When I originally saw Barack Obama’s itinerary for his grand Mr. Foreign Policy Tour 2008, I couldn’t help but chuckle: France, England, Germany? Talk about the path of least resistance. Then there were dates, though, for Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, and Israel, where the Foreign Policy Tour turns into the Why Jews Should Love Me Tour.
Then there was Obama’s plan to pose in front of the Brandenburg Gate while giving one of his Hope and Change (trademark!) speeches. After Chancellor Angela Merkel rightly pooh-poohed the idea of Obama using that country’s Cold War landmark as a campaign prop, Obama’s crew said they’d changed their minds because Obama deemed the backdrop to be “too presumptuous.”
Never mind the role that the chancellor’s opinion had in the decision. “If the candidate — or any other candidate — is elected, then (he) is welcome to speak as president before the Brandenburg Gate,” Merkel said Sunday.
But now, Obama will speak Thursday from Tiergarten Park’s Victory Column, the gilded goddess giving wings to his ethereal campaign — within view of the Brandenburg Gate, of course.
After all, he needs to hurry up and inject some of that feel-good Obamahype into the foreign policy tour before that pack of fawning reporters characteristically kept at arm’s length starts to ask hard-and-fast questions about the previous stops on his tour — and the stops that should have been on his tour.
Obama met with President Hamid Karzai on Sunday, then with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday. His plans in a nutshell: Pull U.S. troops out of Iraq within 16 months of taking office, and adding two to three more combat brigades in Afghanistan. Let’s all scratch our heads in unison.
OK, then Al-Qaeda then moves more forces into Iraq. Iran exploits the void to foster radical Islamist alliances with Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army, etc. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, President Obama learns that additional brigades still can’t navigate the treacherous Hindu Kush in a manner that would give them advantage over the Taliban who rely on underground cave networks and slipping over a border that’s difficult to enforce. A major U.S. offensive in the region would likely result in heavy casualties, and the NATO alliance there might find itself on shaky ground. As Obama’s already pissed off Pakistan, efforts to forge a military alliance to rout the terrorists would be rejected as internal sentiment overrides the unpopular U.S. president.
Oh, and meanwhile Iraq has become a hot mess again.