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This diary is another in a series of diaries I am doing examing the policy positions and policy teams of the candidate I support in the Democratic primary, Senator Barack Obama.

Previous diaries examined Obama's policies on Technology and Health Care and the 50 State Strategy.

This diary takes a look at Barack Obama's foreign policy team through the lens of two of his core proposals not related to Iraq or the military: Cuba and foreign aid and how Obama embodies the concept of "soft power." I would also like to introduce the voice and insights of Obama advisor Samantha Power.

When I looked at Obama's Technology positions and Health Care proposals, key innovative figures took center stage.  In the case of technology, Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig, and on Health Care, Harvard Economist David Cutler who stands at the center of a team of innovative and outside-the-box thinkers on domestic policy. When it comes to foreign policy that theme is expanded. As James Traub wrote, in his must-read, but mixed, review of Obama's foreign policy bona fides in his November 2007 piece in the New York Times magazine:

The great project of the foreign-policy world in the last few years has been to think through a "post-post-9/11 strategy," in the words of the Princeton Project on National Security, a study that brought together many of the foreign-policy thinkers of both parties. Such a strategy, the experts concluded, must, like "a Swiss Army knife," offer different tools for different situations, rather than only the sharp edge of a blade; must pay close attention to "how others may perceive us differently than we perceive ourselves, no matter how good our intentions"; must recognize that other nations may legitimately care more about their neighbors or their access to resources than about terrorism; and must be "grounded in hope, not fear." A post-post-9/11 strategy must harness the forces of globalization while honestly addressing the growing "perception of unfairness" around the world; must actively promote, not just democracy, but "a world of liberty under law"; and must renew multilateral instruments like the United Nations.

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." Ex-Clintonites in Obama’s inner circle also include the president’s former lawyer, Greg Craig, and Richard Danzig, his Navy secretary.[Emphasis mine.]

There's an ongoing theme here across the policy spectrum. Younger, more innovative, more cutting-edge policy analysts have flocked to the campaign of Senator Obama. That does not mean that his foreign policy team lacks gravitas. Heavyweights like Anthony Lake, Richard Clarke, Lawrence Korb, Gen. Tony McPeak and...Zbigniew Brzezinski can be counted among Senator Obama's advisors. But the operative name that writers have begun to pay attention to, is Senator Obama's work with foreign policy and human rights expert Samantha Power. (More articles: Berkeley Interview and this Commencement Address at Santa Clara University Law School) Samantha Power is, for those of us who've come of age in the era of Reagan and Bush and Clinton and Bush, one of us. She speaks with a moral clarity on human rights and foreign policy.  Here's a sample from the commencement speech linked above:

In politics this refusal to face inconvenient truths carries life-and-death stakes. And yet only after 3,000 American lives were lost on 9/11 did it become evident that FBI agents had warned of the danger that terrorists would hijack American planes and fly them into tall buildings. Only after more than 800 Americans died in New Orleans and tens of thousands of lives were ruined did we go back and read the stellar reporting in the Times-Picayune and see that people had been yelling and screaming about the vulnerability of the levees for years. And only after gas prices hit $3 did George Bush begin talking about freeing the United States of its oil dependence and speeding up the production of hybrid cars. We have known about our energy crisis since the OPEC crunch of the 1970s. Why are we only now, suddenly, talking about rushing to mass-produce hybrid cars?

Samuel Johnson was most certainly right when he said, "Nothing focuses the mind quite like a hanging." But we can't afford to wait until we stand at the gallows to change the way we govern our country and live our lives. As individuals, as citizens, we have the power to focus our government's mind, to get resources allocated, to save lives. We have the power to concentrate the powers of the American imagination. This power comes through politics. It is the rare politician who thinks more about the collective good than he does his or her individual fortune. I believe that Senator Obama is one who does. But politics is too important to be left to the politicians. It is up to the rest of us to demand that our representatives are attentive to the human consequences of their decision-making. And that means making ourselves heard. It means, according to Lesson Number Three, not turning our noses up at politics. It means using politics to trigger the imagination and to face inconvenient truths before a crisis strikes.

That could be the summary of the mindset that those of us under fifty understand cold. It's our preference. We must focus on a new pro-active approach to the "human consequences of decision-making"...we must use "politics to trigger the imagination and face inconvenient truths before a crisis strikes." Power, pulitzer-prize winning author of A Problem from Hell: American and the Age of Genocide is not one to leave the discussion in vague generalities most suited to a commencement address.  She knows what she's talking about first hand, here she is discussing the genocide in Darfur:

Is this someone you would like working in executive branch for you? I thought so.

Let's take a look at two key topics that offer a politics of distinction for the Obama campaign: Cuba and foreign aid.



Barack Obama has taken a bold, fearless, innovative stance on Cuban policy. The United States should break down walls with Cuba and as a first step, we should ease travel to Cuba for Americans with relatives there and ease the transfer of funds between Americans and their Cuban relatives. (Herald Tribune.) This may seem like a minor policy difference, but it exemplifies Obama's ability to take a bold, new stance that actually makes whole lot of sense:

Now most Cubans in the U.S. can only visit the island once every three years and can only send quarterly remittances of up to $300 (€223) per household to immediate family members. Previously, they could visit once a year and send up to $3,000 (€2,226). The U.S. also tightened restrictions on travel for educational and religious groups. The Cuban-exile vote is considered key to winning Florida, and top presidential candidates have generally followed the recommendations of the community's most hard-line and vocal leaders, who support a full embargo against Fidel Castro's government. Castro, 80, is in poor health and turned over temporary power last year to his brother Raul.

But sentiment in the Cuban-American community is changing. Unlike the early waves of immigrants who brought their entire family, often by plane, to the U.S., most Cubans now flee by boat and are forced to leave relatives behind. Fewer of these immigrants were overt political opponents of the government, and they want to be able to visit loved ones and to send money home. Many Cuban exiles are also frustrated with the U.S. embargo, which has failed to yield fruit after nearly 45 years. And with the specter of an ailing Castro and a possible change in leadership, they are more open to changing U.S. policy.

Last week, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party came out against the restrictions. Obama will speak at a fundraiser for the chapter Saturday at the Miami-Dade Auditorium, the same Little Havana site where Ronald Reagan won over many in the Cuban-exile community more than two decades ago. Joe Garcia, the group's chairman, praised Obama's proposal.

-International Herald Tribune

Senator Clinton cannot take this bold stance. The very same "tried and true" approaches that her supporters claim she will bring to government and foreign policy happen to represent "tried and true" failures of conventional wisdom. Sure, there is a political risk in refusing to take a "hard line" Cuba stance that politicians on both sides of the aisle have taken for decades mainly out of consideration of their political fate in Florida. But, as Obama well knows, that stance hasn't worked. Obama is willing to say that. A new generation of Cuban-Americans are ready for something new. Barack Obama can give a fresh start to U.S. Cuba policy. Clinton can't and won't.


Foreign Aid

There was a telling moment in the last Democratic debate. Senator Clinton absolutely refused to support Senator Obama's commitment to raise U.S. foreign aid by $25 Billion per year by 2012 and pointedly questioned how he would pay for it. (Obama's proposal to double our foreign aid to $50 Billion per year dwarfs, as it should, all private efforts. Bill Clinton's foundation, to just name one contrast, has raised a grand total of $500 million, much of it tied to the Clinton's own politics.)

Putting aside the fact that Obama would pay for this increase in foreign aid out of the windfall gained by winding down the war in Iraq, the contrast couldn't be clearer. Obama is committed to proactive foreign policy solutions. He fights conservatism on the right fronts to fight. He spells this out:

"I know that many Americans are skeptical about the value of foreign aid," Mr. Obama said then. But he added, "A relatively small investment in these fragile states up front can be one of the most effective ways to prevent the terror and strife that is far more costly, both in lives and treasure, down the road."


This position has found wide-spread support both on the blogs and in policy circles. Why? Because, for those of us in Democratic politics tired of the "same old" answers based on the fear of conservative backlash, an increase in foreign aid is a sane investment that sends the right message about America. We are committed to an America that uses our resources and strength on the front end of problems. We are active in seeking to build the American reputation in the world day in and day out and not simply as a response to a crisis. We seek partners, not enemies.

This simple commitment, more than anything, represents a true Democratic "post 9/11" foreign policy: engagement, the projection of power through the building of allies. Not only will Seantor Clinton not commit to doing this, but she attacks Barack Obama on his foreign aid proposals through a GOP lens; she raises the specter of "profligate spending."

The money Senator Obama is talking about spending will go to make every American more safe. Those of us not blinded by the "old ways" of partisan politics know this to our bones. Compared to Iraq, $25 Billion additional per year on foreign aid is cheap. It's proactive. It's the right thing to do and sends the right message about America.

I can think of no greater contrast that spells a clearer difference between Clinton and Obama than this one.


Soft Power

Per the James Traub piece I linked above, "Joseph Nye, the Harvard professor who popularized the term "soft power" to describe the capacity to gain support through attraction rather than force" states:

A President Obama would do more for America’s soft power around the world than anything else we could do.

Nye, it should be noted (another member of the "fear of Iran" camp), does not support Barack Obama; but, in my mind, that's an even more powerful statement given that reality. Clinton, with Madame Albright and Sandy Berger and General Clark and Richard Holbrooke at her side will not send a new message to the world. Not even close. Isn't that something to think about?

What Nye is saying is that electing Barack Obama President and sending him around the world on Air Force One would fundamentally reconfigure the possibilities of American Foreign Policy. (For an example, look at what Barack Obama accomplished with this one gesture regarding HIV Testing in Kenya.) The question isn't even what Clinton could do if she chose. The stark question facing American voters is to realize all that Clinton simply won't do.

There's a reason that innovative, liberal foreign policy experts are flocking to Obama and would form, if Obama is elected, a new wave of policy experts in the manner of the administrations of Roosevelt or Kennedy: that is because Barack Obama represents the coincidence of the fresh possibilities (embodied in his identity and history and perspective) with fresh approaches (embodied in his willingness to push for innovation and pathbreaking ideas.)

Clinton simply can't and won't embrace bold approaches to anything. Clinton is a foreign policy hawk who cannot and will not embody a fresh approach to the use of American military or diplomatic power. There is nothing that embodies this more than her vote for the Lieberman/Kyl amendment.


the crux of the matter

At the crux then, are some core questions that imply a great deal about a broader and essential contrast in foreign policy philosophies of the two leading Democratic contenders.

Do you think America has more to fear from sticking with the same tired Cuba policy...or from embracing a new approach?

Do you think America has more to fear from Iran...or from the risks of investing too little in reaching out the rest of the world with foreign aid and the promise of a new relationship with the United States as a global partner?

When supporters talk of the "sure hand" of Clinton foreign policy they mean the exact same team that gave us American foreign policy in the 90s. (Iraq, Sudan, Rwanda, Bosnia) Think about that and then consider those no-bullshit, very focused words that Samantha Power had about Darfur and human rights in general.

Is 2008 a year of fear? Is now a time to go backwards in search of a sense of security from the 1990s that we discovered never existed?

Why is Hillary Clinton attacking Obama's proposal to spend more on foreign aid? Doesn't that get to the very core of a policy difference? And why are young, innovative thinkers going with Obama? The two things are, in my view, essentially linked.

Finally, why haven't all those folks talking and debating and rehashing the same old ideas during the Democratic primaries all over the blogosphere shown us more of the voice of this eminently sensible and persuasive woman?

From the 2nd clip above:

A lot of people are saying, "Obama, I think he'd be a great president, but why does he have to be president now? He's a fine young man, he'll make a great president someday." And my point is we don't have...we cannot afford to lose, the Democrats cannot afford to lose in November 2008 and we cannot afford to wait eight years to deal with restoring America's reputation in the world, to deal with getting out of Iraq, to deal with 46 million uninsured, to deal with melting ice caps.

We need somebody to pull the country together to face these challenges. These challenges are monumental.

-Samantha Power, Charlie Rose Interview

Originally posted to kid oakland on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 08:40 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Samantha Power (128+ / 0-)

    with Lawrence Lessig and David Cutler, another brilliant mind associated with the candidacy of Barack Obama.

    Check her out.

      •  Don't forget Seymour Hersh (47+ / 0-)

        Seymour Hersh is one of the best investigative reporters in the country.  He understands Middle East politics, and he recently said Barack is our "only hope".

        Barack Obama represents "the only hope for the US in the Muslim world," according to Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh. Because Obama's father was a Muslim, he "could lead a reconciliation between the Muslim countries and the US." With any of the other candidates as president, Hersh said, "we're facing two or three decades of problems in the Mideast, with 1.2 billion Muslims."

        •  Also Zbigniew Brzezinski... (21+ / 0-)

          ...who officially has the hardest name to spell correctly of any Obama endorser.

          •  oh. k/o didn't forget Zbigniew Brzezinski. (8+ / 0-)

            my bad.

          •  how could one forget zbig? (7+ / 0-)

            he who first armed the afghan mujaheddin, and began the afghan war?

            surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

            by wu ming on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:20:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Which drew in the USSR and helped (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              serrano, beltane

              end the cold war, or so I was told.

              I just changed my sig line because some bozo asked me to.

              by kovie on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:52:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  and gave rise to al-qaeda, the taliban (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GreenSooner, Jim Riggs, Bronxist, LNK

                zia ul-haq and pakistan's coup-happy islamic radical military officer corps, and the current existential threat du jour that justifies our global chain of gulags and military bases, after the cold war ground to a halt and robbed the empire of its raison d'etre.

                convenient, that.

                surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

                by wu ming on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:59:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, Reagan and Bush I (6+ / 0-)

                  has something to do with all that. Pub presidents have a nasty habit of either starting new wars that need not be started, or mismanaging existing ones that end up blowing up in our and others' faces years later. Had we stayed in Afghanistan and helped to rebuild it after the Soviets left, and not been so gung ho about arming Pakistan as a counter to India and others, all of this might have been avoided.

                  I'm originally from Israel and I see what a disaster our unconditional support of it and its policies has been--for Israelis as well as for Palestinians and others in the region. I think that foreign policy can be used for good as much as for ill, without endangering, and arguably strenghtening, our security and interests. But it takes smart, disciplined, tough and decent people to do that, qualities sorely lacking in US leadership lately--on both sides of the aisle, of course. I'm hoping that Obama can start repairing all this damage to all these countries and peoples--and to us as well.

                  The last time I felt truly hopeful about US foreign policy and the prospects for peace and stability in the mideast was under Carter. Maybe, just maybe, Obama can bring that back--and make it work this time around. I see no one else being even close to being able to do that right now. I guess I've bought in to that whole "hope" thing.

                  Incidentally, considering that he's promised to consider bringing in Republicans into his administration, what do you think of Chuck Hagel, at Defense, State, the UN or VA? On domestic policy Hagel and I are mostly 180 apart. But on FP I've liked some of the things that I've heard from him, especially his vocal opposition to the war.

                  I just changed my sig line because some bozo asked me to.

                  by kovie on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:30:25 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  it has been a bipartisan empire, true (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    GreenSooner, Bronxist, kovie

                    and you certainly won't find any praise from me for nearly anything that reagan or either bush admin foreign policy ever did.

                    i think foreign policy could be used for great things, it's just that it often isn't. i'm beginning to lean towards the position that the power of this country distorts any policy enough that perhaps idealism is always a losing game in practice. as an idealist and human rights proponent by heart, it pains me to lean this way, but the more i learn abut our actions in past and present, the greater my skepticism becomes.

                    i wouldn't put hagel or any republican in the cabinet a generation ago, sure, but the northwestern/midwestern liberal republicans are an extinct species) . granted, i would have a hard time with most of the democratic big names for cabinets as well, i think that one of the greatest weaknesses of the left in american politics is its being utterly shut out of the advisor corps, so that even when we get someone mouthing our rhetoric on the stump (a rare enough occasion), by the time they get into DC, they've been briefed to the point of "fixing" any left tendencies that they might have had.

                    that being said, i would hope obama works with hagel et al to get this war ended ASAP. i'm not averse to bipartisanship, if the goals and policies are humane and coming from the left in spirit as well as name.

