Schieffer: Kudos For Stating The Obvious

John McCain
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., addresses members and guests of the Los Angeles Worlds Affairs Council, Wednesday, March 26, 2008, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

I like the speech that John McCain made on foreign policy last week. I liked it because he stated the obvious.

To quote, "In a world where power of all kinds is more widely and evenly distributed, the United States cannot lead by virtue of its power alone."

He went on to say that when international actions are required, we will try to persuade our friends we are right, but we in turn must also be willing to be persuaded by them.

For sure, our own history shows that when we have worked with others - those who shared our values and sometimes those who didn't - we have worked wonders: Winning World War II, rebuilding Europe, the triumph of Western values over communism. The list is long and something for which we can all be proud.

It is when we have trusted American power alone, especially when we've tried to use military power to solve political problems, that we have been less successful.

During the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, I remember some in government telling me the American military was so good, we didn't need any help, that bringing in others would just slow us down.

To be sure, when we let others know we needed no help, we got none.

But when it all went bad, we got plenty of advice on where we went wrong.

Yes, John McCain just stated the obvious. But it needed to be said. It's when we overlook the obvious that we seem to get into the most trouble.

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By Bob Schieffer
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    Bob Schieffer is a CBS News political contributor and former anchor of "Face The Nation," which he moderated for 24 years before retiring in 2015.