by MONITOR
WE have not heard much about Barack Obama's “if elected” approach to foreign policy. In one of the TV debates he said he would listen to what the best experts had to say (and disarmingly told Hillary Clinton she could come along) before making up his mind on the main issues. But it has been reported that in this week's Paris Match magazine an interview appears in which Mr Obama says he would “hold a a summit in the Muslim world, with all the heads of state, to better the United States' image in the world...I want to ask them to join our fight against terrorism. We must also listen to their concerns.” It is to be hoped that the reports of what Barack Obama told Paris Match are not wholly correct. If he wants to start his presidency by talking about America's overseas image before he has understood for himself what it is in US policies that has led to its deterioration, then his foreign policy is unlikely to be much better than that followed by President Bush. But if he insists on pursuing these ideas after winning office he must listen carefully to those experts who will warn him that he should not, repeat not, hold any summits until the ground has been very carefully prepared and he has formulated his policies of change owards the Middle East. Ill-prepared summits can be worse than none at all.