If nothing else, Herman Cain is not running scared from the media.
Last night he did a lengthy and often worrisome interview with Bill O’Reilly. It’s worth noting that for all his faults, O’Reilly can be a tough interviewer who’s rarely afraid to pull his punches when the direct answers he seeks are less than forthcoming.
The first half of the interview was devoted to questions about Cain’s handling of the sexual harassment scandal. But this exchange over foreign policy in the second half was by far the more illuminating (and presumably worrisome).
Cain has not been shy about his lack of foreign policy knowledge but following last night’s China gaffe one gets the sense it’s going to become a fatal weakness sooner or later.
You can sense O’Reilly’s frustration in the following exchange.
O’Reilly: What is the most important foreign policy problem the United States has to deal with today.
Cain: Lack of clarity
O’Reilly: No, specifically. What area of the world concerns you the most.
Cain: The Middle East, obviously….At the time I become president I will have to evaluate the situation in Iraq, and Iran, and everyone of these countries.
Cain then tries to convince an increasingly sceptical O’Reilly that his way of dealing with the Middle East would be to make the U.S. energy independent (“but China will just buy all the oil,” says O’Reilly….”work with me, Bill,” says Cain) and then concedes he’d put warships in the Gulf.
Cain: Iran understands only two things, economic pressure and military might.
O’Reilly: So you’re going to put warships in the Gulf, because they’ll attack them, you know.
Cain: That would be perfectly alright, because I believe that we have superior capability.
O’Reilly: But then we’d be in a shooting war with Iran. Do you really want that?
Cain: I don’t really want that, Bill. But if they fire first we have to defend ourselves.
Beyond the fact it’s clear Cain has zero idea what he’s talking about here one, it’s hard to imagine this being a successful campaign platform for a nation weary of neverending war. Especially as it would likely send back to combat the same segment of the population currently enamoured with his 9-9-9 plan.
The exchange begins at the 5:30 mark.
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