Obama says overseas trip confirmed his views

Fresh off his world tour, Barack Obama says his trip has served to confirm his views on the Iraq war and other foreign policy topics. Most notably, Obama says his timetable for withdrawal from Iraq will remain in place if he is elected president in November.

Story from Fox News:

Barack Obama said Saturday that his weeklong trip to Europe and the Middle East only reinforced his foreign policy views, telling FOX News that his proposed troop withdrawal timetable and other military strategies will stay in place if he is elected president.

Rival John McCain had criticized Obama for setting his policies toward Iraq and Afghanistan before traveling to the two war zones. He argued Obama was stubbornly rejecting the advice of commanders before even meeting with them.

But the Illinois senator said Saturday, shortly before heading home to Chicago, that his observations overseas affirmed he had a grasp of the “broad strategic outlines” before going.

“What happens on a trip like this is, I think, you deepen your understandings,” Obama told FOX News’ Bill Hemmer in London.

“There was a lot of confirmation of my strategies — that we need to get more troops into Afghanistan, and that the Iraqis are willing to take more responsibility … that Iran is a grave threat.”

He said his plan to withdraw combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office is one “I will abide by fully,” though he will take “facts on the ground” into account during that process.

As the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee took off from London, it was unclear what the immediate impact of his high-profile tour would be.

Though polls have fluctuated slightly, the Gallup tracking poll Saturday showed Obama with a 7-point lead — up from a 6-point advantage the day before and a 2-point edge the day before that.

Obama told reporters Saturday, after a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, that he doesn’t expect any immediate political impact and suggested he might even see a dip in the polls. He said the point of the trip was to strengthen partnerships overseas.

Meanwhile, here’s a video report from ABC News with some comments from American citizens on Obama’s trip:

Largely it seems Obama scored favorable coverage from his world tour while McCain was largely ignored back here. I was pretty certain McCain was going to pick a VP just to steal some of Obama’s coverage, however, it never happened.

  • Frank

    “that Iran is a grave threat”

    Even Obama makes dumb statements

  • Josh

    True, Frank. Iran is one of the safest and most peaceful countries on the planet. Most of what we hear is propaganda, but I’m not sure that Obama could afford to make that statement because the vast majority of Americans believe what they have been told, and that is that Iran is terrible and we should fear them. Can you imagine the uproar if Obama actually came out and said that Iran wasn’t much of a threat at all? At least he’s not talking about killing them and their children, something that McCain, the war criminal baby killer (not my words here…) has pretty much made clear he wants to do.

  • OBAMA_SUCKS

    Ok first Iran is a grave threat to the country of Israel, the only democracy in the middle east. Second Obama first said he would sit down without preconditions with them and said they were not a threat but than 2 days later he came out with his statement of them being a grave threat. Third McCain the “war criminal baby killer” nice statement whoevers words those are is correct with his views on what to do. Israel most likely will attack iran in the next year, and we will have to back them because we are their allie. Fourth Iran is not on of the safest places, I dont know how you can say that after they shot 3 missiles of, that is not just propaganda.

  • Frank

    My point is that calling Iran a threat adds absolutely no value to any civilized political debate.
    How on earth should Iran respond to that statement.

    Of they deny it and explain that they are good people then its seen as lying propaganda. If they say; yes its true, we are evil, then neocons will start crying for a war.

    May i also note the Iran is politically very divided. Insulting them constantly will make leaders like Ahmedinejad more popular.

  • Josh

    Blindly backing Israel is one of the stupidest things America has ever done. Israel has a penchance for murdering innocent civilians, so I’m not sure why we look at them as the victims. They drop bombs on schools and hospitals as a government function.

    Also, understand that Iran is a pretty modern country politically. Iran is even considered a remarkably safe travel destination (see http://wikitravel.org/en/Iran#Stay_safe ). Most Iranians are capable, and do, make the distinction between the American people and the American government. This is something that many Americans cannot even get a grasp on!

    Also, the words war criminal were the words John McCain used to describe himself because, he said, he knowingly bombed innocent women and children in Vietnam.

