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.