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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Obama's foreign policy address

Barack Obama gave a terrific foreign policy speech today in Washington DC.

I watched most it on TV. My only concern was that he made too many good points. He specifically ticked off 5 goals and talked about each of them in a relatively sophisticated way.
I will focus this strategy on five goals essential to making America safer: ending the war in Iraq responsibly; finishing the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban; securing all nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue states; achieving true energy security; and rebuilding our alliances to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
It was impressive, but I'm not sure how many people will see or read the entire address.

That likely means that news organizations and John McCain will attempt to parse the speech to their own ends. It might not be easy:
I opposed going to war in Iraq; Senator McCain was one of Washington’s biggest supporters for war. I warned that the invasion of a country posing no imminent threat would fan the flames of extremism, and distract us from the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban; Senator McCain claimed that we would be greeted as liberators, and that democracy would spread across the Middle East. Those were the judgments we made on the most important strategic question since the end of the Cold War.

Now, all of us recognize that we must do more than look back – we must make a judgment about how to move forward. What is needed? What can best be done? What must be done? Senator McCain wants to talk of our tactics in Iraq; I want to focus on a new strategy for Iraq and the wider world.
This framing of Iraq was very strong:
What’s missing in our debate about Iraq – what has been missing since before the war began – is a discussion of the strategic consequences of Iraq and its dominance of our foreign policy. This war distracts us from every threat that we face and so many opportunities we could seize. This war diminishes our security, our standing in the world, our military, our economy, and the resources that we need to confront the challenges of the 21st century. By any measure, our single-minded and open-ended focus on Iraq is not a sound strategy for keeping America safe.

I am running for President of the United States to lead this country in a new direction – to seize this moment’s promise. Instead of being distracted from the most pressing threats that we face, I want to overcome them.
This may have been my favorite line: "America seeks a world with no nuclear weapons."

Tomorrow, apparently, he's going to talk about his plans to "develop new defenses to protect against the 21st century threat of biological weapons and cyber-terrorism."

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