Skip to comments.Herman Cain flunks foreign policy
Posted on 11/06/2011 11:33:55 AM PST by smoothsailing
November 3, 2011
It can be argued that domestic affairs are a president's top priority, but the Constitution expressly puts the chief executive in charge of setting and conducting foreign affairs. It is therefore essential to know if the candidate who wants to be president has a reasonable knowledge of events around the world.
On Tuesday evening I watched an edition of Fox News Bret Beir's Special Report where Herman Cain was "center chair" as the usual members of the panel got a chance to quiz him and, after he attempted to dispose of the charges of sexual harassment unleashed against him, syndicated columnist, Charles Krauthammer asked a question that dealt with foreign policy.
What would Cain do if Iran was going to unleash an attack on the U.S.? Cain gave a rambling, unspecific answer except to say he'd order an Aegis destroyer into the Persian Gulf to let Iran know he was serious, mentioning something about the use by Iran of missiles. It was distressingly clear that Cain had no more idea what he would do than he had regarding other potential foreign policy questions.
Foreign affairs are Herman Cain's Achilles' heel and it has not gone unnoticed by the political press and others. In the October 17 Washington Post, Chris Cillizza took note of Cain's appearance on "Meet the Press" where he was asked "whether Iran's involvement in an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. amounted to an act of war."
Cain replied, "After I looked at all of the information provided by the intelligence community, the military, than I could make that decision." That is what is known as a lawyerly response. "If, if it's an act of war, and the evidence suggests that, than I am going to consult with my advisors and say, 'What are our options"'"
If Barack Obama's extremely muted response is any indication, there aren't that many overt options, though one might hope that there are a host of covert ones in the works.
During a PBS interview with Judy Woodruff, Cain was asked about China as a potential military threat to the U.S. At one point Cain said, "They've indicated that they're trying they're trying to develop nuclear capability..." China conducted its first text of a nuclear device on October 16, 1964. It is estimated to have some 400 nuclear weapons. They are not "developing" a nuclear threat. They are a nuclear threat in the same way as other nations with nuclear weapons. This is why Iran is hell-bent on acquiring its own nuclear weapons.
A man no one could accuse of being anything but conservative, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News, had Cain on his program and, in a segment with Dennis Miller, the show's comic relief, O'Reilly said, "Look, I like Herman Cain. I like his spirit. I think he presents himself very well. But when he came on The Factor a few weeks ago, he had no clue about foreign affairs."
Cain lacks a good poker face. When asked questions for which he is unprepared, his eyes begin to blink like a deranged traffic light. He responds with some programmed answer that is often unrelated to the question. He is the proverbial deer in the headlights.
During a recent speech to a Republican audience, he said that so far as he's concerned, America is Israel's ally and vice versa. That got the predictable applause. Cain visited Israel in August on a fact-finding tour. He met with a deputy prime minister and the Mayor of Jerusalem.
However, when he was interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, he was asked about the Palestinian demand of "right of return," a major divide between Israelis and Palestinians, and Cain had no idea what it was. "That's something that should be negotiated," said Cain, grasping for an answer that sounded sensible, but the issue is not negotiable so far as the Israelis are concerned and with good reason. Someone even casually aware of the issues affecting Israel would know that.
Stephen Yates, president of the DC Advisory and former national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, might not be expected to criticize a GOP candidate, but when asked he said of Cain, "These are the kind of questions a leading candidate cannot simply pass to advisors. To date, Cain has not projected command of these presidential imperatives."
A pizza company executive or one leading a restaurant trade association probably doesn't need to know much about foreign affairs, but a candidate for President of the United States needs to know more than some hasty daily briefings by his campaign staffers.
Cain dismissed the fact he had no idea where Uzbekistan is or its strategic importance to U.S. foreign affairs. "When they ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-stan-stan, I'm going to say, you know, I don't know. Do you know?" Even Obama knows that a stable relationship with Uzbekistan is regarded as of vital importance to the war in Afghanistan for its airport and as a transit corridor to reduce dependence on Pakistan.
Cain thinks foreign affairs questions are "gotcha" questions, but they may well be the most critical questions a potential president has to understand and answer. It is testimony to the difficulty of these issues that Barack Obama has essentially carried out most of the policies put in place by George W. Bush when it comes to foreign affairs.