                    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

                    by wu ming on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:08:47 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, you know about the path of good intentions (0+ / 0-)

                      and all, and power certainly does distort everything in its vicinity--including, most of all, those who possess it. Who knows, with some good moral guidance and a real friend or two, Cheney might have turned out a semi-decent chap. But while things go obviously go wrong in so many different ways under Obama, this could also be said of any of the others, and then some (most especially on the other side). And since one of these gambles will have to be president, I'm going with the one who seems like the "safest" bet--bet being the operative word here. It would certainly be a refreshing change.

                      I just changed my sig line because some bozo asked me to.

                      by kovie on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:18:24 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  that's about the size of it (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        kovie, dotcommodity

                        luckily, i still have 10 or 11 days to muddle between edwards and obama before i have to make a bet. no sense in rushing these things, eh?

                        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

                        by wu ming on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:20:17 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I have just over 14 (0+ / 0-)

                          The WA caucuses are on the Sat after Super Tuesday. But unlike you I'll have to actually explain my vote. Ech. If Obama doesn't take a meaningful role in the FISA battle, I'll lose a lot of respect for him. As they say, talk is cheap...

                          I just changed my sig line because some bozo asked me to.

                          by kovie on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:24:37 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Nonsense (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        myriad, No Preference, Jim Riggs, wu ming

                        This is not about "good intentions," unless we define that term so broadly as to include the beliefs of the current set of democracy-spreaders in the White House.

                        Read Chalmers Johnson or Richard Rhodes on Zbig, Carter and the escalation of the Cold War.  This was a clusterfuck from the start.  It created the massive blowback that we experienced on 9/11 (and before and since, in fact), and it further entrenched the power of our military-industrial complex at whose alter all the leading presidential candidates from both major parties worship.

                        The fact that Obama's team is a little less delusional than the crowd currently running our foreign policy is cold comfort. The very same people who are advising Obama laid the groundwork for the world we live in today...and for Dubya's foreign policy.    

                        This nicely summarizes what's wrong with American political life today. (Source)

                        by GreenSooner on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 01:43:16 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Samantha Powers and Richard Clarke (0+ / 0-)

                          Started the Afghanistan war and screwed up the post-Cold War world?

                          Zbig is not a major Obama advisor as far as I know, just a supporter. Has he been whispering things in his ear? And AFAIK, his advice might have started the Afghanistan war, but it was Reagan, Bush I and their advisors (e.g. Cheney, Powell, Casey, C. Rice, McFarland, Weinberger, Scowcroft etc.) who screwed it and its aftermath up and led to the rise of AQ and 9/11. Their policies also helped Saddam, Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas become the problems that they became. It was all their doing. So I am not persuaded that Carter & Co. were responsible for most of this. Last time I checked he and another Democratic president with a last name starting with "C" were the only US presidents to broker major regional peace treaties since, oh, ever.

                          I just changed my sig line because some bozo asked me to.

                          by kovie on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 07:53:31 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  It's taken a hundred years... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      wu ming

                      to build this empire and I doubt that it's going away in the next 4 or 8 years no matter who gets elected.

                      "Ripeness is all." Shakespeare

                      by Jim Riggs on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 06:10:37 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Well, that's an endorsement as far as.... (0+ / 0-)

            you like hardcore realist foreign policy. Not that I disagree with it, but it cements Obama's position on the right wing of the Democratic Party.

            BTW, it's easy to spell if you can pronounce the r' (or rz) sound.

            •  You've got that right ... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              2ajpuu, markhaverty

              Here's how Allan Nairn described Obama's foreign policy team on Democracy Now!

              AMY GOODMAN: Barack Obama?

              ALLAN NAIRN: Well, Obama's top adviser is Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski gave an interview to the French press a number of years ago where he boasted about the fact that it was he who created the whole Afghan jihadi movement, the movement that produced Osama bin Laden. And he was asked by the interviewer, "Well, don't you think this might have had some bad consequences?" And Brzezinski replied, "Absolutely not. It was definitely worth it, because we were going after the Soviets. We were getting the Soviets." Another top Obama person-

              AMY GOODMAN: I think his comment actually was, "What's a few riled-up Muslims?" And this, that whole idea of blowback, the idea of arming, financing, training the Mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets, including Osama bin Laden, and then when they're done with the Soviets, they set their sights, well, on the United States.

              ALLAN NAIRN: Right. And later, during Bill Clinton's administration, during the Bosnia killing, the US actually flew some of the Afghan Mujahideen, the early al-Qaeda people-the US actually arranged for them to be flown from there to Bosnia to fight on the Muslim/NATO side.

              Another key Obama adviser, Anthony Lake, he was the main force behind the US invasion of Haiti in the mid-Clinton years during which they brought back Aristide essentially in political chains, pledged to support a World Bank/IMF overhaul of the economy, which resulted in an increase in malnutrition deaths among Haitians and set the stage for the current ongoing political disaster in Haiti.

              Another Obama adviser, General Merrill McPeak, an Air Force man, who not long after the Dili massacre in East Timor in '91 that you and I survived, he was-I happened to see on Indonesian TV shortly after that-there was General McPeak overseeing the delivery to Indonesia of US fighter planes.

              Another key Obama adviser, Dennis Ross. Ross, for many years under both Clinton and Bush 2, a key-he has advised Clinton and both Bushes. He oversaw US policy toward Israel/Palestine. He pushed the principle that the legal rights of the Palestinians, the rights recognized under international law, must be subordinated to the needs of the Israeli government-in other words, their desires, their desires to expand to do whatever they want in the Occupied Territories. And Ross was one of the people who, interestingly, led the political assault on former Democratic President Jimmy Carter. Carter, no peacenik-I mean, Carter is the one who bears ultimate responsibility for that Timor terror that Holbrooke was involved in. But Ross led an assault on him, because, regarding Palestine, Carter was so bold as to agree with Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa that what Israel was doing in the Occupied Territories was tantamount to apartheid. And so, Ross was one of those who fiercely attacked him.

              Another Obama adviser, Sarah Sewall, who heads a human rights center at Harvard and is a former Defense official, she wrote the introduction to General Petraeus's Marine Corps/Army counterinsurgency handbook, the handbook that is now being used worldwide by US troops in various killing operations. That's the Obama team.

              Obama shows signs of being every bit as hawkish as Hillary. He also has 47 advisors from the former Clinton administration (which is weird considering that he thinks that the GOP was the party of ideas during the Clinton administration). It was also his great proposalthat we should attack Western Pakistan WITHOUT notifying Musharraf should we ever get any actionable intelligence about Osama bin Ladin's whereabouts.

              I don't think America is really going to significantly change its foreign policy or lessen the grip of the military industrial complex on its foreign policy any time soon.

              •  Having it all ways (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Akonitum, pamelabrown

                you snark on Obama with a disingenuous and distorting crack about "the party of ideas" and then selectively quote Democracy NOW as if Alan Nairn were opposed to Obama's advisors alone!

                Shorter version: let's ignore the actual content of this diary and elect Clinton because then we KNOW we are getting a hawk who will change US foreign policy not a whit.

                Btw, I welcome the quote from Nairn however, just not how it's being used in such a reductive and one-sided manner. (I used to hang out with Nairn in my NYC days which is neither here nor there, but simply to say I respect him.) The point is, Obama would not be a viable candidate AT ALL if he had a foreign policy team composed solely of experts acceptable to Democracy NOW. We all know that.

                Obama brings with him old hands deserving of Nairn's criticisms AND a tremendous wealth of new thinkers and innovators like Power, that's a choice facing the Democratic Party, and, as fas I know, nobody in the netroots has really been talking about that difference. We should be.

                k/o: politics and culture

                by kid oakland on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 06:48:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I also incuded a link to (0+ / 0-)

                  the rest of Nairn's analysis, which includes hos critique of Clinton as well. Actually, I might prefer to see Obama nominated than Clinton, although not by much--I'm voting for Edwards in any case. I just threw the line in because I'm so damn sick of this b.s. about how much Obama's been slimed by Clinton when the sliming has most definitely gone in both directions.

                  As to Powers, I'm not terribly impressed (btw, you do know that Obama also has two of Clinton's top Ruwanda advisors as well as Powers on his team? I could find the link for you if you need). Anyway, back to Powers, I agree with the following analysis of Powers, from a prescient book review of her 2002 book:

                  This rather earnest book covers US policy in response to some acts of genocide in the 20th century. It starts with Henry Morgenthal, Sr. and his attempt to alert the American public to the Ottoman massacre of the Armenians and continues on to US policy in Rwanda, Iraq and Kosovo.

                  This is primarily a book for people who believe that, in general, United States foreign policy is just: it's the other countries that commit genocide. While Powers does mention that the United States has occasionally aided the perpetuators of genocide, she only delves into areas where common opinion places the US on the side of the angels. She discusses Cambodia, but doesn't say much about the US war in Vietnam; she says a lot about the Iraqi violence against the Kurds, but nothing about the (US supported) Turkish war against the Kurds. Likewise there is literally nothing about US-sponsored actions in Central and South America; Kissinger's tacit approval of Indonesia's invasion of East Timor; or US support of Israeli violence against the Palestinians.

                  This is the kind of book that gets the author a reputation as a 'stern critic' of US policy while at the same time does nothing to prevent the same author from getting a prominent foreign policy position in the future. It's not surprising that this book has been well promoted on Book TV and public television, but for the whole truth about genocide and its causes, go elsewhere.

                  By the way, Stephen Holmes has a good review of this book in the November 2002 "London Review of Books." He writes about the problems of focusing on genocide (what should be done if an ethnic group commits mass murder against its own members?) and Power's impatience with multilateralism and legalism.

                  •  P.S. (0+ / 0-)

                    I know that her name is Power, not Powers--just one of many typos, as per my custom.

                  •  what is niave/earnest in 2008? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    kid oakland

                    This series of diaries is making an explicit intervention in how can we understand our role as citizens, progressives, activists on Daily Kos in the primary season. Can we write diaries that put forward the positive vision of the candidate we support in the primary? Clearly, the most meaningful or effective response to this diary is to highlight an alternative vision/position/politics on the issue by another candidate. Anything else is not really a meaningful response at the end of the day. It's child's play to come in and rip the diary from the far left. (By this I don't mean to stigmatize the far left position but rather point out that what would be meaningful would be, rather than a far-left critique of Obama, a complete picture of far-left advocacy for Edwards as an agent of change on foreign policy at this particular point in time  -- an unusually deliberative moment for the citizens who constitute the Democratic Party and who will most likely be choosing the nominee between now and February 5). What bothers me is the degree to which you don't seem concerned by the contradiction between, on the one hand, the hyper-awareness that lies underneath a Nairn-like critique of political reality, and the blitheness (or "earnestness" to use the word in the anonymous Power review from amazon) behind this comment: "Actually, I might prefer to see Obama nominated than Clinton, although not by much--I'm voting for Edwards in any case."

                    "We have found the weapons of mass destruction" -- George Bush, May 30, 2003

                    by awol on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 08:22:56 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Frankly I disagree ... (0+ / 0-)

                      Clearly, the most meaningful or effective response to this diary is to highlight an alternative vision/position/politics on the issue by another candidate. Anything else is not really a meaningful response at the end of the day.

                      I simply have to disagree here. I could highlight Edwards' imperfect but better better foreign policy. One of those differences was highlighted in the Las Vegas debate.

                      OBAMA: No, no. I think this is important because it was reported as if we were suggesting that we would continue the war until 2013. Your question was, could I guarantee all troops would be out of Iraq. I have been very specific in saying that we will not have permanent bases there. I will end the war as we understand it in combat missions.

                      But that we are going to have to protect our embassy. We're going to have to protect our civilians. We're engaged in humanitarian activity there. We are going to have to have some presence that allows us to strike if Al Qaida is creating bases inside of Iraq.

                      So I cannot guarantee that we're not going to have a strategic interest that I have to carry out as commander-in-chief to maintain some troop presence there, but it is not going to be engaged in a war and it will not be this sort of permanent bases and permanent military occupation that George Bush seems to be intent on.


                      EDWARDS: My answer to that is, as long as you keep combat troops in Iraq, you continue the occupation. If you keep military bases in Iraq, you're continuing the occupation. The occupation must end. As respects Al Qaida, public enemy number one, they're responsible for about 10 percent of the violence inside Iraq according to the reports.

                      I would keep a quick reaction force in Kuwait in case it became necessary, but that is different, Barack, than keeping troops stationed inside.

                      OBAMA: John...

                      EDWARDS: Excuse -- let me finish, please.

                      OBAMA: I'm sorry.

                      EDWARDS: That is different than keeping troops stationed inside Iraq, because keeping troops stationed inside Iraq -- combat troops -- and continuing combat missions, whether it's against Al Qaida or anyone else, at least from my perspective, is a continuation of the occupation. And I think a continuation of the occupation continues the problem, not just in reality, but in perception that America's occupying the country.

                      OBAMA: Let me suggest, I think there's a distinction without a difference here.

                      I happen to think that was distinction with a difference, but whatever. As you and I both know, at the end of the day, Edwards is not going to be the nominee. So I do think there is a value in maintaining a critical perspective on Obama's foreign policy.

                      What bothers me is the degree to which you don't seem concerned by the contradiction between, on the one hand, the hyper-awareness that lies underneath a Nairn-like critique of political reality, and the blitheness (or "earnestness" to use the word in the anonymous Power review from amazon) behind this comment: "Actually, I might prefer to see Obama nominated than Clinton, although not by much--I'm voting for Edwards in any case."

                      Now here's where you lost me. Since when does earnestness = blitheness? I could never polemicize the way K.O. does because I'm not that starry-eyed by nature. I'm voting for Edwards mostly because I like his domestic policies, but also because because, like Barbara Ehrenreich and Norm Solomon, I find Edwards the best of the three main alternatives, or as Solomonput it, "the most improved presidential candidate."

                      •  as you and I both know (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        kid oakland

                        I'm glad you agree that "Edwards is not going to be the nominee." But it seems to me that the logic of voting for A who is not going to win while acknowledging that there is a choice between C and B is not a politically thoughtful action at this point in time. (The obvious template for this is voting for Nader in 2000, knowing that the choice was really between Bush and Gore and feeling that, while Gore would be preferable, the difference was too slight to be worth participating in. This led, of course, to mass death in Iraq. As you probably know, Barbara Ehrenreich was perhaps the most politically active and prominent person to vote for Nader in Florida, a pretty remarkable and I think painful position for a distinguished person like her to be in). It seems to me that you're washing your hands of the choice between Clinton and Obama, which is to say letting other people decide. The choice has to be made -- the question for each of us is, do we participate in this choice or leave it only for other people to grapple with its complexity. You'll vote for Edwards, aware that he won't win and aware that somewhere, by somebody else, the choice is going to have to be made between the two people who could still be the nominee. You can also write-in Edwards if you choose to in the general election and not participate in what will certainly be an imperfect choice between two candidates then as well.

                        "We have found the weapons of mass destruction" -- George Bush, May 30, 2003

                        by awol on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 09:36:51 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  But why should I vote for Obama (0+ / 0-)

                          rather than Clinton based on his foreign policy? Because of Samantha Power? Because he did not vote at all on Kyl-Lieberman? Because he made one anti-AUMF speech (which he probably needed to do politically, in order to shore up his support among a strongly anti-war constituency in advance of his US Senate primary run)? Frankly I would rather vote for a candidate who's owned up to foreign policy mistakes in the past--to me Obama sounds dangerously naive and cocky at times when it comes to foreign policy (as in his Waziristan statement).

                          It seems to me that you're washing your hands of the choice between Clinton and Obama, which is to say letting other people decide. The choice has to be made -- the question for each of us is, do we participate in this choice or leave it only for other people to grapple with its complexity.

                          Now you're really starting to piss me off--I'm voting for Edwards because I want his to have more of a voice in guiding the policy of whoever gets the nomination. I'd much rather listen to MLK III than you on this "grappling with complexity" business.

                          You can also write-in Edwards if you choose to in the general election and not participate in what will certainly be an imperfect choice between two candidates then as well..

                          Who the fuck cares who I vote for in the GE? I live in a bluer-than-thou state, so my vote there will matter not one whit. (I'm sure I'll vote for the Democratic candidate, but it hardly matters). This obsession with making sure that everyone always votes for the LOTE candidate, that somehow this is will create the changes we want to see in this country, has grown a bit stale for me. I probably don't belong on this site anymore given my growing antipathy to that kind of thinking. I stupidly wrote a GBCW diary on January 1, but I broke my new Years' resolution after the Vegas primary (I need to join some sort of 12-step program for recovering Kosaholics). Wish me better luck next

                          •  lesser of two evils (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kid oakland

                            Shorter version of this comment: just the first four words of the last paragraph -- "who the fuck cares".

