On Foreign Policy, for the doubters

The argument favoring foreign policy experience is getting a little bit silly at this point.

Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, and John McCain are the only people running for President that have legitimate foreign policy
experience. Biden dropped out (which I think is a real shame), and Bill Richardson, despite his experience, keeps making completely asinine foreign policy proposals (like proclaiming that the United States has the leverage to convince Musharaf to step down).

John McCain is the only one with a chance of winning, but I believe that at this point in his career, he's not going to be able to form the new political coalitions we're going to need to make progress on important issues in America over the long term.

Moreover, I would ask that people consider that the U.S. has a completely unprecedented foreign policy challenge. We have never faced an asymmetrical stateless entity whose objectives are ideological and whose reach is global. The traditional conception of "experience" doesn't work here, because no matter who gets elected, they're going to have to implement new strategies in our foreign policy that haven't been tried before.

What Barack brings to the table is a degree in foreign affairs, a history of sound judgement on the most important foreign policy issues of our time (correctly predicted the outcome of Iraq in 2002, did not support escalating tensions with Iran, identified the threat in Pakistan early on, etc.), and a willingness to bring all the relevant experts to the table, regardless of ideological attachment.

That's what we're going to need over the next decade, because currently, we don't have anyone operating in the foreign policy establishment that has an effective way to get at terrorism from the source. We need someone willing to bring outsiders to the table. Moreover, there is no one else running for President who can bring any credibility to a debate with the Muslim world over pluralism and moderation. Barack IS pluralism and moderation.

I would wager that part of the reason this President got our foreign policy so wrong over the last 7 years is that he chose his advisers strictly out of the extremist neocon camp- people who were considered absolute psychos when they were working for Reagan and Bush I. This is why Barack's approach is so much better and so important- he has demonstrated a willingness to seek advice from across the spectrum, and to not be concerned with "isms" when crafting policy.

This is why his healthcare plan doesn't have a mandate- because it was crafted by going to the people and asking them what they need, and they all said they didn't want or need a mandate to buy health insurance. You can see some of the town halls that crafted this policy at http://www.barackobama.com (look under "Media"). It's why he didn't get the teacher's union endorsement- because best practices in other states show that merit pay and rewarding innovative programs does work, whether the unions like it or not. It's the reason he didn't get AIPAC's endorsement- because even though it's politically correct to value our allegiance with Israel above all, he went to AIPAC and told them that the next President must consider the suffering of the Palestinian people.

This election is not about who has been most tempered by experience in a system that is not working. This election is about who will restore Federal leadership that actually works and isn't an obstacle. I believe Obama is that man, and America, and indeed the world, are beginning to agree.

Don't be bitter just because your candidate is losing. Read Obama's policy proposals if you don't like his rhetoric. He's definitely the man for the moment, and he's definitely got my vote.