I have followed with some interest Obama’s travels this past week. First the the Middle East, then Germany, and now he is in France (soon to visit Great Britain). But for a while, we were both in the same country. While he was in Berlin, I was in Stuttgart.
It wasn’t far enough as far as I was concerned – I would have preferred that he wasn’t here at all.
When was the last time a Presidential candidate visited another country, much less on a whirlwind tour? As far as I can remember, none. So the next question or thought that I have is – Why?
An article in Friday’s Financial Times had this statement about Obama’s speech in Berlin:
The open-air speech was seen as important in Mr. Obama’s efforts to bolster his foreign policy credentials…
And that is the problem that I have with Mr. Obama. There is a lot of hype about his capabilities, but I believe that there is very little substance behind the claims. And besides, jetting around the world making speeches before being elected to the office is in my mind, very presumptive, which translates as arrogance.
Consider for a moment this thought. I have met with presidents of various companies, some large, some small, in various countries around the world. Does that in some way qualify me to conduct business and sign contracts with their companies? No, it does not, and by the same token, meeting with heads of state does not give one the experience or credibility to do the same. Credibility comes with experience, of which I do not believe that Mr. Obama has.
Yes, I know that the junior Senator from Illinois is on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But when was the last time he took a trip anywhere related to his responsibilities for that Committee? From this article, he made trips in 2005 to former Soviet states to observe the dismantling of nuclear weapons, and in 2006 made trips to Kenya, Israel, Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, and Kuwait. This was before his formal entry into the Presidential race in February 2007, but was it really part of his membership on the Committee or laying the groundwork for his Presidential bid?
What also bothers me is that Mr. Obama is making this trip around the world on taxpayer expense. Secret Service protection, staffing accommodations, & transportation do not come cheap, and quite frankly, Mr. Obama does not have any real official standing that I am aware of to be visiting various European & Middle East countries, meeting their Heads of State, and making speeches which may or may not be construed as commitments on the behalf of the United States.
Last, I just think that Mr. Obama’s trip is just wrong. I just do not see any reason for it except for what it is: One big photo-op for personal political gain. Perhaps I’m just a cynical, bitter, overwrought religious person hanging on to my guns, but that is my perception.