Saturday, June 28, 2008

Beware Hubris

Obama is planning to visit Europe and the Middle East before the election:

""This trip will be an important opportunity for me to assess the situation in countries that are critical to American national security, and to consult with some of our closest friends and allies about the common challenges we face," said Obama, in a statement released by his campaign.

"This will be an important opportunity to have an exchange of views with leaders in these countries about these and other issues that are to American national security — and global security — in the 21st century," he added. "

Hmmmm.... Okay. How he handles this will be interesting. If he travels overseas as a Senator on a fact finding mission, that is one thing, but I suspect that given his narcissism he will play up as a visiting head of state. Doing so Obama could put foreign governments in an awkward spot. Its one thing to complain about Bush and cheer for Obama's victory, but how do they treat him now? Senators don't generally pow-wow with heads of state. The appearance of foreign meddling won't help him.

Further, this can backfire. Adoring foreign crowds are more likely to annoy uncommitted American voters than convince them. There is a lot of room for gaffes and embarrassment. Unlike the American policial machine or American media, foreignors will have little incentive to smooth the waters for him.

This is an early test for Obama. While he is the product of the Chicago patronage system, he has little experience in running a non-political event.

"Consult your friend on all things, especially on those which respect yourself. His counsel may then be useful where your own self-love might impair your judgment." - Seneca