The Campaign Spot

Considering The Importance of Meeting With Foreign Heads of State

Charlie Gibson asked Sarah Palin, “Have you ever met a foreign head of state?” and it’s not a bad question. Basically, the answer is no, although we shouldn’t be surprised; Alaska isn’t on the itinerary of most foreign heads of state.
Note that before his summer worldwide tour, Obama had not met French Nicholas Sarkozy before *, nor German Chancellor Angela Merkel, nor Afghan President Hamid Karzai, nor Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, nor Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. I cannot find any indication of whether Obama had met Ehud Olmert before, but it was the first time he had met Shimon Peres. (Israel will have a new prime minister very soon, anyway.)
The tour marked Obama’s first one-on-one meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II, and his first one-on-one meeting with Gen. David Petraeus. The tour marked Obama’s second meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown; the first meeting was during Brown’s visit to the U.S. in April.
By almost all accounts, Obama’s meetings went fine. So  if elected, Palin can go on a similar meet-the-world-leaders tour.

And if Charlie Gibson or any other voter really believes the presidency should go to the candidate who has met with the most world leaders, McCain would seem to be well ahead of his counterpart on the Democratic side. (Having arrived in Washington ten years earlier, I bet Biden has met with even more.)
* UPDATE: In 2006, then-Minister of the Interior Sarko met with two senators during a trip to the U.S.:  Obama and… John McCain.

Most Popular


Trump and the North Korean Tipping Point

The world has been stunned by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s announcement last week that he was suspending his country’s nuclear tests in preparation for the impending meeting with President Trump. Even critics have had to concede that Trump’s bellicose rhetoric since last summer regarding the North ... Read More
Politics & Policy

E Pluribus . . . Gridlock

A mantra we hear everywhere these days is that diversity is a good thing. And no doubt, it is. Diversity facilitates an exchange of ideas and opinions, and it promotes economic growth. Moreover, the alternative to diversity is to suppress the views and opinions of some subset of citizens, which is completely ... Read More
Economy & Business

Trade Misunderstandings

I was distracted by other policy topics last week but not enough not to notice Peter Navarro’s article in the Wall Street Journal, headlined “China’s Faux Comparative Advantage.” Considering Navarro’s position in the White House, it is unfortunate that it demonstrates some serious misunderstandings ... Read More