  • Todd

    Frank I’m sorry to show such ignorance, are from Luxembourg ?

    Your flag indicates that you are. If so I was wondering do you think the people of your country believed Hitler was a threat ?

    Since Luxembourg is 5 times smaller than Israel I wonder how you really think the Israeli people think about a country who is own record questioning the very event for which your country paid a price. Germany went through your country with ease while the world sat back and did nothing. While going through your country Hilter was rounding Jews up by the truck loads so he could ship them off and kill them.

    Now you actually have the mindset which allows you to come to the defense of a leader who says it never took place ?

    What are you thinking ? As your ancestors were put through hell just for living in the way of Hitler the Jews are sitting very close to a country who has a leader that actually said Israel should be wiped off the map.

    Has the hate America crowd in Europe gotten so blinded by this hate that you are now actually taken up for people like the Iranian leaders ?

    I don’t question the fact that Iran has people inside it who support the west, of which you are a part, but I am not willing to allow my life to be placed in jeopardy while we wait on them to step up and take over and their current leaders develop a bomb which when used will require the U.S.
    to support Israel in some way.

    If calling Iran a threat upsets you please explain how you will ever identify any problem you face. If you are afraid to call it what it is how do you tell them what the problem is. I would also suggest that the chance for civilized debate is very slim considering the man you wish to have the exchange with believes it’s ok to kill people for being homosexual.

    Why is it that Europe and liberal minded folks cannot see that being kind to people with no heart doesn’t work.

    One more question, why if calling Iran a threat is counter to good talks, do Europeans find it so easy to tell Americans how cruel we are and how we are responsible for the worlds problems ? , especially when the U.S. has supported every military action the European nations have taken against those they consider a threat.

  • Todd

    Josh,

    I agree with you to some degree, we need to call Israel out more than we do but to say Israel is attacking innocent people blatantly ignores the problem they face.

    Maybe you would like to share with us how Israel should handle the issue given the fact that the enemy they face will not acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. How do you fight an enemy who will never admit defeat because they see you as the occupier ? They use hospitals and neighborhoods as their resupply bases. I would suggest to you that the biggest problem involving Israel and Philistine is the fact that Israel could stop attacking 2morrow and their enemy would still be attacking them because they do not believe they have the right to exist.

    The ability to negotiate and work out solutions is zero until the Palestinians as a whole agree Israel can be there. The only other solution is to disband the country, put it back like it was before world war 2 and tell Israeli citizens they have to move back to the land they came from, which I really don’t think they will do willingly. Clinton offered 90% of what they wanted and they refused it. If Israel were ever dissolved as a nation then Jordan, Syria and Lebanon will fight over who gets the land, because none of them will let it be a Palestine nation.

  • Josh

    Well, truthfully, if Israel were to have been justfully created it would have been created in Poland or some surrounding area.

    It is true that Palestinian extremists generally believe that Israel should not exist. However, to confuse the actions and beliefs of a small group of extremists like Hammas with the greater Palestinian society in totality is a dangerous road to traverse, especially when that confusion is used to justify violence against an entire group of people, without even stopping to sort the guitly from the innocent (the vast majority).

  • Christopher Schwinger

    I am very concerned about this inseparable alliance of Britain, America, and Israel, mainly because a long-term alliance with other countries means we find ourselves fighting other nations’ battles to further their imperialistic goals. I don’t think the image we get from the media, of how America protects our friends Britain and Israel from terrorists of the world, is as simple or true as it sounds. I’m under the impression that when Britain and Israel want to advance their agenda, they’ll call on America to do the dirty work and create enemies around the world for America.

  • Frank

    Im from the Netherlands

    “Your flag indicates that you are. If so I was wondering do you think the people of your country believed Hitler was a threat?”

    Why this comparison? Is Ahmedinejad the new Hitler?

    ” While going through your country Hilter was rounding Jews up by the truck loads so he could ship them off and kill them.”

    World war 2 has shown that war knows only losers. We learn from our mistakes. When starting an new war, the US forgets the lessons learned form previous wars.
    To quote Gore Vidal:
    ‘We live in the united states of Amnesia.’

