U.S. Senator John McCain called for the invasion of Hong Kong today in response to recent leaks about secret surveillance programs.
In an interview with BBC World News, the hawkish Republican said that by hosting the leaker, Edward Snowden, Hong Kong has proven itself to be an enemy of the United States.
"Either you're with us or you're against us," McCain explained to anchor Freddie Lyon, "and clearly the nation of Hong Kong is against us. By harboring this known cybercriminal they pose a clear and present danger to the American people.
"I don't want to hear about extradition or rendition or any of that nonsense. This man is a traitor and if we don't get him within 24 hours I say we need to start bombing the hell out of Hong Kong.
"Luckily this is a tiny country with no real military to speak of. I don't expect any resistance. We could probably destroy their infrastructure and occupy the entire country by the end of the week."
The Chinese Connection
Hong Kong is a former British colony that is now a Special Administrative Region of China. Although it has wide autonomy in domestic matters, defense and foreign affairs are the province of China - which has the world's second most powerful military after the United States.
John McCain, however, has a long history of advocating greater U.S. military involvement abroad, vociferously supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and calling for airstrikes in Syria.
The former 2008 presidential candidate has also been a vocal critic of China, but his willingness to use military force against a protectorate of Beijing is nevertheless a surprise to many. Yet in the interview McCain was unapologetic and said the U.S. shouldn't stop at an invasion.
"After we take Hong Kong and capture Snowden, we need to seriously think about annexing the territory,' he continued. "They have a world-class port, a great stock market and the best dim sum in the world. I don't know why China should have all of that and not us.
"If we had a military base in Hong Kong we could keep a close eye on what the Chinese are up to. We could station missiles that would be only minutes away from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin - all the major cities. And finally we'd have a place where we could move the Guantanamo inmates.
"Sure it will be a difficult adjustment at first. But everyone already speaks English, so half our work is done. In time Hong Kongers will come to love our rule - just like the Hawaiians, the Filipinos and the Afghans."
McCain has served as a senator from Arizona since 1987. He was the Republican candidate for president in 2008, a contest he lost to Barack Obama.