Obama Overseas

By Thomas Duffy / October 2, 2008 at 5:00 AM

Obama senior foreign policy adviser Richard Danzig had breakfast with defense reporters this morning, and he was asked whether Obama would ask America's European allies for more help in Afghanistan.

Danzig responded by explaining how he thinks Obama would change America's relations overseas:

One of the many remarkable things the election of Senator Obama would produce is a very different view of America through much of the world. Lots of enthusiasm for him in Europe but obviously also in Asia and Africa and Latin America. That gives some greater freedom of action to governments in those countries to support America. And that's a worldwide observation, whether it's Japanese ships in the Indian Ocean or French combat troops in Afghanistan.

My sense is that one can fairly and should ask the Europeans to do more in Afghanistan. Where for many nations that focus should be on combat troops, there is also potential for dealing with support of the police and the civilian reconstruction items I've mentioned as priorities where many of them have real resources to offer.

But how, Danzig was asked, can some of these countries send troops if their populace is against doing so?

This comes back to my observation that Sen. Obama is not a miracle worker, and there are real difficulties and many (countries) will remain unpersuaded. But he would instantly be our most persuasive advocate. As I've indicated I have great respect for Secretary Gates but I think there's a large difference between the potential that a new president, particularly what a president Obama would have, recognizing that 80 percent of the world roughly articulates a desire to have him as president and 20 percent Sen. McCain.

It's an extraordinarily dramatic evocative power he has. I was with him in Berlin and saw the manifestation of that there. And this translates into advantages for America. Does it translate into magical bottom-line resolutions? No, it doesn't. Will it be as strong on the first day as it might be on the fifth year? Yes. I think it's definitely something that we can work with. Your question was would Sen. Obama request (that) the Europeans contribute more to Afghanistan? The answer to that is yes.”

Danzig also said today he could see Gates sticking around in an Obama administration. And he made news on the subject of defense spending under Obama.

More to come, too.