Foreign Views Prove Less Neat Than 'Hawk' and 'Dove'

Candidates have complicated ideas on American power
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2008 9:13 AM CDT
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., salutes during a rally, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008, at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati.   (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
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(Newser) – For the presidential candidates, divergent experiences in Asia—John McCain's time in a Vietnam prison, Barack Obama's childhood years in Indonesia—gave rise to opposing views of American power. Yet the nominees' foreign policy stances have often blurred during the campaign, with Obama appearing more hawkish and McCain more diplomatic, according to the New York Times.

McCain, who once spoke of a "rogue state rollback" that would topple regimes from Iraq to North Korea, has tempered his rhetoric about Iran and has been reluctant to condone military action in Pakistan. Obama, however, speaks openly about a possible Pakistani operation and says he will not tolerate Iranian nuclear enrichment. Obama also favors the UN's "responsibility to protect" doctrine; he would provide some military assistance to Darfur, while McCain dislikes humanitarian interventionism.