — and a growing number of Democrats — on Capitol Hill believe the White House is not properly involved in the Middle East, which the lawmakers believe remains the most important region for US national security interests.
That’s why, when McCain sees his longtime friend Secretary of State John Kerry altering his itinerary for hastily planned — and, they believe, hat-in-hand — meetings with Middle East allies, he views it as a clean-up operation.
The nation’s top diplomat, McCain told Defense News, isn’t simply smoothing things over with friendly leaders. not even close. Rather, McCain sees it like this:
“Kerry running around like the guy that follows the elephants in the circus parade.”
McCain was scheduled to head over to the big top, errr White House, to meet with the ringmaster, errr, president about immigration reform and other issues on Thursday afternoon. No word on whether McCain took along a large shovel or wore rubber boots.
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