Herman Cain Wrong on Foreign Policy

On Monday, presidential candidate Herman Cain released a statement on his website aimed at counteracting the widely held belief that he lacks knowledge of foreign policy. This belief comes from such glorious moments as Cain’s reference to the “president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan” and his brilliant, confused, silent gap-infused non-answer to a question on President Obama’s Libya policy.

As Cain’s statement tries to show the pizza magnate as someone ready to lead America and the free world, it shows a man with absolutely know idea of how to be the president of a global power.

Cain begins by admitting that his strong point is economic policy. Fair enough, as we’re in the middle of what can most accurately be described as an “economic tsunami of poo.” He then attempts to bolster his burgeoning foreign policy credentials by boasting that he’s “met with foreign policy luminaries like John Bolton and Henry Kissinger.”

Great choices. Bolton spent his entire diplomatic career trying to dismantle the United Nations. Kissinger never met a right-wing, totalitarian dictator he didn’t like.

Next, we move on to Cain’s broad principle of “peace through strength and clarity.” Cain states:

In a broad sense, it means that I would not retreat on initiatives that strengthen America’s strategic standing in order to buy some sort of accommodation with those who do not have an interest in our security. For example, I would not have welched on America’s commitment to install a missile defense system in Eastern Europe because the Russians didn’t like it.

No compromise – always a great bit of diplomacy. And antagonizing the Russians can never go wrong. When faced with a disagreement with a large, slightly unstable nation full of nuclear weapons, always poke the bear. Smart policy.

Cain goes on to say he would not have signed the START Treaty in 2010 because “we simply don’t need to be signing treaties like this with unfriendly countries.” I will admit, signing treaties with allies is a heck of a lot easier.

This is followed by the usual Republican attack on Obama for being anti-Israel, paired with the interesting argument that the President’s “lukewarm treatment of Great Britain has served to create tension within the most important strategic relationship we have ever had.” It’s a bold stance by Cain to imply that he won’t be the one to repeat the War of 1812.

I agree with Cain when he says that “a leader leads by gathering all the information available in a given situation, and making the best decision at the time based on that information, and in accordance with sound principles.” True. That’s why a President surrounds himself with roughly 23 billion advisers. That’s why the oval office has a whole bunch of chairs.

Unfortunately, Cain continues, “[a]s president, I would not be required to make decisions on the spur of the moment based on a question from a reporter.” What? Well, half of that is true; unless a New York Times reporter gets hold a nuclear warhead and issue demands, very little policy should be based on a journalist’s questions.

However, the presidency is full of “spur of the moment” decisions. The Bay of Pigs, 9/11, Fort Sumter – all of these called for quick decisions by the sitting president. The world won’t wait while President Cain brews a pot of coffee for a long discussion. A President must act and act decisively – itself an argument against a second Obama term.

Sorry, Herman Cain, but the United States of America is not a pizza chain. America doesn’t need a CEO, it needs a leader – at home and abroad.

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