International,  Stateside

Obama begins foreign tour

Barack Obama has begun his much-anticipated foreign tour with a visit to Afghanistan. He’s also expected to visit Iraq, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Germany, France and the UK. Details of his agenda apparently are being kept obscure for understandable security reasons. I suppose he won’t have much opportunity to interact with the general public.

He’s being trailed by the main news anchors of the three major US TV networks. So this isn’t your ordinary senatorial overseas tour.

Of course every one of Obama’s words, gestures and facial expressions will be analyzed during this trip. Fair enough. This is what he signed on for. I think he has enough political smarts to avoid making a fool of himself.

If he receives an overwhelmingly friendly reception in what Donald Rumsfeld disdainfully called “old Europe,” will the Republicans try to use this against him? (“See how those cheese-eating surrender monkeys love him? They can’t stand our guy. Need we say more?”)

Update: Did Prime Minister al-Maliki just cut the heart out of John McCain’s campaign?

Further update: CNN reports that a spokesman for al-Maliki said his remarks “were misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately.”