Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Real Change

I didn't watch the YouTube debate last night, but I was intrigued by one of the issues that emerged from it--Obama appearing to offer to meet with any foreign leader and HRC's and Edwards' more conventional pushback that they wouldn't want to be used for propaganda purposes (another GOP line--remember Pelosi in Syria?) or that they would agree to do so only after substantial changes were made in certain countries or only after their underlings had properly laid a foundation and made appropriate contacts, etc.

First, I think foreign affairs has gotten short thrift in the debates and coverage of the Democratic candidates, and truth be told, has not been given high visibility by the candidates themselves. So I was pleased to see an issue such as this emerge as a point of contention among the candidates.

Second, this seems to be another example of how different an Obama presidency might be. And by different I mean, different in a good way.

Denouncing certain countries and leaders has been a staple of both Republican and Democratic candidacies for years. Castro's Cuba has in particular been a favorite bipartisan target for five decades. And by their responses, HRC and Edwards don't give any indication that they would try to alter any of America's most entrenched and dubious policies or would be willing to stick their necks out to antagonize any minority but vocal interests.

Whether Obama just goofed in making the response (he's been defending it today) or whether it reflects an accurate guage of his foreign policy approach remains to be seen. But unlike his more timid peers, Obama appears more willing to challenge old assumptions and long-standing biases in foreign affairs.

No comments: