I’m starting to like McCain a bit more every day. First, his positive comments about a League of Democracies which I think is a step in the right direction. Now he’s calling for the sort of heavy sanctions against Iran that brought down apartheid in South Africa. Speaking at the annual American Israeli Public Affairs Committee’s conference in Washington, DC, McCain made the following statements:
Rather than sitting down unconditionally with the Iranian president or supreme leader in the hope that we can talk sense into them, we must create the real-world pressures that will peacefully but decisively change the path they are on. Essential to this strategy is the UN Security Council, which should impose progressively tougher political and economic sanctions. Should the Security Council continue to delay in this responsibility, the United States must lead like-minded countries in imposing multilateral sanctions outside the UN framework…
A severe limit on Iranian imports of gasoline would create immediate pressure on Khamenei and Ahmadinejad to change course, and to cease in the pursuit of nuclear weapons. At the same time, we need the support of those in the region who are most concerned about Iran, and of our European partners as well. They can help by imposing targeted sanctions that will impose a heavy cost on the regime’s leaders, including the denial of visas and freezing of assets.
As a further measure to contain and deter Iran, the United States should impose financial sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran…We should privatize the sanctions against Iran by launching a worldwide divestment campaign.
As more people, businesses, pension funds, and financial institutions across the world divest from companies doing business with Iran, the radical elite who run that country will become even more unpopular than they are already.
Years ago, the moral clarity and conviction of civilized nations came together in a divestment campaign against South Africa, helping to rid that nation of the evil of apartheid. In our day, we must use that same power and moral conviction against the regime in Iran, and help to safeguard the people of Israel and the peace of the world.
[Read the entire speech here.]
This is tougher language than his previous statements about the League of Democracies. During those speeches it seemed that McCain still saw a large role for the UN. Now he’s openly calling on allies to defy the Security Council when necessary. For critics of the UN, this is a very positive step.
Granted, he made these statements at an AIPAC meeting so we know there is some pandering to the audience but I give the senator much respect for flipping the script on the assorted anti-Israel scumbags (read them ranting and raving in the comments here, here and here).
I don’t think this is simple political posturing. If McCain is the next president I expect he will move more vigorously against Iran and I’m hopeful we will receive more support from our allies in Europe, especially France, Germany, the U.K. and others who appear genuinely concerned about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. China and Russia are more problematic. They will be much more difficult (and may prove impossible) to convince.