McCain's Man

Friday, May 09, 2008

Robert Kagan, a chief foreign policy adviser to John McCain, shares his thoughts on the current election and his latest book, The Return of History and the End of Dreams.
If you can't see the video click here


Robert Kagan

Comments [86]

jim from nyc

Paulo thanks for telling us we're not living in 1984. I guess we'll just have to take your word for it as you've adopted the fairy role of big brother.

May. 11 2008 07:51 AM
jim from nyc

Robert there WAS no gooks comment. Your comment should be removed. That's not right.

May. 11 2008 07:47 AM
jim from nyc

Bottom Line: there's censorship of new ideas on this page. And we have to vomitously stomach the 344 comments per day by the same 4 people hjs, paolo, etc..... that's not a comments page. that's a discussion group with elite censoring.

May. 11 2008 07:47 AM
Chris O from New York

BL Producer: I appreciate the explanation. I guess inevitably comments are mis-interpreted, especially as they are quickly typed up and posted without an editorial process.

May. 09 2008 03:18 PM
Chris O from New York

I had a post on the Commodities Speculation page where I merely thanked the un-credited commenter for making a good point. It led to a segment. The comment was removed. Stuff like that is like a cold bucket of water over the head. Why?! It makes you feel belittled, like you should not contribute and that means not only relevant comments but also money.

[[BL Moderator Responds: I removed that comment because it came after a few comments that were mistakenly posted in the wrong thread. I apologize for misinterpreting the comment, but I thought it was in reference to those incorrectly posted remarks. Again, I apologize for the cold water. You're welcome to repost if you get a chance. Thanks for listening, and posting.]]

May. 09 2008 02:38 PM
mc from Brooklyn

As a frequent poster here, I would hope that others feel free to join at any time. I also think it might be helpful not to characterize each other as liberal, conservative, republican, left righty whatever. A variety of opinions keeps it interesting and prevents us all from getting too smug in our own.

May. 09 2008 01:25 PM
mc from Brooklyn

Phoebe, #50, I agree completely. Which is why, despite what many here on this page may think, we have a remarkably stable political system here. Anyone who does not think so should check out Zimbabwe or any number of other places. That said, I don't like the direction we are headed in re; income inequality. I don't think it is particularly healthy.

May. 09 2008 01:19 PM
hjs from 11211

do u enjoy it? why read if not?

May. 09 2008 12:23 PM
Gary from NYC

Finally some is saying it! I thought the comment section had become something of a side show!

May. 09 2008 12:15 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

So apparently the better route is, instead of posting relevant comments and challenge people's claims, to attack them for posting at all?

May. 09 2008 12:14 PM
hjs from 11211

caren 74
it's nice of u to notice, thanks

May. 09 2008 12:12 PM
Caren from Brooklyn

Easy for those to say, when your one of them #72, every day, nothing but the same old same old.

May. 09 2008 12:10 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Exactly hjs,

I don't know why some people think I should feel guilty for being a frequent poster on the comments page. I mean, that is why it's called a COMMENTS page.

May. 09 2008 12:07 PM
hjs from 11211

i enjoy sense of community and involvement. this board serves a public radio station so the public should feel welcome to comment agenda or not. i also enjoy reading a variety of views. those with agendas have every right to provoke debate.

May. 09 2008 12:01 PM
Freddy from Brooklyn

@ Chang

That is one of them #69.

May. 09 2008 11:55 AM
Chang from Brooklyn

I counted you guys are right it is about three to four people who are mostly dominating this thread!

It would be OK if they had something interesting to say unfortunately it is just tired antagonism.

May. 09 2008 11:52 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

So if people post here often that means they're just working their ulterior motives? Couldn't be that they feel a sense of community and involvement? It couldn't mean they're interested in the topics and feel they have something to contribute?

May. 09 2008 11:48 AM
Kevin from Brooklyn

@ Emily #64

I agree just add up most of the people who have posted you will see the same names again and again. It is a pathetic exercise. They are the same people every day. This website was not meant for their personal agendas!

May. 09 2008 11:42 AM
megan from Park Slope


"Rupublican buddies recently about why they opposed healthcare, gay marriage and support unfettered gun-rights, American hegemony etc."

again, LOL, if it wouldn;t be so sad
Democrats & lefties fail dismally when they stereotype the Right, smear them with inaccurate slurs etc..(in short - do all the things you accuse them of) as you have done

Republicans don't oppose "healthcare"
Many Democrats oppose gay marriage

not everyone who disagrees with your own partiuclalralist agenda is a maniac...

but by implying so, it says more about you then them

keep it up & we'll be seeing Pres. McCain in office come January

May. 09 2008 11:36 AM
Emily from NYC

Jim, #64

I agree with you whole heartily, however what are some people are doing on this comment section, is not about being liberal, but just attacking people who differ from their views, which is different from disagreeing with them! and they are the same people who dominate these threads and discourage other form speaking. Look who are making most of the post and read their content!!!

