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McCain Reiterates Opposition to Troops Withdrawal from Iraq
    2008-03-27 09:10:55     Xinhua

Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council in Los Angeles March 26, 2008. [Photo: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters]

U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Wednesday that the United States needs to work more closely with other countries and restore its image as a world power.

"We can't build an enduring peace based on freedom by ourselves, and we do not want to," McCain said in a speech to members of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.

In his speech entitled "U.S. Foreign Policy: Where We Go From Here," the Arizona senator also reiterated his stance that U.S. troops should not be withdrawn from Iraq.

McCain, who recently toured the Middle East and Europe, said the United States must do more to collaborate with democratic nations.

"The United States cannot lead by virtue of its power alone," he said, "we need to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies."

McCain's comments seemed to diverge to some extent from the Bush administration, which has been criticized for employing a go-it-alone policy on foreign affairs.

But McCain reiterated that he would not advocate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. His Democratic rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have both pledged to gradually withdraw U.S. troops if elected.

Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, criticized McCain's speech as "empty rhetoric" that does nothing to distance him from the policies of the Bush administration.

"His new appreciation for diplomacy has no credibility after he mimicked President Bush's misleading case for a unilateral war of choice when it mattered most," Dean said.

McCain was on his first visit to California after becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee last month.


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