Senator John McCain has long made his decades of experience in foreign policy and national security the centerpiece of his political identity, and suggests he would bring to the White House a fully formed view of the world.
But now one component of the fractious Republican Party foreign policy establishment -- the so-called pragmatists, some of whom have come to view the Iraq war or its execution as a mistake -- is expressing concern that Mr. McCain might be coming under increased influence from a competing camp, the neoconservatives, whose thinking dominated President Bush's first term and played a pivotal role in building the case for war.
The concerns have emerged in the weeks since Mr. McCain became his party's presumptive nominee and began more formally assembling a list of foreign policy advisers. Among those on the list are several prominent neoconservatives, including Robert Kagan, an author who helped write much of the foreign policy speech that Mr. McCain delivered in Los Angeles on March 26, in which he described himself as "a realistic idealist." Others include the security analyst Max Boot and a former United Nations ambassador, John R. Bolton.