John McCain Advocates Bold Position of Not Listening to Foreign Leaders With Funny Names

How It Works
May 14 2014 3:26 PM

A Country Is in the News. Let’s Invade it. 

Some guy.

Photo by THIERRY CHARLIER/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. John McCain tells Josh Rogin of the Daily Beast that the U.S. should, if necessary, use unilateral military force to rescue the kidnapped girls in Nigeria:

“If they knew where they were, I certainly would send in U.S. troops to rescue them, in a New York minute I would, without permission of the host country… I wouldn’t be waiting for some kind of permission from some guy named Goodluck Jonathan.”

First of all, for all his many faults, Goodluck Jonathan is the president of the largest country in Africa, not “some guy” with a funny name. (I can’t wait until Abdullah Abdullah is president of Afghanistan.)

Joshua Keating Joshua Keating

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

McCain argues that the hostage crisis is a humanitarian atrocity that rises to a level that allows the U.S. to simply ignore Nigerian sovereignty. Even conceding that argument and ignoring the fact that that rescue attempts by foreign militaries against Boko Haram have ended in tragedy for the hostages, I find it hard to take the argument of people like McCain and Piers Morgan in the “why haven’t we just sent in Delta Force to kill the bastards” camp seriously given that they often seem less motivated by the scale of the atrocity than the amount of media coverage it receives.

Prior to this kidnapping, at least 1,500 Nigerians were killed by Boko Haram in just the past year without major calls in the United States for intervention. Even the hostage crisis itself flew under the radar for weeks before a global social media campaign drew the American media’s interest. Is the only reason that no one in Washington is calling for military action to rescue the estimated 6,000 child soldiers of the Central African Republic that they don’t have a hashtag yet?

Now that it's leading cable news, it's obviously a problem that could be solved if only the U.S. were willing to use more military force and weren't so concerned about what other governments thought. (U.S. military force, by the way, has a decidedly mixed track record in efforts to neutralize infamous African militias.)

A few days ago, my editor, Will Dobson, and I posted a short dialogue over at Slate Plus about the perception that the U.S. media pays too little attention to foreign news. Seeing stories like this one processed into outrage grist sometimes makes me wish it paid even less.


Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Uh-Oh. The World’s Oceans Have Broken Their All-Time Heat Record.

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company


How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

The NFL Should Lose Its Tax-Exempt Status, Which It Never Should Have Had Anyway

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
Sept. 18 2014 4:15 PM Reactions to a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Reveal Transmisogyny
  Double X
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.