By latest count, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has logged 843,448 miles on the job: She is officially now the most traveled Secretary of State in U.S. history, 102 countries have seen her come and go. In one dispatch, it was breakfast in Vietnam, lunch in Laos, and dinner in Cambodia for our chief diplomat.
In the interim, campaign strategist David Axelrod has stayed close to home, Chicago and Washington, with one notable stop in Boston, where he sought to besmirch the gubernatorial record of Mitt Romney. But the foreign policy of Barack Obama is the foreign policy of David Axelrod. Gone is that hallowed past when the legendary George Marshall observed a strict separation between foreign policy and the political play at home: He had refused to cast a vote in presidential elections and he had bristled when the “political people” in President Truman’s circle of advisors intruded into the foreign policy domain.
We needn’t exalt the past—presidents always worried about the impact of foreign crises on their standing at home. Still, the subordination of foreign policy to the electoral needs of the Obama campaign stands apart in recent American history. Foreign policy has been masterfully neutralized in the Obamian world, taken off the board in this campaign.