Image for post
Image for post
Illustration: Rebecca Mock

As order spins out of control, it leaves chaos in its wake. Around the world and here at home, 2017 has seen the erosion of that order and the institutions that protect it — and we cannot act soon enough to reverse this trajectory.

Globally, the institutions of the post–World War II liberal world order continued their tragic decline. After 70 years of the greatest stability, security, and prosperity the world has ever known, we are letting that order slip through our fingers. …


The Constitution charges the Senate with giving its advice and consent to senior executive branch nominations as a check against the appointment of people to important government positions who, because of one failing or another, should not be entrusted with the interests of the American people. Today, I speak in opposition to the nomination of Steven Bradbury to be the General Counsel of the Department of Transportation. I do not believe that Mr. Bradbury deserves that public trust, and I will oppose his nomination.

Some of us here remember that Mr. Bradbury served as the acting head of the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel from 2005 to 2009. During this time, he authored a few of what have come to be known infamously as the ‘torture memos,’ which provided the legal justifications for 13 types of enhanced interrogation techniques employed by the CIA for detainees held by the United States under law of war authorities. …


Image for post
Image for post

Thank you, Joe, my old, dear friend, for those mostly undeserved kind words. Vice President Biden and I have known each other for a lot of years now, more than forty, if you’re counting. We knew each other back when we were young and handsome and smarter than everyone else but were too modest to say so.

Joe was already a senator, and I was the Navy’s liaison to the Senate. My duties included escorting senate delegations on overseas trips, and in that capacity, I supervised the disposition of the delegation’s luggage, which could require — now and again — when no one of lower rank was available for the job — that I carry someone worthy’s bag. Once or twice that worthy turned out to be the young senator from Delaware. …


Image for post
Image for post

16 years ago this week, U.S. and coalition forces began combat operations in Afghanistan to eliminate the al-Qaeda terrorists who attacked our nation and remove the Taliban regime that gave them sanctuary. Few would have predicted that 16 years later, we would still be fighting what has become America’s longest war.

To date, we have achieved our mission to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists to attack America or our allies and partners. But that success has come at a tremendous price. More than 2,000 American have given their lives in this war, and over 20,000 more have been wounded. And while we are still denying safe haven to terrorists in Afghanistan, there is no escaping our present reality: As Secretary Mattis and General Nicholson have already testified to this committee, America is losing the war in Afghanistan. …


Image for post
Image for post

Today, the Senate will vote on final passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. This is the culmination of months of bi-partisan work, and it is a product in which all Senators, and all Americans, can take great pride. I want to thank once again my friend and colleague, the Senator from Rhode Island. His partnership on this legislation has been invaluable.

The fundamental purpose of this legislation, which has united Senators from both sides of the aisle, is to provide our Armed Forces what they need to do the jobs we ask of them. …


Image for post
Image for post

Your Excellency,

As your friend of many years, I write to you to express my growing concern over reports of ongoing and serious human rights abuses against the Rohingya population in the Rakhine state. Credible human rights organizations have documented armed attacks against Rohingya civilians by Burmese security forces and the deliberate destruction of Muslim villages throughout the area. The United Nations has further reported that at least 123,000 Rohingya have been forced from their homes in recent weeks due to an escalating military crackdown and that the government is denying vital humanitarian aid to the region. …


Image for post
Image for post
Delivering a speech on cyber security at Arizona State University’s Cyber Conference

Cybersecurity issues are of the highest importance to our nation. The United States is confronting a more diverse and complex array of national security challenges since the end of World War II. We have long understood that rising threats from global terrorist networks and non-state actors present challenges different from those of the past. At the same time, great power competition — once thought a casualty of the ‘end of history’ — has persisted. Russia and China continue to contest the rules-based liberal world order that is the foundation of our security and prosperity. …


Image for post
Image for post

I commend President Trump for taking a big step in the right direction with the new strategy for Afghanistan. The unfortunate truth is that this strategy is long overdue, and in the interim, the Taliban have made dangerous inroads. Nevertheless, I believe the President is now moving us well beyond the prior administration’s failed strategy of merely postponing defeat. It is especially important that the newly announced strategy gives no timeline for withdrawal, rather ensures that any decision to reduce our commitment in the future will be based on conditions on the ground. The President is also correct to frame this new effort as a comprehensive regional strategy. Preventing another attack on our homeland and helping our Afghan allies secure the future of their country is not just a matter of troop levels in Afghanistan. …


America is adrift in Afghanistan. President Obama’s ‘don’t lose’ strategy has put us on a path to achieving the opposite result. Now, nearly seven months into President Trump’s administration, we’ve had no strategy at all as conditions on the ground have steadily worsened. The thousands of Americans putting their lives on the line in Afghanistan deserve better from their commander-in-chief.

Image for post
Image for post

Adopting a new strategy for achieving America’s national security interests in Afghanistan is a decision of the highest importance, one that should be subjected to rigorous scrutiny and debate within our government. …


I’ve stood in this place many times and addressed as president many presiding officers. I have been so addressed when I have sat in that chair, as close as I will ever be to a presidency.

It is an honorific we’re almost indifferent to, isn’t it. In truth, presiding over the Senate can be a nuisance, a bit of a ceremonial bore, and it is usually relegated to the more junior members of the majority.

But as I stand here today — looking a little worse for wear I’m sure — I have a refreshed appreciation for the protocols and customs of this body, and for the other ninety-nine privileged souls who have been elected to this Senate. …

About

John McCain

U.S. Senator for Arizona, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store