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GOP leader McCain warns of worrysome future for West

"These are dangerous times, but you should not count America out," McCain said at a security conference Friday.

By Doug G. Ware
GOP leader McCain warns of worrysome future for West
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks during the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, on Friday. At the annual meeting, politicians and various experts and guests from around the world discuss issues surrounding global security. Photo by Philipp Guelland/European Pressphoto Agency

Feb. 17 (UPI) -- One of the top Republicans in Congress on Friday said the United States and its Western allies could be in for a precarious future if they aren't careful.

Speaking on the first day of a security conference in Germany, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., sifted through a range of potentially critical issues and challenges he said are facing the world.

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"Consider whether the West will survive. In recent years, this question would invite accusations of hyperbole and alarmism. Not this year. If ever there were a time to treat this question with a deadly seriousness, it is now," he said in his remarks at the 2017 Munich Security Conference.

"This question was real, half a century ago, for Ewald von Kleist and the founders of this conference. ... What would von Kleist's generation say if they saw our world today? I fear that much about it would be all-too-familiar to them, and they would be alarmed by it."

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McCain expressed disappointment and concern for various corners of the present world order.

"[The founders of the security conference] would be alarmed by an increasing turn away from universal values and toward old ties of blood, and race, and sectarianism," he said. "They would be alarmed by the hardening resentment we see toward immigrants, and refugees, and minority groups, especially Muslims. ... the growing inability, and even unwillingness, to separate truth from lies. ... that more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent.

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"But what would alarm them most, I think, is a sense that many of our peoples, including in my own country, are giving up on the West."

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"These are dangerous times, but you should not count America out," McCain added. "This is exactly what our adversaries want. This is their goal."

McCain expressed similar concern earlier this week that the resignation of Michael Flynn as President Donald Trump's national security adviser was "a troubling indication of the dysfunction of the current national security apparatus."

"We must never, never cease to believe in the moral superiority of our own values," he noted at Friday's conference, "that we stand for truth against falsehood, freedom against tyranny, right against injustice, hope against despair."

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The security conference runs through Sunday.

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