Barack Obama is using a visit to Pakistan 20 years ago as proof of his foreign policy experience.
To counter opponents’ accusations that he lacks experience in foreign policy, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois often cites his ties to relatives in poor villages in Kenya and the years he spent growing up in Indonesia. Now he has added a new personal detail to that résumé: a trip to Pakistan while a college student.
Mr. Obama, the front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, made the disclosure Sunday night while speaking to supporters at a fund-raiser in San Francisco. His remarks, in which he poked fun at the utility of traditional foreign policy qualifications like government officials traveling abroad on fact-finding missions, were recorded and were quickly placed on the Web.
With the war in Iraq and Islamic terrorism among the top issues in the campaign, all three of the presidential contenders have sought to emphasize the value of their very different foreign policy credentials. Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, has often pointed to his military and combat experience, while Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has emphasized her involvement in international and national security issues as both first lady and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
But Mr. Obama has argued that his rivals’ longer official record is no substitute for his real-life grass-roots experience. “Foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton and Senator McCain,” he said in his remarks in San Francisco.
“Experience in Washington is not knowledge of the world,” he continued, provoking laughter among those present. “This I know. When Senator Clinton brags, ‘I’ve met leaders from 80 countries,’ I know what those trips are like. I’ve been on them. You go from the airport to the embassy. There’s a group of children who do a native dance. You meet with the C.I.A. station chief and the embassy and they give you a briefing. You go take a tour of plant that” with “the assistance of Usaid has started something. And then, you go.”
During the speech, Mr. Obama also spoke about having traveled to Pakistan in the early 1980s. Because of that trip, which he did not mention in either of his autobiographical books, “I knew what Sunni and Shia was before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” he said.
Does this qualify Obama to be President. My foreign policy experience.
I lived in the Philippines for two years(Stationed at Subic Bay)
While there, two coup attempts took place and I narrowly missed a third. I was flying to the country in Dec. 1989 when a coup took place.
I have family in the Philippines(in-laws, including my mother-in-law Nanay. She just went back for a visit this week.)
In addition to the Philippines, I’ve visited Hong Kong and Macau(before they ceded to the Chinese), Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, England, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland. I’ve been to Hel and back. While in Hel, I came within less than five feet from the then Polish President. Actually my wife got to shake his hand and say she was from Florida.
Note- Go to the link above and you’ll see a couple of photographs of President Aleksander Kwaśniewski.
Maybe my wife should be Secretary of State. Leonita can’t be President because she is only a naturalized citizen. Her credentials stack up pretty well against Obama.
Update- Hat tip to Below the Beltway