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
Granted, Herman Cain has been a bit less than reassuring with some of his answers regarding foreign policy but he hasn't said anything terribly wrong, either. I think he is just being cautious. Cain knows full well the MSM is seeking to discredit him and he is probably trying not to give them ammunition. Today, the world is in turmoil, thanks in part to Barack Obama, and no Republican candidate should attempt to offer 'solutions' for complex problems that either don't currently exist or for ones that do and are not amenable to a 30-second sound bite. However, Herman Cain will have to offer more details on his foreign policy outlook as the campaign progresses - and I'm confident that he will do so.
Those who attempt to dismiss Herman Cain as a non-serious publicity-seeker hoping to sell books and increase his future speaking fees are dead wrong and their attempt to insult Cain supporters is not appreciated. I believe that Mr. Cain is one of the more serious people in the nomination campaign. Far more so than people such as Jon Huntsman or even Ron Paul. The media (and Palin-haters) used the same lame tactics against Sarah Palin. "Doesn't have foreign policy credentials", "Not serious", "unqualified", "just wants to sell books and increase speaking fees", blah, blah, blah. Same old, same old. The leftmedia originates this crap and the anti-Cain posters regurgitate it all over FR threads. It will not deter Cain supporters and it sure won't help those trashing Cain thinking this will help 'their' candidate, whoever that may be. Cain's campaign is definitely in the ascendency and none of the GOP primary campaign also-rans are going to catch him with mockery, fake scandals or lame 'foreign policy' criticisms. It hasn't worked for the left and it sure won't work for the supposed 'right'.
Sarah Palin will not endorse Cain. Nor Romney. IF she endorses anyone and that’s a big IF, it will be Perry or Newt — in that order.
One of us misunderstands: I took your post 92 as a friendly joke and I was running with it.
Well, okay then.
What Cain says is mostly good.
What he’s done is mostly unknown.
But, I’ve said over and over that with all the doubts and fears I have about Cain and with all the insults I’ve suffered from some (not all) of his supporters, I will vote for him if he’s the candidate.
One thing that was a little unsettling on a thread this morning was how many people who were saying they wouldn’t vote if their candidate was nominated.
Or, they’d write in somebody. Or they’d vote 3rd party.
I’ve posted this before, but it bears repeating.
There are 4 ways to vote for Obama.
1. Vote for Obama
2. Write in a candidate
3. Vote third party
4. Don’t vote.
However I would just point out that a number of Cain supporters became so, when Palin backed out.
The two are not altogether different.
You are correct.
people were vowing to write in or not vote if their candidate wasnt selected.
Its scary.(from earlier post)......and not very smart.
you may lose the battle (your choice)but do not lose the war.
Divided we will lose...i will vote for anyone but Obama and fight a few more battles,till we can win the war.
He may have, I don't recall. But if, God forbid, Romney wins the nomination, expect Cain to endorse him. If Romney taps Cain for running mate...well, I just may open a whole chain of crow restaurants.
That said -- yes, most of the other candidates would also endorse Romney, but their supporters wouldn't let it make their skirts fly up.
Sounds alot more like Perry than Cain!
No hard feelings here. :)
Not just your opinion. Mine as well. Word for word.
I think you are right and I speak as a former Palin supporter.
I really, really liked Palin and, golly, if I had the time back I spent defending her and praising her I could do something useful, like sort the wash.
I’m disillusioned about her now. I still like her but in a more detached way. Her endorsement won’t sway me as it once would have.
Maybe the reason I didn’t switch to Cain like so many Palin supporters did, is because I already had my back-up candidate after Perry declared.
Cuz I’m a Texan and have known, loved, gotten mad at, but appreciated the job he’s done here.
Altura, you are in top form today! Hang right in there.
I believe Rick’s willingness to rumble with the Left, and all the now institutionalized Marxists in power, is starting to get out and will give us some traction against the all too civil Cain and Romney. No namby pamby compromisin’ with Rick on that point, but clear and in-your-face. Cain on rumbling with anyone? Question mark. Big question mark. ?????????????
I don’t believe you’ve seen me say that.
At the risk of the ire of Jim Thompson, I’d even vote for Romney if he’s what we end up left with.
I agree with his small forays into protectionism.
I’ll vote, and I’ll vote GOP. Until then, I’m all partisan.