                            It's very easy to come into almost any thread on daily kos, or any political discussion by individuals in almost any context, and simply say "who the fuck cares". It's puerile and stupid -- I do "care" about who you vote for in the primary and the general election, in the basic sense that I'm contributing to the political discussion on daily kos.

                            You take for granted the way that daily kos exists -- that it was made by other people and developed by other people -- and then you, as simply an isolated individual can either leave or come into this structure. As though the "structure" weren't only countless other individuals collectively contributing.

                            You're "pissed off" that I responded to and criticized your comment -- but your comment was itself merely a response to and criticism of someone who pro-actively decided to write something new, to jump into a debate on the public sphere. And then, with just a little bit of pressure and criticism, you start saying "fuck" and "who cares"? It seems particularly bizarre to me that you'd freely use your time to jump onto a thread, criticize the political position of the poster, and then feel that it's inappropriate that anyone would question, or even 'care' about, your position.

                            "We have found the weapons of mass destruction" -- George Bush, May 30, 2003

                            by awol on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 10:26:51 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I stated my position ... (0+ / 0-)

                            What is not clear about my position?

                            Shorter version of this comment: just the first four words of the last paragraph -- "who the fuck cares".

                            Thanks for your your incisive shortening of my comment! First you shorten what I have to say, and then you attack me based on your abbreviated version of what I have to say.

                            And then, with just a little bit of pressure and criticism, you start saying "fuck" and "who cares"? It seems particularly bizarre to me that you'd freely use your time to jump onto a thread, criticize the political position of the poster, and then feel that it's inappropriate that anyone would question, or even 'care' about, your position.

                            I'm sorry that my language offended your sensibility. I thought I stated my position clearly. And even though you want to edit what I said, I never said who the fuck cares about my position. I specifically said:

                            Who the fuck cares who I vote for in the GE? I live in a bluer-than-thou state, so my vote there will matter not one whit. (I'm sure I'll vote for the Democratic candidate, but it hardly matters). This obsession with making sure that everyone always votes for the LOTE candidate, that somehow this is will create the changes we want to see in this country, has grown a bit stale for me.

                            And about being "pissed" off, I was pretty clear about what you said that pissed my off. I won't bother to repeat that again as well, but perhaps, just perhaps, you should try to read my comments more closely. I did bother to type them and all.

                            You take for granted the way that daily kos exists -- that it was made by other people and developed by other people -- and then you, as simply an isolated individual can either leave or come into this structure. As though the "structure" weren't only countless other individuals collectively contributing.

                            Of course I know that what this community, in which I've participated for well over 4 years, is composed of. Does that mean that I can't leave? Don't you think that I should given my apparently inappopriate response to "someone who pro-actively decided to write something new, to jump into a debate on the public sphere"?

                          •  No (0+ / 0-)

                            I don't think you should leave, I just think you should try to write more thoughtfully.

                            "We have found the weapons of mass destruction" -- George Bush, May 30, 2003

                            by awol on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 10:48:46 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I wish we all ... (0+ / 0-)

                            would try to write more thoughtfully, but that doesn't appear likely to happen. Somehow you get to call me "stupid and puerile" and then either ignore or distort everything I have to say. And that, I suppose, is considered an example of appropriate commentary on dKos.

                            Whatever. When critical comments are considered thoughtless and inappropriate, I know that I'm participating in the wrong community.  

                  •  More on Samantha Power (0+ / 0-)

                    from the London Review of Book book review mentioned above. I highly recommend you read the entire review here. I'll just quote a small part of it:

                    But the most eye-catching feature of ‘A Problem from Hell’ is Power’s palpable frustration with multilateralism and legalism. An important clue to this aspect of her thinking is the approval with which she cites Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, two unilateralist hawks associated with the current Bush Administration. During the 1990s, they both urged US military intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo outside the framework of the UN and contrary to its Charter. Power thinks they were perfectly right. The Rwanda debacle was partly a result of UN dithering and incoherence. ... Formulated more pungently, acting decisively sometimes requires a great power to extricate itself from the hopeless mishmash of multilateralism.


                    [T]he proponents of humanitarian intervention, in the 1990s, were among multilateralism’s least forgiving critics. Power writes in this spirit. Clinton embraced ‘consultation’, she tells us, whenever his Administration lacked a clear policy of its own. In that sense, too, multilateralism is a sign of weakness. When it comes to atrocities, she implies, the US should simply have told its allies what it was going to do....

                    Deference to public opinion is equally inappropriate, Power continues, especially when the electorate is self-absorbed, parochial and fixated on body-bags. One wonders if her lack of sympathy with the widely reported public aversion to military casualties might have anything to do with the infrequent human contact between human rights activists and the families of the grunts who would be asked to die to uphold vaguely worded international laws....

                    ....  Formulated differently, the 1990s advocates of humanitarian intervention have unintentionally bequeathed a risky legacy to George W. Bush. They have helped rescue from the ashes of Vietnam the ideal of America as a global policeman, undaunted by other countries’ borders, defending civilisation against the forces of ‘evil’.

                •  Hey K.O. (0+ / 0-)

                  Can you tell me what is distorting about my crack on Obama's "the party of ideas" statement. I ask because I really don't get it--as I noted in a comment yesterday, this is one part of the "Clinton sleaze machine" controversy that confuses me most. I actually had to agree with the Bill Clinton on this one.

                  When you say Obama says "the Republicans were the party of ideas," most people will infer that you think that the Republicans had better ideas than the Democrats. And the qualifier "in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom" only underscores that notion that the Republicans were thinking outside the box while the Democrats were mired in stale and unoriginal thinking.

                  Now imagine you were Bill Clinton (I know it's hard to put yourself in his shoes, but try). You're Bill Clinton, you're a smart guy, and so you do the math. "Hmm--Obama just said that the Republicans have been the 'party of ideas' for about 15 years--hey wait a second--that means the Republicans became the 'party of ideas' the moment I took office!"

                  If I were Clinton I'd be pissed as hell, and so he was. I don't think there was anything unfair about what he said in response--Obama lobbed an insult squarely at his administration, and he spoke out against that. That's because he--unlike Robert Reich--is good at math.

                  •  Oops! (0+ / 0-)

                    When you say Obama says ....

                    Yet another reason for me to no longer participate on dKos. My typing dyslexia has only grown worse.

                  •  "party of ideas" (0+ / 0-)

                    is a phrase people use in DC and in political circles to talk about political momentum, about the party making its case with the voters for their ideas, the one winning elections.

                    Clinton twisted that to say to the national press and public: "Obama said the GOP had all the good ideas."

                    And then a bunch of bloggers who should (you hope) know better continued to pile on.

                    What Obama said is mundane. You should be able to say the GOP won some elections in the last three decades, because, uh, it's true.

                    Mark Schmitt wrote eloquently about this atTAPPED:

                    When I say something like, "the Republicans (or conservatives) have been the party of ideas in recent years," which I probably have said, what I mean by it is not that they have good ideas, or new ideas, but that since about 1978 or so, and especially under Reagan, they organized their approach to politics around ideas: big concepts, ambitious goals, principles, a real public philosophy. Liberals and Democrats, on the other hand, often spoke in a language of government programs, as if the name and material benefits of a government program are sufficient justification.

                    So when Barack Obama says that, "Republicans were the party of ideas for the last 10 or 15 years" and that Reagan changed the ideological landscape in ways that Nixon or Clinton did not, and Rep. Barney Frank responds with indignation, listing,Medicaid, Medicare, the Environmental Protection Agency, Community Development Block Grants I think the point is proved. A federal funding stream, like Community Development Block Grants, is not an idea. (Even as a funding stream, it's not much to be proud of, scattering benefits to poor and well-off communities alike.)

                    Liberals don't lack ideas. The problem is that we forget that policies and programs are means to implement ideas, to achieve certain principles. Unless you can articulate the goal itself (and I'm not even sure what the principle of CDBG is, other than, every city and town should have a little more money), you can't construct a winning politics.

                    k/o: politics and culture

                    by kid oakland on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 12:11:11 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So what do you think (0+ / 0-)

                      Obama was talking about when he referred to the "excesses of the 1960s and 1970s"?

                    •  Also Mark Smitt doesn't make any sense ... (0+ / 0-)

                      When I say something like, "the Republicans (or conservatives) have been the party of ideas in recent years," which I probably have said, what I mean by it is not that they have good ideas, or new ideas, but that since about 1978 or so, and especially under Reagan, they organized their approach to politics around ideas: big concepts, ambitious goals, principles, a real public philosophy.

                      But Obama explicitly said that the GOP was the part of ideas "for the past 10 to 15 years." So he was clearly referencing the Clinton administration rather than the Reagan administration.

      •  And don't forget that Barack Obama is... (0+ / 0-)


        Thanks for your support.

    •  thanks, K/O (25+ / 0-)

      another detailed, outstanding diary.

      And when you think of the sleazy attacks that have been thrown at the guy, it's just mind-boggling.

      Head to Heading Left, BlogTalkRadio's progressive radio site!

      by thereisnospoon on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 08:59:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I can't begin to thank you enough, KO, (14+ / 0-)

      for posting these diaries. I know you became infrequent
      here and understand that, but am just so grateful for
      this series where you're not simply putting it all on the
      line, but doing it thoughtfully, linkaliciously, and graciously.


      Everything is possible

      by begone on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:20:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your diaries are tremendous (8+ / 0-)

      I appreciate the dedication and work that has gone into this series. To say it is enlightening would be an understatement.

      Thanks k/o.

      •  Kudos from me too. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Your diaries are wonderful.  I've read all these bits and bobs in various places but you pull them all together to create such a strong testimonial for Barack.  I wish his campaign would/could make up mailers with all this distilled information and distribute them to the masses. Most people just don't have any idea how wonderfully qualified Obama is for president.

    •  Clinton Navy Secretary Richard Danzig . . . (18+ / 0-)

      also on the list.  

      I had a chance to see Danzig state Obama's case a couple weeks ago in Virginia.  He said some good things about Clinton, but he said ultimately his backing of Obama came down to the opportunity to promote a candidate who only comes around once in a lifetime.  

      He said that Obama's ability to view global challenges from different view points was unique; and that his judgment and innovative thinking were among the best he had encountered in years of service.

    •  She's a hero of mine and (11+ / 0-)

      her work has been very helpful to me in my studies on genocide and international studies at NYU. She's one of the reasons I chose Obama and came down on his side.

    •  a virtual 'tip'.... (8+ / 0-)

      ...from a victim of the great peter dauo purge of 2008


    •  Has anybody else noticed (4+ / 0-)

      that foreign policy, aside from Iraq, is basically non existent in the debates?  It's basically healthcare, how fast we can get the troops out of Iraq and the economy.  But that's it. Three freaking topics and then a bunch of bickering so Edwards can say stop and take votes away.

    •  Peru FTA (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, david mizner, NotGeorgeWill

      I'm still undecided, but there's a very good chance that I'll be voting for Barack Obama on Super Tuesday.

      That said, I was not at all happy with Senator Obama's response to a question about the Peru FTA during the last Dem debate.

      It's something that I've heard him say before & I think he really misses the point about what's terribly wrong with the agreement.

      Obama essentially said that the agreement is ok because he plans to be the next president & that as such he will enforce provisions in the agreement that protect workers and the environment.  That assertion is contrary to his oft stated philosophy of power resting with the people.  Workers and enviromentalists do not have standing to sue for enforcement of promised safeguards - they are forced to rely on the good judgement of the executive branches of government in both Peru & the U.S.

      One of the biggest failings of the agreement is a failing found in all so-called "free trade" agreements - the provision that gives multinational corporations the ability to thwart democracy by allowing those corporate interests to sue governments for "future lost profits".  The Peru-FTA opens large portions of the Amazon to oil and gas exploration and environmental degradation - and I seriously doubt that a Barack Obama presidency will be able to avert the probable damage to the environment in Peru.

      The Peru-FTA is one of BIG oil's wet dreams.


      "Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind" — JFK

      by peace voter on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:03:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great Diary (5+ / 0-)

      Kid Oakland's diaries are the proverbial slap in the face to those who claim the Obama is "all style, no substance".

    •  Ignoring the 92,000 new troop pledge, it should (0+ / 0-)

      ..LEAD any diary about foreign policy, hard and soft power.

      This pledge truely sets Obama apart from any other progressive in recent memory.

      Increase the standing army, 92,000, idle, while you pull 150,000 out of Iraq.

      Explain? What does he foresee? Another large war? If not, please explain the eggregious costs for more guns less butter.

      •  Politics / Interventions (0+ / 0-)

        Mostly it's politics -- proposing a long term solution to a short term problem.  

        One other issue though, is if we intervene in every messed up hellhole in the world as some of his advisors would like (e.g., Samantha Powers), to stop civil wars, stop genocide and oppression, etc., then we'll need a lot of troops to go to Darfur, Congo, Burma, etc.  

    •  Obama in Foreign Affairs (FAO KO) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B, Happy Days

      KO and other interested parties: If you're interested in the subject, it's worth reading Obama's Foreign Affairs article from September outlining his foreign policy vision. All the candidates submitted them, and they are long, manifesto-style pieces. You can follow up with Clinton and Edwards and compare them.

      Obama: Renewing American Leadership

      Today, we are again called to provide visionary leadership. This century's threats are at least as dangerous as and in some ways more complex than those we have confronted in the past. They come from weapons that can kill on a mass scale and from global terrorists who respond to alienation or perceived injustice with murderous nihilism. They come from rogue states allied to terrorists and from rising powers that could challenge both America and the international foundation of liberal democracy. They come from weak states that cannot control their territory or provide for their people. And they come from a warming planet that will spur new diseases, spawn more devastating natural disasters, and catalyze deadly conflicts.

      To recognize the number and complexity of these threats is not to give way to pessimism. Rather, it is a call to action. These threats demand a new vision of leadership in the twenty-first century -- a vision that draws from the past but is not bound by outdated thinking. The Bush administration responded to the unconventional attacks of 9/11 with conventional thinking of the past, largely viewing problems as state-based and principally amenable to military solutions. It was this tragically misguided view that led us into a war in Iraq that never should have been authorized and never should have been waged. In the wake of Iraq and Abu Ghraib, the world has lost trust in our purposes and our principles.

      After thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars spent, many Americans may be tempted to turn inward and cede our leadership in world affairs. But this is a mistake we must not make. America cannot meet the threats of this century alone, and the world cannot meet them without America. We can neither retreat from the world nor try to bully it into submission. We must lead the world, by deed and by example.

    •  Speaking of Samantha Power (0+ / 0-)

      It's too bad that Obama hasn't taken her advice and rejected the GWOT frame. On this she agrees with Edwards.

    •  If you want a 700 billion defense budget, sure (0+ / 0-)

      I certainly credit Power's intellect and committment to human rights.

      However, the sort of hyper-interventionist policies she calls for will have us even more entangled in places we don't want to be, and could require massive increases in the defense budget to support all of those interventions and peacekeeping operations.

      Do you really want to stop the killing all over the world?  Just how much do you think we have to expand the Army to intervene in all the nasty civil wars and failed states and oppressive regimes all over the world?  

      A common failing of activists like Powers is to massively underestimate the degree of military capability necessary to intervene in such conflicts.  Contrary to claims that it would have been easy to stop the killing in Rwanda, for example, it actually would have been damn hard.  The logistics of getting large numbers of US troops into Central Africa are not easy, and given how widespread, rapid, and decentralized the killing was, you would have needed tens of thousands of soldiers.  
      Now just imagine how many US troops you need to deploy all over the Congo -- an area half the size of the continental US, with almost no roads or airfields -- to stop the killing there.  And don't say we can count on international troops; when it comes to high end capabilities, especially the transportation and logisitics capabilities to operate in remote areas, we're it.

      You want to do good and save lives all over the world?  Pay up.  We'll need LOTS more soliders and marines, and to buy a hell of a lot more helicopters, transport aircraft, MRAP-like vehicles, etc.

      Frankly, Powers and others like her make exactly the same mistake as the neocons -- massively overestimating what can be accomplished by cheap and quick applications of American power.  The aims are better but the lack of understanding of military and political realities is the same.

  •  Recommended (15+ / 0-)

    if for anything, Samantha Powers interview.  So fantastic.

