More important than experience…

You know that refrain that Barack Obama is not experienced enough to be president, particularly on foreign affairs? I find it over-simplified. For one, some of the most experienced officials have gotten us into some deep trouble (Cheney, Rumsfeld, McNamara in Vietnam) and some less experienced have done the country well. John F. Kennedy learned from his quickness to trust the recommendations of the military leaders after the Bay of Pigs Invasion and saved the U.S. from nuclear confrontation with Cuba and Russia during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kennedy’s inexperience actually worked to his advantage, as he was more modest about his shortfalls in Bay of Pigs and swifter to correct himself by the time of the Missile Crisis. On the other hand, experience often breeds stubborness (witness Rumsfeld).

Now it comes out that Obama’s abilities as a good thinker are appreciated among a large part of the Democratic party’s foreign policy thinkers, according to the New York Times. Bill Clinton’s first national security adviser Anthony Lake says that Obama “has the kind of mind that works its way through complexities by listening and giving some edge of legitimacy to various points of view before he comes down on his, and that point of view embraces complexity.” This way of thinking seems greatly in need right now.

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About elainemeyer
I'm a writer and editor. I work in communications at the Columbia School of Public Health, where I write about epidemiologic research. In the past I've worked as a reporter and studied journalism and history in school.

One Response to More important than experience…

  1. hm says:

    Interesting! This is consistent with descriptions of his Illinois Senate career, particularly in chairing hearings (death penalty) and committees (health care). One participant told me how respectful he was of all participants and how he assured that they would be heard out.

    I think it’s also consistent with his appeal beyond his base (“base” almost seems too narrow for him).

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