May. 09 2008 11:33 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

People, the comments that were deleted were 1) Accusing BL of being a racist (which wasn't even relevant to the topic in any way shape or form), 2) ME pointing out the fact that they had the wrong link to Amazon, 3) A couple of either snarky or scary comments about McCain and what he'll do to Obama, 4) ME saying that it seemed like the quality of the conversation had gone out the window before the guest had even come on... not much there worth salvaging.

Don't worry. You're not living in Brian Lehrer's 1984 world...

May. 09 2008 11:30 AM
jim from nyc

@phoebe: your comments don't take into account censorship. i would boycott the fundraising ddrive and listen to WCBS FM instead to protest the censorship on this board. that's not too liberal..... that's fascist.

May. 09 2008 11:23 AM
Josh from Brooklyn

Alice #59

I agree it is the same people just talking to them selves, "I mean discussing nonsense" over and over, these people seem to use this site as their personal therapy sessions. Very discouraging.

May. 09 2008 11:19 AM
darius from brooklyn

Conservatives Increasingly Tuned Out Everything Except Fox News Between 1998-2006

May. 09 2008 11:19 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

And my opinion on this should not be confused with support for McCain. I am no fan of the man, but claiming that the Constitution bans him from running is not supported by the letter of the document or by the experts who interpret it.

And does it bother me personally? Yes. As someone who was born out of the country and was automatically granted citizenship because my mother was a citizen, it bothers me that people can disregard the reality in favor of scratching a political itch. If this was a Democratic candidate who was an army brat and was born in Korea or Germany, I am certain those same people would not be making this specious argument.

May. 09 2008 11:17 AM
Phoebe from NJ

@Megan: You may be right... however, I'm not trying to inform a generation. Have you spoken to any of yoru Rupublican buddies recently about why they opposed healthcare, gay marriage and support unfettered gun-rights, American hegemony etc. The answers will be suprisingly unconvincing, degenerating into macho posturing and a belief in an old man in the sky.

May. 09 2008 11:15 AM
Alice from Brooklyn

Have been away for some time, WOW, this comment thread On the Brian Lehrer show has really devolved into nothing but diatribe!

May. 09 2008 11:14 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Ok... in spite of the fact that the burden should always lie with those making the extraordinary claims to back up their position, I have done their work for them and googled this... and in my search, I found news articles on the subject and yet not a single Consitutional scholar who has raised the issue of his eligibility. Not a single one of these articles cited even one name of a Constitutional expert who is challenging his eligibility.

May. 09 2008 11:11 AM
megan from Park Slope


"The Right consider any debate to be leftist as it requires thought"


can you back up that flamboyant smear with any facts at all?

I'd say Fox is a much more fair and balanced than you are....

May. 09 2008 11:09 AM
Phoebe from NJ

@Megan: I agree, which is why I listen to WNYC. The Right consider any debate to be leftist as it requires thought, and Brian/Leonard fall into this category. The Left have their own blow-hards too, and ignoring these is to everyone's benefits.

May. 09 2008 11:06 AM
Chris O from New York

I never heard of this citizenship issue before and am only interested in it to the extent of the double standard for the beloved-by-media McCain. But for those people who apparently never heard of Google, or can't deal with something that goes against common sense, here is a good summary of the "issue" by Pete Williams, former Pentagon spokesman under Republicans and a good journalist:

May. 09 2008 11:04 AM
Robert from Brooklyn

Look Paulo or Phoebe witch ever you feel to call your self at this moment should not be talking about diversionary and Disingenuousness!!

May. 09 2008 11:03 AM
megan from Park Slope

@Phoebe - @ you'll be telling me kieth oberman, amy goodman and eric alterman are fair & balanced too....

there are one-sided agenda driven fact-twister polemicists on both sides

whining about fox is only one side of the coin

May. 09 2008 11:02 AM
Phoebe from NJ

@Megan: You'll be telling me Fox News is "Fair and Balanced" next.

May. 09 2008 10:57 AM
Phoebe from NJ

@Mitchell: We all know how the MSM works - take a K-Street press release spun in a certain direction and repeat until true. Is this really an issue, or another diversion that in this case makes Democrats look dumb? (Though maybe it originated in the Rightist camp!)

