A few thoughts on President-Elect Obama’s news conference this morning:
- He was asked a very tough question about India: if America has the right to attack terrorists in Pakistan, as Obama has said, does India have that same right? The answer he gave was exactly right, that sovereign nations have the right to defend themselves but he wouldn’t comment specifically beyond that.
- He was not as impressive in his answer to a question about the Clinton appointment: during the campaign he argued that Clinton had no useful experience in foreign affairs, so how can he now say she’s the best person to be Secretary of State? On this one he tried to shift the blame (in a good-natured way) to the questioner for “having fun” dredging up campaign quotes and ultimately he didn’t answer. To be fair, I suppose the question was unanswerable without admitting that at least half of campaigning is bullshit.
- He was asked what happens to his pledge to withdraw troops from Iraq in 16 months in light of the SOFA. There he sort of affirmed the 16 months as a goal, but left himself the wiggle room he’ll need when it doesn’t happen. Beyond that, he made the revealing statement that the safety of the troops (not victory, by implication) was his top priority.
- He was asked no questions about Iran, and he mentioned it only once and briefly in his opening remarks. Evidently no one is focusing on Iran, which is truly worrying.