    “Now you actually have the mindset which allows you to come to the defense of a leader who says it never took place?”

    Im not defending him, im attacking Obama for making a dumb statement.

    “What are you thinking ? As your ancestors were put through hell just for living in the way of Hitler the Jews are sitting very close to a country who has a leader that actually said Israel should be wiped off the map”

    You know what the difference is between my country then and Israel now?
    We werent doing anything wrong when Hitler attacked. Israel commits crimes against humanity on a daily basis. In know that you dont like to hear this but its true. The other countrys in the middle east including Iran are pissed off for a reason. Thats a BIG difference.

    Im not saying in anyway that the statements by Ahmedenjad are okay. He is a bad leader. But just as he is threatening Israel in the media, America and Israel are threatening to bomb Iran everyday.
    Look at the world map: The US has troops in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Kuwait, simply every country surrounding Iran.
    Iran has a reason to feel treathened dont you think. No matter wat they do, they will always be considered as a threat. Offcourse, this unless do everything that the US tells them to do.

    “Has the hate America crowd in Europe gotten so blinded by this hate that you are now actually taken up for people like the Iranian leaders ?”

    Again, im not defending him, im attacking the US for their blindness towards their own and Israel’s uncivilized actions.

    “but I am not willing to allow my life to be placed in jeopardy while we wait on them to step up and take over and their current leaders develop a bomb which when used will require the U.S. to support Israel in some way.”

    Take a look through the eyes of an Iranian. Dont you think they feel the same? They dont want to see an invasion in their country by the US and Israel so they support the Leader that is most anti american/Israeli.

    If calling Iran a threat upsets you please explain how you will ever identify any problem you face.

    “I would also suggest that the chance for civilized debate is very slim considering the man you wish to have the exchange with believes it’s ok to kill people for being homosexual.”

    I dont want to sound anti-american beceause i see your country as a friend, but you guys think its okay to kill people in other countrys, simply beceause you dont FEEL safe.

    “Why is it that Europe and liberal minded folks cannot see that being kind to people with no heart doesn’t work.”

    Beceause we see that war only causes death en tragedy. Nothing good has ever come out of a war. World war 2(since your bringing Hitler up all the time) is the best example of this. Millions of Jews, Americans, Europeans where killed and the european infrastructure destroyed. For what???

    Lets take the Iraq war: thousands of lifes lost(including 4000 innocent Americans), billions spent (Americas next generation will pay heavily for this), and for what???
    If Bush had another term and the recources available he would simply start another war. Tell me why do you see war as an option?

    “One more question, why if calling Iran a threat is counter to good talks, do Europeans find it so easy to tell Americans how cruel we are and how we are responsible for the worlds problems ? , especially when the U.S. has supported every military action the European nations have taken against those they consider a threat.”

    Their is a distinct difference betweeen how europe sees the US and how its sees Iran.
    The US is and will always be a friend. But this friend has always been a little much a warfanatic but it has erupted under the neoconservative government.
    For example, the whole country want Bill Clinton impeached for lying about a blowjob, but when Bush lies about a war, he can stay in office?
    America is a friend but that doenst mean we shouldt be critical of eachothers behaviour.

    Personally i see Iran as a country that talks though beceause calling Israel bad names gets you votes. Iran will never attack Israel beceause then the whole world (including europe) will bomb the **** out of them. Not that Israel need our support beceause their military is far more large an advanced then Irans military.

    So my message is, calling someone a threat will cause that someone to lose respect for the namecaller and without respect for one another, their can be no debate and dumb fighting will be the result.

    (sorry for the long text 🙂

  • Guys, let’s not let “IP Nationalities” dictate how we characterize each other and our comments. instead, let’s enjoy the fact that we have a global forum.

  • Babs

    What I’m wondering is, while everyone is astounded at the 200,000 plus attendance, why is no one taking into consideration the three major rock bands performing that day – two ahead of Obama and one behind? Must we all believe that all of Europe is in love with Obama?

  • Frank

    Babs,

    Europe will always vote democrat beceause even democrats are considered right by european standards. So most right partys would also vote democrat.
    Normally i think that a small majority (60% or something like that) would vote democrat against 40% for republicans.

