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Monday, January 28, 2008

What Makes a "Foreign Policy Expert" ?

Photo: Author in Damascus on a child kidnapping case, 1996-97

What makes a 'foreign policy expert' these days? Prior experience?

Or just a dad in high office who gets you a job in the State department with no prior international experience in a world of 200 countries, each with a different culture and legal system?

Does family connections qualify that person to be the "foreign policy expert" for a Presidential campaign? What does that say about the campaign? Is it about having the best international expertise -- or just courting votes?

After what Mr. McCain has called "a series of blunders in international policy" do we want another administration where the chief qualification to any office is to be connected and loyal, not competent with prior experience?

I'm sure that Liz Cheney is a nice person and means well, but if her background qualifies her to lead State Department missions and be a "senior foreign policy adviser" for a serious Presidential campaign, then my 30 years spent negotiating real deals on behalf of American companies (selling U.S.-made products) in over 50 countries makes me feel like...Henry Kissinger? Dead meat? LOL.

No. But something is wrong when connections mean more than real experience in our highest levels of government - and in campaigns. Being the kid of a doctor or staying at a Holiday Inn Express doesn't make you a surgeon (would you want them cutting on you?). Being the wife or kid of a President, or VP, is not international experience either.

McCain is right. That type of thinking, if continued by the next administration, will end up generating more "blunders" that hurt America's future...

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