24 July 2008

Tourist or Expert?

Does Obama's trip to Europe and the Middle East/Afghanistan give him credibility in foreign policy? In today's Wall Street Journal Richard Allen makes a case against that idea.

What's very telling to me is the way that Allen describes the pre-presidential visits abroad made by previous presidents-to-be. He uses the word "quietly." There is nothing quiet about Obama's trip, nothing subtle. Other than the political imagery which is useful in the campaign context there is no real strategic value to a trip that puts a front-running candidate out in front, exposing him as a man with no secrets.

In foreign policy secrecy has its benefits, even with our allies. I don't think Obama realizes this, but that just illustrates naivete. In the interest of international cooperation and goodwill Obama is giving the world a sense for who he is. Unfortunately it may ultimately be at the expense of our own best interests


The Nielsen Family said...

Joe you have to check out the video clip of Osama in the Holy Land on the Daily Show website. Hee haw funny.

Sportsattitude said...

Tourist...in the hope of one day being an Expert. Photo ops aplenty are the main goal, but since critics harp on his lack of international experience it becomes hard to then criticize him for taking a trip out of town to meet and learn the lay of the land.
Since his opponent really only has the war and world-savvy card to play against him...what is there to lose to hop on a plane and show he can get people to answer the door when he knocks.

Jlowryjr said...

Good point. For Obama it was probably a no-lose.

I still don't like the way this went. Seemed inappropriate to me, but I wasn't consulted!