By Tom Kando
The Republican candidates are making mega blunders in their debates and media appearances, displaying astounding ignorance, especially in the area of foreign policy. A few examples:
In a November 2 televised interview, Herman Cain said that he was worried about “China developing nuclear capability.” His defenders say that he meant “further developing.” Hmm. To me it sounds like the man didn’t know that China has possessed nuclear bombs for nearly half a century. Oops!
Then there was Rick Perry’s widely publicized recent “oops” moment, when he forgot which three federal departments he wanted to abolish. He remembered Education and Commerce, but couldn’t come up with a third one. Others tried to help him, suggesting, “EPA maybe?” What about the Department of Energy? Perry wasn’t sure. All he could say was, “Oops!”
A few days ago, an interviewer asked Herman Cain what he thought about President Obama’s handling of Libya and Gadhafi’s ouster. Cain’s answer was incoherent. He said that he disagreed with Obama, but then added, “nope, that’s a different one...I’ve got all of this stuff twirling around in my head...” Later he explained that he favored Ronald Reagan’s policy of “peace through strength.” How helpful!
Recently, Michele Bachmann said that Hetzbollah could have bases and training camps in Cuba, clearly a preposterous notion.
A few months ago, interviewer Chris Wallace asked Herman Cain how he felt about the Palestinian “right of return” question.
Cain’s reaction: “Right of return? Right of return?” Clearly, he had never heard the term. After Wallace explained it to him, Cain said: “Yes, they should have a right to come back. I don’t think Israel has a big problem with people returning.” The man doesn’t even understand that the quarter million Palestinians who fled Israel in 1948 have meanwhile multiplied ten-fold, making right-of-return a hugely nettlesome issue.
At the latest Republican debate, Rick Santorum suggested that the US should establish better relationships with allies such as Pakistani President Musharraf. The problem is: Musharraf hasn’t been President since 2008. He lives in exile in London.
Candidate Cain has suggested that the US should punish Iran by stopping importing its oil. Problem is: we don’t import any Iranian oil.
There are too many such embarrassments to mention - from Cain referring to Uzbekistan as Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan (funny?) To Bachmann’s utterly ungrounded allegation that China is arming the Taliban, Perry’s suggestion that the US army invade Mexico to fight the drug cartels, and Mitt Romney agreeing to reset foreign aid and start at zero.
What amazes me more than these folks’ radical ideas is their international illiteracy. I almost miss Sarah Palin, who sounds like a Rhodes scholar in comparison. This would all be comical if it weren’t so dangerous. Can America afford the next President to get on-the-job training? (Some of this material is derived from articles in The Atlantic, Nov 14 and 16).
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Thursday, November 17, 2011
By Tom Kando