SPIEGEL Interview with John McCain 'I Have a Long Record of Working Together with Our Allies'

In an exclusive SPIEGEL interview, Republican presidential candidate John McCain, 71, discusses European-American relations, Germany's role in Afghanistan, how he would close Guantanamo and the conditions he would place on a global agreement on climate protection.

Presidential hopeful John McCain (on Super Tuesday in New York): "Every nation has the right to defend itself."

Presidential hopeful John McCain (on Super Tuesday in New York): "Every nation has the right to defend itself."

SPIEGEL: Senator McCain, Europe is reserving a lot of hope for the next president of the United States. Will you try to win back trust in America around the world?

McCain: I know most of the leaders in Europe and other parts of the world and I have a long record of my positions and my ability to work together with our allies. I think I will start out with a level of credibility.

SPIEGEL: America has lost a lot of friends because President George W. Bush angered, indeed outraged, them. He allowed human rights to be violated at Guantanamo Bay, and he dismissed the joint effort to combat global warming. Under a President McCain, could we expect a change of course?

McCain: Yes. I would announce that we are not ever going to torture anyone held in American custody. I would announce that we were closing Guantanamo Bay and moving those prisoners to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and I would announce a commitment to addressing climate change and my dedication to a global agreement -- but it has to include India and China.

SPIEGEL: So is America coming back to renegotiate the Kyoto Protocol?

McCain: I believe America is going to enter into negotiations to try to reach a global agreement. But, as I said, that agreement must include India and China, two of the emerging economies of the world. We would be foolish not to do so.

SPIEGEL: Will America attempt to go it alone less frequently in the future?

McCAIN: Well, we all hope that America will be multilateral again in the future. There were times when the United States acted unilaterally, but I think we would all prefer to work in concert with our friends and allies.

SPIEGEL: What role will the United Nations play? Bush always ignored the UN.

McCain: The United Nations always plays an important role. But right now we are having to deal with a Russia that is clearly intent on blocking action. That's why the UN must act in a league of democracies that share our values and our common principles.

SPIEGEL: Should Germany play a more important role around the world and obtain a permanent seat on the Security Council, for example?

McCain: Germany does play a very influential role around the world, and I value the relationship that we have shared for many, many generations. I believe Germany will continue to play a very influential and important role in the world.

SPIEGEL: What is your impression of German Chancellor Angela Merkel? Have you had the opportunity to have a longer conversation with her?

McCain: I have known her for many years and gone to the Munich Conference on Security every year. In fact, I had to miss that conference this weekend for the first time in many years because of the campaign. I have had excellent relations with her as I have had with other German leaders from both major parties.

SPIEGEL: Everyone is concerned about Afghanistan right now. Do you think that the Germans should be getting more deeply involved in Afghanistan?

McCain: We need more Germans in Afghanistan. There is a great deal at stake -- for all of Europe and the US -- including the export of the poppy crop products into Europe as well as the threat to stability in entire the region.

SPIEGEL: The United States is fighting against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. Do you expect greater support from the German military there?

McCain: I would like to see more German participation obviously, but those decisions are made by the German government and people.

SPIEGEL: Would you like to see Germany reduce trade with Iran?

McCain: I think we have to punish Iran to force them to abandon their current course.


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