Wednesday, November 16, 2011

As Much As I Hate To Defend Herman Cain...

I really don't want this to come off as a defense of the Republican presidential candidate, especially for an incident in the realm of foreign affairs where I think he is especially clueless, but some of the criticism surrounding his recent performance before an editorial board meeting of the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal is I think is unwarranted.

If you haven't seen it, or have only seen an excerpt of it, the full, five-minute video of the exchange is available here.  The problem starts when Cain is asked if he agreed with the Obama Administration's position in supporting the Libyan rebels in the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi. The beginning of the video is admittedly painful to watch, Cain stumbles badly as he tries to remember his pre-programmed critique of Obama. If Herman Cain was a Mac, you would have been able to see the little beach ball spinning above his head as his brain tried to access the file containing the appropriate Obama slam.  Cain then goes into a lengthy, and off-topic, explanation about how as a businessman he likes to get a myriad of opinions before making a decision.  The whole sad reply, I would say, is deserving of some critique.  But buried in his stumbling answer is a nugget of truth – namely that we (the United States/The “West”/NATO) really had very little inkling about who the Libyan rebels were, or what were their ultimate goals aside from getting rid of Gadhafi; it was on the strength of that desire alone that the US/NATO gave the rebels their whole-hearted support.  Cain said - poorly, but he did manage to get it out – that as Commander-in-Chief he would have wanted to gather a little more intelligence, and had a little better idea of the nature of the rebel movement, before getting into bed with them.

That, I think, is a perfectly reasonable position, and one that shows that Cain at least has some grasp on the Libyan situation.  And perhaps as someone who has some experience in broadcasting, I'm also a little sympathetic to a person who loses their train of thought on camera.  Make no doubt about it, I think Herman Cain may have the worst foreign policy platform among the Republican candidates – his recent Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan-stan comment showed that not only is he out of his depth on foreign policy, but he's also proud of his ignorance and condescending towards other nationalities.  So let's criticize the man for his truly awful positions, and not just for a brain freeze that went viral.
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