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NYT: Obama is Supported by the Vast Majority Democratic Foreign Policy Advisors

James Traub had a very interesting article about Barack Obama's foreign policy creditentials in the New York Times. While the media and many Americans -- according to polls -- question his experience, the experts apparently prefer Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton:

In mainstream foreign-policy circles, Barack Obama is seen as the true bearer of this vision. "There are maybe 200 people on the Democratic side who think about foreign policy for a living," as one such figure, himself unaffiliated with a campaign, estimates. "The vast majority have thrown in their lot with Obama."
Hillary Clinton's inner circle consists of the senior-most figures from her husband's second term in office - the former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, the former national security adviser Sandy Berger and the former United Nations ambassador Richard Holbrooke.
But drill down into one of Washington's foreign-policy hives, whether the Carnegie Endowment or the Brookings Institution or Georgetown University, and you're bound to hit Obama supporters. Most of them served in the Clinton administration, too, and thus might be expected to support Hillary Clinton. But many of these younger and generally more liberal figures have decamped to Obama. And they are ardent. As Ivo Daalder, a former National Security Council official under President Clinton who now heads up a team advising Obama on nonproliferation issues, puts it, "There's a feeling that this is a guy who's going to help us transform the way America deals with the world."

Obama got a bit frustrated at the end of an interview with James Traub, because of the constant criticism of his lack of foreign experience:

He wanted to know what kind of experience Clinton supposedly had that he didn't, and what kind of crisis she was supposedly better suited to than he, and why "toughness" had become a stand-in for experience, and how Clinton could get credit for it when she failed to stand up to Bush on the Iraq vote. We batted all this around. Finally he said, "Ask Nye why Hillary's paint-by-the-numbers foreign policy makes her more qualified to handle a crisis when for most of our history our crises have come from using force when we shouldn't, not by failing to use force."

I find it difficult to form an opinion on the foreign policy positions of many presidential candidates based on their statements so far. While I consider Barack Obama very impressive (incl. the quotes in this article), I found his Foreign Affairs essay rather superficial.


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David on :

It comes down to character and vision. Barack Obama has both -- in abundance.

Reid of America on :

I too am very impressed with Obama. But for completely different reasons. Obama is a sure loser in the general election regardless who the Republicans nominate. As a Republican I am rooting for Obama to get the nomination.

Ben on :

Reid, fitting that you use 'sure loser' and 'Republican' in the same sentence. A big of refrigerator magnet switch-around would fix that sentence right up. Anyway, Obama has, if one actually takes the time to listen to what he's saying, a very sophisticated and well thought-out plan for Iraq. That, alone, is surely refreshing when Bush's main strategy is to conceal his stunning lack of planning there, or anywhere else for that matter.

Reid of America on :

Why Obama has no chance and may lose all 50 states if Democrats are foolish enough to nominate him. 1 - Born Muslim and his middle name is Hussein. His names rhymes with Osama. 2 - He has no leadership experience yet he wants the top executive post in the world. He has been in the Senate 3 years and done nothing of note there. He was a Illinois State Senator from Chicago 3 years ago. His resume screams lightweight politician. 3 - He belongs to a black seperatist church. Notice I didn't include being half black as a reason for him losing. That doesn't matter to the average American voter. The Muslim birth and no proven leadership does matter.

Anonymous on :

Unelectable because "Born Muslim and his middle name is Hussein." What does this say about America, the land of opportunity, freedom and the American dream? It means that America is not much different from Europe.

David on :

Every poll shows that Obama would beat Giuliani and any other Republican in a head to head contest - at a greater margin than Hilary. Obama has true cross-over appeal. What does "born Muslim" mean? He is the son of an American woman and an African attended Christian churches at an early age. The ignorance and bigotry of some Americans is truly alarming.

Reid of America on :

Obama attended Islamic schools as a child in Kenya. He converted to Christianity and belongs to a black seperatist church. I hope Obama gets the Democratic nomination. As a Republican I fear Al Gore the most. He is a true political heavyweight. Fortunately he is making too much money to run for President.

David on :

What an ignoramus! Obama never lived in Kenya (or Africa). He belongs to the United Church of Christ - as do I (I happen to be white) and nearly one million other (mostly white) Americans. Hey, afraid to use your real name? Most of the right-wing nut-jobs are cowards....

Reid of America on :

It appears my claim that Obama attended Islamic school in Kenya are wrong. He attended an Islamic "maddrassa" religious school in Jakarta Indonesia between the ages of 6 and 10. Obama's church is the Trinity United Church of Christ. A black seperatist offshoot of the United Church of Christ. Obama has a religious problem. His church is explicitly pro-Palestinian. Any assurance Obama gives pro-Israel voters that he doesn't support his churches views on Israel are suspect. Obama is a lightweight. Bring him on!

Anonymous on :

David once again lifting the tone of the discussion to Westminster standards. Do you find it somehow self-validating to induldge in ad hominem attacks which vaguely threaten physical confrontation, if not violence? If you think Reid of America is an ass, ignore him. Much as everyone ignores PEN name when the subject of Iran surfaces.

Pat Patterson on :

In the latest Real Clear Politics poll (11/01), taken by comparing the different polls, Sen. Obama's lead in two of the polls, Quinnipiac and Newsweek, is no more than .7% points, well within the margin of error. One of the polls, the Rassmussen, showed Mayor Giuliani ahead by 3%, also within the margin of error. [url][/url] The reference to Rev. Jeremiah Wright seems only fair as Trinity United Church of Christ is a predominately black church which has often been identified by the Chicago press as being sympathetic to a religious black liberation. And considering that the Senator has disinvited Rev. Wright from various campaign events, especially his presidential campaign announcement, and seems to have developed amnesia concerning the Reverend's contradiction of the United Church of Christ beliefs expressed in John 17:21 "That they may all be one.". The Senator is no worse or better than most politicians in that the prize has become all consuming and throwing over mentors if it keeps white voters happy then that's what will be done. But the Senator does seem to have a habit of forgetting his friends and mentors as he advances through the looking glass of American political life.

Pamela on :

1 - Born Muslim and his middle name is Hussein. His names rhymes with Osama. You are a nutter. Nobody cares that he was born as a Muslim. He isn't anymore, and unless you believe his Christianity is just a front - well, never mind, if you believe that you are a nutter. Points 2 and 3 I agree with. Actually, I like his wife, Michelle. Straightforward, poised, smart, no b.s. What you see is what you get.

Pat Patterson on :

One thing everybody seems to forget is that this is all boilerplate until something actually happens. Plus this group of a "...vast majority Democratic foreign policy advisors" are simply those who were exiled to the think tanks years ago and burn with the indignity of all those unnuanced thinkers appearing on the morning talk shoes. I notice that one of the few innovative foreign policy thinkers and one with some successes, Dennis Ross, is not on Sen. Obama's dream team. Plus if the Senator is poised to remake the world then I think the constitutional limitations placed on his office might be more restricting then he realizes or does he knows this and is making yet another campaign statement?

SC on :

More than a little truth to what you suggest. But with so many previous Clinton administration types still quite active and involved, no doubt Senator Clinton's dance card is already rather full. And of course, there is the tremendous appeal, to those with so much experience to impart, of the vessel not yet full.

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