Bring on McCain vs. Obama and let the people decide; two opposite people and opposite visions.

May. 09 2008 10:56 AM
megan from Park Slope

"Free Speech" for extremist lefties means freedom to rant against the center & right but not vice versa

May. 09 2008 10:55 AM
Phoebe from NJ

@mc: It can certainly be argued that income inequality is rising here, but in comparison with China and Russia we are remarkably stable! Both countries have elites, while the rural populations get by on just a few $ with no services. Drive 20 miles out of Moscow or Beijing and you will be in another world.

May. 09 2008 10:53 AM
Michell from Upper West Side, NY

For those who are to lazy to just do a google search, on McCain's Status for president, look up the Chicago tribune, MsNBC, Ny times, and so on and so on, people before calling people into question just read!!!

May. 09 2008 10:51 AM
Phoebe from NJ

@45: Many blogs don't have "free speech". Those that do often degenerate into insults, cussing and getting off the debate. There is a rational reason to moderate some sites, and if you don't like it your free speech rights are hardly affected as you are free to speak elsewhere. I guess Rush allows more open debates between Oxycontin-fuelled rants?

May. 09 2008 10:49 AM
Bob from Bronx

Barack Hussein Obama called McCain losing his bearings? That's not calling him senile???

May. 09 2008 10:46 AM
Sheila from NY NY

McCain called asians Gooks???????????????????

May. 09 2008 10:46 AM
Forcenze Shustale from NY NY

Free speech does NOT exist on the WNYC message boards. This is an outgrowth of Brian Lehrer's supposed liberalism, which is not liberalism at all, if you notice, the caller from Teaneck asked a question, and Brian interrupted him rephrased the callers question into a monstrosity and then proceeded to go off topic by calling the guest by a series of labels, which the guest then spent 4 minutes rejecting, forgetting the "original" question which he then erroneously recalled as Brian's while ignoring the caller totally! Then you go on this board, and they go ahead and remove comments left and right. Listen BL Producer, whoever you are in your fascist pseudoliberal ivory tower: There is NOWHERE on the Internet where they do what you just did. Not blogs. Not forums. Not boards of any station or newspaper. You people remove what conflicts with your Nazi like adherence to your straightjacketed YUPPIE views. I wouldn't even compliment you by beginning to call you liberal. You people are part of a small club. Your comment deletions have nothing to do with civility, it has to do with offending you as the few, the Yuppie, the brainless.

May. 09 2008 10:45 AM
megan from Park Slope

#42 - good point
the "debate" is a canard - Mccain is just as constitutionally legit a candidate as Hillary or McCain

May. 09 2008 10:44 AM
megan from Park Slope


"fearmongering" - when someone you politically oppose warns about the dangers of things like:
terror states, terror groups, government surveillance, the military industrial complex, civil rights reductions etc....

"lying" - when someone you oppose states facts that you don't like / hurt your agenda

"hypocrisy" - when you are guilty of the same actions you hatefully accuse your opponents of

May. 09 2008 10:42 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

I keep hearing about these "Constitutional experts" that are debating this and yet I never hear a single name nor a single link to any website regarding it. I'm starting to think that everyone who has cited this great intellectual debate just read the first person's post who brought this up and assumed it must be true...

May. 09 2008 10:41 AM
mc from Brooklyn

add to Phoebe's comment #37, in both of those countries there is terrible income inequality. Only a portion of the population in either country is benefiting from this capitalism.

May. 09 2008 10:40 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Why should we consider permanent US troop presence in countries without political strife be any more acceptable? If anything, it should be LESS acceptable. Sure, our troops aren't in danger, but when we have boots in the ground in a country where they aren't even NEEDED, that is truly a sign of bald-faced imperial ambition... moreso than occupying a country that desperately needs the support.

May. 09 2008 10:39 AM
megan from Park Slope

wow - lot of vitriol here (and I can't imagine what was removed from the comment board)

makes you wonder about just how peace loving sme dems are.... lol

May. 09 2008 10:36 AM
Peter Fredeirkse from New Jersey Medical School

Could someone remind this guy about lying about mushroom clouds and good old phantom WMD and our secy of state giving false fearmongering testimony to "rally" all those he cites now?!?!?

May. 09 2008 10:34 AM
Phoebe from NJ

John: You are totally correct - the consumerism that drives China (manufacturing) and Russia (energy) are typically consumed overseas, and they are market-dependent.

Both countries are essentially lawless (with regards freedom, property rights, corruption etc.) and neither are a model the US (and other Western countries) should be encouraging or supporting. Unfortunately we have sold our heart(land), soul and treasury bonds to them leaving us open to their economic leverage now, and military growth in the future.

