The Obama campaign announced today that Barack Obama will be making his first international trip as the Democratic nominee to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Jordan, and Israel. “This trip will be an important opportunity for me to assess the situation in countries that are critical to American national security, and to consult with some of our closest friends and allies about the common challenges we face,” said Barack Obama.
He talked about Israel and Jordan in terms of confronting threats in the Middle East, “Israel is a strong and close friend of the United States, and is confronting grave threats from Gaza to Tehran. Jordan has been a close partner in the peace process and a host of other issues of common concern.”
In terms of the European visit Obama is looking to incorporate our allies, and radically depart from the Bush administration policies, “France, Germany, and the United Kingdom are key anchors of the transatlantic alliance and have contributed to the mission in Afghanistan, and I look forward to discussing how we can strengthen our partnership in the years to come. This will be an important opportunity to have an exchange of views with leaders in these countries about these and other issues that are critical to American national security — and global security — in the 21st century.”
This trip really serves two purposes. Obama wants to answer the McCain campaign’s daily attacks that he doesn’t have enough international experience. This is also a chance for the Obama campaign to demonstrate to voters how well their message of change plays with U.S. allies, but he needs to walk a fine line on this point, because as the 2004 election demonstrated, too much international support for his candidacy could be used against him by the Republicans in the fall.
There is no downside to this trip. Even Obama supporters will admit that he needs to be more visible on the world stage. One final added benefit of this trip is that it gives the candidate a chance to look presidential. Although this is an election that will be decided on domestic issues, with two wars going on, a great deal of Obama’s time as president will be dedicated to foreign policy, that makes this is critical trip that barring some sort of major gaffe will be another step on the path to victory in November.