McCain & Obama, Hawks & Doves

From the NYT:

… as the campaign has unfolded, both men [McCain and Obama] have been forced into surprising detours. They may have formed their worldviews in Hanoi and Jakarta, but they forged specific positions amid the realities of an election in post-Iraq, post-crash America — where judgment sometimes collides with political expediency.

The result has included contradictions that do not fit the neat hawk-and-dove images promoted by each campaign. As spelled out in presidential debates, in written answers provided by their campaigns, and in an interview with Mr. McCain in January, some of their views appear as messy and unpredictable as the troubles one of them will inherit.

For example, it is Mr. McCain — the man who amended the words of a Beach Boys song last year to joke about bombing Iran’s nuclear sites — who says he could imagine a situation in which Iran’s behavior changes so much that he would be willing “to consider” allowing Iran to enrich its own uranium, producing a fuel that could be used for nuclear power — but only under highly restrictive conditions that ensure it could never be used for weapons.

Mr. Obama, the candidate who has expressed far more willingness to sit down and negotiate with the Iranians, said in an e-mail message passed on by an aide that in any final deal he would not allow Iran to produce uranium on Iranian soil, the same hard-line view enunciated by the Bush administration.

Consider the delicate issue of Pakistan, where it is Mr. Obama who has been far more willing than Mr. McCain to threaten sending in American troops on ground raids. Mr. McCain, by contrast, argues that Pakistan must control its territory. “I don’t think the American people today are ready to commit troops to Waziristan,” he said, months before Mr. Bush signed secret orders this summer authorizing ground raids in Pakistan, including the violent sanctuaries of North and South Waziristan.

Read the whole thing here

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