McCain is not the man to change this.

May. 09 2008 10:32 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I think that capitalism works with democracy if there is an adequate safety net. We are experiencing capitalism run amok in the US now with more and more wealth concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people. This will happen with any economic system if there is no method of checks on the system. Extreme economic inequality in the world will always lead to strife and unrest.

May. 09 2008 10:32 AM
RAI from Manhattan

Tiger Woods and other leading pro golfers frequently seek advice, teaching, and coaching in order to stay on top of their game.
The trick, for McCain and others, is to find good coaches.
A reminder, as if we should need it: We were led into Iraq on completely false premises.

May. 09 2008 10:31 AM
Ashley from NYC

This fellow is nuts. He backtracks and resfuses to truly answer any questions.

May. 09 2008 10:31 AM
Henry from Brooklyn

I guess because the Constitutional experts are debating this issue then this issue has no merit!

May. 09 2008 10:30 AM
michael from manhattan

Memo to this delusional Republican: the reason most Americans don't know which countries are hosting our troops: they're not being shot at in Korea, Germany, etc etc. And (typically) you don't understand the Muslim attitude about the US occupying their soil. You, sir, are a cliche...and on your way out of power. I hope the Reagan safety net catches you.

May. 09 2008 10:30 AM
hjs from 11211

preview 2009-2012 mccain offers same GOP faces

May. 09 2008 10:30 AM
Robert from NYC

The VAST majority of people I know were NEVER in favor of the Iraq war!

May. 09 2008 10:30 AM
Carlo Danese from Brooklyn NY

(2) comments:

If we are going to remain in Iraq and be available for other crises, should we re vive the draft ?

Many think that The US has become far less democratic than we used to be mainly due to the Bush Administration. So who are we to describe other nations as non democratic?

May. 09 2008 10:29 AM
John White from cornwall, ny

We speak of capitalist authoritarian systems such as Russia and China, implying that political freedom is not necessary for economic vitality. is it possible that these countries feed off of the politically free (and thus more economic vital, with broad middle classes) societies of America, Japan and Europe as marketplaces for their goods?

May. 09 2008 10:29 AM
Peter from Brooklyn

4X he messed up Sunni & Shi'a 4x in 4 days.

Also, polease explaine McCain's statment that the Army and the CIA opperate on diverent levels vis a vi torture. How the Army is bound by the field manual and the CIA is allowed to torture the cia is free to use extreme measures to extract info?


May. 09 2008 10:27 AM
Kerry from manhattan

Bush wouldn't where he is today (read sarcasm) without Cheney and Rice and Rumsfeld, etc.

Don't we need to know who's going to be on each candidates team? As an Obama supporter, I believe Barack is smart enough to bring the right people to the table.

What about McCain???

May. 09 2008 10:27 AM

I think its time we all went and looked up NEO-CON and find out what it means.

May. 09 2008 10:27 AM
Phoebe from NJ

His parents were both American citizens, with his father serving in the Navy. He is therefore a natural-born US Citizen and eligible to run. Doh!

Alexander & Michael: Are you saying that, if you were overseas and had a kid with another US Citizen, that kid would not be American?!

May. 09 2008 10:26 AM
chris feldmann from brooklyn

Thank you Brian for not letting that "He corrected himself immediately" pass. If Lieberman hadn't been there McCain would have just kept on going.

I am afraid (by which I mean I am delighted) that this election is going to be very embarrassing for Mr. McCain; he wasn't misspeaking, he's actually clueless.

May. 09 2008 10:26 AM
Robert from NYC

That's what fascism is, corporate capitalism.

May. 09 2008 10:25 AM
Martha from Brooklyn

Imagine if the Democratic nominee was not born in this country!! The republicans would have field day! McCain is getting a free pass.

May. 09 2008 10:25 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

He IS eligible to run for President. I'm no fan of McCain, but saying that the children born of military officers and diplomats on duty in foreign countries are not "natural born citizens" is not only demonstrably untrue in terms of legal history but also completely insulting to those people!

May. 09 2008 10:24 AM
michael winslow from INWOOD

I guess free speech doesn't exist on the WNYC comment boards.

May. 09 2008 10:24 AM
RAI from Manhattan

McCain would be four more years of "Shrub," but with a hair-trigger temper.
If, as Robert Kagan claims, the world is returning to a "normal" (that is, typically sorry) state, neoconservative policies, even if less unilateral, would still be disastrous.
By the way, PLEASE get rid of that ridiculous, irritating theme music!

