Behind the Lens: Photographing the President in 50 Countries

Today, President Obama visits Kenya — the 50th country he has visited during his Administration. It’s also my 50th country traveling with the President.

To mark the occasion, as I did when the President visited his 50th state, I chose one photograph from each country that we’ve visited.

Traveling abroad with the President is very different.

Often times, I am at the mercy of the host country for access. Some countries are more accommodating to me than others. I am lucky to have counterpart official photographers in many countries who are extremely helpful to me in this regard. I of course try to return the help to them when they visit the White House with their head of state.

We’re also rarely in any one country for more than a couple of days, which gives us only a partial glimpse of each place. And because of security, the sites we are able to visit are often limited too.

All that said, we’ve had the incredible opportunity to visit the Pyramids in Egypt, Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, the Great Wall in China, Petra in Jordan, and the Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar (Burma). (So I really shouldn’t complain too much.)

I hope you enjoy this gallery. And stay tuned — we’ll be adding a photograph from Kenya and additionally, Ethiopia, following his visit next week.

Afghanistan, 2012

Boarding Air Force One at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, May 1, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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The Rise of Lithuanian LNG: A Long-term Opportunity for the U.S.

Lithuania officially made its debut in the global LNG market with the arrival of its floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) Independence on Monday, October 27, 2014. The welcome ceremony in Klaipeda was attended by the Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius as well as foreign dignitaries, including the Estonian Foreign Trade and Entreprenuership Minister Anne Sulling and […]

The post The Rise of Lithuanian LNG: A Long-term Opportunity for the U.S. appeared first on American Security Project.

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Day 1: The President Touches Down in Poland, Starting Four-Day Trip to Europe

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Early this morning, President Obama landed in Warsaw, Poland — his first stop on a four-day trip to Europe in which he will also visit Belgium and France.

Shortly after he landed, the President took part in an arrival ceremony at Warsaw Chopin Airport with President Bronisław Komorowski of Poland. "It is wonderful to be back in Poland," President Obama said, adding that the country is "one of our great friends and one of our strongest allies in the world."

It is a special honor to be here as Poles celebrate the 25th anniversary of the rebirth of Polish democracy. And this year also marks the 15th anniversary of Poland’s membership in NATO. I’m starting the visit here because our commitment to Poland’s security, as well as the security of our allies in Central and Eastern Europe, is a cornerstone of our own security and it is sacrosanct.

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The Road Not Taken: Is Another Path for Israel Still Possible?

Instead of defining Jewish persecution as sui generis, unique, incomparable, never to be atoned for, Israel might have taken another path. Why did it never occur to Israeli ideologues to reach out to the Poles (not all of them vicious anti-Semites) who had also died in the millions at the hands of the Nazis and the Soviets. Or to the Ukrainians? Or the Belorusians? Why have Jews fought to hard to prevent the Turkish slaughter of Armenians from being called genocide? Why, for that matter, have they not reached out to native Americans whose total eradication was strenuously attempted by 19th century American settlers? Why have they not reached out to the Tutsis in Rwanda who were murdered by the tens of thousands for the crime of being Tutsi? And so on. A Chosen People needn’t build a wall around itself. The better decision? Well, here’s a hint. Israel’s one and only national capital would have been Tel Aviv. Jerusalem would have become the shared Holy City of Jews, Christians and Muslims, all of whom have legitimate claims. This new Jerusalem would have been a true beacon to the world, a pilgrimage site bringing people together, not tearing them apart. Does anyone else remember that dream? Had it been realized, isn’t it more than possible that Iran’s or Hamas’s attitude toward Israel might be different today? Read more »

The Republican Party’s Fraying Poster Child: Mitt Romney’s Latest Misadventures in the World

Mitt Romney may be the current poster-child of the Republican Party but that poster has been fraying around the edges for months. His recent trip to the UK, Israel and Poland was no exception. I’m not sure what the object was - although he did succeed in showing that he was no Obama – at least not in a positive way. . . .The young Americans representing the US at the Olympics have clearly been trained to be on their best and most gracious behavior – win or lose – and they’re doing a splendid job. So if 16 year olds can do it, why can't you, Mr. Romney? Read more »