Sakset/Fra hofta

Barack Obamas utenrikspolitiske linje får naturlig nok økende oppmerksomhet. Han omgir seg med en gruppe som ikke akkurat er den mest nyskapende. En sentral skikkelse er nasjonal sikkerhetsrådgiver for Bill Clinton i hans første periode – Anthony Lake, som gikk for å være svak og konfliktsky.

En person som ikke tilhører den gamle gjengen er menneskerettseksperten Samantha Power, som skal ha gitt Obama utenrikspolitisk skolering.

Kritikere hefter seg ved at Obamas krets går inn for dialog og forhandlinger både med Syria og Iran. Ett av medlemmene av nimannsgruppen var sekretær for Baker-Hamiltons Iraq Study Group, som nettopp anbefalte forhandlinger med de to statene i Midtøsten, for å løse Irak.

In a series of interviews with the campaign’s foreign policy advisers and supporters, as well as critics, the national security team that emerges around Mr. Obama is one that is in the mainstream of the Democratic Party. The senator’s advisers favor a withdrawal from Iraq and see it as a distraction from the wider war on Al Qaeda; they have developed a detailed policy on how to exit the country. The campaign favors high-level diplomatic engagement with Syria and Iran, but in the context of changing the behavior of these regimes. And the foreign policy team, like the candidate, does not support pressuring Israel into negotiations with Hamas.

The nine-member team funnels input to Denis McDonough, an Obama campaign staff member who briefs the candidate. A broader group of 250 advisers are divided into groups dealing with the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Russia-Europe, defense, veterans, counterterrorism, democracy and development, and multilateral institutions. On average each of these groups has 20 people. The Obama campaign has declined to release the names of all the participants, saying that some of them are volunteering their time while serving in jobs at government agencies and nonprofits that don’t want to be publicly associated with a partisan political campaign.

Kretsen på ni er ikke særlig spennende, med tanke på «forandring», hvis man ser bort fra Power.

Weathermen

Barack har hittil cruises frem uten motstand fra pressen. Nå kommer spørsmålene. Ett av dem gjelder hans kontakt med to raddiser fra 70-tallet, Bill Ayers og Bernadine Dohrn, som begge var medlemmer av terrogruppen Weathermen. Weathermen sprengte flere bomber, ranet en verditransport, og sprengte et toalett i Kongressen. En vakt døde og en sikkerhetsvakt ble drept i ranet, med Ayers og Dohrn, som begge meldte seg, har aldri villet avsløre hvem som var ansvarlig for drapene. Weathermen er omtrent som å si RAF i Tyskland, og for mange er disse to fremdeles avskyelige. Barack har hatt en viss kontakt med Bill Ayers og det var hjemmne hos paret at den forrige senatoren fra Illinois presenterte Obama.

Like many of the most extreme figures from the 1960s Ayers and Dohrn are ambiguous figures in American life.

They disappeared in 1970, after a bomb — designed to kill army officers in New Jersey — accidentally destroyed a Greenwich Village townhouse, and turned themselves into authorities in 1980. They were never prosecuted for their involvement with the 25 bombings the Weather Underground claimed; charges were dropped because of improper FBI surveillance.

Both have written and spoken at length about their pasts, and today he is an advocate for progressive education and a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago; she’s an associate professor of law at Northwestern University.

But — unlike some other fringe figures of the era — they’re also flatly unrepentant about the bombings they committed in the name of ending the war, defending them on the grounds that they killed no one, except, accidentally, their own members.

Dohrn, however, was jailed for less than a year for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating other Weather Underground members’ robbery of a Brinks truck, in which a guard and two New York State Troopers were killed.

«I don’t regret setting bombs; I feel we didn’t do enough,» Ayers told the New York Times in 2001.

And their rehabilitation in establishment circles, even in Hyde Park, has its limits.

Though he is a respected figure in liberal educational circles, Ayers wrote recently about how in 2006 he was informed he was persona non grata at a progressive educators’ conference in the summer of 2006.
«We cannot risk a simplistic and dubious association between progressive education and the violent aspects of your past,» he quoted the conference organizers, whom he described as friends, as writing to him.

But the couple has been embraced, by and large, in the liberal circles dominating Hyde Park politics.

Hyde Park er området i Chicago der Obamas bor.

Obama’s Brain Trust Taking Shape

By ELI LAKE
Staff Reporter of the Sun
February 21, 2008

Obama once visited ’60s radicals
By: Ben Smith
February 22, 2008 01:26 PM EST