In a closed door meeting in 2007, Senator Barack Obama boasted that his judgment in foreign policy was “better than any other candidate in this race, Republican or Democrat.” Obama’s statement includes then-rivals Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
As the unraveling of President Obama’s foreign policy becomes a campaign issue in 2012, it’s worth recalling the unbridled arrogance that may have contributed to recent disasters.
In July, 2007 ABC’s Jake Tapper reported on a “off-the-record meeting with media mavens and corporate titans” where candidate Obama said: “One thing I’m very confident about is my judgment in foreign policy is, I believe, better than any other candidate in this race, Republican or Democrat.”
Senator Obama went on to make a statement at the same event that may given some context to the attitude of President Obama and his administration, including a recent U.N. speech where he repeatedly linked a YouTube video to a September 11th attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americas dead. Candidate Obama said that his experience living overseas (as a child, apparently) and having family overseas gave him a special ability. He said his superior judgment in foreign affairs was based on more than “…how I approached the problem. What I was drawing on was a set of experiences that come from a life of living overseas, having family overseas, being able to see the world through the eyes of people outside our borders.”
Tapper also brings up a quote from January, 2007 where Senator Obama said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that his “experience in foreign policy is probably more diverse than most others in the field. I mean, I’m somebody who has actually lived overseas, somebody who has studied overseas. You know, I majored in international relations.”
According to his official biography, Barack Obama lived in Indonesia between the ages of six and ten. Most people who lived abroad at such an age would commonly describe the experience as living overseas as a young child and not claim in a discussion of foreign policy that they were “somebody who has studied overseas.”
Is there anything in Barack Obama’s later life to bolster the statement he “studied overseas”? Another report from ABC’s Ed O’Keefe in July, 2008 reveals that Candidate Obama also suddenly claimed to have visited Pakistan in college months into his campaign:
So when I speak about having lived in Indonesia for four years, having family that is impoverished in small villages in Africa -knowing the leaders is not important — what I know is the people…I traveled to Pakistan when I was in college.
This caught O’Keefe and other reporters by surprise; it was the first they’d heard of a college-age trip to Pakistann. Did Obama study on this trip to Pakistan? O’Keefe got clairification from the Obama campaign at the time:
Apparently, according to the Obama campaign, In 1981 — the year Obama transferred from Occidental College to Columbia University — Obama visited his mother and sister Maya in Indonesia. After that visit, Obama traveled to Pakistan with a friend from college whose family was from there. The Obama campaign says Obama was in Pakistan for about three weeks, staying with his friend’s family in Karachi and also visiting Hyderabad in Southern India.
Apparently, President Obama believed that living in Indonesia and going to school from age six to ten made him more qualified than any other candidate. His theory, stated over and over, was that understanding “the people” was the single most important factor in successful foreign affairs. The bloody results of his foreign policy judgment would seem to indicate this theory was dangerously wrong.