WASHINGTON, Jan 13: Reflecting a change in strategy from “soft power” articulated by the outgoing Obama administration, Republican John McCain has made a pitch for “hard power”, a stand echoed by President-elect Donald Trump’s Defence Secretary nominee Gen (retd) James Mattis.
“It’s the global striking power of America’s armed forces that must deter or thwart the ambitions of aggressors,” McCain, the Chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, said.
“Too many have forgotten that our world order is not self-sustaining. Too many have forgotten that while the threats we face may not have purely military solutions, they all have military dimensions. In short, too many have forgotten that hard power matters,” he said.
McCain said there was a perception around the world that the US had become weak and distracted. “That has only emboldened our adversaries to challenge the current world order.”
Even at odds with the president-elect Donald Trump, McCain has supported James “Mad Dog” Mattis as nominee for Defence Secretary.
The Senator pointed to threats posed by “violent Islamic extremism” across Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe. “It should now be clear that we will be engaged in a global conflict of varying scope and intensity for the foreseeable future. Believing otherwise is wishful thinking,” he said.
The central challenge in the Middle East is not the IS, he said, but a breakdown of regional order “in which nearly every state is a battlefield for conflict, a combatant or both”.
“ISIL is a symptom of this disorder. At the same time, Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions have been postponed but not halted. It continues to modernize its military, expand its malign influence and seek to remake the region in its image from Syria, to Iraq, to Yemen,” he said. (PTI)