The Field, an election blog had a really impressive post on why Obama should go on his foreign policy tour as planned.
These are just a few things I wanted to add to sections on Asia and Europe.
On Europe it states:
The Field isn’t sure where in Asia would be most beneficial for a presidential candidate to go, particularly if the goal is to speak to a Chinese-American population that is mainly sympathetic to Taiwan and not to mainland China’s government, but maybe some Field readers will offer some additional commentary on that.
To visit Asia without stopping by Japan (America’s most important strategic and economic ally in Asia) will not impress the Japanese, and will give Clinton ammunition to attack Obama. Some Japanese were not happy when Bill Clinton flu over Japan to visiting China first before Japan in 1996 (thats the correct year if I am not mistaken). So drop by Japan. A note of caution, while in Japan, although unlikely, don’t be ambushed by the anti-American-base-in-japan protesters. A number of American soldiers was just charge with gang-raping an underage Japanese girl. There has been numerous allegation of American soldiers raping underage Japanese girls, ever since the end of WW2.
Visiting mainland China is risky, because of the nuanced triangular relationship and Obama should not want to be accuse of influencing the up coming presidential election in Taiwan held on the 22nd of march. However it would be a big plus if Obama can give a confidence building speech in Japan along the line of:
- He sees US-Japan alliance to be fundamentally important to peace and stability in Asia (meaning the US will protect Japan, please don’t re-militarise and don’t build nukes);
- He will adhere to the Three Joint Communiques (meaning recognizing one China);
- His policy toward Taiwan will be bound by the Taiwan Relation Act (meaning peace in Taiwan is very very important to America).
- Voice strongly against war in Taiwan strait and unilaterally changing status quo between china-Taiwan (meaning dont want Taiwan to officially declare independence)
- Tell China, that he sees China to be a strategic partner not strategic competitor (meaning we are friends not enemy).
- Give a somewhat tough talks on Chinese human rights record and encourage china to do more about protecting environment.
- Talk tougher against north Korean nuclear program and human right record.
- Pledge to have real consultation with South Korea and other Six Party Talk members (meaning no saber rattling against North Korea).
These policy positions are not innovative, they are basically the positions Bill Clinton’s administration had and Asian states involve usually comfortable with them. Stating them in a speech will build confident among Asian states and American foreign policy people.
While in Asia, Obama might want to talk about labor/environmental standard in China and health and safety issues regarding imports. This will be evident against suggestion made by the Clinton camp that Obama says one thing to American audience and something else to foreign government.
Regarding European trip it states:
US presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s roots have possibly been traced to an 18th century Irish shoemaker. Church of Ireland rector Canon Stephen Neill said the Hawaiian-born Illinois senator’s ancestors hailed from the village of Moneygall in County Offaly. He said Mr Obama is directly descended from shoemaker Joseph Kearney’s son Fulmuth, who emigrated to the US…
It’s not just where Obama could go, but who he might bring along on a trip to his ancestral Ireland… perhaps including Governor Kathleen Sebelius (nee, Gilligan) with him to remind of the link from Ireland to the senator’s grandparents and mother’s native Kansas, and maybe a member of the Kennedy family (i.e. former Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith, a supporter), and there he would have the makings of a photo op heard round the world while sipping Guinness meeting long lost cousins in a local pub.
I am biologically an Asian and have been target of racist language, I am against racism and racism have no place in politics. However there are voters who are not racist but may be unconsciously effected by sublime anti-Obama message. Obama might be able to use his ancestral trip to Ireland to subtlety remind people that he is half while.
I feel like small man to even suggest this.
One more thing, Obama is already seen by pundit to be too European, don’t give Republican ammunition to attack Obama like the way they attacked John Kerry.