Republican presidential candidate John McCain had pretty much been conceded the corner on foreign policy. Many political observers noted that he has longer standing in the U.S. Senate than his Democratic opponent Barack Obama. And that as a war hero, better military credentials as well.
But Obama has been shifting the spotlight to himself with his trip to Afghanistan, Iraq and, later this week, Israel. He has gotten a vote of confidence, of sorts, from the Iraqi government, which is agreeing with his plan to withdraw U.S. troops by 2010.
McCain is firing back. At least he is attempting to. By arguing from the campaign trail in Maine that he has been consistently correct about Iraq.
McCain argues, correctly, that he supported the surge that has resulted in significant pacification of the insurgency. Many people thought his early support of that effort would become his downfall in the Republican primary campaign. But those who predicted that, obviously, have been proven wrong.
McCain says, yes, a withdrawal could take place, in two years. But he opposes a timetable because conditions could change on the ground. He notes that Obama had favored a withdrawal of the troops by this past March. That would have upset the surge, which he calls a success.
But in the meantime, for the moment, the focus is on Obama. Who is working on improving his image on foreign relations. So far, that image enhancing plan, seems to be working.