A reader writes:
"My major worry about Obama is the ghost of Jimmy Carter. Will Obama be too reflexively diplomatic?"
(1) Obama has famously said his success in Chicago politics shows he's clear-eyed about power.
(2) At the same time, one of Obama's strengths is that he can bring adversaries together where most negotiators cannot. Illinois law on videotaping police interrogations, etc. And one of McCain's weaknesses is his tendency to piss off even his allies. If you had to bet on someone to succeed in delicate negotiations, would you bet on Obama or McCain? Exactly. Now, think about the international cooperation we need to salvage some shred of success in Iraq and Afghanistan. Think about the WTO. Think about international carbon trading. Think about myriad other foreign-relations matters in which the Bush administration has destroyed our credibility. Who's more likely to get back our credibility, and secure the cooperation we need? Exactly.
(3) Obama's campaign has so far been a masterful blend of hardheaded analysis and unmatched persuasion.
(4) What's the single undeniable shining success in the Middle East in the last four decades? The Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt.