The last couple of days, I had the misfortune of lying in a hospital dealing with a recurring staph infection I seem to get about every other year. Unfortunately, the only news cable network available was the "Fair and Balanced" one. Not being able to get my fix of liberal slanted news, I went ahead and listened to the propaganda coming in from nutjob land regarding Obama's trip. It was interesting to me that so many of John McCain's talking points seem to be the same talking points emphasized on Faux, but I'm sure that was just a coincidence.
Here's a few of my oservations regarding that trip:
1- The Iraqi people and their leader Maliki, would not only be able to work with an Obama administration, they might actually prefer one.
2- The war in Afganistan is going much worse than the Bush Administration has led on, and that more effort may be needed in that country.
3- The claim by the McCain campaign that an Obama presidency would potentially cripple Israel is unfounded, and in fact, counter-intuitive to everyone except the most radical right-wing jewish factions.
4- Obama'a reception in Europe shows that Europeans are still hopeful and desireful for effective American leadership, but the kind of leadership that that brought them the Marshall Plan and Nato, not the unilateralism of George W. Bush,
The spin from the McCain camp was that this sort of trip was premature. I disagree. This kind of trip was essential. It is important to let the other countries of the world know, that the nightmare that was the Bush administration was an abberation, and not representative of what they can expect from our government.
WHether we like it or not, we are still the world's only superpower. Though much of that power has been dissipated and misused, the U.S. is still the major player internationally. How we play our cards influences the well-being of other countries. Our stands and our practices on human rights affects the parameters that other regimes, rogue or otherwise, may limit themselves by.
Each nation of the world values their sovereignty, but also recognizes that effective leadership, which can provide stability and prosperity, is in their sovereign self-interest. That leadership was lacking during the Bush administration. Leadership is about convincing others to come along. Part of convincing people to come along is employing intelligent and moral policies. Bush took the role, "if you won't come along, I'll do it myself." And the result was an illegal war, illegal torture, illegal detainments, illegal spying on American citizens, as well as the citizens of these sovereign countries without oversight and without justification.
One thing to consider as well, is which Presidential candidate can work with other nations the best to resolve the many challenges we have as a planet? Obama, making his trip to meet with foreign countries signified the importance he perceives of these relationships. We as a nation benefit by having a President who can not only appropriately perceive and promote America's best interests, but work with others to acheive those interests and find common ground. McCain's criticism of Obama for this trip seems like a "whaaaa, I wish I thought of this" and a "whaaaa, I why doesn't the world want a continuation of John W. McBush?"
Obama's trip sought to spread hope to the world, that the United States has not abandoned it's core values permanently, that a change of course is on the way, dependent upon the wishes of the American public. In this regard, this election isn't a mandate on the Bush administration. It is a mandate on whether the American people can be trusted, to be true to the values they preach, and to their own political system they market to the world. That we are a nation of laws and values, and not just a rogue nation willing to use it's power as it sees fit.
American people, the world is watching. They want to know "who are you, and can you be trusted." In November, we'll find out if they can.