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Obama's Trips

Obama was at a disadvantage from the beginning: he really did not have much foreign policy experience. But the voters decided that Hillary's visits to 81 countries -- I think that's the number she bandied about -- did not constitute real preparation for the trials of being president. And now Barack Obama, nomination in hand, has travelled to the Middle East and Europe where he made a tremendous impression on the political leaders and on the multitudes, as well. The McCain folk and their loyal press scribes have now tried to make light of this, as if one of the jobs of the American presidency was not to reach across the oceans for allies and friends.

Of course, there has been much nonsense said on both sides about the other candidate's preparations for running our relations with other nations and movements, both sane and malignantly nutsy. The low point, I think, was when retired general Wesley Clark derided John McCain's experience in the military and in the Senate as having added nothing to his wisdom in handling our relations with other countries. For myself, I know that Clark had experience in this area: it just didn't add to his understanding.

Obama was a big hit in Israel and a smaller hit with the Palestinians. But no foreign leader can add much to their assets when they are trapped in their own delusions. So the controversy about Obama's travels now rivets on his visit to Germany. It was "inappropriate," say the blah, blahers. J.F.K., Ronald Reagan, blah, blah. But can anyone say that a presidential candidate who drew 200,000 people, friends of America, all, to an historic assembly in Berlin has achieved nothing?

And, by the way, it was a crowd waving American flags. You know that I disagree with Obama on Iraq. But could Bush muster anywhere near 200,000 Iraqis also waving the Stars and Stripes?