Right now Herman Cain is the candidate-de-jour in the polls, but so was Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry when he got into the race. I like the fact that Cain is a bona fide conservative. I don't like the obvious fact that he couldn't find Uzbekistan on the map and probably doesn't know much else about the world.
On that count alone, I would not vote for him. Republicans have to get over their current love affair with Herman Cain and select a candidate more qualified to lead the nation.
© Alan Caruba
Someone should read more broadly.
Another elitist who thinks we need the smartest guy in the room.
Oh wait - we already have him and he wrecked the national standing and alliance of the United States in the process.
Alan Carruba thinks he’s the smartest guy who ever lived.
No pizza for you!
Interesting read and something that should be considered, but won’t be.
A religious-type fervor has developed on FR lately, the object of the worship being Cain.
No criticism of him can be accepted or even discussed.
I just read, but did not participate in, the Sunday Morning Talk show thread and quite a few people were vowing to write in or not vote if their candidate wasn’t selected.
I want an American president who is expert in AMERICAN policy. If he masters that, and deals honestly and firmly with all foreigners,, we will all be better off.
“expertise” in foreign policy is code word for being an insider to the game designed to screw the US taxpayer and patriot in the name of globalism. If you ALWAYS put America first,,to them this shows you aren’t properly versed in foreign policy.
Foreign policy is simple if you always put America first, and act honestly. Every nation, friend and foe should expect that all theur dealings with us a conducted in the sanitizing daylight, that nobody is being cheated, and will be free of the fraud and intrigue that Europe specializes in.
I'm not being a wisenheimer, but who has articulated a defined policy on Iran? When the question comes up all the candidates say we should be strong and clear, and then they mumble stuff about sanctions and supporting Israel and "the international community."
First of all, the part about China is blatantly untrue.
From a a commentary written in 2005 about China -
“The U.S. should be less concerned about China’s economic potential than by the military threat it poses. Three Chinese spies were recently indicted in the U.S. for conspiring to steal numerous naval warship technologies. This summer China and Russia participated in a week-long joint military exercise. China’s build up of nuclear, military and space technologies to rival the U.S., and its saber-rattling over Taiwan’s independence, signals a commitment to more red, not green. “
Cain discusses foreign policy in interviews:
with Bill O’Reilly:
Cain’s Position on Israel: http://dailycaller.com/2011/08/28/the-u-s-must-stand-with-israel/
Summary of Foreign Policy Stance:
Values Voters Speech:
Unbunch your panties. Happens every election.
bumping just the entertainment value
Caruba = Fail
I’m not saying foreign policy isn’t important. But Obama had no foreign policy experience either when he ran for President. No one is born with it. I’m sure a new President will have good people to advise him. I don’t see what’s the big deal about it.
Isn’t that why a President has advisors that are knowledgeable in the things that he is not knowledgeable in.
No one knows everything about everything. I would prefer a President that admits that he doesn’t know something than one that falsely claims that he does.
That is one of the problems with Mr. o. He doesn’t have any advisors that know any more than he does.
Pssst...he’s not that knowledgeable on domestic policy either.
Well, I don't know about that...
Maybe he means Perry. I've never noticed what he described with Cain. Cain answers directly and if he doesn't know something he is refreshingly honest about it. So this is an out and out lie and it's actually irrelevant in this post-Obama era where we have a President that is still clueless on foreign policy after 3 years on the job.
Bill O’Reilly is no conservative.
Now we’re hearing conservatives being told Cain is deficient in foreign policy.
The Left failed to derail him with a phony scandal so now its trying another line of attack.
They and the GOP establishment are getting desperate.
It is not mastery of facts that make a leader, it’s mastery of principle.
Many an idiot-savant has mastered “facts” as such. They don’t do much more than show off.
Someone grounded in principles can get any number of experts to lay out facts. The set of principles put them together in a meaningful way.
John McCain knows more about foregin affairs than any of the Republican candidates in 2008 or 2012. If you think his ass belongs anywhere near the presidency you’re nuts.
"Dr.Kissinger have you ever heard of Alan Caruba?"
"Yes, he's a moron."
What is the capital of Assyria?
I am beginning to think that Perrywinkes define “religious like fervor” - as anyone who isn’t particularly enthused by being called “heartless” by a RINO.
