Friday 19 Jul 2019 | 18:51 | SYDNEY
Friday 19 Jul 2019 | 18:51 | SYDNEY

More on Obama foreign policy speech


Michael Fullilove


23 July 2008 10:50

I think Sam was a little hard last week on Senator Barack Obama’s big foreign policy speech to the Wilson Center here in Washington, DC.

Sam criticizes Obama for mentioning ‘China and the Asian region only once.’ (Sam’s italics.) I can hardly deny, in the very week that Obama is in Europe, that his campaign is privileging that continent over Asia. (By the same token, McCain has visited Europe, the Middle East and various bits of the Americas this year but not, to my knowledge, any part of Asia.) However, that’s not a fair basis for criticizing this particular speech by Obama, which is not structured regionally but thematically.

Sam also notes that the speech, like the US foreign policy debate, is dominated by Iraq and Afghanistan – not exactly a surprise given the number of American personnel deployed in those two countries. But, in fact, the best part of Obama’s speech is his attempt to look to the wider strategic horizon, as I argue in today’s AFR:

This war distracts us from every threat that we face and so many opportunities we could seize… Instead of pushing the entire burden of our foreign policy on to the brave men and women of our military, I want to use all elements of American power to keep us safe, and prosperous, and free… I will pursue a tough, smart and principled national security strategy – one that recognizes that we have interests not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi, in Tokyo and London, in Beijing and Berlin.