Have YOU ever been falsly accused of something you didn't do?
It's not a fun place to be.
Cain handled it just like an innocent man.
If he had been smooth and perfect, he would have been criticized for being too slick.
We as conservatives are living in uncharted territory.
If Cain is for real, he has the opportunity to destroy the modern Democrat Party coalition.
My gut tells me he's an honest patriot.
I will not accept voting for the status quo.
Time for some altering and abolishing......and Cain is the man to do it!
“I really, really liked Palin and, golly, if I had the time back I spent defending her and praising her I could do something useful, like sort the wash.”
ROFL you have a way with words.
How about a deal? We agree to disagree, but whichever of our candidates wins, we’ll agree to then agree.
(I don’t have so much a way with words, sorry)
Uh-oh, does that make me a plagarist? ;-)
Bolton is pro Gay Military as well, might be a reason to rethink your worship of Bolton.
McCain supporter not to mention NIXON!
It was a 1-question test: Do you support the continued existence of Israel?
Were you? I was juggling the debate and some intense high-end ebay auction at that hour, and then the bees started swarming because I remarked that Cain was at a loss for words (You go first Newt!).
I will remember you now, Venerable Freeper Number 33.
I prefer to think of you as a mind reader. ;)
That's silly. Unlike Cain, Obama studied up on foreign policy. Also, unlike Cain, Obama had opportunities to vote on bills related to foreign policy so was exposed to some issues.
There's very little evidence Cain is studying hard, particularly on foreign policy.
Oh yea, for sure, Bill O'Reilly -- the conservative!
Supposedly Cain wrote in one book about experience of doing math for the Navy on China's nuclear weapon delivery capability. If this is so, why is the campaign doing nothing to fight the "false" impression?
Well, I suppose they have been busy dealing with other issues at the moment :-)
Can you cite a source?
Karnac the Magnificent! :o)
Luv ya back.
Feud officially over, ok?
Palin (Not Running)
Romney...if I REALLY am able to do it.
I'll likely end up voting 3rd party if it came down to Romney.
And I could never vote for the dunce Bachmann or the illegal coddling Perry.
Herman Cain is a brilliant man, and when he gets in office will do the best for our country. He also understands the radical Muslim problem, unlike our current president.
But if you want experience, support Santorum:
“Santorum can point to his eight years on the Senate Armed Services committee as proof that he will be prepared to handle an uncertain situation in the Middle East from day one. ..”
We have three great presidential candidates Cain, Santorum and Bachmann, and I hope the primary voters are astute enough to pick one of them.
I've never heard this about Bolton. Is it true? Anyone?
Waiting on a source quote or link, if you please, together with your interlocutor. There are quite a few people interested in who in the GOP is lining up for tickets to GOProud dinners with Grover Norquist and Karl Rove.
STUPID MISLEADING MSM HEADLINE ALERT!
The MSM dweebs persist in asking obscure geography "GOTCHA!" questions and demonstrating that they have no clue as to what "Foreign Policy" means.
If I were a candidate I would prepare 10 or 20 "gotcha" geography questions and agree to answer theirs if they answer one of his first.
"Next question please..."
This thread is not about a criticism, but about irrelevant "Gotcha!" journalism.
Can't tell the difference?
Perry has no foreign policy experience either....unless you consider bashing the United States on foreign soil, and snuggling up to Mexican leaders to be “foreign policy”.
They are worshiping a drunk candidate in New Hampshire who recently found his way out of a wet paper bag. Not!
Wow. All you’ve done recently is threaten other FReepers. What power do you think you have to make people “sorry” for anything?
Seems like the current resident of the White House, didn’t know a thing about foreign policy also. So, that shouldn’t be a topic that President should know.
LG, it is unfortunately true. I saw Bolton quoted in at least two articles around the time faggots were forced into the military. IIRC he has another pro-fag view, perhaps fag “marriage” but I can’t be sure, but for SURE he was JUST FINE with mentally ill sex perverts in the military.
He’s OFF THE LIST!
As far as I know, Bolton is a social liberal.
That's scary! More scary...you don't care!
"Oh please" what, poster?
What, Presidents have to come now from the ranks of the Foreign Service? They never have! Get over yourself.
Bolton for dog catcher ...... in France!