    Do you have a date when this interview was recorded?  She explains Obama so clearly.

    I got tased in *The Great Markos Candidate Meltdown Cranky Pants Sting of Ought 7*

    by nolalily on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 08:48:45 PM PST

  •  Iran. (At least.) (19+ / 0-)

    Obama's policies on Iran are sterling.

    Direct engagement with Iran is something that the experts have been screaming about.

    Obama is the only candidate who wants to actually talk to "hostile" nations. Though I doubt his administration would ever toss around words like that in regards to Iran.

    Or any nation that is not a legitimate threat to the United States. He's an internationalist in the best sense of the term.

    An Obama presidency would be the best thing not only for foreign policy, not only for America, but for how the world at large gets along with each other.

    "There's nothing new except for the history that you don't know."

    by krikkit4 on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 08:50:15 PM PST

  •  Obama's Foreign Policy Supporters (33+ / 0-)

    impress the hell out of me -- all the more because it's been already shown the first Clinton administration that the Clintons blatently reward loyalty and punish / shun "disloyalty".  

    Much as I'm leaning toward voting for Edwards on the 5th, I do find Obama's candidacy inspiring, especially as I learn more about his foreign policy ideas.  Both his ideas and idealism seem a good fit for the new century.

    Conversely, the idea of another Clinton administration leaves me cold.  I'd rather have it than another Republican one, but that's damning with faint praise.  

    the third eye does not weep. it knows.

    by mijita on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 08:53:14 PM PST

  •  Thanks so much for this as always thoughtful (17+ / 0-)

    and well researched diary. Your Obama diaries keep reinforcing my choice in the caucus and help me make a case for him with anyone who is still mulling their choices.

    Proof by assertion has all the advantages of theft over honest toil
    Bertrand Russell

    by Wee Mama on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 08:59:31 PM PST

  •  Thanks again (16+ / 0-)

    Another excellent diary.

    Senator Obama's thoughtful answers to the foreign policy questions at the Yearly Kos debate were a big reason I switched my allegiance to him.  His argument that China, by building roads in Africa (the dreaded foreign aid!), was building up support and goodwill on a continent that the US has willfully ignored was truly masterful.  He extended it to argue that foreign aid is national security, and that by building schools and roads in poor countries, we'd be building a safer America.

    I was blown away.  

  •  Great post k/o (10+ / 0-)

    You are truly the best. Susan Rice who is another adviser had a great interview with the Real News Network. You might want to check that out too.

    Tribe, Lessig, Power, Cutler, Reich. What a team!

  •  KO. You're the best at presenting... (14+ / 0-)

    thorough, thoughtful, well-written diaries that present  Senator Obama's policy positions. You're a great example of what Obama supporters "should" be doing.

    Let's not forget to recommend this diary. I'm tired of hearing that Senator Obama's inspirational and all that, but he needs to flesh out his policies more. We should all be writing diaries like KO's to counter that false impression some people have.

    thanks again!

  •  Barack's campaign really (14+ / 0-)

    should get Samantha Power on the cable news shows now and often. She is an incredibly knowledgeable and eloquent voice for is candidacy.

  •  Thanks for the detail and the positive (9+ / 0-)

    message in this diary.

    I really like it, and it reaffirms what I think about this race.  Samantha Power has very interesting things to say, and I'm glad you brought these items to my attention.

  •  i'm a lot less sanguine on a soft imperialism (9+ / 0-)

    even if it would be an improvement from our currently brutal hard imperialism. ultimately, hard power and sort power take meaning in the context of what ends they are applied to. i have real qualms about power talking about darfur as a genocide while at the same time totally eliding the fact that our actions in iraq, from the training of the wolf brigades to the seige of fallujah, can be understood by those same terms as a genocide as well. we have killed over a million, yet none dare call that genocide, much less call for reparations or retaliation against america as we would if it were any rival of ours who did such war crimes. compared to iraq, darfur is small potatoes.

    i remain less than confident that obama's advisors are going to make anything resembling a break with the past six decades of bipartisan imperial foreign policy. america cannot afford to continue to tell itself that we can still stand astride the globe like a colossus, bending the whole world to our whim (and interests) and still have the world love us for it.

    the only way that america regains anything resembling a good reputation is if we renounce our claim to global leader, imposed upon the world by both soft and hard power. we like to tell ourselves as a country that everyone craves our leadership[, and that whatever we want to do at any given moment is in the world's best interest, but the fact of the matter is that people across the globe - including our allies - are sick and tired of america acting as an unelected dictator on the global stage. these grievances are not solely in response to republican presidents, this goes far deeper than that.

    my concern (ironically enough) is that obama and his advisors see kennedy as a model. i will have to make a tactical vote for the best vote in this primary, but i cannot let this go without at least voicing my dissent.

    empire will be the very death of this republic. dreams of restoration, by democrat or republican presidents, are likely to founder upon the rocks of a world whose center of gravity has shifted hard against american claims to global hegemony. we would do well to adjust ourselves to this current reality, but i fear that we are constitutionally (if not Constitutionally) incapable of doing so.

    it is time for america to be a country among many, and not a self-imposed superpower. it is corrosive to our own democracy, and injurious to a whole lot of people around the globe.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:20:07 PM PST

    •  Your conception of (0+ / 0-)

      genocide bears absolutely no resembles to the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. US actions in Iraq, while wrong and illegal, are not and never have risen to the level of genocide, either morally (soft) or legally (hard).

      •  1 million+ dead, 4 million+ refugees (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, myriad, Bensdad, sofia

        whole cities and neighborhoods ethnically cleansed of ethnic and sectarian groups with government support (and the support of the occupying regime).

        if the perpetrator was serbia, or russia, or china, we'd be calling it genocide. although i'll admit the speed with which we switch sides in these occupation-driven sectarian/ethnic cleansing battles makes it hard to make sense of it all.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:39:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No "we" wouldn't. (0+ / 0-)

          You would because with your infinitesimal knowledge of international relations and international jurisprudence you love throwing around that word like it's confetti at a birthday party.

          Learn a little more about what genocide actually consists of - like 900,000 Rwandans killed in 90 days, before you next use the word "genocide" to describe an action with which you disagree.

    •  An excellent post (7+ / 0-)

      and I tend to agree with you about the goal--making America a country with responsibilities to the world, not as a superpower, but a country in partnership with other countries, in a relationship of mutual respect and cooperation.
      We've had that shot at being the only superpower on the planet and we blew the gasket.

      I hear that you are anxious about the Kennedy model, understand there are few, if any other foreign policy models that can even begin to be benign in America's history in the 20th century. For lack of a better term, the Kennedy model is a form that most Americans nowadays can wrap themselves around without being too threatened. But Obama may need to create a new paradigm for our foreign policy goals--perhaps closer to Al Gore's than to Jack Kennedy's

      If elected, Obama will have to deal with Americans understanding that ours is no longer the only country that matters in the world. That is going to be a difficult sell. Not impossible, but difficult. With that, I believe Americans are going to need to be made aware of the quid pro quo for that: our mutual survival with everyone else on the planet is at stake.

      Its going to take awhile for this country to regain some graceful diplomatic footing with the rest of the world after eight long years under Bush. And awhile longe to get to the mindset I described above. But a new direction is called for, and that's why so many of us are here for him now.

      To say I am a Democrat is an understatement. I'm all too well a Democrat.

      by Fe Bongolan on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:36:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Kennedy model benign? (0+ / 0-)

        The closest match to JFK's foreign policy is Ronald Reagan.  JFK would have heartily approved of funding the Contras or ratcheting up the ICBM race with the Soviets.  

        What do you think he ran in in 1960?  His basic case was that Eisenhower had been too weak in fighting Communism.  He got massive defense budget increases and dramatically upped our intervention in the developing world.  He was reasonably smart in how he approached much of that -- he got the "hearts and minds" angle, but JFK was a hardcore hawk who had nothing but scorn for doves like Adlai Stevenson.

    •  I hear you. (5+ / 0-)

      I used to be more solidly in your camp than I am now. I just no longer think counter-genocide is imperialism, especially if approved by international law and coordinated through international institutions.

      (-3.00, -7.54) Feingold '08 - Because reality is unacceptable.

      by Bundy on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:37:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He will follow the "Obama model" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tom Enever, Fonsia

      I'm not sure why everybody has to be compared to presidents past and then pigeon holed into that ideology.  Kennedy was an aggressor in the "happy trigger finger" sense.  Obama will be diplomatically aggressive.

      But with your world view it must be tough finding someone to get behind.  I also think we will become a country among many once China and India have evolved a little further towards development.

      •  JFK had to deal with the USSR, China, Cuba (0+ / 0-)

        and the Cold War. Obama would have to deal with the far more containable Islamist terror threat and a less dangerous Russia, China and of course Cuba. The global threat situation is quite different, so I see no reason for him to even consider following in the JFK mold. More like the Carter mold, I hope--just smarter and more sophisticated.

        I just changed my sig line because some bozo asked me to.

        by kovie on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:08:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Few of the other (0+ / 0-)

      "countries among many" have their leaders carry around "the football." The super-power status is inherited. 60 years of "don't fuck with us!" as the centerpiece of all diplomacy. It's like asking a lumberjack to work at Denny's. It's hypothetically doable, but what do you get in the end, other than a lot of spilled coffee?

      •  well hopefully, a military budget (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, myriad, Tom Enever

        that doesn't dwarf the rest of the world combined, a restoration of the constitutional model of american government (pre-imperial presidency), a lot less people worldwide that don't justifiably hate us, and a natyional self-image that doesn't depend on putting boots on throats (sometimes nicely) to reassure ourselves of our decency and self-worth, an economy that produces things useful for civilian purposes, and an end to war crimes and torture worldwide (neither of which are novel products of the current rat bastard president).

        we need to back slowly away from this role. it's poisoning us, as well as the world. getting rid of the nukes probably isn't a bad idea either, since we're clearly not mature enough to be trusted with them.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:04:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Elimination of the majority .... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          myriad, wu ming, Tom Enever

          ...of the 725+ military bases the U.S. now maintains in 35 foreign countries, a cranking down of arms sales (in competition with Russia, China and Great Britain), and, as you say, getting of the nukes as was promised decades ago in Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, ratified decades ago.

          "Just remember, boys, this is America. Just because you get more votes doesn't mean you win." - Special Agent Fox Mulder

          by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:41:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  more succintly (0+ / 0-)

        the superpower status is refreshed and expanded with every administration, it's not a simple inheritance. my point is that we do not benefit ("we" as american citizens and citizens of the world, not "we" as the american government) from this superpower status, and that our track record shows that merely applying good intentions to the same arrogant ends and with the same powerful means (be they soft or hard) reveals a country that has no business with that power.

        we blew it, long ago. it's time to join the rest of the world in recognizing that, and give up on this notion that everybody else needs us leading them (an unelected position, BTW).

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:09:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  He will come up against formidable forces (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of entrenchement and reaction, of course, and no doubt he will only make partial headway against them. But it's got to start somewhere, and I don't see Hillary as likely to be more successful towards this end--not that I expect her to even try. But from what I've been reading about his foreign policy, it will be intended to be "soft" soft power, i.e. soft in its methods (butter vs. guns) AND goals (cooperation and benevolence vas. soft imperialism).

      I could be wrong, of course--and even if not, reality has a way of changing things--but somehow I don't see someone who has the likes of Powers, Rice and Clarke as his top FP advisors as looking to persue a policy of JFK and Clinton-style neoliberal soft imperialism.

      But, again, I return to the question of who could and would likely be better? Hillary?!? Not that we shouldn't always demand the very best of our leaders--and berate them if them fail to come through--but it helps to start out with the person who comes across as most likely to want and be able to do the right things. Not perfect, just most likely.

      I just changed my sig line because some bozo asked me to.

      by kovie on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:03:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  hillary would be a disaster (0+ / 0-)

        and i do not place much trust in the depth of edwards' realization of exactly why the IWR was a bad vote.

        i'm not approaching this as a partisan, i'm sincerely troubled by the choices offered. i just thought i'd voice my misgivings, given the topic of the diary and its praise for obama's advisors.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:05:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Partisan or not (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Meteor Blades, pamelabrown

          I would never view your comments as anything but thoughtful, honest, well-meant and intelligent. One can be a partisan and yet all of these things too, contrary to what has been supposed and in some cases demonstrated by some.

          And I don't know if Hillary would be an outright disaster, more like a return to Clintonianism, which was better than Cheneyism, but of course not nearly good enough. More of a holding pattern or incremental improvement instead of the genuinely profound improvement over the previous 8 years that we'll need.

          I just changed my sig line because some bozo asked me to.

          by kovie on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:15:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  i just don't buy that Obama can do better (0+ / 0-)

            for the same reason Clinton didn't do better with his initial idealism.  Washington corrupts or Washington perverts or Washington corrupts and perverts.

            With Clinton he lost his Congress and the GOP made his and American lives less sane from that day on.  Clinton held power because people could see he was trying.

            I think all of you are way off on the demonization of both Bill and Hillary.  I think the desire to root for the new guy who sounds just like the original Bill Clinton is part of it, and I think that the notion that the GOP just won't let Hillary win is a part of it.

            I'm glad Obama supporters are so gung-ho I just can't get behind him because I don't think he does represent change.  I think he is just another politician.  

            I don't think Edwards is a perfect candidate but I support him because I think he'd be the one most likely to tackle my top issue, the financial divide.  

            In a perfect world I'd like a President who only had one goal:  put big oil out of business and legislate and enforce environmental standards.  To do the first research into clean technologies would be funded on a NASA level, billions and billions.  To do the second it would be to put the moderate GOPers in a room with the foremost world scientists concerning the environment (ecology) and climate change and let them hear the unvarnished truth about reality instead of just picking up a talking point from listening to Rush's extra-special guest of the day claim that global warming is a myth.  Then maybe they wouldn't just vote on environmental regulations they'd start helping to sponsor and pass tougher laws and then secure the funding for enforcement in the same manner.  It doesn't seem like any current candidate even has the environment as a "top ten" issue.  I'm sure they're "all for it" they just don't say it.  

            Sure wish Gore woulda brought his shiny new Nobel to the race!

            Tired of the lies? That makes 60% of us!

            by Bill O Rights on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 12:05:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  100% agreement. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming

      "Just remember, boys, this is America. Just because you get more votes doesn't mean you win." - Special Agent Fox Mulder

      by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:28:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i agree with a hundred percent of what you say (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming

      both here and down the line.

      The only thing I'd say is that the US won't willingly release its claim to "superduperpoworialship" without a fight.  The biggest reason being as the "boot on the neck" is what has allowed us to operate in debt for so long.  Relax the boot and the lenders might get saucy and demand some remittance.

      Tired of the lies? That makes 60% of us!

      by Bill O Rights on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:47:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  agreed (0+ / 0-)

        it should be interesting to see what the argentinization of our economy  will do, if anything, to that global military ambition. will we, like russia, try our hand at smaller senseless wars for a change, or will we continue to try and shoot the moon until people finally step in and take away the keys?

        perhaps the debt will loosen the boot.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 12:14:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  in truth? (0+ / 0-)

          I believe our arrogance has reached the point that if China or India said "pay up sucker" the president would literally go on tv and give China etc a nice public "fuck you, come and get it....oh yeah, we still have plenty of nukes."

          It would make us look like assholes but then again we look like assholes quite a bit of the time.  It might cut off our lending tit but Clinton proved the country can operate just fine with a budget surplus so we'd just go back to being fiscally responsible till it was apropos to beg for loans again.

          Tired of the lies? That makes 60% of us!

          by Bill O Rights on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 01:06:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for another of your meaty diaries. (10+ / 0-)

    It is to Obama's credit that he has been able to attract such a capable and diverse group of foreign policy advisors. I expect that the world would breath a collective sigh of relief if President Obama were a reality.

  •  One of my favorite Middle East experts.. (11+ / 0-)

    ..Marc Lynch (professor of political science at George Washington University and author of Voices of the New Arab Public) took the unusual step in this primary to endorse Obama.

    Congratulations to Barack Obama for his commanding victory in Iowa last night!   I try to stay away from primary politics, and domestic politics for that matter, and I don't plan to change that.   But it's no secret that I've been impressed with Obama from the outset.  I haven't agreed with every policy statement he's made, every feint he's made during the twists and turns in the campaign.  But he has offered the most compelling vision of American foreign policy and America's place in the world.  He gets the big things right.   His victory speech last night was downright inspiring - and I don't inspire easily.   Major props to all involved.

