In memory of John McCain

After US Senator John McCain passed away on Saturday the media are hailing the politician as a Vietnam war veteran and opponent of Trump. McCain leaves a void in US politics, some lament. Others see the praise as exaggerated.

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Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

US needs a new McCain

Politicians like McCain are needed more than ever given the dire state of US politics, Dagens Nyheter is convinced:

“The Democrats have shifted to the left, the Republicans to the right, and there are very few points of contact in the middle. If every compromise counts as treason there can be no moving forward. ... McCain was one of the few Republicans who dared [to speak out against Trump] - for which Trump ridiculed him on Twitter. Barack Obama and George W. Bush will attend the funeral, but the current president is not invited. The patriot McCain was convinced that the US plays a major role in defending freedom in the world. The nationalist Trump spits on his allies and kowtows to Putin. ... McCain needs an heir.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Too lax to be a hero

The praise for the late US politician is exaggerated, journalist Frans Verhagen criticises in NRC Handelsblad:

“Yes, he was a war hero, no matter what that oaf in the White House who avoided military service says. Yes, he was an interesting, provoking and sometimes influential politician. But to try to turn McCain posthumously into an Über-politician, a man who fought for his values and was the only Republican to have stood up to Trump - that's really taking the tributes too far. ... It was, after all, deeply disappointing that McCain of all people failed to effectively assert his authority to criticise Trump and his own unprincipled Republican Party. ... McCain could have made things a lot more difficult for Trump and the party.”

Lietuvos žinios (LT) /

Transatlantic relations could suffer

McCain's death is a major loss, Lietuvos žinios writes, looking nervously ahead to the upcoming US midterm elections:

“Donald Trump may maintain that he has saved transatlantic relations and Nato, but he says nothing about the pressure from the Senate and House of Representatives that forced him to do it. One of the pioneers of this policy was McCain. ... Precisely what Trump and his team think about transatlantic politics will become clear after November 6, when a third of the seats in the Senate and the entirety of the House of Representatives go up for re-election. John McCain - one of the key advocates of good transatlantic relations - will no longer be part of this Senate. Even now it's clear that a major voice with an insight into the security of our country will be lacking. And we will feel the consequences.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

The world needs more politicians of such stature

De Telegraaf praises McCain for his loyalty and true grit:

“Above all he was known as a non-conformist and maverick. Nevertheless he was highly respected among Republicans and Democrats alike. That was not only because of his enduring commitment to the causes he espoused, but also and above all because of his military past. ... McCain's steadfastness made him famous and popular, even if he was no saint. In politics he also made mistakes. But he was a genuine tribune of the people, who remained true to himself and could serve in a world in which self-interest and power games tend to rule the day. His authenticity makes him a model for all politicians, even after his death. The world needs more McCains.”

The Independent (GB) /

McCain made Trump possible

John McCain paved the way for the rise of the alt-right movement, thus making Donald Trump's presidency possible, The Independent comments:

“By picking Sarah Palin for his running mate, he was the unwitting midwife at the birth of proud and impenetrable ignorance as a winning electoral weapon. ... McCain's casual embrace of that standard-bearer of the know-nothing, care-less far right, normalised and lionised arrogant imbecility to those who would become the Tea Party, and then the alt-right.”

Eesti Päevaleht (EE) /

A hard blow for Estonia

Former foreign minister Urmas Paet explains in Eesti Päevaleht why the Estonians are particularly hard hit by McCain's death:

“McCain, who last visited Estonia at the end of 2016, was the US politician who never needed an explanation for Estonia's and Europe's security concerns. Because he was well acquainted with them and never lost sight of the need to preserve and strengthen freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. He had no illusions about autocracies or their leaders. ... McCain's death is a major loss for this part of the world, where these values mean so much. For that reason his death is also a major loss for Estonia. We have lost someone who understood Estonia's complex past and who helped us to build a future in freedom.”

Ekho Moskvy (RU) /

In reality a friend of Russia

John McCain was not a foe of Russia, the Russian opposition politician and journalist Vladimir Kara-Mursa writes in a blog for Echo of Moscow:

“The pro-Kremlin media - from the TV broadcasters to the agencies - are covering the death of the senator in the usual way: 'an irreconcilable enemy of Russia' and so on. But all this is lies: McCain was never an enemy of Russia, unless you see Russia as just a group of secret service agents and dacha neighbours of Putin who have usurped control over the country. He did indeed hate this Russia with all his heart. ... But when it came to Russia's true interests - strengthening civil rights, protecting the persecuted and political prisoners, sanctions against the corrupt and human rights abusers - he was always willing to hold out his hand. John McCain was a strong, good and honest man.”