Will Europeans respond if Obama asks them to supply their fair share of troops for NATO or expand their participation from mostly non-combat roles? Do Obama supporters think he can sweep Europeans off their feet, as he has done to so many Americans? Maybe, but a difficult period will follow the one-night stand, one that requires commitment and a long-lasting relationship based on an equal partnership. Europe has demonstrated little taste for such commitment in the past.
Polls show a majority of American voters trust John McCain on national security; they also trust his ability to lead in a crisis more than they trust Obama. They are right to do so. Obama's record is like floor wax: all shine and no depth. Obama has spent more time thinking about and running for president than he has spent in the Senate. Obama chairs the Subcommittee on European Affairs, but he has presided over just one hearing.
Earlier this month, Obama said that commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government would determine the pace of the withdrawal from Iraq. But just before going to Afghanistan for his hit-and-run visit, Obama reiterated his pledge to stick to an arbitrary 16-month withdrawal timetable.
Most politicians shift positions. John McCain certainly has. But war and national security are fundamental and a politician who bases positions on polls and clamoring interest groups - rather than the national interest - is a person without a core. He is like the gambler who rolls dice in a Monte Carlo casino. Lose there and all you've lost is money, lose in war and on national security and the consequences are far more dangerous.
Obama has said that as president he would increase the number of troops and aid in Afghanistan, but when given the opportunity to vote in the Senate to do just that, he voted against the bill. He says it was because it didn't include a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq.
Obama has 300 foreign policy advisers, many of them veterans of the Clinton administration. Why so many? Perhaps because he is an innocent abroad and, while he may have a rosy view of the world, his worldview needs improvement.
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