There’s a saying that John McCain never saw a war he didn’t like. That is only partly true. He understood the price of war more than most. What McCain believed was that the United States, rightly or wrongly, had a strategic and moral obligation to use its power to impose liberal democratic principles. He proselytized war, that heavy instrument of human violence, because he believed it was the best way to end tyranny and its associated human rights abuses. His voting record on the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, to name just a few, attests to this belief.
It seems ironic that a neoconservative (as he was called) should have the same moral ends as human rights groups (as they are called). Both hold that the values of liberal democracy are moral imperatives, and both want the United States to use its power to reshape the world, often with the same tools – lectures, sanctions, intervention, and so on. I say it seems ironic because it really isn’t. It is the vision of U