Over the past week or so, a number of Republicans and Conservatives (though of questionable “realness”) have endorsed Barack Obama. Charles Krauthammer is no such ship jumper.
The case for McCain is straightforward. The financial crisis has made us forget, or just blindly deny, how dangerous the world out there is. We have a generations-long struggle with Islamic jihadism. An apocalyptic soon-to-be-nuclear Iran. A nuclear-armed Pakistan in danger of fragmentation. A rising Russia pushing the limits of revanchism. Plus the sure-to-come Falklands-like surprise popping out of nowhere.
Who do you want answering that phone at 3 a.m.? A man who’s been cramming on these issues for the past year, who’s never had to make an executive decision affecting so much as a city, let alone the world? A foreign policy novice instinctively inclined to the flabbiest, most vaporous multilateralism (e.g., the Berlin Wall came down because of “a world that stands as one”), and who refers to the most deliberate act of war since Pearl Harbor as “the tragedy of 9/11,” a term more appropriate for a bus accident?
Or do you want a man who is the most prepared, most knowledgeable, most serious foreign policy thinker in the United States Senate? A man who not only has the best instincts but has the honor and the courage to, yes, put country first, as when he carried the lonely fight for the surge that turned Iraq from catastrophic defeat into achievable strategic victory?
To some extent, I agree. Pakistan is more unstable than before Bush took office, Iran has advanced its nuclear program and its political reach through the Shi’ite Maliki government in Iraq (a feature of the surge, I might add), and it’s obvious that the template for Russian aggression was built first in the United States. But the hallmark feature neoconservativism is its way of rendering observed results useless as a method for interpreting the world, and as such, the precise reasons for voting against John McCain become the “straightforward” argument for supporting this manifestly failed foreign policy: we just haven’t been crazy enough.