Barack Obama’s contradictory, confusing Afghanistan policy reflects a problem afflicting nearly all recent presidents: an appalling lack of foreign policy experience. Carter, Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush were all governors with no prior responsibility for international relations. Barack Obama was a freshman Senator who had never taken an active role on military or diplomatic issues. Among the last six presidents, only George H.W. Bush had been deeply involved in foreign policy (as CIA director, UN Ambassador, and Ambassador to China) and this experience showed in his deft handling of the first Gulf War and the fall of the Soviet empire. Republicans should seek a 2012 nominee with meaningful credentials in the international arena, since this background would benefit both the country and the GOP in its challenge to the hapless Obama record in foreign affairs.
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