Herman Cain's Foreign Policy Muddle
Many Herman Cain supporters view the upcoming election through a narrow prism focused on repairing the economy, and they believe that the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza is just the man to accomplish that feat. Ironically, these are many of the same people who criticized the electorate for voting for a man whose only real job was community organizing and whose resume could fit on the back of a postage stamp.
In a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 61% of respondents said they approve of the way that President Obama is handling the war on terror. This is not surprising given the fact that three of the world's most dangerous madmen -- Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaki, and Muammar Gaddafi -- were all killed on Obama's watch. What is surprising about the poll is that only 6% of the respondents thought that national security and the war on terror should be Washington's top priority.
Yes, we are facing a global economic crisis in which more and more Americans join the ranks of the unemployed and food stamp recipients every day. Sure, the economy should be a top voting issue in the upcoming presidential election. And ridding the country and the world of President Barack Obama should be our number one priority so that the big government regulation, interference, and uncertainty debilitating American innovation and free enterprise are reversed as soon as possible. But that does not mean that repairing the damage to the economy wrought by the Obama administration should be the only voting issue in 2012.
This is not to say that Cain is an inexperienced ideologue like Obama. But Cain supporters are making the same mistake that Obama supporters made four years ago -- they are not looking at the whole package and they are ignoring the devastatingly obvious warning signs. And what is the most glaring indication that Cain is not up to the task of Commander-in-Chief and leader of the free world? He is devoid of even the most basic knowledge of foreign policy and international affairs.
And just what will the media elite do to Cain if he becomes the GOP candidate running against Obama? Hillary's 3 am phone call ad will look like small potatoes in the face of Cain's foreign policy gaffes. The GOP has not yet even had a formal foreign policy debate and so far Cain has made clear that he has no opinion on, or plan for, Afghanistan, has no understanding of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and may be ignorant about China's nuclear weapons.
In a GOP debate in May, Cain admitted that he did not understand the war in Afghanistan and that he would not decide what to do until he consulted with experts. In response to immediate criticism, Cain posted the following statement:
Ever since the South Carolina Republican presidential debate, reporters have continued to challenge me for not having a specific plan for our nation's involvement in Afghanistan. They continue to think that if you are running for president then you must have an answer for everything. I don't! A real leader has the right questions for everything.
Cain is completely wrong. If you are running for president, you must have a working knowledge of every major issue confronting the nation, surround yourself with experts on matters of import whom you consult daily, and educate yourself in order to answer the difficult questions. "A real leader" -- the leader of the free world -- must be exceptionally well informed on world matters, and if Cain is not up to the task during the primary, why should Americans trust that he will be competent upon entering the White House? If Cain does not have an informed opinion on a nine year war, and has not taken the time to learn enough to form one, what will he do when confronted with the complicated issues that regularly arise?
After an interview in which Cain was asked how he would deal with gotcha questions from the media, Cain responded, "When they ask me who is the president of Uzbeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan I'm going to say: 'You know, I don't know. Do you know?'" Clinton and Afghan President Karzai were videotaped yucking it up over that one.
Cain also exhibited complete ignorance about the Palestinian "right of return" in an interview with Mike Wallace. Wallace was forced to explain his question to Cain to which Cain responded, "I don't think [Israel has] a big problem with people returning." Where does one begin to address the level of ignorance in this statement? And while Cain appears to be an ardent supporter of Israel, his lack of knowledge on a matter that Obama has kept at the forefront of his administration's foreign policy over the past three years is shocking. Allahpundit at Hotair observed,
Reason's Mike Riggs recently noted, there's an odd dynamic here where on the one hand Cain is modest almost to a fault about making any commitments abroad until he has maximum information from U.S. intel, and on the other hand he's fiercely pro-Israel despite seemingly not knowing the most basic basics about the Palestinians' most basic demands.
Tuesday, in discussing China as a military threat to the U.S. Cain stated,
They've indicated that they're trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have. So yes, we have to consider them a military threat.
One news outlet surmised, Cain is either completely "unaware that China conducted its first test of a nuclear device on October 16th... 1964" and is "estimated to have around 400 nuclear weapons stockpiled, including around 20 intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of targeting the United States," or he somehow mixed up China with North Korea. However his campaign avers he was speaking of nuclear propulsion programs for carriers and submarines. In fairness, he is a Navy veteran, and one source claims his work there included evaluating the capabilities of the Chinese to deliver a nuclear weapon onto the heads of our forces in South Vietnam.
But either way, a President Cain is a scary prospect to anyone serious about the country's national security. In indicating that he does not have a plan for the war on terror, Cain stated, "The right approach is that the day I'm elected, I would start on that plan."
Cain's continual excuse for his ignorance on foreign affairs is that he will need to consult with experts when he gets into office because he needs classified intelligence in order to even form an opinion. Cain's supporters make the same excuse -- the guy is brilliant on economic issues and they have full confidence that he will consult with "experts," hire "experts," and make national security decisions together with "experts." However, based on his on-going gaffes, it appears that Cain has yet to do so. That is extremely troubling.
And just who are these experts? How much time will Cain need to get up to speed on the "Stans," the Mideast, North Africa, China, North Korea, South America and God knows what other trouble spots pop up? What happens if Iran attacks Israel on Cain's first day in office? Or if Israel attacks Iran? Will some unelected official make decisions that affect the lives of American citizens, American soldiers, and innocent people across the globe who look to the U.S. for leadership from an informed Commander-in-Chief? We made that mistake already and are watching the Mideast blow up, former allies morph into Islamic fundamentalist states, Iran go nuclear, Latin American countries become terrorist base camps, and leaders across the globe stop trusting us while laughing in our faces.
Cain supporters need to wake up. Bad foreign policy decisions have had a direct impact on our economy, decisions on defense spending are at the forefront of budget decisions, and an Israeli attack on Iran is looking imminent. To believe that Cain's role as CEO of a corporation qualifies him to be POTUS is wishful thinking. And it will either lead to his defeat in the general election and another four years of Obama or it will give us another four years of incompetence on the world stage. Either way, the country is in big trouble if Republican primary voters make the mistake of their Democrat equivalents four years ago.