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Joe Biden
October 2008

It is universally agreed that, whatever his other shortcomings, Joe Biden, Barack Obama's vice-presidential running mate, is steeped in foreign policy experience.

He has been a senator since Richard Nixon was president. He has been chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for four of the past seven years. He travels widely and fearlessly, having visited Iraq and Afghanistan on numerous occasions in the past five years. In August, he was one of the first US politicians on the scene in Georgia after the Russian incursion, urgently dispensing his famously prolix wisdom to anyone who would listen.

The Biden CV is useful for, indeed perhaps crucial to, Obama's campaign for the presidency. The actual foreign policy experience of Obama, who has been in the Senate for 30 years less than his running mate, is essentially limited to a commendable am-ount of reading and one oddly premature victory lap of Europe and the Middle East this summer. So it seems only right that we should stipulate, as American lawyers like to say, to the depth and range of Biden's experience.

But of what use is a man's experience when it has involved being on the wrong side of almost all the important issues?

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