On the foreign policy front…
One of President’s McCain’s first acts was to announce the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison, where Prisoners of War were being held and tortured, contrary to the protections required by the Geneva Convention. Most of the prisoners had been quietly freed by President Bush over the past several years. President McCain is not freeing the remaining ones, but simply transferring them to other prisons in the U.S.
President McCain also announced with great fanfare that he had ordered US military and intelligence personnel to stop torturing prisoners. However, he stated that he would continue the nefarious practice of “rendition”, where prisoners are sent by US intelligence agencies to other countries where they can be tortured and the US can feign ignorance.
President McCain announced that he would continue the American occupation of Iraq, leaving as many as 50,000 US troops, and an unnamed number of mercenaries, to maintain US domination of the country. He did say, however, that he would reduce the number of direct US troops over the next 16 months in order to transfer them to Afghanistan in an attempt to shore up the US occupation of that country.
Regarding US support for Israel’s ongoing war against its indigenous population–the Palestinians–President McCain has sent his new Secretary of State to Palestine to meet with officials there. However, based on statements made during his campaign, there is reason to believe that that he will press Israel to end its violence and land grabs against the indigenous population, and comply with UN resolutions to resolve the conflict.
Prior to taking office, the new President announced that President Bush’s Secretary of Defense would continue in that post, and reached across the aisle to name Hilary Clinton–a strong supporter of President Bush’s Middle East policy while in the US Senate–as his Secretary of State. Thus President McCain’s continuance of Bush’s Mideast policies, with a few minor variations, should come as no surprise.
Moving onto the domestic front…
President McCain announced a new budget with a record deficit, following in the footsteps of President Bush. Although he said this is the worst economy since the Great Depression, there are no Roosevelt-style WPA jobs programs. Instead there are tax cuts a la Bush, and subsidies to companies in the tradition of trickle-down Reaganomics.
Of course the new President is continuing and even escalating the massive bank bailout program, which is no surprise, since he voted for it as a Senator just before the election. There is no talk of punishing those responsible for the meltdown, unless you consider limiting the bailout companies CEO’s salary to “only” $500,000 a form of punishment.
So far it appears that, as his opponent charged during the campaign, President McCain is just going to be “more of the same”.
The most noticable change, of course–and the one that has everybody talking–is that, after taking office, McCain appears much younger, and with a more tan complexion. Reporters have also noticed that his public speaking is noticably more elegant and refined, in the style of a Harvard graduate.
March 1, 2009