Monday, July 21, 2008

We Could Use Some More Inexperience

At this point in the campaign, it seems like the central narratives are pretty set and probably won't be changing too much. For instance, the notion that Barack Obama is inexperienced (and probably naive) about foreign policy is pretty entrenched into the campaign coverage. (For the latest example, check out this article.) However, let's look at the last week with an eye toward how naive Obama really is.

First, Obama has been saying from about the start of the campaign that Iraq is the wrong war to be fighting and that Afghanistan needed to have more of our attention. McCain (with much of the media following along) blustered about Iraq being the real war and how we need to focus there. But then McCain did an about face and said that we need to increase our troop presence in Afghanistan after all. For those paying attention, it sure looked like McCain was adopting Obama's policy, but the press didn't really point that out because, after all, McCain is the expert and Obama is inexperienced.

Second, after months of defending his assertion that the U.S. should aggressively negotiate with Iran (and being tarred as an appeaser as a result), the Bush administration decided maybe that wasn't such a bad idea after all. So now we're sending some pretty high level diplomats to Iran. For those paying attention, it sure looked like Bush was adopting Obama's foreign policy, but the press didn't really point that out because, after all, Obama is inexperienced.

Third, you may have heard that Obama is in favor of withdrawing troops from Iraq over 16 months, contngent upon conditions in the country. He's gotten a fair amount of flak for that from McCain and from President Bush. However, it turns out that the Prime Minister of Iraq supports Obama's plan. And you've got to figure that he knows the situation in the country pretty well and has an interest in making sure things go well there.

So in one week three of the most controversial pillars of Obama's foreign policy have been affirmed in pretty big ways. Not bad for someone who the press is going to continue to portray as inexperienced and naive about foreign policy.

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