Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are working together to expand the U.S.' role in the Arab Spring, according to The Washington Post.
Kerry and McCain traveled to Egypt last weekend with eight Fortune 500 executives to explore how the U.S. can expand economic investment in that country after the fall of Hosni Mubarak. They envision similar plans across the Middle East in the aftermath of the Middle East revolts that would be similar to the U.S.' “Marshall Plan,” in which the U.S. invested billions of dollars in war-torn European nations after World War II.
The partnership is notable because Kerry and McCain have often clashed on foreign policy issues throughout their long Senate careers. Kerry and McCain are both decorated Vietnam veterans, but took different lessons from their wartime experiences. Kerry joined the anti-war movement while McCain had a long career in the Navy after he was a prisoner of war.
Both are also the last to face defeat in a presidential election in their respective parties. In 2004, when Kerry was the Democrat's presidential nominee, he offered his vice president spot to McCain. McCain seriously considered the offer, but decided not to accept due to their differences over Iraq. McCain wanted continued military involvement in Iraq while Kerry supported a withdrawal of forces. McCain became the Republican presidential nominee in 2008.
Kerry and McCain have also been working together to pass a resolution authorizing the use of force in Libya. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Kerry, passed the resolution Tuesday (14-5). It awaits action by the full Senate. The vote came after the committee voted to reject President Obama's argument that the use of force in Libya does not require congressional authorization under the War Powers Act.
Kerry and McCain's foreign policy camaraderie comes at a time when the public has grown weary of military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Members of both parties have become more vocal in their opposition to U.S. involvement in the Middle East. Plus, recent Gallup polls show 72 percent of the public favors Obama's plans for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and only 39 percent approve of military actions against Libya.
On Friday, the House rejected a resolution similar to the one passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that would have authorized the use of force in Libya. The vote was bipartisan, comprising of Republicans and anti-war Democrats.
When several Republican presidential candidates opposed military involvement in Libya during CNN's June 13 debate in New Hampshire, McCain criticized these fellow Republicans, calling them “isolationists.”
In a June 19 interview on ABC's This Week, McCain was asked about Michele Bachmann's call for a withdrawal from Libya. “I strongly disagree with her and others. The fact is, our interests are our values. And our values are that we don't want people needlessly slaughtered by the thousands if we can prevent such activity,” said McCain.
He also criticized Mitt Romney for saying “it's time to bring our troops home,” from Afghanistan. “We abandoned Afghanistan once, and we paid a very heavy price for it in the attacks of 9/11. So that is an important lesson that we must learn,” said McCain.
In a Tuesday speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty set himself apart as the more hawkish, and McCain-like, of the field of presidential contenders. He argued for greater U.S. involvement in the Middle East and decried “isolationist sentiments” in the GOP.