by Ted Galen Carpenter and Malou Innocent
Ted Galen Carpenter is vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington. Malou Innocent is a Cato Institute foreign policy analyst.
Added to cato.org on August 19, 2008
This article appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on August 19, 2008.
A major theme of John McCain's campaign is that he has far more experience in foreign affairs than does Barack Obama. McCain has now escalated his attacks by targeting Obama's judgment as well — especially the latter's pessimism about the effectiveness of the surge in Iraq.
There is little doubt about McCain's lengthier foreign policy experience. But it is not at all apparent that his judgment is superior to Obama's. Indeed, the record indicates that McCain's own judgment is alarmingly bad.
Even if one concedes that Obama was excessively negative about the surge's prospects for success (and the jury may be out on that point for months or even years to come), McCain's own prognostications on Iraq have repeatedly been off the mark. He was not prescient about the course of the war: As senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee prior to the invasion, McCain predicted Iraq would be a quick and easy victory, and even told MSNBC he had "no doubt" U.S. troops "will be welcomed as liberators."--MORE--