    Now back to the regularly scheduled Middle East politics.

    Another of Obama's FP advisors that I really like is Robert Malley,  now the Middle East and North Africa Program Director directer of the widely respected International Crisis Group.

    Thanks for another great diary!

  •  It's bycatch, not genocide (3+ / 0-)

    We were trying to kill Al Qaeda, but netted a million dead Iraqis along with them. It's not intentional, so it's not genocide. Right?

    Iraqis might as well be dolphins caught in tuna nets....except we outlawed dolphin slaughter.

    "It's the planet, stupid."

    by FishOutofWater on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:27:10 PM PST

  •  Samantha Power (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annalivia, mistersite, vernonbc, Fonsia

    the next Secretary of State?

    (-3.00, -7.54) Feingold '08 - Because reality is unacceptable.

    by Bundy on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:31:55 PM PST

  •  KO you rule. n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vernonbc, Fonsia
  •  as a current ex-pat (6+ / 0-)

    i totally agree with and applaud your diary, kid oakland. i would add, that while on domestic policy, the future president will face many battles/negotiation because of the way congress works, it is in foreign policy where Obama will really shine. for all the reasons you mentioned, and many more. recc'd!

    The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. -Abraham Lincoln

    by txdreamer on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:40:24 PM PST

  •  k/o, I look forward to your diaries (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, vernonbc, Fonsia

    It allows the non-reactive, more thoughtful side of me out after a week of pure gut reaction to what we're calling primary politics in 2008.

    ---from Berkeley with a nod

    To say I am a Democrat is an understatement. I'm all too well a Democrat.

    by Fe Bongolan on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:43:03 PM PST

  •  thanks a million k/o (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    recusancy, vernonbc, Fonsia

    you restore my faith in Daily Kos.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward, put it in R. To go forward, put it in D.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:43:31 PM PST

  •  And yet this powerless little community,,,, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cathy Willey

    ...elected Senator Mel Martinez, who just endorsed John McCain today. I agree with Obama's efforts to relax restrictions on Cuba. It is the only sane policy to have. I just don't know if it is an election-winning policy.

    "I am my brother's keeper. I am a Democrat." -- That's your slogan, Democrats.

    by Bensdad on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:47:09 PM PST

    •  fear (12+ / 0-)

      is one of the underlying bases of the Clinton campaign.

      Underlying the appeal of "ready to lead" is "an electorate afraid"

      It is also the political reality that led us into Iraq.

      I have no doubt that if Senator Clinton had been President, that America's course post 9/11 would have been different. I grant that to almost any Democrat.

      But the truth is that Senator Clinton, out of political fear and poor judgment, voted to allow George Bush to invade Iraq. And did not vote for that further check that at least would have brought it back to Congress one more time.

      Fear, whether of one's political or real world enemies, can cause mistakes, can cause fundamental errors of judgment.

      Barack Obama's assessment was that Saddam Hussein, at that time, did not pose the "greater risk" to the United States.

      The very same "political fear" that paralyses Clinton in Florida...which she needs because with Hillary we may not get Colorado or Iowa or New Mexico or Missouri...

      is the fear that caused her to vote to allow the President to go to war in Iraq.  A vote she has never fully explained or really come to terms with.

      Fear can cause even seemingly "sage" leaders to act rashly or in a cowardly manner.

      That's the truth. We should talk about it now while we have choice.

      k/o: politics and culture

      by kid oakland on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:56:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Clinton campaign is fearless... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...Senator Clinton went from being one of the most scorned women in the history of media lynchings, to becoming a two time Senator of one of the most populous and influential states in the union. She didn't do it by cowering in fear, by cutting brush, or by attempting to parlay a silver tongue and 2 years on the job into the most powerful position in the world.

        Senator Clinton made a political calculation in voting to authorize George Bush to use military force in Iraq in 2002, a mere year after her state sustained the worst enemy attack since Pearl Harbor. Her calculation was this: George Bush is going to do what he is going to do anyway. He knows no law. Democrats are scorned as being weak on defense and a vast majority of the American populous believes that Iraq was involved in 9/11. Although others are screaming that this is a lie, they aren't listening. There is only one way I can put a stop to this: By becoming President. I believe that progressives will understand that I am an anti-war progressive and, when the time comes, will remember what I am about, and not what I did to live to see another day in American politics in 2002.

        As for Obama, we have NO IDEA how he would have voted on the AUMF. He wasn't even in a position to vote "present". We do know that he never failed to fund the war. That tells me all I need to know: He made the same calculation that Hillary did -- progressives will remember understand that I am against the Iraq war.

        Of all the things that have been said about Hillary Clinton, "fearful" is not one of them that has been said with any credibility.

        Clinton is not paralyzed in Florida --she is going to pitch it to whomever she must. Because she understands that unless you actually gain the Presidency all of the woulda coulda shouldas are utterly academic.

        And this country cannot afford another liberal engaging in an academic exercise.

        It's going to take a President.

        "I am my brother's keeper. I am a Democrat." -- That's your slogan, Democrats.

        by Bensdad on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:43:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  ko, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

              I am concerned about Hillary's plans with the Florida primary vote.  First off, it was her partisan state politicians that went along with the R's to change the date.  Hillary has a huge advantage with the "no campaigning" and many voters will not show up Tuesday because of being told the vote doesn't count.  The people definitely showing up will be homeowners and senior citizens to vote on the new property tax amendment that doubles the homestead exemption, allows homeowners to take their "save-the-home" cap to a new house and gives SENIORS a further deduction!  The results are going to be very skewed toward Hillary and now she is talking about trying to get the votes counted FOR THE VOTERS!  The politicians are mostly doing the whining and voters are not going to be depressed about voting in the general election either.   Obama has many "Independents" and moderates waiting to vote for him that can't vote in our "closed" primary anyway.  Besides Hillary trying to get these votes, I worry that she is going to use Florida as making herself look electable down here and she is not.  I campaigned for Kerry and believe me she will get her butt kicked.                                 So many of these crucial "Independents" in our Tampa Bay area, socially liberal, are registered that way because they despised the Clinton and Bush administrations for their devisiveness, their political ploys and their corporate ties....  Obama will truly bring them home to the Democratic Party....  This includes my National Guard SSG son and his military friends that really like Obama's Middle Eastern policies.  Thanks for this great and informative diary.   mjd

  •  Those of us under 50? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NotGeorgeWill, pvlb

    What is it about turning 50 that supposedly impedes understanding this so-called "mindset?"

    •  nothing (7+ / 0-)

      We are in this together.

      I'm just saying that, spending time talking to young voters, as I have the last's clear that long term thinking and pro-active solutions are prized more than ideological purity.

      Just today I was talking to a bunch of students and would be students at UCB's Haas and the consensus was that the concept of "social entrepeneurship"...or merging for profit with "for the common good" projects was the next big wave for business students.

      That is just not the "selling out" versus "buying in" dialectic that we inherited in college in the 80s from those ahead of us.

      k/o: politics and culture

      by kid oakland on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:03:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, I (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Donna Z, Cathy Willey, Bensdad

        went to a business school for a year before I transferred out to study Physics - it's all about social entrepreneurship, Mohammed Yunus is a big figure. Also, business schools are seriously focusing on ethical business practices nowadays, it's cool.

        A big debate in business is the concept of profit versus sustainability. Board meetings at Goldman-Sachs used to get testy, because instead of going for cutthroat method of profits - which is the traditional conservative view - they're starting to develop "sustainability" business models.

        Anyway, I'm a 19 year old, I'm a big fan of sustainability, for what it's worth. But I also think conservatives in this country are here in seriously underestimated numbers.

        The implications of your candidate are staggering.

        by bhagamu on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:14:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great Diary - Obama is superior on foreign policy (4+ / 0-)

    As always - well written, thorough and persuasive k/o.

    There is a reason why so many of the very accomplished and top intellects support Barack Obama - he is brilliant, unconventional, honest and righteous as well as right on the money in diagnosing the best way to deal with a dangerous and capricious world.

    He has the temperament, intellect and judgment that we need right now.

  •  great diary - but there are questions / gaps (6+ / 0-)

    I have to tell you as a non-American that of all the candidates, Obama seems to the most overtly champion American exceptionalism, and it is deeply troubling. What you call his 'internationalism' I think you'll find a lot of foreigners observing would call 'a return to American soft imperial power'.

    Increasing aid sounds good  -but what's it going to be spent on? The USA currently counts millions of dollars of military support as 'foreign aid'. So saying Obama wants to substantively increase it isn't an immediate positive without detail.

    What is his policy in pre-emption? Everything I've read to date would indicate he supports it. This issue is critical internationally, yet you haven't touched on it.

    What is his policy on Israel and Palestine? Again, the USA has a long history here of repeated blocking UN attempts to censure the worst Israeli excesses, and has sided again and again with Israel over the Palestinians, inflaming the situation in the Middle East?

    Why haven't you mentioned that Obama has stated he wants to increase the size of the US military, and I think (need to check) the US foreign military presence?  - Can you understand that both those statements hardly enthuse or allay the anxieties of many in the international community, already looking at some hundred odd US military bases and groaning under the costs of excess US military power.

    Perhaps most importantly, what is his policy on nuclear disarmament? This one is becoming increasingly critical as Russia starts to ramp up its nuclear power again, India looks to buy Uranium, Pakistan is on the verge of a civil war, etc etc.

    In short, I think there are some rather large holes in your diary that need plugging for this to be a comprehensive summary of Obama's foreign policy; and as a foreigner I've not heard anything yet that deviates from traditional US approaches to the world.

    "This just can't get more disturbing!" - Willow

    by myriad on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 09:52:59 PM PST

      •  I appreciate the link (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I've seen much of this before. I was hoping for the 'unfiltered' version - ie the one not written to make Americans feel all warm and fuzzy, if that makes sense (ie what's on his page is written for an American audience, of course - how you explain it to a non-US audience is rather different, and I was hoping for KO's take on it).

        Nice to see he has a relatively sane and minimally hypocritical attitude to nukes. Shame about Israel, and many of the issues I raised are either answered in the negative for a foreign observer, or unanswered.

        "This just can't get more disturbing!" - Willow

        by myriad on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:09:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well.. Your asking a small fry supporter (0+ / 0-)

          to give you insights into Obama that haven't been expressed by him or his advisers.  I difinitely would recommend reading his two books, "Dreams From My Father" and "Audacity of Hope".  He is a tremendous writer and gives great insight into his thinking and disposition.

        •  to explain a bit better (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wu ming

          his foreign policy page is littered with comments like "America will lead"  "American leadership" etc. I'm afraid that doesn't warm many hearts these days.

          I am really happy to see his stance on nukes. It's taken a few minutes to sink in. Equally really worried by his banging on about leadership and the silence on pre-emption.

          Don't get me wrong - he's obviously not going to be any worse than any of the other Dem candidates and quite possibly better. The American exceptionalism stuff is just really hard to take at this point.

          "This just can't get more disturbing!" - Willow

          by myriad on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:19:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's no getting past the exceptionalism stuff. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mjd in florida

            You'll see that from every candidate.  Barack took a bunch of shit from the press for a while because he didn't where an American flag lapel pin after the country went flag waving nuts after 9/11.  He wanted to show his patriotism through actions and not by wearing a pin.

            •  yeah, I know - it was kind of why I was hoping (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              KO might be able to give the unfiltered version - or should I say filtered?

              It makes it extremely difficult for an outsider to discern what's really being put on the table and the implications for the world. Even if you grit your teeth and listen, the foreign policy messages are so tailored to a US audience that it's difficult. Do you happen to know of any foreign policy speeches Obama has given to an international audience?

              "This just can't get more disturbing!" - Willow

              by myriad on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:26:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You know I just thought about it (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                myriad, mjd in florida, hannahlk

                and the Democratic primary has pretty much left foreign policy off the table.  There's no debate about it, except who can get the troops out the fastest from Iraq.  The party is so obsessed with healthcare and trade, that it's pretty much all they talk about.

                I would really like there to be some more debate on the issue past Iraq.  I think Barack could really show people some light in between him and the other two.  Edwards, I have no clue what his position on anything foreign is.  Hillary is basically gonna be a more competent Bush.

                •  Edwards positions (0+ / 0-)

                  Reengaging With the World

                  Our standing in the world has been badly tarnished in recent years. America must once again be looked up to and respected around the world.

                  Edwards supports the immediate withdrawal of 40,000-50,000 troops from Iraq and the complete withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq within nine to ten months. We must also lead on the great challenges like ending the genocide in Darfur and the conflict in Uganda and fighting global poverty and diseases like AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.

                  A strong, principled national security policy is the foundation of America's strength. We must strengthen homeland security, stand by our soldiers at every turn, while respecting the Constitution and living up to our ideals in the fight against terrorism.

                  Other issue papers:
                  Civil Liberties
                  Rengaging With The World

                  From that last, on Reengagement:

                  At the dawn of a new century and on the brink of a new presidency, John Edwards believes the United States today needs to reclaim the moral high ground that defined our foreign policy for much of the last century. We must move beyond the wreckage created by one of the greatest strategic failures in U.S. history: the war in Iraq. Rather than alienating the rest of the world through assertions of infallibility and demands of obedience, as the current administration has done, U.S. foreign policy must be driven by a strategy of reengagement.


                  We need a new path, one that will lead to reengagement with the world and restoration of the United States' moral authority in the community of nations. As President Harry Truman once said, "No one nation alone can bring peace. Together, nations can build a strong defense against aggression and combine the energy of free men everywhere in building a better future for all."



                  We should chart a new course for diplomatic relations with Iran by expanding low-level talks between government officials on both sides in a neutral country. The goal of these talks should be to find a path out of the log-jam created by the Bush administration and, ultimately, to achieve full diplomatic relations. But Edwards believes we must always negotiate from a position of strength. Any higher-level meeting should only happen if we verify that the meetings will promote America's national security interests and will not be used for propaganda or other improper purposes.

                  Edwards believes we must use diplomatic "sticks" to force Iran's leaders to understand that they cannot continue to buck the will of the international community without destroying their ability to be the modern, advanced nation they so desperately want to become. First, we must fully enforce the Iran Sanctions Act, a law Congress passed to let the president punish companies that do business with Iran's extremist regime. Second, we must work multilaterally—most importantly, with our Western European allies—to strengthen economic sanctions on Iran. Third, we must completely shut down all Iranian access to the American financial system. We also should use "carrots"—diplomatic measures to convince Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions and support of terrorism. Iran, which right now cannot even process its own oil and imports the majority of its fuel, needs greater energy resources. We should draw Iran into compliance through incentives including increased refinery capacity. We should also lead a multilateral effort to create a regional fuel bank that Iran could use for peaceful purposes. We should also use the possibility of bringing Iran into multilateral economic organizations, including the WTO, to draw Iran's elites into pressuring the regime to change course and abandon its nuclear ambitions. Finally, we must work with China and Russia on the problem of Iran's nuclear ambitions and make Iran a top-level priority in our bilateral relationships with both countries.

                  "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." MLK, from jail in Birmingham, AL.

                  by bewert on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:44:43 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well.. I can say this I have a problem with (0+ / 0-)

                    Iran's possession of nuclear weapons could also set off a regional nuclear arms race in an unstable region in the world, which would directly threaten US interests. As president, Edwards would take aggressive steps to resolve the situation and to protect the United States and our allies.

                    •  I don't see how that's any different then (0+ / 0-)

                      the course we're already on.

                    •  Obama on Iran to AIPAC (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      wu ming

                      The world must work to stop Iran's uranium enrichment program and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It is far too dangerous to have nuclear weapons in the hands of a radical theocracy. And while we should take no option, including military action, off the table, sustained and aggressive diplomacy combined with tough sanctions should be our primary means to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons.

                      For his full statement see my comment below.

                      Every single one of our candidates bows to Israel and rattles their sabers against Iran. Fact of life.

                      Both Obama and Edwards favor diplomacy, while keeping the military option "on the table">

                      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." MLK, from jail in Birmingham, AL.

                      by bewert on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:17:55 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  But Obama's language stesses diplomacy (0+ / 0-)

                        He qualifies the fact that he'll use diplomacy with the fact (to comfort the crazies) that he doesn't rule out military action.

                        Edwards qualifies the fact that he wants be aggressive (code for military) with the fact that he'll be diplomatic.

                        Also Obama has this on his site:

                        Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Obama will make progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a key diplomatic priority. He will make a sustained push – working with Israelis and Palestinians – to achieve the goal of two states, a Jewish state in Israel and a Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security.

                        I don't see anything on Edwards' site about a 2 state solutions. (It may be there I just can't find it)

                        I agree that Israel has us by the nuts right now and it sucks.

                        •  Does anyone not want a two-state solution? (0+ / 0-)


                          Also, Obama co-sponsored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006.

                          If Obama really wanted diplomacy with Iran, I wish he would have shown up to vote NO on Kyl/Lieberman. It would have been a statement on that issue.

                          BTW-Good, short overview of the various candidates I/P position here, at CFR.

                          "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." MLK, from jail in Birmingham, AL.

                          by bewert on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:35:57 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Well.. Honestly I'm quite ignorant on the issue (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mjd in florida

                            so I don't know about the 2 state thing.  Seems like everyone should want it.  But then again it seemed like invading Iraq was a bunch of BS but that didn't stop a lot of them.

                            Yeah... He should have been there to vote on the Kyle/Lieberman but Reid told him the vote was not going to take place.  Then it got called up at the last second and he wasn't able to make it back in time.  There are rumors that it was Reid who set it up so Clinton could vote to be a hawk (no knowing that we don't want a damn hawk) and Barack would be stuck no being able to vote.

                          •  You might be interested in this article (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            No Preference, recusancy

                            Nothing you'll find in the US media, but written by an Arab-American who lives in Chicago and has known Obama for almost ten years:

                            And here is an article on Jewish views of th AIPAC speech, originally published in Jewish Week:

                            "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." MLK, from jail in Birmingham, AL.

                            by bewert on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:51:06 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Does that include Jerusalem as an international (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            city? I'm not trying to stir stuff up, but I - P issues need the US as a broker not to impose our own solution (2 state or otherwise).

                            There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS. Mahatma Gandhi

                            by Sacramento Dem on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:53:31 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Appreciate your comments (0+ / 0-)

                Thanks for taking the time to post.  It's refreshing to get an outsider's viewpoint.  I only wish that more Americans could hear you.  We've built ourselves an echo chamber here.

                •  that's no different from any other nation (0+ / 0-)

                  give or take a few percent

                  It just has much larger consequences when the world's only superpower is so insular - and far more worryingly, obsessed with a mythical self-image.

                  It's very hard to talk about the USA without it looking like 'bashing'. I give it a go every now and then.

                  "This just can't get more disturbing!" - Willow

                  by myriad on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 04:33:00 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

            the rest of the world does want, and need, COMPETENT American leadership. I was surprised myself to learn this when I moved to the UK last year to study politics.

            We are like the bull in the china shop--it's hard to see when you're living in the US (where we kind of forget about the rest of the world--or at least, it seems far away) but everything we do affects the rest of the world because we are the world's only superpower. For instance, for all the talk about China and India, the size of our economy dwarfs those of the next biggest on the list.

            So, while we go about our lives, only vaguely aware of  what's happening in remote countries across the seas, the whole rest of the world has its eyes on us. And this election is probably being followed more closely by people in other countries than by many Americans.

            "It is time to make peace with the planet." - Al Gore (Nobel acceptance speech)

            by hannahlk on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 04:29:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  disagree (0+ / 0-)

              what the world needs is for the USA to re-assess its role as a superpower and find something more useful to do that doesn't involve imposing a failing paradigm on the world through hard and soft power. I guess you can call that 'leadership', but I would call it something more like cooperation, or 'leading by example'.

              the UK I'm afraid is not the place to look for an assessment of the USA that reflects the majority world view. The UK essentially passed its empire on to the USA, hence the weird jealous-but-happy-to-suck-up attitude. The UK still has enormous wealth and power after well over a century of dominating the globe, and it lost its influence "honorably" after WW2 through a combination of voluntary ceding and realpolitik recognition that it no longer had the military power to hold onto 1/3 of the world. hence the grudging ceding the role to the USA.

              your last point I do agree with. Bush is a nadir we'd all like to move up from.

              "This just can't get more disturbing!" - Willow

              by myriad on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 04:37:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No it's not just the UK. (0+ / 0-)

                Living in London, you meet people from all over the world, and are exposed to the media of other countries, and it's simply a fact that the US HAS a leadership role in the world, even if that's something a lot of liberals are uncomfortable with for whatever reason.

                I'm not saying there isn't resentment towards the US, there is--and that's what I expected. What was surprising to me was how we are also seen as having an obligation to provide responsible leadership because of how powerful we are--even if it's just, as you say, leading by example. We saw an example of this at Bali, and there was just a diary in this vein by a Canadian talking about the EPA decision on California. (It's in yesterday's Diary Rescue.) He mentions how everything we do has effects for other countries. This isn't my opinion, it's just reality.

                "It is time to make peace with the planet." - Al Gore (Nobel acceptance speech)

                by hannahlk on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 07:40:45 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  we're saying almost the same thing (0+ / 0-)

                  I'm not denying for a second that the USA's power means it has an enormous influence on the world - and as a result of course people feel it has an obligation to use it for good. All that's telling you is that people would prefer a benign dictator to a savage one - and even there the USA goes through fits and starts.

                  If you dig a little deeper that you won't find a much stronger preference for a plurality of power bases within the world with more balance, and a reformed and much more effective UN, rather than having to hope that bull in the china shop learns ballet. I think one of the saddest things of the last 10+ years is that the USA has so effectively undermined the UN many people are now looking back to a superpower model, rather than looking to the UN - the classic example was the recent efforts by Kofi Annan to reform the UN in key areas that would have made significant improvements to international governance & moved the UN much closer to what its meant to be; this got virtually no coverage.

                  This is also one of the many reasons for the formation of the EU - and here you can starkly see the UK's different attitude to the rest of Europe, the UK still looks to cling to the trappings of empire, and part of that means a stronger alliance with the USA.

                  I'm half english btw, and have spent a fair bit of time living in London & surrounds.

                  "This just can't get more disturbing!" - Willow

                  by myriad on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 12:48:49 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  "American exceptionalism" is the most ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      myriad, wu ming

      ...pernicious of America's myths.

      "Just remember, boys, this is America. Just because you get more votes doesn't mean you win." - Special Agent Fox Mulder

      by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:50:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nuclear non-proliferation . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is an area where Obama did some work while in the Senate.  Granted this is not synonymous with nuclear disarmament -- although his viewpoints on this issues can be found at

      Council on Foreign Relations

      Barack Obama  

      Sen. Obama (D-IL) has said the United States should seek "a world in which there are no nuclear weapons." But he said in an October 2007 speech he does not believe the United States should pursue unilateral nuclear disarmament. "As long as nuclear weapons exist, we’ll retain a strong nuclear deterrent," he said. If elected, he says he will seek "a global ban on the production of fissile material for weapons," as well as an expansion of the U.S.-Russian intermediate-range missile ban. He also says he will "strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty so that nations that don't comply will automatically face strong international sanctions."

      Obama says if elected he will make ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty a priority. Though he says the United States should "lead the international effort to deemphasize the role of nuclear weapons around the world," he has stopped short of opposing the building of a new Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). Instead, he said he is against (PDF) a "premature" decision to build an RRW .

      In August 2005, Obama traveled with Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) to nuclear and biological weapons destruction facilities in the former Soviet Union, where they urged the destruction of conventional weapons stockpiles. With Lugar, Obama introduced the Cooperative Proliferation Detection, Interdiction Assistance, and Conventional Threat Reduction Act, which passed as part of the Department of State Authorities Act of 2006.

      Click here for this candidate's position on other top foreign policy issues.

      The Council on Foreign Relations has a good 3rd party view on his stance on other issues . . .

      Foreign relations issues

  •  Here's a big reason why I support Barack Obama: (5+ / 0-)

    John Edwards in Israel in 2007:

    Q: ...Secondly, you as grassroots person, who has an understanding of the American people, is there understanding of this threat [Iran] across US?

    A:...As to the American people, this is a difficult question. The vast majority of people are concerned about what is going on in Iraq. This will make the American people reticent toward going for Iran. But I think the American people are smart if they are told the truth, and if they trust their president. So Americans can be educated to come along with what needs to be done with Iran.

    •  Damning (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      When did he say that?   I don't see one on the link.

      You should diary it.  I'd like to see the JRE people defend it.

      •  Link at the bottom there... (0+ / 0-)

        Maybe I will... maybe I will.

        In any case, Edwards flushed any trust we would give him down the toilet, and his supporters have a responsibility to be aware of the above statements. I would imagine that many of the so-called liberal supporters he has actually approve of what he said above, for their own reasons.

        Far be it from me to judge, everyone is entitled to their own special interest issues, though the rest of us should of course be aware of who Edwards is and the things he says.

        •  Own special interest issue? (0+ / 0-)

          If you're any Democrat running for national office, Israel is your special interest.  This is the worst, most intractable problem our party has.

          •  Yes. (0+ / 0-)

            I was disappointed when Obama defended Israel's bombing of Lebanon in the summer of 2006 when the rest of the world was pleading with the US to use its influence to get Israel to stop. Whole communities were devastated and scores of families, including children, were killed.

            It was kind of a blip in the news here, but THE major news story in the rest of the world at the time. I actually wrote to Obama's office (I'm from Illinois) and he responded with an e-mailed letter (which I still have) saying Israel's right to "self-defense" needed to be protected (the Bush admin. position).

            "It is time to make peace with the planet." - Al Gore (Nobel acceptance speech)

            by hannahlk on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 04:16:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  The date's at the top of the page on the right. (0+ / 0-)
    •  Barack Obama, AIPAC, 3/2/07 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming


      "We Must Preserve Our Total Commitment to Our Unique Defense Relationship with Israel"
      By Sen. BARACK OBAMA

      [NOTE: Obama's speech was largely written by Mark Lippert, Obama's Senate foreign policy adviser, and Dan Shapiro, a Middle East specialist, now a lobbyist, who is an Obama campaign foreign policy adviser. Shapiro recently was a deputy chief of staff for Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and handled international affairs for Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). He also served on the National Security Council under former President Bill Clinton.]

      Thank you so much for your kind introduction and the invitation to meet with you this morning.

      Last week, this event was described to me as a small gathering of friends. Looking at all of you here today; seeing so many of you who care about peace in this world; who care about a strong and lasting friendship between Israel and the United States, and who care about what's on the next page of our shared futures, I think "a small gathering of friends" fits this crowd just right.

      I want to begin today by telling you a story.

      Back in January of 2006, I made my first trip to the Holy Land. It is a place unlike any other on this earth ­ a place filled with so much promise of what we truly can be as people; a place where we've learned how in a flash, violence and hatred and intolerance can turn that promise to rubble and send too many lives to their early graves.

      Most will travel to the holy sites: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock or the Western Wall. They make a journey to be humbled before God. I too am blessed to have seen Israel this way, up close and on the ground.

      But I am also fortunate to have seen Israel from the air.

      On my journey that January day, I flew on an IDF helicopter to the border zone. The helicopter took us over the most troubled and dangerous areas and that narrow strip between the West Bank and the Mediterranean Sea. At that height, I could see the hills and the terrain that generations have walked across. I could truly see how close everything is and why peace through security is the only way for Israel.

      Our helicopter landed in the town of Kiryat Shmona on the border. What struck me first about the village was how familiar it looked. The houses and streets looked like ones you might find in a suburb in America. I could imagine young children riding their bikes down the streets. I could imagine the sounds of their joyful play just like my own daughters. There were cars in the driveway. The shrubs were trimmed. The families were living their lives.

      Then, I saw a house that had been hit with one of Hezbollah's Katyusha rockets.

      The family who lived in the house was lucky to be alive. They had been asleep in another part when the rocket hit. They described the explosion. They talked about the fire and the shrapnel. They spoke about what might have been if the rocket had come screaming into their home at another time when they weren't asleep but sitting peacefully in the now destroyed part of the house.

      It is an experience I keep close to my heart. Not because it is unique, but because we know that too many others have seen the same kind of destruction, have lost their loved ones to suicide bombers and live in fear of when the next attack might hit. Just six months after I visited, Hezbollah launched four thousand rocket attacks just like the one that destroyed the home in Kiryat Shmona, and kidnapped Israeli service members. And we pray for all of the service members who have been kidnapped: Gilad Shalit, Eldad Regev, and Ehud Goldwasser, and I met with his family this week. I offered to help in any way I can.

      It is important to remember this history-that Israel had unilaterally withdrawn from Lebanon only to have Iran supply Hezbollah with thousands of rockets.

      Our job is to never forget that the threat of violence is real. Our job is to renew the United States' efforts to help Israel achieve peace with its neighbors while remaining vigilant against those who do not share this vision. Our job is to do more than lay out another road map; our job is to rebuild the road to real peace and lasting security throughout the region.

      That effort begins with a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel: our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy. That will always be my starting point. And when we see all of the growing threats in the region: from Iran to Iraq to the resurgence of al-Qaeda to the reinvigoration of Hamas and Hezbollah, that loyalty and that friendship will guide me as we begin to lay the stones that will build the road that takes us from the current instability to lasting peace and security.

      It won't be easy. Some of those stones will be heavy and tough for the United States to carry. Others with be heavy and tough for Israel to carry. And even more will be difficult for the world. But together, we will begin again.

      One of the heavy stones that currently rest at the United States' feet is Iraq. Until we lift this burden from our foreign policy, we cannot rally the world to our values and vision.

      As many of you know, I opposed this war from the beginning ­ in part because I believed that giving this President the open-ended authority to invade Iraq would lead to the open-ended occupation we find ourselves in today.

      Now our soldiers find themselves in the crossfire of someone else's civil war. More than 3,100 have given the last full measure of devotion to their country. This war has fueled terrorism and helped galvanize terrorist organizations. And it has made the world less safe.

      That is why I advocate a phased redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq to begin no later than May first with the goal of removing all combat forces from Iraq by March 2008. In a civil war where no military solution exists, this redeployment remains our best leverage to pressure the Iraqi government to achieve the political settlement between its warring factions that can slow the bloodshed and promote stability.

      My plan also allows for a limited number of U.S. troops to remain and prevent Iraq from becoming a haven for international terrorism and reduce the risk of all-out chaos. In addition, we will redeploy our troops to other locations in the region, reassuring our allies that we will stay engaged in the Middle East. And my plan includes a robust regional diplomatic strategy that includes talking to Syria and Iran ­ something this Administration has finally embraced.

      The U.S. military has performed valiantly and brilliantly in Iraq. Our troops have done all that we have asked them to do and more. But a consequence of the Administration's failed strategy in Iraq has been to strengthen Iran's strategic position; reduce U.S. credibility and influence in the region; and place Israel and other nations friendly to the United States in greater peril. These are not the signs of a well-paved road. It is time for profound change.

      As the U.S. redeploys from Iraq, we can recapture lost influence in the Middle East. We can refocus our efforts to critical, yet neglected priorities, such as combating international terrorism and winning the war in Afghanistan. And we can, then, more effectively deal with one of the greatest threats to the United States, Israel and world peace: Iran. Iran's President Ahmadinejad's regime is a threat to all of us. His words contain a chilling echo of some of the world's most tragic history.

      Unfortunately, history has a terrible way of repeating itself. President Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust. He held a conference in his country, claiming it was a myth. But we know the Holocaust was as real as the 6 million who died in mass graves at Buchenwald, or the cattle cars to Dachau or whose ashes clouded the sky at Auschwitz. We have seen the pictures. We have walked the halls of the Holocaust museum in Washington and Yad Vashem. We have touched the tattoos on loved-ones arms. After 60 years, it is time to deny the deniers.

      In the 21st century, it is unacceptable that a member state of the United Nations would openly call for the elimination of another member state. But that is exactly what he has done. Neither Israel nor the United States has the luxury of dismissing these outrages as mere rhetoric.

      The world must work to stop Iran's uranium enrichment program and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It is far too dangerous to have nuclear weapons in the hands of a radical theocracy. And while we should take no option, including military action, off the table, sustained and aggressive diplomacy combined with tough sanctions should be our primary means to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons.

      Iranian nuclear weapons would destabilize the region and could set off a new arms race. Some nations in the region, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, could fall away from restraint and rush into a nuclear contest that could fuel greater instability in the region-that's not just bad for the Middle East, but bad for the world, making it a vastly more dangerous and unpredictable place. Other nations would feel great pressure to accommodate Iranian demands. Terrorist groups with Iran's backing would feel emboldened to act even more brazenly under an Iranian nuclear umbrella. And as the A.Q. Kahn network in Pakistan demonstrated, Iran could spread this technology around the world.

      To prevent this worst-case scenario, we need the United States to lead tough-minded diplomacy.

      This includes direct engagement with Iran similar to the meetings we conducted with the Soviets at the height of the Cold War, laying out in clear terms our principles and interests. Tough-minded diplomacy would include real leverage through stronger sanctions. It would mean more determined U.S diplomacy at the United Nations. It would mean harnessing the collective power of our friends in Europe who are Iran's major trading partners. It would mean a cooperative strategy with Gulf States who supply Iran with much of the energy resources it needs. It would mean unifying those states to recognize the threat of Iran and increase pressure on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment. It would mean full implementation of U.S. sanctions laws. And over the long term, it would mean a focused approach from us to finally end the tyranny of oil, and develop our own alternative sources of energy to drive the price of oil down.

      We must also persuade other nations such as Saudi Arabia to recognize common interests with Israel in dealing with Iran. We should stress to the Egyptians that they help the Iranians and do themselves no favors by failing to adequately prevent the smuggling of weapons and cash by Iran into Gaza.

      The United States' leverage is strengthened when we have many nations with us. It puts us in a place where sanctions could actually have a profound impact on Iran's economy. Iran is highly dependent on imports and foreign investment, credit and technology. And an environment where our allies see that these types of investments in Iran are not in the world's best interests, could help bring Iran to the table.

      We have no quarrel with the Iranian people. They know that President Ahamadinejad is reckless, irresponsible, and inattentive to their day-to-day needs which is why they sent him a rebuke at the ballot box this fall. And we hope more of them will speak out. There is great hope in their ability to see his hatred for what it is: hatred and a threat to peace in the region.

      At the same time, we must preserve our total commitment to our unique defense relationship with Israel by fully funding military assistance and continuing work on the Arrow and related missile defense programs. This would help Israel maintain its military edge and deter and repel attacks from as far as Tehran and as close as Gaza. And when Israel is attacked, we must stand up for Israel's legitimate right to defend itself. Last summer, Hezbollah attacked Israel. By using Lebanon as an outpost for terrorism, and innocent people as shields, Hezbollah has also engulfed that entire nation in violence and conflict, and threatened the fledgling movement for democracy there. That's why we have to press for enforcement of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which demands the cessation of arms shipments to Hezbollah, a resolution which Syria and Iran continue to disregard. Their support and shipment of weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas, which threatens the peace and security in the region, must end.

      These are great challenges that we face. And in moments like these, true allies do not walk away. For six years, the administration has missed opportunities to increase the United States' influence in the region and help Israel achieve the peace she wants and the security she needs. The time has come for us to seize those opportunities.

      The Israeli people, and Prime Minister Olmert, have made clear that they are more than willing to negotiate an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will result in two states living side by side in peace and security. But the Israelis must trust that they have a true Palestinian partner for peace. That is why we must strengthen the hands of Palestinian moderates who seek peace and that is why we must maintain the isolation of Hamas and other extremists who are committed to Israel's destruction.

      The U.S. and our partners have put before Hamas three very simple conditions to end this isolation: recognize Israel's right to exist; renounce the use of violence; and abide by past agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

      We should all be concerned about the agreement negotiated among Palestinians in Mecca last month. The reports of this agreement suggest that Hamas, Fatah, and independent ministers would sit in a government together, under a Hamas Prime Minister, without any recognition of Israel, without a renunciation of violence, and with only an ambiguous promise to "respect" previous agreements.

      This should concern us all because it suggests that Mahmoud Abbas, who is a Palestinian leader I believe is committed to peace, felt forced to compromise with Hamas. However, if we are serious about the Quartet's conditions, we must tell the Palestinians this is not good enough.

      But as I said at the outset, Israel will have some heavy stones to carry as well. Its history has been full of tough choices in search of peace and security.

      Yitzhak Rabin had the vision to reach out to longtime enemies. Ariel Sharon had the determination to lead Israel out of Gaza. These were difficult, painful decisions that went to the heart of Israel's identity as a nation.

      Many Israelis I talked to during my visit last year told me that they were prepared to make sacrifices to give their children a chance to know peace. These were people of courage who wanted a better life. And I know these are difficult times and it can be easy to lose hope. But we owe it to our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, and to all those who have fallen, to keep searching for peace and security -- even though it can seem distant. This search is in the best interests of Israel. It is in the best interests of the United States. It is in the best interests of all of us.

      We can and we should help Israelis and Palestinians both fulfill their national goals: two states living side by side in peace and security. Both the Israeli and Palestinian people have suffered from the failure to achieve this goal. The United States should leave no stone unturned in working to make that goal a reality.

      But in the end, we also know that we should never seek to dictate what is best for the Israelis and their security interests. No Israeli Prime Minister should ever feel dragged to or blocked from the negotiating table by the United States.

      We must be partners. ­ We must be active partners. Diplomacy in the Middle East cannot be done on the cheap. Diplomacy is measured by patience and effort. We cannot continue to have trips consisting of little more than photo-ops with little movement in between. Neither Israel nor the U.S. is served by this approach.

      Peace with security. That is the Israeli people's overriding wish.

      It is what I saw in the town of Fassouta on the border with Lebanon. There are 3,000 residents of different faiths and histories.

      There is a community center supported by Chicago's own Roman Catholic Archdiocese and the Jewish Federation of Metro Chicago. It is where the education of the next generation has begun: in a small village, all faiths and nationalities, living together with mutual respect.

      I met with the people from the village and they gave me a tour of this wonderful place. There was a moment when the young girls came in and they played music and began to dance.

      After a few moments, I thought about my own daughters, Sasha and Malia and how they too could dream and dance in a place like this: a place of renewal and restoration. Proof, that in the heart of so much peril, there were signs of life and hope and promise-that the universal song for peace plays on.

      Thank you.

      All US politicians kowtow to Israel.

      And it disappoints me as well. Someday maybe we will be more evenhanded, like virtually all of the rest of the worlds nations.

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." MLK, from jail in Birmingham, AL.

      by bewert on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:30:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The whole comment by Edwards (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming


      Cheryl Fishbein from NY: When you do learning of Jewish texts, you give credit to ideas of scholars who have helped you ask questions, I would like to give credit to my friends and colleagues who have had this same overriding question of shared a existential threat: Would you be prepared, if diplomacy failed, to take further action against Iran? I think there is cynicism about the ability of diplomacy to work in this situation. Secondly, you as grassroots person, who has an understanding of the American people, is there understanding of this threat across US?

      Edwards answer:

      A: My analysis of Iran is if you start with the President of Iran coming to the UN in New York denouncing America and his extraordinary and nasty statements about the Holocaust and goal of wiping Israel off map, married with his attempts to obtain nuclear weapons over a long period of time, they are buying time. They are the foremost state sponsors of terrorism. If they have nuclear weapons, other states in the area will want them, and this is unacceptable.

      As to what to do, we should not take anything off the table. More serious sanctions need to be undertaken, which cannot happen unless Russia and China are seriously on board, which has not happened up until now. I would not want to say in advance what we would do, and what I would do as president, but there are other steps that need to be taken. Fore example, we need to support direct engagement with Iranians, we need to be tough. But I think it is a mistake strategically to avoid engagement with Iran.

      As to the American people, this is a difficult question. The vast majority of people are concerned about what is going on in Iraq. This will make the American people reticent toward going for Iran. But I think the American people are smart if they are told the truth, and if they trust their president. So Americans can be educated to come along with what needs to be done with Iran.

      And even though I am an Edwards supporter, I am troubled by such a pro-Israel position as well.

      But then all our presidential candidates are strongly pro-Israel. Barack as well. They can't afford not to be, as things stand today.

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." MLK, from jail in Birmingham, AL.

      by bewert on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:56:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Kid Oakland: 92,000 new troops with Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Great diary. really. But, can you address Obama's promise to increase the standing army and marines by 92,000 troops NO MATTER what situation he inherits and NO MATTER if 150,000 are pulled out of Iraq. He got lots of applause on the right, including PNAC. Perhaps there were in the early days of triangulating red-state on his 'red state blue state' speech. Nonetheless...

    I find this position very crude and anti-progressive.

    What about you?

    •  Yeah, I'll explain it - (4+ / 0-)

      Remember those joint chiefs of staff reports about the army nearing breaking point? I don't think it's a bad idea to increase the size of our military, assuming we can find new recruits.

      Gov. Sebelius has been reporting that the Kansas National Guard, having been sent to Iraq, is unable to help out in the state for tornadoes and such. And in the California Wildfires a little while back, remember how Sen. Boxer said the same thing about the CA national guard.

      The implications of your candidate are staggering.

      by bhagamu on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:43:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But Iraq is causing the "breaking point" problem (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If the troops are pulled out of Iraq, and especially when the National Guard is back home, we won't be near the breaking point.

        So why so many more troops? Why more money for the military, and for foreign aid, when we need it so badly here at home? Why not create a huge green energy program, creating jobs here in the US instead, like Edwards wants to do?

        We spend more on the military than every other country in the world combined. Is "I don't think it's a bad idea to increase the size of our military" really a progressive position? Between the defense budget and the Afghan and Iraqi wars we are spending around $800 billion a year. The rest of the world combined spends less than $500 billion. Combined.

        That kind of expense is killing us.

        "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." MLK, from jail in Birmingham, AL.

        by bewert on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:06:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  of course the United States (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming, Shipjack

        could just withdraw some of its massive military presence from around the world where in most cases they are doing very little in the way of ensuring world peace and a lot of "protecting US business interests. Then you'd have more than enough National Guard for emergencies and to actually defend the USA, and wouldn't need to be contemplating a nearly 100,000 strong troop increase.

        "This just can't get more disturbing!" - Willow

        by myriad on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:07:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  not when you're pulling 100,000 out of Iraq (0+ / 0-)

        it's illogical. Standing armies beyond need can be dangerous and costly, ask Eisenhower.

        I was shocked that Obama chose to triagulate this position w/ out ANY reaction from the progressive community here.

        Says a lot about one or the other.

    •  Why he's adding troops (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xyz, jamesia, NotGeorgeWill

      I think the idea behind it is to put the military in a position where it can actually fight a major war without putting the kind of strains on it that we saw with the Iraq war. We really shouldn't be putting troops into multiple rotations, extending tours of duty, and dragging the reserves into extended front-line combat operations. Trying to fight another war like we fought this one would be a terrible idea. The strain on the troops is unconscionable. Adding the new troops offers a way to avoid these problems in case we need to fight in the future.

      Adding that many new troops will take a significant amount of time to get up and running, since they must be trained, supplied, and equipped. This is a policy to leave the military in better shape for the second term, if (one would hope the caveat 'God forbid' applies) some kind of conflict arises that requires a major military response.

      As for whether or not it's wise to even prepare for, or invest in something that makes waging war easier, I understand the concern. But maintaining strong power projection capabilities seems to be a core American foreign policy value. I don't see that changing overnight.

      Also, I don't know how Edwards and Clinton view the same subject, but they may be down for something similar.

      •  no pledges by either (0+ / 0-)

        on increasing standing army. Thus far, their only pledge has been to pull troops out of Iraq.

        This is one of the most bizarre of Obama's positions. He is skating right past his progressive supporters on this issue.

        I think that's their fault, personally. It's not such a bad idea if you're running for the GOP nomination. Unless the Dems have decided on non-use militarization.

        •  Consequence of progressives (0+ / 0-)

          You want to run around the world stopping genocide, ending civil wars, cleaning up after disasters, etc., you need a HUGE Army.  It's pretty simple.  

          Now, I think his pledge actually has more to do with politics, but the sort of "pro-human rights" policy some of Obama's advisors and some people on this diary advocate, with the US acting to stop bad stuff from happening to innocent victims all over the world, implies a heck of a lot of business for the US Army.

          •  NO. Actually I don't. Do you? Does Obama? (0+ / 0-)

            If so, let us know know. We've had enough of that.
            If you're candidiate is proposing this, I'd like to know.

            •  Obama's advisors (0+ / 0-)

              The advisor who was talked up by the diarist, Samantha Powers, is a big advocate of intervention.  She thinks the US should have been involved in stopping genocide all over the world for the last century (Turkey/Armenia in WWI for example), and more recently that we should have intervened earlier and larger in the former Yugoslavia, in Rwanda, in various other African conflicts, etc.  

              Obama's foreign policy statements are more balanced, and his other advisors include people like Brzezinski who are not at all in favor of intervention.  I really don't know exactly where Obama himself comes down.

              My point is that if you're going to praise advisors with a "human rights agenda", you need to realize that agenda also involves the US Army doing a lot of business enforcing those rights.  

              •  you need to realize that raising another 92,000 (0+ / 0-)

                standing army is more guns$$ less butter while we're in staggering debt. Your is clearly not the modern progressive postion. It is neoconservative. This is the baseline rationale for neocons. It's what put the NEO in CON. Human rights is one thing, didn't we just learn about enforcing them by the end of a gun?

                Who's going to finance this? China?

                If tomorrow Obama said he wants to intervene in Africa and he's raising an army for it, he'd drop steeply in the polls overnight and never win the nomination, not to mention never raise new recruits.

  •  While I have problems with ... (13+ / 0-)

    ...the details of Senator Obama's probable foreign policy - and a lot of problems with many of those advisors you list, except for Samantha Power - I want to once again say that this excellent series you have written, Kid Oakland, epitomizes what candidate Diaries ought to be. Eloquent, comprehensive, thoughtful, crystal-clear, and without a squirt of venom.

    You've done your chosen candidate proud, and helped enlighten both those who support him and those who support someone else - at least, those who listen.

    Triple kudos, my friend.

    "Just remember, boys, this is America. Just because you get more votes doesn't mean you win." - Special Agent Fox Mulder

    by Meteor Blades on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:28:07 PM PST

    •  thanks (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      myriad, wu ming, Tom Enever

      that is very high praise.

      thanks for the encouragement. that means a great deal to me.


      k/o: politics and culture

      by kid oakland on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 10:52:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Same here (0+ / 0-)

        They make me feel a lot better about having Obama as my second choice.

        Even though I disagree on some of the specifics, like doubling our foreign aid rather than using that money to create a green infrastructure program here, and things like the Peru FTA.

        I just hope he is ready to really fight, because everything we try to do is stymied by the Repugs. This weeks' example is the telecom spying/immunity imbroglio. I for one want somebody with a steel spine and a loud megaphone.

        Excellent work on the whole.

        "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." MLK, from jail in Birmingham, AL.

        by bewert on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:11:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Such a lot of work (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kpardue, marcoto

    Well done and thanks for doing the digging that those of us with small babies are too sleep deprived to do for ourselves

    The caravan moves on - Paul Keating

    by robertbe on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:11:25 PM PST

  •  Extraordinary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It will be a peaceful revolution--a new kind of governance, better suited to the world we now live in.

  •  Please, Please keep writing these diaries (0+ / 0-)

    I'm always so much better informed on what Obama's campaigners say he wants to accomplish.  Never mind the Hows, I just really like the sound of 'change'.  Overturning the 220 year old establishment in the first month of a 1/2 term Senator--er, President-elect's term of office is what I'm all about.  

    Although Obama is just another politician who will accomplish but a fraction of his goals (same as Hillary or Edwards would) I'm sure his fraction of accomplishments will change the face of the nation.  Why, you ask?  Because he isn't skairt of no one.  He is only looking for a one term presidency so he will buck all trends and absolutely shove Bill Clinton's 92 and 96 agenda down the hearts of the GOP whether they like it or not.  He ain't skairt of no lobbyists threatening to withhold campaign contributions cuz he isn't planning on running in 2012.  He ain't skairt.  Hillary is skairt because Obama isn't.  Hillary is asking for your vote cuz she's skairt.  Obama is asking for your vote cuz he isn't skairt.

    Just what we need more foreign aid that funds petty dictators who deprive their citizenry of basic human rights.  Lord knows all the foreign aid we've given has changed the face of third world countries everywhere.  

    You operate under the assumption that because Obama wants change he can accomplish change.  Bill Clinton (you know the guy Obama has cloned himself after) wanted change.  He wanted change so bad that Americans got nervous about whether or not that much change was a good thing so after two years they trounced the Dems in the midterms and locked up Congress with an iron grip.  Clinton, with the deck stacked against him, still got things done (even if some of what got done I still hate to this day--re:NAFTA, WTO).  The truth is that the harder Obama or the Dem that actually gets elected, pushes, the harder the GOP is going to push back.  It is a nice thing to dream but sometimes a look at reality is more prudent.  Obama winning doesn't bug me.  Obama trying to get things done wouldn't surprise me.  Obama being able to commit to those changes, well I'll believe it if I see it.

    Obama is a politician.  Politicians like big money.  Politicians in office look to maintain their position.  Some politicians can rock the boat and hold their seat because they live in politically friendly precincts.  The President doesn't have that luxury.  They have to please half the people + 1(providing that +1 is in the state that puts em over the top in electoral votes).  They have to keep the party happy including said party's big money donors so that the party isn't faced with the humiliation of having someone announce a rival bid for the party nomination come re-election season.  Keeping big money donors happy means choosing your battles.  Choosing your battles means a lot of your campaign promises (rhetoric) go out the window day one in office.  

    The plea for loosened restrictions on Cuba is a politically motivated plea.  I'd like to see it happen.  Obama may like to see it happen.  Doesn't mean he is committed to it.  But he wants the Cuban vote in Florida if he wins the nomination.  He doesn't want to see the Cuban vote go predominantly for the GOP again.  

    If a Dem gets the WH and Dems take a substantial majority in Congress we will see change.  Expecting change from solely Obama is ridiculous since the real battles aren't chosen or fought by the President but by congressionals.  He can lead his party in a direction but they have to choose to follow and they have to have the votes.  Obama says he can unite?  So did Bush.  That went well.

    When supporters talk of the "sure hand" of Clinton foreign policy they mean the exact same team that gave us American foreign policy in the 90s. (Iraq, Sudan, Rwanda, Bosnia

    I'm fine with Clinton's foreign policy in the 90's.  The world liked us.  Iran was electing progressives.  Iraq was contained.  Sudan wasn't immersed in genocide.  Rwanda was an explosion.  There may have been tell-tales I don't know not well versed on it.  Serbia/Bosnia and Somalia, I support Bill with the caveat that I don't think we should play the role of world policeman but we went to try and make a difference, to get donations to the people that needed them.  To stop needless bloodshed.  (I'd be all for being able to stop a Rwanda before it happened or a Darfur but unfortunately I don't believe we have proven ourselves as able moderators).  One thing we never acknowledge is that not everyone in a country we want to police is going to greet us with open arms.  We proved it in Somalia and again in Iraq.  Sometimes the best way to help is by staying out of the way of a country trying to find its identity.  It may involve bloodshed.  Look at our country.  We revolted against our colonial masters.  We committed genocide to increase our lands.  We fought wars with Spain and Mexico to increase our lands.  We fought ourselves to right a wrong.  It isn't our job to bring about world peace, all we can do is remind countries of the mistakes we made and point them in the right direction.

    Foreign policy is a mixed bag.  Sometimes things are clear cut, stopping a genocide in progress; trying to get Israel and their Middle-East neighbors to the bargaining table.  Others are not, acting as a "world police" vis-a-vis this dictator is bad, that government sucks, those people are suffering.  Bangladesh, Myanmar, China some of the worst places on the planet in terms of human rights aren't even on our radar screen.  Apparently they aren't on Obama's either, but Cuba is...but it can't have anything to do with the Cuban-American population.  

    Tired of the lies? That makes 60% of us!

    by Bill O Rights on Fri Jan 25, 2008 at 11:28:39 PM PST

    •  Clinton Globalization was devestating (0+ / 0-)

      Clinton was a disaster for many countries just as his pro-globalization efforts severely harmed developing countries.

      The AIDS crisis was made far worse by his support for intellectual property above all else that prevented generics from reaching the millions affected by the disease.

      On climate change, they couldn't even get Kyoto passed by congress, when they had already booby trapped it with emissions trading -- a completely neoliberal invention.

      500,000 children died under the sanctions regime in Iraq, which Albright said was worth it.

      The American Empire took great strides under his regime -- perhaps much further than Bush's ham handed attempts and brutal invasions. As such he was very much a wolf under sheep's clothing.

      Plan Colombia was also supported and is still supported by this man, who has no qualms consorting with rightist death squad governments in Latin America, while spurning the very progressive trends in the region.

  •  Power came in to speak with us in Las Vegas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NotGeorgeWill, marcoto

    when I was doing an internship there in Nevada with the Obama campaign. She is truly brilliant. She knows her stuff and is a huge asset.

  •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

    Good post. If Obama is willing take a stand on the US's decades old stupid and vindictive anti-Cuba policy, then he is worth supporting on that note alone.

    It's amazing that Hillary questioned Obama on how he would pay for and increase in foreign aid. For God's sake, the military budget alone is almost a trillion dollars, and the US has been negligent on getting the foreign aid budget to the 0.7 percent level that has long been demanded by the international community (the Scandinavian countries are by far the most generous per GDP).

  •  Thanks and a suggestion for kid oakland (0+ / 0-)

    Gimme abstract .....and then the details.

    Because it's 3 a.m. and I'm still here reading.........

    BTW, Obama on Foreign Policy had me at Samantha Powers who I've seen on TV and heard on the radio.

    I don't know  quite what to make of the Sy Hersh quote yet. . . .

    Just as ....I have my doubts about Harvard.....brilliant yes, but practical and well-rounded, errrrrr.....I could tell stories.....

    The Mighty Wurlitzer--A History of how we got here:

    by LNK on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 12:04:56 AM PST

  •  Another Pearl k/o (0+ / 0-)

    I remember when Cuba was a much bigger issue for me (I still want to drink on a beach there). I think there may well be a window of opportunity there soon, but some won't take the risk of failing. Doubling foreign aid is a start but 1% of a $10 Trillion dollar economy is $100 Billion. It's very cheap compared to $2.4 Trillion for our wars in Iraq and Afganistan. I think some areas you didn't cover are just as big. Barack could go a long way toward moving America in a positive direction with respect to Africa, He could mend the unnecessary rift with Europe (old and new). A re-engagement in North Korea, and the common sense he has shown w/ respect to Pakistan are all positives. He actually has some connection to one of the more important nations going forward Indonesia. Again I would love to hear some specifics for improving the lives of Billions who exist on a few dollars per day or less.

    There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS. Mahatma Gandhi

    by Sacramento Dem on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 12:07:56 AM PST

  •  please keep these diaries coming, kid (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    agree or disagree, it's fantastic to actually have some decent grist for the mill, for a change. i'm undecided on this race, so hunting down your links has been a real help, if not decisive yet.

    surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

    by wu ming on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 12:11:23 AM PST

  •  Good discussion topic to have with kid oakland: (0+ / 0-)

    Candidates sort of MUST say certain things in order to get elected...There are our tribal rituals that must be observed.....

    However, once elected...notice how  many Presidents actions are different from what they led us to expect.

    So...let's start examining what is likely to happen....What is possible, what would be too difficult to accomplish......What does the public like hearing now but will fail to get behind when push comes to shove?

    As JFK's speechwriter Ted Sorensen, once they got inside The White House things looked mighty different to them. Many adjustments were made!

    The Mighty Wurlitzer--A History of how we got here:

    by LNK on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 12:12:17 AM PST

  •  Err .. not really (0+ / 0-)

    Candidates sort of MUST say certain things in order to get elected...There are our tribal rituals that must be observed.....

    Which tribal rituals? Lakota ? Penobscot ? Nez Perce ?

    Your entire attitude leads to endless nothing ...

  •  Obama by a Nose (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    All three remaining Democrats are deeply wedded to the militarist conventional wisdom of U.S. foreign policy. None of them provide much hope that they will lead this country in a significantly better direction than what we've had for the last seven years (or six decades).

    But just as there are real, if marginal, differences between the two major parties, there a real, if marginal, differences among the three leading Democratic candidates on issues of foreign policy.

    There's a least evil here, and on foreign policy I think it's Obama.  Stephen Zunes provides a good run-down over on CommonDreams.

    This nicely summarizes what's wrong with American political life today. (Source)

    by GreenSooner on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 02:30:35 AM PST

  •  Amazing detail. I love it! Diary should be titled (0+ / 0-)

    "Obama & Power"...hehehe.

    but seriously thanks for presenting this in such a cogent and chewable format.

  •  Samantha Power (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks KO.  It's great to get information from a diary in addition to opinion.  I am also a big fan of Samantha Power and wonder why we are not seeing more of her in the primary coverage.
    As an aside, in this decolletage-sensitive age, you might want to choose another clip of her speaking on genocide and Darfur.  The one you chose seems more in support of her campaign for "sexiest professor at Harvard", a contest I believe she won btw.

  •  It takes a team (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Years ago I had one of those ah-ha moments when it suddenly occured to me that it was only partially about the name on the ticket, and just importantly about "who's on the team?"

    This diary is exactly what the voters need to be considering; forget the glitz and look at who will be the unelected policy makers. Those who lined up behind Obama are the new thinkers in the party. While we may not thrilled with every name listed for Obama, they sure look much better than the Clinton crew which includes Lee Feinstein, Michael O'Hanlon, and her military go-to guy, Jack Keane.

    Joe Cirincione, someone to whom I pay attention, is advising Obama. Cirincione's rise to official power would be a welcome sign that we might indeed find a little sanity in the future. Cirincione wrote an interesting piece for The Huffington Post, and gave Obama high praise.

    Senator Obama has the most developed plan, based in part on his work with Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and a bill introduced with Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE). The Obama-Hagel legislation embodies the bipartisanship of the Hoover Institution initiative and codifies most of the group's recommendations, including securing all loose nuclear materials to the highest possible standards, dramatic reductions in nuclear stockpiles, a verifiable treaty to prevent nations form producing nuclear materials for weapons, beefed-up inspections and compliance capabilities; an international nuclear fuel bank to back up commercial fuel supplies, extending the warning and decision time for the launch of nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, and starting a bipartisan effort to ratify the nuclear test ban.

    So you might want to add Cirincione's name to your to list. I'm happy to see it there.

  •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

    I had no idea Obama took that position on Cuba.  That is indeed very brave.  If he's going to alienate Miami, he may as well go all the way and end our ridiculous embargoes as well.

  •  Thank you, ko (0+ / 0-)

    for a thorough piece of work.  It's time for a new direction in our foreign policy, and Obama is the best person to bring it to fruition.

  •  Samantha Power.... (0+ / 0-)

    is great!

    This is the level of advisor's that Obama has guiding his policy. She's not a warhawk, she intelligent, she's articulate, she sees the big picture, she understands the urgency of issues that media doesn't talk about..

    i think i have a samantha crush...

  •  foreign aid & poverty relief (HRC not bad..._ (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mjd in florida

    HRC supports increasing the percentage of the US budget that goes to foreign aid by 1% (to somewhere around 2.3%-2.8%).  That's a substantial commitment that is close to Obama's amount of $50 billion/ year.

    I'm angry that none of the candidates have supported giving 00.7% of our GDP in official development assistance, which is an international goal that almost all rich countries are committed to.  Instead HRC hit Obama regarding how he'd pay for his modest increase in foreign aid... that move by HRC bordered on anti-leadership, in my opinion.


    Anyways, here are two resources to compare some of what the candidates have said about international poverty relief and public health.

    The ONE Campaign has a page called "On The Record" where you can compare the short plans that candidates submitted to ONE Vote '08.

    See the "On The Record" comparisons of:
    Huckabee, McCain and Romney
    and of Clinton, Edwards and Obama

    But also, see this analysis of the candidates' HIV/AIDS plans over at Huffington Post.

    •  Obama on HIV/AIDS (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mjd in florida, jamesia, pamelabrown

      the link, which features good policy information is missing this crucial story, which I think sends a powerful message about how Barack Obama operates, and the difference he brings in approach:

      Obama Takes HIV test to lessen Stigma

      Obama also spent much of the day studying the toll AIDS is taking on African families. He and his wife took HIV tests as thousands of people watched and he visited a project that helps grandmothers find the money to care for children orphaned by AIDS.

      Obama's 85-year-old grandmother, Sarah, met and hugged him at the foot of the small hill where her house sits . Then they and Obama's family walked to the house amid a crush of relatives, friends , and reporters. Someone carried a huge American flag.

      The Illinois Democrat began his day with an appearance at a hospital in Kisumu, Kenya's third-largest city. Thousands of people waited for him, even climbing trees for better views, as he visited a mobile HIV-testing center.

      Obama and his wife, Michelle, entered the mobile lab and underwent HIV tests in an effort to reduce the public stigma associated with testing in Kenya. He said the results were good news but the most important thing was the control that comes with knowing their HIV status.

      ``If a U S senator can get tested and his wife can get tested, then everybody in this crowd can get tested. Everybody in this city can get tested," Obama said.

      Barack Obama already is a transformative figure.

      k/o: politics and culture

      by kid oakland on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 06:24:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's more about leadership & influence n Africa (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kid oakland, mjd in florida

        i think.  

        Also, his criticisms of the South African health minister were good, as were his criticisms of Mbeki's quite diplomacy with Zimbabwe.

        And his words about corruption in Kenya seem extra poignant right now.

        Anyways, I was simply amazed this week, when Obama wrote a letter in the major Kenyan newspaper, where he asked for the two political leaders to meet without preconditions and to forge a peaceful and political solution.  One or two days later the leaders met, and the US media ignored Obama's possible influence here... though Kenya is still far from peace and a functioning democracy.

        •  the PDF you link to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jamesia, pamelabrown

          features a section on "testing" and ignores that Obama publicy  got tested w/ Michele.

          Have Bill and Hillary done this? Could they? Bill's presidency was 1993-2000 btw...where was Africa at the beginning and at the end? That tells a story, too.

          Bold change is needed, generational change.

          And, I think, sometimes people aren't going to be able to follow the "little things" that Obama is doing, as you highlight, that Clinton simply does not, will not and oftentimes cannot do.

          There is a clear choice and the NYT endorsement papered over it in my view.

          At any rate, I agree with you that Clinton attacking Obama on foreign aid was a low point and sent the wrong message even from the standpoint of her own policy positions.

          k/o: politics and culture

          by kid oakland on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 07:09:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks again, k/o, for (0+ / 0-)

    another great diary! I have sent links to these to some friends and family! They are very informative!

  •  Samantha Power on NATO intervention in Kosovo (0+ / 0-)

    Kid Oakland:

    Clinton, with Madame Albright and Sandy Berger and General Clark and Richard Holbrooke at her side will not send a new message to the world.

    Samantha Power:

    ... with the hope that the Kosovo intervention marks the beginning and not the end of humanitarian intervention

    Where did I get that quote? From my copy of Problem From Hell, autographed by Samantha Power. The message of Clark and Albright was, we're going to exhaust diplomacy but if you persist in killing, expelling and raping, we'll bomb you because we let 100,000 innocent civilians die before we understood that our empty threats did not prevent you from committing genocide.

    While Hillary Clinton isn't my first choice, I support that message. I don't think it's fair to ascribe the Cheney administration's warmongering to members of the Clinton admin.

    Edwards '08 -6.88/-5.54

    by DrReason on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 08:20:45 AM PST

    •  FYI: Power as Secretary of State? (0+ / 0-)

      I'd be thrilled to see Samantha Power be part of any administration's foreign policy, whether as Secretary of State or in another position. She's incredibly intelligent and articulate, and not a professional but transparent liar like our current and former secretaries. I'll bet (and hope) that if Wesley Clark becomes Secretary of State in Hillary Clinton's admin, he'll offer her a high-ranking post, and I hope that it eventually translates into her become SecState.

      Edwards '08 -6.88/-5.54

      by DrReason on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 08:24:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well golly! (0+ / 0-)

    I thought that Obama was supposed to be all hope and no substance!

    Great diary!

  •  No one can know everything (0+ / 0-)

    Obama's "brain trust" is impressive and makes me respect him even more.  

    BTW  I am a good bit over 50 and I like the feeling I get from the Obama campaign.  It reminds me of the hope and excitement of JFK... That WAS in my youth :-)

    "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

    by luckylizard on Sat Jan 26, 2008 at 09:05:21 AM PST

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