14:51 GMT30 October 2020
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    The United States is "lucky" that Republican Senator John McCain is not president because otherwise the country would be engulfed in "perpetual war," Kentucky Sen. and former presidential candidate Rand Paul said in a TV interview.

    ABC News’ Jon Karl asked Paul to comment on a series of statements by McCain, including the remark that the US is nearing a situation where people are potentially supportive of a dictatorship.

    According to Paul, McCain has been mistaken on Washington’s foreign policy for the last 40 years.

    "He advocated for the Iraq War, which I think destabilized the Middle East. If you look at the map, there's probably at least six different countries where John McCain has advocated for having US boots on the ground," the Senator pointed out.

    "John McCain's complaint is we're either not at war somewhere, or if we're at war, we leave too soon. So we're not there soon enough, and he wants us to stay forever wherever we send troops," he added.

    Paul harshly criticized McCain’s view of foreign policy which is aimed at "toppling every regime" and "making the world safe for democracy." According to Paul, such an approach has not worked.

    "Our intervention to destabilize the [Syrian President Bashar] Assad regime has really made the chaos worse in Syria. And if you were to get rid of Assad today, I would actually worry about the 2 million Christians that are protected by Assad," he argued.

    In turn, Karl recalled McCain’s remark that "dictators get started by limiting freedom of the press."

    Paul responded that he has not seen any evidence of that and "any legislation coming forward that wants to limit the press."

    "Everything that he says about the president [Donald Trump] is colored by his own personal dispute he has got running with President Trump. And it should be taken with a grain of salt because John McCain is the guy that has advocated for war everywhere. He would bankrupt the nation. And actually we're very lucky John McCain is not in charge because I think we would be in perpetual war," Paul concluded.

    In fact, McCain has long been known for his hardline posture on a number of global issues, especially regarding Russia, Syria and China etc.

    Here is a short list of his quotes and facts proving that the whole world is rather "lucky" that McCain is not the US President.

    On 'Russian Hackers'

    "When you attack a country, it's an act of war. And so we have to make sure that there is a price to pay so that we can perhaps persuade Russians to stop this kind of attack on our very fundamentals of democracy," McCain commented in December on Russia’s alleged interference with the US electoral system.

    On Anti-Russian Sanctions

    "For the sake of America’s national security and that of our allies, I hope President Trump will put an end to this speculation and reject such a reckless course. If he does not, I will work with my colleagues to codify sanctions against Russia into law," McCain commented late-January on the possibility of the removal of sanctions.

    The hawkish Senator was also among the authors of legislation submitted to Congress in mid-February, in a bid to hinder Trump’s ability to lift the anti-Russian sanctions.

    On Ukraine

    McCain has repeatedly called on Washington to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons.

    "In light of the latest Russian attacks and the prospect of future aggression against Ukraine, I urge you to exercise the authority given to you by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 to provide defensive lethal assistance to Ukraine," the Senator said in a recent letter to Trump.

    On Syria

    "He [President Vladimir Putin] is now a major player in the Middle East. There's nothing more significant than the Russians, the Iranians and the Turks inviting the US to come to a peace conference," McCain told news channel MSNBC on Tuesday, commenting on the upcoming Syria peace talks in Astana.

    "The US isn't leading, the US isn't even part of it but they're 'being invited.' How far we have come," he added bitterly.

    Moreover, McCain has repeatedly called for establishing so-called "no-fly zones" in Syria, a move seen by many as a precondition for a military intervention.

    On China

    McCain has also been a vocal critic of China and its military activities and called for an increased US military presence in the Pacific.

    "In the South China Sea, China has shattered the commitments that it made to its neighbors in the 2002 declaration of conduct as well as more recent commitments to the US government by conducting reclamation on disputed features and militarizing the South China Sea at a startling and destabilizing rate," McCain said in September.

    McCain claimed that China was an aggressor because of its refusal to accept the Hague-based Court of Arbitration’s ruling against Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

    On Donald Trump

    "If you want to preserve democracy as we know it, you have to have a free and, many times, adversarial press. And without it, I am afraid that we would lose so much of our individual liberties over time. That's how dictators get started," McCain said recently on NBC’s "Meet the Press."

    He continued: "They get started by suppressing free press. In other words, a consolidation of power. When you look at history, the first thing that dictators do is shut down the press. And I'm not saying that President Trump is trying to be a dictator. I'm just saying we need to learn the lessons of history."


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