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Morning with John McCain

Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times Endorses Barack Obama

Gideon Rachman: / Columnists / Gideon Rachman - Back Obama for commander-in-chief: [W]hile the armchair generals in Washington will denounce Mr Obama for weakness on Iran, the real generals support his position. The great constraint on the radicals in the Bush administration is that the US’s top brass has made it clear that it has no appetite for launching yet another war... the last thing the American military needs is a third front.

The generals know that the idea of a surgical strike to “take out” Iran’s nuclear facilities is a fantasy.... Mr McCain would risk all this because he believes that the Iranian leadership just might be crazy enough to risk Armageddon by using nuclear weapons or passing them to terrorists. Talk long enough about President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad’s religious beliefs and you just might scare yourself into thinking that it is worth launching the third and biggest war in America’s stumbling bid to remake the Middle East.

But the calmer heads around Mr Obama are, fortunately, not convinced.... The US has already had to learn to live with nuclear weapons in the hands of countries that are far more oppressive and irrational than Iran: North Korea, Mao’s China, the Soviet Union.

One of the great lessons of international relations since 1945 is that nuclear deterrence has worked. Mr Obama respects that lesson. Mr McCain does not. For that reason alone, Mr Obama would make the better commander-in-chief.