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McCain Favors a 'League of Democracies'

By LIZ SIDOTI
The Associated Press
Monday, April 30, 2007; 8:15 PM

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential candidate John McCain envisions a "League of Democracies" as part of a more cooperative foreign policy with U.S. allies.

The Arizona senator will call for such an organization to be "the core of an international order of peace based on freedom" in a speech Tuesday at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.

"We Americans must be willing to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies," McCain says, according to excerpts his campaign provided. "Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom, knowledge and resources necessary to succeed."

"To be a good leader, America must be a good ally," he adds in the speech, another in a series of policy addresses as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination.

Such comments offer a contrast to President Bush, who critics contend has employed a stubborn, go-it-alone foreign policy that has dramatically damaged the U.S. image abroad.

McCain is careful to note that his proposed multinational organization would not be like Woodrow Wilson's failed "League of Nations." Rather, McCain says the organization would be far more similar to what Theodore Roosevelt favored _ a group of "like-minded nations working together in the cause of peace."

"It could act where the U.N. fails to act," McCain says.

Such a new body, he says, could help relieve suffering in Darfur, fight the AIDS epidemic in Africa, develop better environmental policies, and provide "unimpeded market access" to countries sharing "the values of economic and political freedom."

And, McCain adds, an organization of democracies could pressure tyrants "with or without Moscow's and Beijing's approval" and could "impose sanctions on Iran and thwart its nuclear ambitions" while helping struggling democracies succeed.

Recalling Harry S. Truman's actions during the Cold War, McCain also urges a similar "massive overhaul of the nation's foreign policy, defense and intelligence agencies" to meet the world's current challenges. He says details will come later.

(This version CORRECTS Corrects in graf 2 that Hoover Institution is at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.)

© 2007 The Associated Press