    But thanks to George W Bush almost everybody wants to see a democrat. Some think Obama will bring a new America, but most people (including me) will see Obama as a unperfect but ‘closest we can get to a decent US president’.

    What i dont understand is why there are still so many people who consider voting republican. I mean if i was a republican, i would either vote barr/paul, Obama to protest or not vote at all. But i dont see any reason to give republicans a vote of confidence.

  • Billy

    It scares me that neither of the candidates seem to be the least be familiar with gorilla warfare tactics. You hit were you know you can do the most damage. If a spot is too well guarded, move on and hit someplace else. If they move their troops to protect that area, hit where they came from because it is now weak. Think about troop withdrawals from Iraq after the surge has worked in light of these tactics and you will get a better picture of how the insurgents are operating. We should withdraw from Iraq, but we need to leave behind a stable government that can defend itself or the insurgents will just move back in and start a civil war. That being said, we should have let the Iraqis know from day one that we are not going to stay for very long so they had better get their act together and that if we felt that they were not making a Herculean effort toward self rule and protection, we would withdraw immediately. While we are on the subject of that area of the world, the quagmire in Afghanistan and Pakistan is not that hard to solve. If we pull all our troops back fifty miles from the border and make it a ‘dead zone’ that the insurgents have to travel over to get to the troops and away from them, we could take advantage of our technical superiority and catch them in the open.

  • nzpudding

    I agree Michael and IP Nationalities shouldn’t be allowed to characterize anyone or anything that is said.

    This election more than any other has such a global impact even here in New Zealand it is being taken seriously. Most people I speak to have an opinion about things, because Bush really hasn’t done a good job of things.

    Anyhoo, I just wanted to know what Israel has done for America to warrant America’s devotion to a country that most of the Middle East don’t really like?

  • Dreadsen

    nzpudding

    Most of the middle east doesn’t like Israel’s government. There are Jews IN ISRAEL who also do not like their government. Did you see the video of Israeli police running into a synagogue beating on people for protesting the governments disrespect Jewish archaeological sites by building a highway?

    Frank

    Do you think that maybe Iran would possibly want a Nuclear Weapon ( that is if they are actually trying to get one) so that everyone will treat them with respect like India and Pakistan? I mean look at Pakistan they are assisting in harboring Osama Bin Laden and we are not threatening to invade them. Why? well for one they have nuclear weapons. I bet if they didn’t we would use diplomacy with India to assist us in attacking them as well.

  • Dreadsen

    Babs

    Not all of Europe. Maybe just germany. Which isn’t saying the greatest being that they will actually burn American flags. I think they burned flags in protest to the Iraq war. Now this may be a minority of the people who did that. But i believe that the majority of Germany is against Bush foreign Policy. And they see McCain as the same thing. JUST GERMANY now. Or all the people who were chanting Obama name at the rally or saying “yes we can” are only a small population of the people over there. It’s not really a proper gage of the opinion of the general populous of the country.

  • nzpudding

    I was in Germany a few months back, Berlin funnily enough, and most of the Germans I spoke to have nothing against America, it’s Bush they don’t like and his ass backwards foreign policies.

  • Todd

    Hey guys I never degraded anyone for where they live ! You guy are good at saying we should talk to others so when I saw the flag I wanted to know what the perspective is in Europe and why it is. Now a couple of you are saying we should not involve IP addresses which kinda flies in the face of your “every body’s perspective thought process”.

    Pudding my wife and I had a good internet buddy from New Zealand so where you are from means nothing to me in a personal way. it’s the mindset that I want to understand.

    Anyway,

    Frank you asked

    “Why this comparison? Is Ahmedinejad the new Hitler?”

    No but you did make the statement later in your post that Europeans learned from years of mistakes. If that is the case why do you prefer to talk to a man who makes unapologetic statements such as Ahmedinejad ? Did Hitler not make statements during his rise which people ignored until it was too late ? that is what many are doing with Iran on the Israel issue.

