Sen John McCain on Foreign Policy Challenges

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said that Russia's decision to grant Edward Snowden asylum was a “signal of incredibly bad relations between the U.S. and Russia” and he reacted to the president's call for reforming those programs Snowden revealed.


McCain defended the intelligence programs as important to national security but said there can be some helpful reforms, like more transparency.


“There’s a kind of generational change here...without trusting government" you can’t do these things, McCain said of government surveillance operations.


This debate continues as the U.S. reopens 18 of the 19 diplomatic posts that were closed for a week due to terror threats coming from APAQ in Yemen.


The senator, who sits on both the Foreign Relations Committee and the Armed Services Committee, said this, "authenticates the incredible threat al Qaeda poses to the U.S."


"You can’t say you’ve decimated the core of al Qaeda and at same time have to close these posts."


McCain faulted the U.S. for a "lack of leadership."


McCain is fresh from a trip to another troubled region, Egypt.


The senator, together with his colleague Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), urged the two sides of that conflict to negotiate in good faith and get to the work of creating a new government.


And while McCain voted against withholding U.S. aid to Egypt recently in the Senate, he warned if there is more violence and bloodshed the Congress may have to rethink its position.


Were the military-backed government to violently crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, McCain said, "I’m afraid the Congress of the U.S. would have to consider seriously the aid the U.S. gives."


In addition, McCain did not mince words in calling the events over the past month in Egypt "a coup" and also criticizing the U.S. government for not taking this position.


"When the U.S. refuses to call a military takeover a coup, then obviously it’s hard for us to ask them to observe the rule of law," McCain said.