John McCain likes to paint Barack Obama as a naive follower on key national security issues. But by moving up his planned Afghanistan speech by two days to follow Obama's, and by agreeing that more U.S. troops are needed there, McCain appears to be following the Illinois Democrat on a major proposed shift for U.S. foreign policy.
Last month, Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Michael Mullen said he needed at least three brigades shifted to Afghanistan, but that "troop constraints were preventing such a move."
Democrats trumpeted the statement as vindication, but McCain's campaign held its line and "resisted calls for more [U.S.] troops" in Afghanistan.
Flash-forward to today. As the AP reported, McCain was set to discuss the economy, with an address on Afghanistan scheduled for Thursday. But the campaign ditched its planned focus on jobs (although not its banner) to follow Obama's lead -- not only by talking about national security but by joining him in calling for more American troops in Afghanistan.
Nearly an hour after Obama finished his D.C. speech, in which he repeated his call for "at least two additional combat brigades" to be sent to Afghanistan, McCain stepped to his podium across the country in New Mexico and tried to one-up his Democratic rival. As McCain's website now says, the Arizona Republican wants "at least three additional brigades" for the fight in Afghanistan.
Barack Obama: a leader John McCain can believe in.
Following that, we hear this morning of a striking reversal in a notorious Bush Administration. From AP:
In a break with past Bush administration policy, a top U.S. diplomat will for the first time join colleagues from other world powers at a meeting with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, The Associated Press has learned.
William Burns, America's third highest-ranking diplomat, will attend talks with the Iranian envoy, Saeed Jalili, in Switzerland on Saturday aimed at persuading Iran to halt activities that could lead to the development of atomic weapons, a senior U.S. official told the AP on Tuesday.
Now who was it again who not only advocated talking to our enemies as a central feature of his foreign policy plan, but took an enormous amount of grief from both George W. Bush and John McCain, as well as his fellow primary candidates for it?