Steve Huntley, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times , points out that hoping for the best is not a viable foreign policy. Yet that is exactly what Barack Obama has been running on.
The political salvos over Iraq between Barack Obama and John McCain the other day made for good political theater. More important, the exchange offered a revealing contrast between the politics of realism and the politics of hope.
It began with a question to Obama during the Democratic presidential debate Tuesday. Obama has pledged to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq and was asked if he reserved the right to go back into Iraq. He responded that "if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad."
The next day McCain mocked Obama, ''I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq." Obama fired back, ''I do know that al-Qaida is in Iraq and that's why I have said we should continue to strike al-Qaida targets. But I have some news for John McCain. There was no such thing as al-Qaida in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq."
So what is Obama's Iraq strategy? It seems to be that he knows al-Qaida is in Iraq but he's going to pull out anyway. But if al-Qaida establishes a base in Iraq, he will go back in. Does that sound confused to you? Me, too.
His policy, in a nutshell, seems to be this: Pull troops out of Iraq and hope for the best. And anyway, the real issue is what cowboy Bush and McCain did five years ago.
Obama has said he would meet without preconditions with the leaders of states who export terror. And hope things work out, apparently. Unfortunately, that strategy would simply lend the prestige of the office of the President of the United States to some unrepentant American haters. Hope may be good politics for Obama, but would be a disaster for America and our allies as well as a boon to our enemies. And yes, they are our self-proclaimed enemies.