Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Truth About Obama's Foreign Policy Claims

From on Tuesday April 6, 2008: "Barack Obama explained to a fundraising crowd in California this week why his VP nominee would not need extensive foreign policy experience. It's because he has it. Was he joking? No.

Not only that, here's how he described and differentiated his experience from Hillary's to conclude he's more experienced than Hillary or McCain:

"It's ironic because this is supposedly the place where experience is most needed to be Commander-in-Chief. Experience in Washington is not knowledge of the world. This I know. When Senator Clinton brags 'I've met leaders from eighty countries'--I know what those trips are like! I've been on them. You go from the airport to the embassy. There's a group of children who do native dance. You meet with the CIA station chief and the embassy and they give you a briefing. You go take a tour of a plant that [with] the assistance of USAID has started something. And then--you go."

"You do that in eighty countries--you don't know those eighty countries. So when I speak about having lived in Indonesia for four years, having family that is impoverished in small villages in Africa--knowing the leaders is not important--what I know is the people. . . ."

"I traveled to Pakistan when I was in college--I knew what Sunni and Shia was [sic] before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. . . ."


Obama says he's passed the good judgment test while Hillary and McCain have not." The journalist-author of the linked article notes:

Secondly, even though I've researched and written on Hillary Clinton's trips abroad and consequently been critical of her claims, my estimation of her foreign travels is that they were sometimes quite a bit more than a dance, a briefing and a tour. What Barack Obama's remarks last night in San Francisco reveal, however, is his self-confidence--to the point of cockiness--right now. This is exactly the same demeanor on display last week in Pennsylvania.

Cockiness is an understatement. He lived in Indonesia from the ages of 6 to 10. He didn't visit Africa until he was an adult -- his first trip was in his late 20's, his second 14 years after that.

Does he really believe that being a child in a foreign country and having poor relatives in Africa makes one prepared to be Commander in Chief? Can he really think it compares to Hillary's years of service on the Armed Services Committee? If this is an indication of his "good judgment" I can't wait to see what his poor or mistaken judgment is like.

More on Obama's foreign policy decisions, from the Chicago Tribune:

After being sworn in as U.S. Senator, it took him 11 months to make a major speech on Iraq.

When did he first introduce legislation setting a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq? "In January 2007,shortly after announcing his presidential exploratory committee."

Obama the candidate for U.S. Senate spoke out forcefully against the Iraq war. For most of his tenure in Washington, though, Obama the U.S. senator has not been a moving force on Iraq.

He left it to others to lead public opinion. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) emerged as the strongest voices against the war. Those critics all spoke out before Obama gave his first major policy speech on the war -- 11 months after he took office.

Several advisers said that during that time Obama wrestled with how to proceed, concerned about the worsening news from Iraq and convinced the public's mood was turning against the war more rapidly than most members of Congress appreciated.

In keeping with the pattern of his political career, he moved cautiously. During the summer of 2005 he considered proposing a plan to partition Iraq. But he backed off the idea as advisers raised two key concerns: that the proposal was fraught with complexities and that he could be seen as overstepping his expertise.

Ultimately Obama delivered a more modest speech in November 2005, five days after Murtha's call for a troop withdrawal. In that address, he called for reductions in U.S. troop strength but not a timetable for withdrawal.

In a Senate debate the following June, Obama voted against an amendment proposed by Feingold and former presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to set such a timetable.

Only after Obama announced his presidential exploratory committee did he introduce legislation this January that sets a date for withdrawal of U.S. combat troops. By then the high-profile, bipartisan Iraq Study Group also had endorsed a deadline for troops to leave."