By Ray Fleming
IT'S not only in Britain that voters turn opinion polls upside down in a matter of days. The reasons for the turnaround between Conservatives and Labour last September remain to be explained rationally and something similar has just happened in the American state of Iowa where the first caucuses of the 2008 Presidential election take place next week. Although Hillary Clinton keeps her national lead among Democrat candidates, Barrack Obama seemed to be catching up and even passing her in Iowa. Ten days ago they were statistically level yet yesterday the latest poll showed Clinton 15 points ahead despite a speech from Obama that many thought was the best he has ever made. It is proving to be a fascinating contest with Clinton stressing her experience and Obama claiming that change is needed in Washington. Looking at the current situation in Pakistan and America's key role in it, is Clinton's “experience” or Obama's “change” what is more needed?
The disappointing thing about American presidential elections is that foreign policy plays so small a part in them despite the responsibilities stemming from US's leading role in the world. If anything, Clinton has the edge over Obama in foreign policy experience but both are too ready to answer questions on the subject by listing the top advisers they would rely on. The Bush administration is not a good advertisement for that approach. Whoever follows George W Bush into the White House will find a lot of foreign policy fences in need of repair.


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