Responding, Obama campaign spokesperson Bill Burton said in a written statement, "John McCain is determined to carry out four more years of George Bush's failed policies, including an open-ended war in Iraq that has cost us thousands of lives and billions of dollars while making us less safe. Barack Obama will change our foreign policy and renew America's leadership by responsibly ending the war in Iraq, finishing the fight in Afghanistan, and focusing on the 21st century challenges that conventional Washington has ignored for too long -- al Qaeda's core leadership and nuclear proliferation, poverty and genocide, climate change and disease."
McCain went on to propose greater strategic co-operation with America's European allies and other democracies.
In a seeming rebuke to the Bush Administration, he said, "Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed. We need to listen tot he views and respect the collective will of our democratic allies. When we believe international action is necessary, whether military, economic or diplomatic, we will try to persuade out friends that we are right. But we, in return, must be willing to be persuaded by them."
McCain called on the United States and international community to work to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
And the Republican contender demanded greater action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change, proposed ousting Russia from the G-8 group of economic partners because it is insufficiently democratic, and he said as president he would establish the goal of eradicating malaria in Africa.
He also made an apparent effort to allay concerns that he is insensitive to the horrors of war, noting that his father and grandfather, both Navy admirals, served in the Pacific in World War II.
His grandfather returned exhausted from war and died the next day of a heart attack. He said he lost friends in the Vietnam War, during which he himself was held prisoner by North Vietnamese for more than five years.
"I detest war," McCain said. "When nations seek to resolve their differences by force of arms, a million tragedies ensue. Only a fool or a fraud sentimentalize the merciless reality of war."
McCain made no mention of the number of U.S. troop deaths in Iraq, which surpassed 4,000 earlier this week.