Obama -- the Pragmatic Foreign Policy Guy
Indeed, you can argue that over the past month, Obama has been shaping the foreign policy debate for the Democrats -- and getting the best of the arguments. By last Sunday's televised debate in Iowa, nobody else seemed eager to challenge Obama's postulate that "strong countries and strong presidents meet and talk with our adversaries." And there was little repetition, either, of the tut-tutting that greeted his statement that he would be prepared to go after al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan, with or without President Pervez Musharraf's blessing.
Sen. Hillary Clinton's stance has been more cautious, seeking to convey a general but vaguely defined sense that her toughness and experience would make her a strong president. Obama is taking the opposite tack.
Obama added some new (and potentially controversial) foreign policy details in an interview Tuesday afternoon, before he hopped a plane for his next stop, in New Hampshire. He said he expects there will still be U.S. troops in Iraq when the next president takes office, and he is discussing with his advisers how this residual force should be used. "For getting out in an orderly way, withdrawing one to two brigades a month is realistic," he said. With 20 combat brigades in Iraq, that would imply a withdrawal schedule of at least a year.