PARIS -- Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona addressed the Munich Security Conference last week, and his remarks made it clear that he's oblivious to what the average European citizen is thinking these days.
"I know there is profound concern across Europe and the world that America is laying down the mantle of global leadership," McCain said.
Actually, Senator, "global leadership" has become synonymous with failed foreign intervention, and everyone has had enough of it.
McCain said there is "a sense that many of our peoples, including in my own country, are giving up on the West ... that they see it as a bad deal that we may be better off without ... and that while Western nations still have the power to maintain our world order, it is unclear whether we have the will."
No, what people have given up on is establishment collusion and the election of politicians who are more answerable to special interests (and to their own interests) than to those of the average citizen. People no longer believe that actual Western values intersect with the interests of McCain and his colleagues.
In case McCain hasn't noticed, there's a populist wave sweeping Europe, particularly among young people. It's not because they love Russia or hate the West. It's the failure of decades of "global leadership," and the failure of policies that have been peddled by the likes of McCain.
McCain lamented "an increasing turn away from universal values and toward old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism." Perhaps that's because citizens feel that "universal values" have been used as a pretext to shove cultural impositions and political correctness down people's throats.
McCain also denounced "the growing inability, and even unwillingness, to separate truth from lies." He fails to realize that you can only hide reality underneath rhetoric for so long. McCain might be pleased to learn that the European Parliament recently passed a resolution to "counteract propaganda against it by third parties." But what constitutes propaganda? Is it the worldview that establishment politicians would prefer us to adopt? Or is it the reality that they'd prefer that we not discuss?
Either way, you can bet that it has something to do with Russia, of course. McCain and his travel buddy, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who spent the New Year's holiday bashing Russia during a trip to Ukraine, took their neo-McCarthyist road show to Germany last week, with Graham declaring at the Munich conference that "2017 is going to be a year of kicking Russia in the ass in Congress." If only Russian ass-kicking improved the daily life of American voters.
Apparently, McCain and Graham believe that everyone from those who voted for Donald Trump to Europeans sick of the European Union usurping national sovereignty are just useful idiots in Russian President Vladimir Putin's quest for global supremacy. Since there's very little ideological daylight between Russia and the West these days, and we can't claim that Russia wants to turn the West communist since Russia isn't communist anymore, I guess we have to assume that Putin just wants to build alliances with as many countries as possible. This is a problem for McCain, who sees Western values as superior.
"And through it all," McCain said in Munich, "we must never, never cease to believe in the moral superiority of our own values -- that we stand for truth against falsehood, freedom against tyranny, right against injustice, hope against despair ..."
A headline in The New York Times this week labeled McCain as the Trump administration's "critic in chief," pushing back forcefully against the democratically elected leader of the United States. Please tell us more, Senator, about how your values are morally and democratically superior.
The Western establishment has become the new USSR. Here in Europe, we jokingly call the European Union the "EUSSR." Fiscally, culturally and ideologically, Europe is a mess. That's what happens when you take countries that never fully broke free from socialism and overwhelm them with impositions from the rest of the world.
Know who isn't doing things that way? It's Russia, which in fact has moved in the opposite direction. And it's Russia that Syria and now Libya, have called upon to fix the mess left by the sort of interventionist foray that McCain consistently encourages. According to a WIN/Gallup international poll, four NATO countries -- Bulgaria, Greece, Slovenia and Turkey -- chose Russia as their preferred ally in the event of a military threat. China chose Russia as well.
Russia is only the enemy to establishment fixtures such as McCain and Graham because it's a distraction from their own political failures.