    Your next statement :World war 2 has shown that war knows only losers. We learn from our mistakes. When starting an new war, the US forgets the lessons learned form previous wars.
    To quote Gore Vidal:
    ‘We live in the united states of Amnesia.’

    I agree with you in some respects on this statement. In general the U.S. does have amnesia. We should remember that it accomplishes nothing to involve ourselves in other nations affairs unless we are protecting ourselves and true friends. We in the states seem to forget that the shield we provide for all who are treaty members is a shield that encourages those who we protect to forget they are threatened. The money we pump into the nations of the world would be better spent at home so you make a very valid point on that one Frank. I appreciate your concerns about the U.S. presidential race now I give you this task, The fact that you are under no threat of reprisals is yet another sign that you do not recognize the totalitarian scope of the countries and leaders you defend. While you may not believe it each time any leader see’s you or groups of folks protesting against your “friend” they get the impression that you are against us, and that is supporting them by encouraging them in the belief they have like minded folks.

    NEXT

    “You know what the difference is between my country then and Israel now?
    We werent doing anything wrong when Hitler attacked. Israel commits crimes against humanity on a daily basis. In know that you dont like to hear this but its true. The other countrys in the middle east including Iran are pissed off for a reason. Thats a BIG difference.”

    Hamas is a terrorist group ! they are on the terrorist list of Canada (now there is an aggressive nation), Australia, The entire European Union, Japan and Jordan (where they are banned) They have an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 fighters, receive up to 20 million from Iran and Saudi Arabia a year and have 74 seats out of 132 in the Palestinian government with that said here is a small part of there charter ;

    Israel exist and will continue to exist until Islam obliterates it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

    “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. ”

    “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

    “After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.”

    Now I understand you believe they are the victim’s but if you are Israel how do you negotiate with this ? While the very countries who say Hamas is a terrorist group also has citizens who sympathize with them and see them as the victim’s ?

    NEXT
    “Iran has a reason to feel treathened dont you think. No matter wat they do, they will always be considered as a threat. Offcourse, this unless do everything that the US tells them to do.”

    I do see how they could feel threatened with the troop levels around them we agree there. By the way can you give me a policy that your nation is following that is mandated by the U.S. ?

    NEXT
    “Take a look through the eyes of an Iranian. Dont you think they feel the same? They dont want to see an invasion in their country by the US and Israel so they support the Leader that is most anti american/Israeli.”

    No I don’t think they feel the same, I believe if they got all the information on the subject they would be worried about war and I don’t think they would be so eager to go by the hype their president gives them. I mean come on I obviously support Bush and Republican’s but because of “information” I disagree with him on the environment, oil subsidies, his apparent love for Chaney and some other issues. I also believe that the people of Iran would be interested in the fact that their government is giving 20 million a year to a group that blows up people riding buses to work. When one side doesn’t let it’s citizens enjoy the information YOU & I are able to, the citizens are only going to see us as the aggressor.

    NEXT
    “I dont want to sound anti-american beceause i see your country as a friend, but you guys think its okay to kill people in other countrys, simply beceause you dont FEEL safe.”

    Frank, come on. The history of the U.S. has been one of a supportive role with the possible exception of Vietnam and Korea (results of a cold war with USSR). We came into WWI as a last effort to help Europe, We tried to stay neutral in WWII until France was overrun and Britain was about to go under and Japan attacked us. Our belief, under Republican’s and Democrats, has been one that supported the general idea of freedom. Hell we would not be here if France had not helped us with ours. But as in that case we were supported by France because they wanted to counter British influence in he New World. Now if you believe that we are ok with killing because we don’t feel safe, we didn’t feel Europe was safe either when we killed in those days-and we helped.

    NEXT
    “Their is a distinct difference betweeen how europe sees the US and how its sees Iran.
    The US is and will always be a friend. But this friend has always been a little much a warfanatic but it has erupted under the neoconservative government.
    For example, the whole country want Bill Clinton impeached for lying about a blowjob, but when Bush lies about a war, he can stay in office?
    America is a friend but that doenst mean we shouldt be critical of eachothers behaviour.”

