Senator John McCain will call for the creation of a “League of Democracies” at a speech in Palo Alto today. On the JYB I developed an idea along those lines which I called the Council of Democracies. It’s something we ought to look into, provided it exists in lieu of the United Nations, and provided it lives up to the name by keeping dictators out and true democrats in. As such, a league or council of democracies could curb the ability of tyrants the world over to use their influence within the UN to hinder our national security efforts and interests. No more China vetoing our ability to act in Darfur or anywhere else. No more Libya chairing the world’s Human Rights Commission, since Libya as it’s run now wouldn’t be in a league of democracies. Unfortunately, Sen. McCain doesn’t seem to be promoting his League as a way of fostering US interests; instead, it seems to be a way to increase other democracies’ influence over us.
“We Americans must be willing to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies,” McCain says, according to excerpts his campaign provided. “Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom, knowledge and resources necessary to succeed.”
“To be a good leader, America must be a good ally,” he adds in the speech, another in a series of policy addresses as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.
That’s wrong-headed. McCain’s League would end up replacing a Chinese veto with a French one; my Council would kick the Chinese out and minimize France in favor of stronger democracies like Japan and India, who also happen to see the world more like we do than France does. But still, it’s good to see a major presidential candidate coming around to a good idea.
The Bush administration has already built the foundations of a League of Democracies, in an ad hoc working group called the Proliferation Security Initiative. The PSI was built to blockade Kim Jong-Il, and it’s still one of the few unblemished successes of the Bush administration’s foreign policy.