Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Obama Over There

Barack Obama visited in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait on his weeklong tour of seven foreign countries. Sen. Obama said he wanted to see “the situation on the ground… talk to the commanders and get a sense, both in Afghanistan and in Baghdad, of… their biggest concerns… And... to thank our troops for the heroic work that they've been doing." He met with the Presidents, Prime Ministers, and high level military. He shook hands and chatted with the U.S. troops in the field, ate with them in the chow hall, and showed off his basketball skills in the gym, sinking a three pointer.

John McCain has criticized the trip. Previously he criticized Obama for not going to Iraq and Afghanistan. In other words, he was for it, before he was against it. He needs to talk to John Kerry. George Bush has sent a U.S. diplomat to sit in on talks about nuclear issues with the Iranians. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has acknowledged plans to open a U.S. Interests Section in Iran. Not an embassy or a consulate, just an office in another country's embassy, usually the Swiss, where a U.S. Foreign Service Officer can look after our interests. A few weeks ago, President Bush called talking with Iran appeasement, a highly charged description. In a major speech last week, Obama renewed his call to end to the war in Iraq and withdraw combat forces on a 16-month-timetable. Meanwhile, the Bush administration has moved closer to Obama’s stated plans. Bush calls for a time horizon, not a timetable. Or a time frame or a time line. No wonder things get lost in translation. Maybe the convergence is just politics. Nonetheless, one might ask, who is following whose leadership?

Obama listened to military commanders and foreign leaders. Before the trip, he said, “I'm more interested in listening than doing a lot of talking. And I think it is very important to recognize that I'm going over there as a U.S. Senator. We have one President at a time, so it's the President's job to deliver those messages." In fact, Sen. Obama traveled to the Middle East as a member of an official Congressional Delegation, which included Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, both combat military veterans and names floating around any talk about who might be Obama's pick as Vice Presidential Nominee. Rumors circulated that John McCain might go ahead and name his Vice Presidential choice, just to snatch back some headlines during Obama's overseas trip. McCain needs to announce somebody more exciting than Romney or any of the other usual suspects, if he wants many headlines. Also on the itinerary for the Obama foreign tour are France, Germany, Great Britain, Jordan, and Israel. Travel outside the war zone is sponsored by the Obama presidential campaign. Don’t be surprised if his European reception conjures up memories of the President who said he accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris. McCain has warned in advance that Obama is not running for President of the United States of Europe.

The Huffington Post recently predicted that Sen. McCain would withdraw from the Presidential race before November, giving reasons of health in explanation. I think this qualifies as a SWAG (Stupid Wild Ass Guess), at best. Obama’s foreign affairs speech prior to his trip gave prominence to nuclear arms, loose nukes in a world of loose nuts unimpressed by mutually assured destruction. This important subject is not one we have heard much about in the campaign. The very mention by Obama bears the fingerprints of Sam Nunn, former Democratic Senator from Georgia, and Richard Lugar, Republican, who together with Nunn focused on securing a disbursed nuclear arms storehouse after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Nunn, a policy advisor for the Obama campaign, is also a recurring name in Vice Presidential speculation about Obama, although I believe Secretary of Defense is more likely and absolutely appropriate. Barack Obama, in his best-selling books, expresses high admiration and respect for Richard Lugar, whose face is also seen in Obama campaign commercials. I do not think this is just Senatorial courtesy. Here's my SWAG. Barack Obama will make his own big headlines soon by picking Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana as his running mate and therefore his White House inner circle's senior advisor. Lugar’s national defense credentials are tops. And his age, older than John McCain, and party affiliation prevent him from being seen as Obama’s heir-apparent. There are important Democrats who will find this to their liking. You could not drag her name out of me with a team of horses.

Copyright 2008 by William C. Cotter


Tina said...

Wild guesses from me----I think that McCain will choose Romney because R. has big money backers and is a more "traditional" Republican. It would surprise me very much if Obama chose Lugar to run as VP. (It would not surprise me if he chose Lugar for a cabinet level post though, and I kind of expect to see high level assignments for Bill Richardson, John Edwards, and Hillary Clinton too). I think Obama will choose a Southerner and my favorite is Nunn.

Paw Paw Bill said...

Your loyalty to Sen. Nunn is admirable, as are his abilities. Frankly I would be happy to see him replace anyone in the current administration.

a fan from pine lake said...

I heard Boortz on the radio this morning ballyhoooing against Obama's alleged plan to eliminate the secret/private ballot in union orgainzational votes. Is this smoke, or is there any fact in it? Creeping socialism turns creepy? I truly don't know.

Paw Paw Bill said...

Dear Fan from Pine Lake:

I assume you either meant this as a submission for my "Take a Joke" sidebar or else you're just trying to kid a kidder. Even before I became deaf, I did not listen to Mr. Boortz. I preferred my doses of infuriation from known psycopaths and convicted felons like Gordon Liddy. I do not believe Sen. Obama is going to the trouble of running for President of the United States in order to tamper with union elections? I use the little hearing I have tuned in to NPR, not just for facts and political comfort but because their diction is superior to everybody else's on the radio, and they do not layer on background noise. Therefore, I can actually understand some of what they say. Also, at my age, I figure I have a limited allocation of thoughts remaining, and I surely would not want to waste any of them on whatever Mr. Boortz is considering.

Tina said...

Boortz? You say Boortz? We don't have any folks with a name like Boortz down here in central Georgia. Must be one of them furriners that want to take over our country. Reckon his middle name is Hussein?

annette said...

No, no, no. Boortz is that communist soup. It's red and you put sour cream in it. Yuk!


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