Perrywinkes, used to regularly say the exact same think about Palin supporters. That we “went on Perry threads to disrupt”. Etc.
Word for word. The talking points remain on the same fax, only the candidate name is changed.
So did all the Palin supporters change religions?
Or are they simply realizing there is someone else on the scene, who believes as they do?
Now. Here we are on a Cain thread. A Cain thread.
Who is disrupting?
No one seems to recall the famous commercial Hillary ran about Obama being unprepared for that 3:00 AM crisis phone call.
The voters discounted it and thought Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience wasn’t relevant to his being President.
Now a different, higher standard is applied to Cain. How convenient.
Exactly. Pinheads can go read a book. You want a man of action that supports the value of hard work. The Constitution supports this and the right to pray and worship about it. It also supports your right to defend it. The over-educated numbnuts we have in charge now just expects it.
I tend to agree with you.
I think a candidate for President should have a well-articulated set of priniciples for dealing with foreign policy and concrete proposals for advancing them re the major challenges on the world scene. When the USSR was the foremost of those challenges in the 1980’s, Ronald Reagan had a well-thought out philosophy regarding how to deal with the communists: “We win, they lose.” And he had a program, both overt and covert, for making that happen.
We should now have the same attitude regarding radical jihadism, led by Iran openly and by the likes of Saudi Arabia covertly. A new President, explicitly unlike Obama, should have a program ready to go to frustrate and defeat this enemy. They don’t have to reveal every detail of it - they shouldn’t, in fact - but they should let us know they have one ready. or so it seems to me.
It’s not like this is the first time someone has questioned his prowess on foreign policy.
Maybe Cain can hire an international affairs expert like Kissinger or Bolton and ask them to write his positions for him. Then he can read them back verbatim just like Perry did with Forbes’ flat tax plan.
I had the same concern about candidate Reagan....
What do you want him to say?
How are all the foreign policy “experts” currently destroying America’s future, working out for you?...
Mr. Reagan was in a much different position. He put a big scare into the 1976 convention.
Concern trolls like you love to paint the motivation of the other side as something cultish. Trust me, I've seen plenty of that on the Perry side as well, running around foolishly claiming that Perry is the only one who can beat Romney. Well, guess what? Cain has doubled Romney in the most recent Iowa poll and has FIVE TIMES the support of Perry.
No criticism of him can be accepted or even discussed.
And another thing the concern trolls like to do is to pretend that they can't criticize a candidate. And that is pure horsecrap and you know it. You just don't like the retorts that get properly thrown right back in your face when you try to push liberal hatchet jobs against Cain.
Try this - working on your candidate to undo some of the positions that sunk him into single digits, instead of bashing the guy who is actually putting a hurt on Romney.
I never did. Reagan had been making his position clear for years.
Not only that but Cain has been a CEO and ran things. Obama had never run anything except his mouth before he was President.
Right now it would be very hard to be on top of foreign policy. It is probably more fluid than ever.
I think Obama is a damn fool for giving up a military position in Iraq.
I think he has set up Afghanistan in such a way as to get more of our soldiers killed
I think Obama has encouraged Iran and Syria.
He has undermined long time allies in the ME and set it on fire.
As long as Cain or any president has the right advisors and listens to the military leadership, that is sufficient. Cain is an excellent decision maker.
Neither Reagan, Clinton, bush43 nor obama has any previous experience other than advisors briefing them.
Here is a clue. The reason certain candidates are polling in single digits is GOP voters are interested in solutions and idea from their candidates not these sort of childish personal attacks.
It’s a fun part of politics if the time affords you. Sometimes I struggle and don’t get to play.
All I have said here is that Bill O’Rielly is not a conservative, and that this is not the first time anyone has questioned Cain foreign policy knowledge.
I would rather have a president that thinks on it for a while, considers all options, then makes decisions that are in the interests of the USA as first priority.
Coming up with an answer in 20-30 seconds might look good at a liberal media staged event, but really does not say much for the candidate's deep reasoning abilities.
I am not sold on the value of genius or expertise. I do appreciate good sense, judgment, and a willingness to not just react for the sake of reacting and/or having an opinion.
Having a position, is much different than having foreign policy experience.
Aside from having learned a few things myself, over the last 32 years, my point was Cain’s character will lead him to good foreign policy positions, just as Obama’s lacking has determined his poor foreign policy positions.