There has been much discussion in this presidential race about what Barack Obama would do and what he understands regarding foreign affairs. So in order to answer those questions I have decided to provide a list of speeches and issues that Obama has put forth in this regard:
First off I want to beat back this idea that Barack would be weak in defending America. This shouldn't even be a concern but here is a statement about this issue from the Senator:
I believe that the single most important job of any President is to protect the American people.
Obama speech on foreign affairs. Committed to Rebuilding and Supporting Military and Disabled Veterans
Obama Speech on WMD
Obama on Israel, Iran and Iraq . Plus, Obama Supports Israel, Says Israeli Newspaper Columnist
Obama on Kosovo Independence
Obama on Terrorism:
Obama on Russia: Obama would be better suited to work with Russia since he isn't shackled by a Cold War mentality that McCain has. Obama is willing to listen to Russia and actually work on some solutions to tensions that have built up under the reckless George W. Bush. Hillary Clinton also views Russia with an outdated mentality of hard line tactics, “This is the president that looked into the soul of Putin, I could have told him, he was a KGB agent, by definition he doesn’t have a soul, I mean this is a waste of time, right, this is nonsense.” This kind of talk does nothing to bridge the growing divide between the U.S. and Russia. Hillary lacks the tact and judgment that Obama has which would greatly enable him to strengthen trust between Russia and America.
Obama on Pakistan: Barack has faced criticism from Hillary Clinton for taking a hard line on terrorists hiding on the Pakistan-Afghan border because of saying that he would launch missile attacks on targets if Pakistan didn't act on actionable intelligence. Yet President Bill Clinton ordered a missile launch against bin Laden and al-Qaeda within the sovereign country of Afghanistan during his administration so Hillary doesn't have a very strong leg to stand on in criticizing Obama's stance. It is also important to point out that Obama's position to launch a strike on al-Qaeda in Pakistan would be a last resort. I will say though that Barack probably shouldn't have discussed this position out loud during the campaign but it does show that he wouldn't be a push over on terrorism.
On China: Obama favors cracking down on Chinese imports to ensure that they aren't dangerous to our children and animals. He would also lean on China to improve their labor standards and human rights standards. He also would take a hard stance on China's currency manipulation and seek to change the trade imbalance. He would also pressure China to back off support of Sudan given the genocide taking place there. China currently trades with Sudan giving the government more money to buy weapons to continue the slaughter in Darfur.
When I am president, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world’s most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland.
In general, Obama's website has an excellent, in-depth menu on how he would handle foreign policy.
And of course with his African heritage, Barack would be possibly the best president in regards to Africa relations that we've ever had. He has already visited Africa and seen the issues faced by Africans first hand. Mr. Obama used his unique status to take a HIV/AIDS test in Kenya to show the citizens there that such a test is important to the stability and success of Kenya and Africa as a whole. He offers a unique opportunity to improve relations with countries such as Somalia and Sudan that have been less willing to work with America in regards to defeating and beating back terrorism. His African roots give Obama a unique opportunity to increase America's credibility in those regions. He understands the traditional struggles, he has been a citizen of the world and because of these assets he is in a position to affect some real change on the continent. In specific, Obama visited Sudan and had some tough words for the embroiled country:
The message Obama said he gave Erwa was blunt: "The genocide that has taken place is unacceptable. That we are glad some of the wholesale slaughter has diminished in the last several months and we want to be encouraging of negotiations that are starting to take place between Khartoum [the Sudanese capital] and the rebels but that the status quo of 2-1/2 million people in refugee camps who remain vulnerable to rape, murder, is simply unacceptable.''
I think it is clear that Obama understands the threats that America and our allies face and combined with the advise from very experienced advisors I am confident that he will make the correct and balanced decisions regarding foreign affairs. Barack Obama's keen judgment is a vital asset to assist him in deciding what to do in these regards. One can have much experience but if that person does not have excellent judgment to be able to make the right decisions then that experience means nothing.
Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld had decades of foreign affairs experience and despite that resume they used poor judgment which led to the hasty decision to invade Iraq. I think it is obvious that Obama wouldn't have taken us into that war. As we know, he was right in opposing this war from the beginning which showed wisdom in understanding that part of the world and emphasized his good judgment.