Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Obama vs. Clinton: Foreign Policy

The '08 presidential campaign is hot and heavy, and it has been for some time now. Thanks to the quest for the democratic ticket, this has to be one of the most compelling elections ever. It's definitely a historic event- with the possibility of America seeing either its first Black president or its first woman president. Although the race/gender factor is groundbreaking, in my eyes it plays the back burner to the other factors that make this race exciting.

For one, everybody loves a good cliffhanger. It's enticing to watch the democratic race unfold when the media is announcing that there is no clear forerunner. Also, neither candidate is debate-shy. The verbal jousting is becoming more and more frequent as we come closer to the wire. Yesterday, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton held their second debate in less than a week.

During these debates, Hillary Clinton seems to be oft mentioning her opinion that Obama lacks experience when it comes to foreign policy. She feels that her tenure as first lady and New York Senator makes her the more experienced candidate in this area. I for one find this a weak argument.

How can one exactly be "experienced" in foreign policy. In a rapidly changing international political climate, "experience" seems to be close to impossible to grasp. To me, foreign policy is a change-by-the-minute, no rules apply type of arena. Only a great thinker with the most sincere game face will even be able to correspond with foreign leaders (If you haven't heard, America's not too popular with the international crowd). I think that Barack Obama holds the trump card with this.

Also, we can look back on the track record of America's past Presidents when it comes to foreign policies. Even the Presidents who touted themselves to be great international diplomats failed miserably. Eisenhower and Russia, Truman and China, Kennedy and Cuba (Oy the list goes on.

Who can possibly navigate the quagmire that is international politics? My best bet is on a leader who is willing to sit down and talk with other leaders, to at the very least get a "lay of the land." Due to the fact that this is Obama's very plan, he most definitely has my vote (for this and other reasons as well).

SIDEBAR: "Charity starts at home." Can America please deal with America first!

CURRENTLY READING: "Command Of Office: How War, Secrecy, and Deception Transformed the Presidency from Theodore Roosevelt to George W. Bush" By: Stephen Graubard

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