    Europe see’s Iran as a business partner just as Russia does. France, Germany and Russia have built have of Iran just as they did Iraq. The interest they had/have in both countries is somewhat based in money. They didn’t want the U.S. messing up a pay source. Now I don’t dismiss the opposition they had to Iraq but let’s remember they did support war against Afghanistan, a country where they had very little to no investment interest. Given that the U.S. still can’t get a commitment for more troops out of Europe for that war and you supported us there !

    The business about Bush and impeachment is rubbing up against another subject which I know would get this board going good. So in an attempt to avoid that I will simply say this ; A blowjob is a blowjob until you lie about the facts of a land deal in your home state to a FEDERAL GRAND JURY and you are the President. I’m not against blowjobs, although the most common defense about that issue is just what you said, make it about a sex act, he lied to a Grand Jury. No debate he lied. Bush on the other hand despite what more liberal minded people think was following in he footsteps of two previous presidents, Clinton and Daddy Bush. You can say he made it sound worse if you want I will not argue that but to say he lied is a point of disagreement. The bottom line is did the same thing the other two did, attack Iraq. Oh Yeah on the impeachment issue, if the democrats really felt he lied and was responsible for need less war they could impeach him, only one has tried and his com padres are not going along with it, why either because they know the entire truth or because they see it as political suicide in either case that makes them just as bad if it is true and they do nothing, dosen’t it ?

    LAST POINT
    “Iran will never attack Israel beceause then the whole world (including europe) will bomb the **** out of them. Not that Israel need our support beceause their military is far more large an advanced then Irans military.”

    Frank I don’t believe anyone in Europe beside Britain would go to war for Israel. If Iran did attack it would be with nukes for the reason you said, because they cannot match up militarily. I truly believe that if that ever happened it would be the U.S. and Israel with British support fighting Iran. Sure we may get fly over rights out of France or the right to use military bases out of Germany but Europe as a group would watch us fight the war. I can promise you this however if Europe ever has to face another country the U.S. will be fighting at your side our son’s dying in your land.

    I would expect friends to act like friends, if you disagree tell us in private and stop blasting us in public please, at least until you can call both sides out instead of just us.

    I too apologize for the length of this post.

    hey Dreadsen where did our debate go ? I lost it.

  • Dreadsen

    Todd hahaha

    http://www.youdecide2008.com/2008/07/17/obama-begins-5-nation-tour-next-week/

    here it goes! I posted a couple of comments

  • DMQ

    quote from the above article: “He said the point of the trip was to strengthen partnerships overseas.”

    Since when does a freshmen Senator have the responsibility to strengthen partnerships overseas? He is not the President, Vice President, or Secretary of State. We have ambassadors, consulates, and Congressional Foreign Relations committees – none of which Obama is part of.

    It is presumptuous, arrogant, and flat our disrespectful for a presumptive nominee to travel outside the US to “strengthen partnerships” without the blessing or direction of any of the aforementioned groups. But then – would he have gotten it??? Of course not. So why the trip?

    BIG FAT POLITICAL POSTURING. It is as if to say “look America – all these countries love me…it’s just Bush they hate”. Guess what: he was right with one of those statements, and it wasn’t the first one.

    I do not take the opinion of an inexperienced, freshman Senator on matters of Foreign Policy or Relations. If Sen Obama is that powerful, why didn’t he get put on one of the various standing committees that address these issues and policies?

    I do NOT care what citizens from other countries think of us, since it is the Executive and his Cabinet (specifically the Secretary of State) that treats with other governments. Further, I could care less who any other country or citizen wants to be president of the USA. When they come here, get legal documentation, pay taxes and are able to vote, they can have a say in my country’s domestic affairs. Sorry to all the “citizens of the world”: I’m still a passport tax paying, voting citizen of the Unites States.

  • IndiMinded

    I think someone close to him recommended the trip. John McCain was his name…

    Are you suggesting McCain was setting some sort of political trap for Obama? He either endures the flak for choosing not to make such a trip or else he appears arrogant for actually making it?

    Boy, politics are nasty.

    But the polls agree with you, DMQ. For some reason, leaving the country in the middle of a campaign didn’t help him much. Bizarre, huh?