May. 09 2008 10:23 AM
Ann Hall Every from Forest Hills, NY

Mr. Kagan has still not answered Brian's question about what did Sen. McCain mean by his ..."staying in Iraq for 100 years".... comment.

Mr. Kagan is a terrific hit man but his foreign policy comments are pathetically ignorant.

May. 09 2008 10:23 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I agree with your post #15. There are plenty of reasons not to want McCain to be president. This kind of thing just makes our side look ridiculous and ultimately weakens our argument.

May. 09 2008 10:23 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

I think the "experts" challenging his elligibility are probably just looking to oust him as the candidate.

May. 09 2008 10:21 AM
Ashley from NYC

This guy seems to just take what has already happened in the world and touch it up with his own biased spin.

May. 09 2008 10:20 AM
michael winslow from INWOOD

Yes McCain was born in Panama not on American soil therefore he is not eligable for running for president.

Kagan is a stain on America!

May. 09 2008 10:19 AM
Marry from NYC

I have read about McCain's eligibility is in question and it is being contested by many constitutional experts! Those who are the experts are discussing this issue.

May. 09 2008 10:17 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I believe that the Congress concluded that "natural born citizen" which is a ridiculously ambiguous phrase means a a citizen by birth. You are a citizen if you are born on US soil or if you of a US citizen abroad. If that were not the case, any child of a diplomat or armed forces member stationed abroad would be a non-citizen.

May. 09 2008 10:16 AM

What's your reaction to John McCain's leadership role in the 1990s to re-establish economic relations with Communist Vietnam?

May. 09 2008 10:14 AM
Chris O from New York

I read recently a scathing critique of McCain's foreign policy by Fareed Zakaria, namely his antagonizing words towards Russia and China per the neocon vision. Fareed makes the point that the greatest threat to the US is loose nukes so saying Russia should be forced out of the G8, as McCain does, greatly harms our efforts to work with them on the nuclear proliferation and loose nukes issue. He also said that we should allow India and Brazil into the G8 and exclude China. Fareed makes the point that this antagonization of China, an emerging great power, is stupid.


May. 09 2008 10:14 AM
Robert from NYC

John McCain is not capable of running an administration and will have to have it run for him even more than W does. John McCain can barely remember his previous sentence when he speaks and the state of this country will be run further into the ground and drilled underground to hell, as it were.

May. 09 2008 10:12 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Actually, the Constitution says you have to be a "natural born citizen". Not that you have to be born inside the United States.

For example, I was not born in the USA, but I am a natural born American citizen. I didn't have to apply for citizenship. I had it by default.

May. 09 2008 10:10 AM
Larry from Albany

McCain's status eligibility for running for president of the United States, is being discussed and debated among constitutional experts as we speak and it does not look good for McCain! Despite the resolution that was passed in congress recently on his behalf on this very issue, which is nothing but a prop and has no legal standing.

May. 09 2008 10:02 AM
Alexander from Bronx

How is it that McCain Can even run for president, when he was not even born in this country? For what I understand, he was born in Panama! The constitution, is clear on this issue, no ambiguity their, you have to been born within United States borders! Not territories or military basis.

May. 09 2008 09:52 AM
BL Producer from WNYC

[[BL Moderator Note: We have removed several comments already. Please be mindful of the WNYC posting guidelines, which asks you to be civil (that goes for the guest, each other, and WNYC itself) and relevant to the discussion on the air.

And remember, if you have comments about the nature of WNYC programming, you should call Listener Services at 212.669.3333.

Let's start over, shall we? Thanks!]]

May. 09 2008 09:45 AM
Jose Nieves from Brooklyn

This is what this show has turned into something of a spectacle!

May. 09 2008 09:45 AM

Has McCain apologized for saying in 2000 that "I will always hate the gooks?"

Although the US press ignored the comment (which got plenty of press in Asia, as google will reveal) I was shocked at myself for having considered voting for him then.
While admire his willingness to speak his mind, what he revealed with that comment is chilling.

May. 09 2008 09:45 AM
Robert from NYC

Maybe this is a opportunity to push someone involved with McCain about his acceptance of Rev. Hagey [sp?] support which the press barely glides over while pressing the hell out of Obama over Rev Wright as if he put the words into Wright's mouth physically! John McCain has got away with a lot in this campaign and I don't understand why he isn't called to the carpet like the two Dems have so been. But then again, I don't expect much truth from Robert Kagan just spin and spew as we always get. These venues are becoming predictable and tiring. Huffington on Democracy Now this morning did a good number on McCain, maybe she should be invited to this program.

May. 09 2008 09:14 AM

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