Monday, June 30, 2008

Pack Your Bags!

Sen. Barack Obama is taking a little trip across the pond. Campaign officials have announced that the Senator will be visiting Europe and the Middle East before the summer concludes. Included among the nations to be visited are France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Jordan, Iraq and Afghanistan. The reason surrounding the trip from a strategic point of view is to help improve on what voters see as a weakness in his lack of foreign policy experience. He needs to prove to the American people that he has the diplomatic expertise necessary to handle the international demands of the presidency. He has visited Russia, the Middle East and some African nations in the four years that he has been a member of the Senate compared to Sen. John McCain's eight visits to Iraq. Though, while McCain has the experience and the "war hero" title to fall back on, there is a certain amount of uneasiness surrounding his age. Such doubts may be even harder to disprove than Obama's lack of experience as clearly, there is nothing McCain can do about his age.

Is this a cheap election-year move or is it a sincere effort at building foreign relationships? I would venture to suggest that while it certainly has a lot to do with his campaign's strategy, this trip will also serve as a way for Obama to foster relationships with the nations that will be of particular interest to him if he wins the presidency. Building international rapport now will save him time in future international endeavors if he is to accomplish anything of great significance.

Clearly Obama has foreign policy experience but will it be enough to sway voters? Compared to McCain's many years in Congress and his war record, four years as a junior senator from Illinois does not seem enough to prepare Obama for the nation's highest office. Then again, this is not a single-issue election; there are more topics that voters will be equally concerned with which Obama has a strong record on, particularly in comparison with his rival McCain. This is a necessary move for the Obama camp, but it certainly will not be sufficient to ensure success in November.


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