Can this man even think for himself?
US presidential candidate Barack Obama began sketching his position toward Europe on the campaign trail this week. He said the US needs more support from its NATO allies in Afghanistan and implied Germany should lift its ban on combat operations in the dangerous south.
US presidential candidate Barack Obama dropped another hint about his foreign-policy thinking on Thursday, saying European governments had to pull their weight in Afghanistan and not rely so much on the United States to do the “dirty work” against Taliban fighters.
Gosh that sounds familiar….oh yeah, because it is. From last October:
The U.S. defense secretary, Robert Gates, questioned Thursday the commitment of some NATO allies to winning the war in Afghanistan, saying that the outcome there was at “real risk” because some European nations were unwilling to provide enough troops and resources to the mission.
“In Afghanistan a handful of allies are paying the price and bearing the burdens,” he said at a conference of army leaders from 38 European nations organized by the chief of U.S. Army Europe.
“The failure to meet commitments puts the Afghan mission – and with it, the credibility of NATO – at real risk,” he added in remarks that were notably critical of European governments that have been close security, political and economic partners of the United States for more than five decades.
He also said restrictions that some allies put on how and where their troops could operate in Afghanistan had unfairly burdened other coalition partners and “done real harm” to the overall war effort.
Late to the party once again Big O…
On a completely different subject you should check out The Economist’s take on his economic policies:
FOR a man who has placed “hope” at the centre of his campaign, Barack Obama can sound pretty darned depressing. As the battle for the Democratic nomination reaches a climax in Texas and Ohio, the front-runner’s speeches have begun to paint a world in which laid-off parents compete with their children for minimum-wage jobs while corporate fat-cats mis-sell dodgy mortgages and ship jobs off to Mexico.
Both candidates have threatened to pull America out of NAFTA, the free-trade deal with Mexico and Canada, unless it is rewritten. Both rail against oil companies, drug companies, credit-card companies—the usual suspects. Both want more government spending and regulation to protect individuals against predatory companies. Indeed, in some ways, Mrs Clinton is worse. She appears to be sceptical of all trade deals, including the multilateral Doha round which would produce big benefits for the world’s poorest countries. Unlike Mr Obama, she has proposed a deeply unsound five-year freeze on interest payments for subprime borrowers, which would surely result in higher rates and scarcer credit for future borrowers.
The sad thing is that one might reasonably have expected better from Mr Obama. He wants to improve America’s international reputation yet campaigns against NAFTA. He trumpets “the audacity of hope” yet proposes more government intervention. He might have chosen to use his silver tongue to address America’s problems in imaginative ways—for example, by making the case for reforming the distorting tax code. Instead, he wants to throw money at social problems and slap more taxes on the rich, and he is using his oratorical powers to prey on people’s fears.
Mr Obama advertises himself as something fresh, hopeful and new. But on economic matters at least he, like Mrs Clinton, has begun to look a rather ordinary old-style Democrat.