How not to win friends


by Ulf on July 29th, 2008 (Permalink)

“If we have more NATO troops in Afghanistan, then that’s potentially fewer American troops over the long term, which means we’re spending fewer billions of dollars, which means we can invest those billions of dollars in making sure we’re providing tax cuts to middle class families who are struggling with higher gas prices that will have an impact on our economy.”

Way to go, Mr Obama. He said this (in a CNN interview) while still being in one of the countries he’s asking to contribute more, no less. As the WSJ notes, this is not the way to keep up a flowering romance. The rebuke was short and swift: “Under no circumstances will [ taxpayers ] pay with more money and more troops for Afghanistan for tax cuts in the U.S.”

I’m not sure if this Middle-Eastern/European trip achieved its aim of convincing voters in the USA that Mr Obama is not the foreign-policy lightweight he’s made out to be, but by this remark alone he undid all the good will he might have accrued over here. Maybe foreign politics isn’t so simple after all.


3 Responses to “How not to win friends”

  1. Tom Says:

    At this point I really don’t care what Obama says. I’m voting for him November.

  2. Jason Says:

    “If we have more NATO troops in Afghanistan, then that’s potentially fewer American troops over the long term, which means we’re spending fewer billions of dollars, which means we can invest those billions of dollars in making sure we’re providing tax cuts to middle class families who are struggling with higher gas prices that will have an impact on our economy.”

    That was an idiotic statement by The Messiah and it only serves to highlight his inexperience and naiveté. For one thing, quite honestly, NATO forces cannot replace US forces unfortunately. While there are a couple countries in NATO who at least somewhat pull their weight, there are others who refuse to pull their weight and prefer to let others do the fighting.

    The miniscule numbers of forces provided by many NATO members for Afghanistan (despite having invoked Article V after 9/11) and the pathetic caveats placed on many of those forces in order to insure that those forces don’t actually do anything that might be construed as providing meaningful contributions to the fight, are nothing those countries should be proud of.

  3. Ulf Says:

    Yes, let’s hope it’s just inexperience. There were some other episodes during the primaries (e.g. bashing NAFTA ahead of an important primary, and quickly backpedalling when Canada was less than amused) that smacked more of a typical politician’s cynicism, though. That’s just the usual pandering to the masses, not change one can believe in.

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