Friday, July 25, 2008

obama abroad

obama's trip to germany, actually his entire trip abroad, is just not that interesting to me. the trip is nothing but a campaign event. i don't think obama having many real (i.e. not completely contrived) interactions with people on these trips. nor do i think that getting the red carpet treatment as you travel in a VIP bubble is any way to learn anything about the local conditions in a region.

this really isn't about obama getting new foreign policy experience, it's about making him look presidential and countering the charges of the mccain campaign that his lack of foreign visits obama less knowledgeable. the charge is laughable, IMHO. if anything, i think mccain's ignorance of the situation in iraq, his lack of knowledge about the history of the surge and the anbar awakening, his inability to distinguish between sunni and shia, his lack of awareness of who iran supports and opposes in the region, etc., all probably stems from his own trips in a VIP bubble. trips in which he is surrounded by aids and yes-men, meeting only with people who already agree with him, or the military's political liaisons, intent on keeping their senatorial visitors supportive of the military's efforts.

the only thing about obama's trip that i find at all interesting is mccain's lame-ass attempts to respond to the trip this week. it's kind of funny when you think about it. for weeks mccain was slamming obama for his lack of visits to iraq, building that fact up as if it were some kind of major deal. so then when obama calls his bluff and schedules the very trip that mccain had been demanding he take, mccain is left to whine about how much attention obama is getting on his trip. well maybe if the mccain campaign hadn't built up an iraq visit as such an important thing, people wouldn't have been paying as much attention to this visit. it's funny to see mccain's ridiculous obama-sucks-because-he-doesn't-visit-iraq attack turn around and bite him in the ass like this. mccain's stupid argument from weeks ago has yielded his opponent a solid week of positive news coverage.