Barack Obama’s Foreign Mission: Hope and Cautions

Barack Obama’s Foreign Mission: Hope and Cautions

Obama Sets Off on His Foreign Tour

Senator Obama’s overseas trip is scheduled to have him make visits to the Middle East, Germany, France and England. His trip began covered by a shroud of secrecy, which advisers said was due to security concerns set forth by the Secret Service. A motorcade left Sen. Obama’s home in Chicago’s Hyde Park/Kenwood neighborhood at 11:11 a.m (local time) on Thursday morning, heading for Chicago’s Midway Airport. From Midway, a Gulfstream III executive jet took off for Washington’s Reagan National Airport carrying Obama, the senior Obama spokesperson, two reporters and eight Secret Service Agents.

About 85 minutes later, the plane landed at Reagan, and Obama’s motorcade traveled from there to Andrews Air Force Base. At Andrews, Obama entered an aircraft that had no markings, with the exception of an American flag on the tail. Mark Lippert, a foreign policy advisor to Obama in his Washington office, Senators Jack Reed and Chuck Hagel were on the plane when it took off from Andrews Air Force Base shortly after 3 p.m. (ET). No reporters accompanied him on the plane to Afghanistan.

Obama at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan

Obama Sets Off on His Foreign Mission

Obama Arrives in Afghanistan

Senator Barack Obama made a secret stop in Kuwait, visiting with U.S. servicemen there, and then flew on to Kabul, Afghanistan, where he arrived early Saturday morning. He would open his first overseas trip as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee by meeting with American military commanders there (and later in Iraq) to receive an on-the-ground assessment of military operations in the two major U.S. war zones.

Mr. Obama touched down in Kabul at 3:15 a.m. Eastern time, according to a pool report released by his aides. In addition to attending briefings with military leaders, he hoped to meet with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan before flying to Iraq later in the weekend. His advisers said that Mr. Obama had chosen to begin his trip in Afghanistan because he believes that the region is among the most important foreign policy challenges facing the United States.

It is the first trip to Afghanistan for Mr. Obama, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Obama has said he wants to send two additional U.S. combat brigades, about 7,000 troops, to Afghanistan. He has advocated reducing the U.S. force in Iraq so that troops can be redeployed to Afghanistan to quell the threat from al-Qaeda operatives and their supporters in the resurgent Taliban movement.

Obama has also accused his Republican opponent, Arizona Sen. John McCain, of waffling aboout whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, criticizing the decorated Vietnam war veteran for voting to go to war in Iraq and saying the loss of focus on the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan has been a “grave mistake.”

Security in the Afghan capital was noticeably tighter Saturday, but Obama’s visit was little known and little remarked upon in the streets of the city.

Senator Obama’s Trip to Afghanistan

Europe Pins Its Hopes on Obama

In some ways, Obama’s high-profile foreign mission has all the trappings of a major rock-star tour. Public opinion polls in Europe have continued to show that Obama is by far the candidate that most Europeans would like to see succeed George W. Bush in the November elections. With his visit, the presumptive Democratic nominee is recreating the kind of public whirlwind that he enjoyed at the height of the Democratic primaries, only now it’s on a grand global scale. Some European observers are describing Obama as Europe’s greatest hope.

Obama: Europe’s Greatest Hope

This Posting Will Be Updated With Photographs and Video Each Day During Obama’s Foreign Tour.

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