Cain shows inconsistencies in foreign policy understanding
November 2nd, 2011
12:09 PM ET
3 years ago

Cain shows inconsistencies in foreign policy understanding

Washington (CNN) – The foreign policy discussion with the GOP presidential candidates is beginning to gain prominence as the candidates lay out their vision for U.S. engagement with the world, and with debates devoted to the topic on the schedule in the next few weeks.

Based on what they're saying so far, some of the candidates may need to do a little more studying on the big issues from overseas. Take Herman Cain, for example. He's a frontrunner in the polls, but has been showing inconsistencies in his understanding of one of the biggest foreign policy challenges facing the United States: China.

On the issue of China as a nuclear power, Cain told PBS's Judy Woodruff Monday that China has "indicated that they're trying to develop nuclear capability." China actually tested its first nuclear weapon in 1964, and officially joined the small list of countries around the world that are known to have nuclear weapons or the capability to produce them. The United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, India, Pakistan and North Korea are the others. Israel, which refuses to declare whether it has a nuclear arsenal, is widely believed to have nuclear weapons.

By Wednesday, Cain seemed to acknowledge China's membership in the nuclear club when he said that China was "testing in order to improve their nuclear arsenal," during a speech in McLean, Virginia.

Cain seemed to be on the mark when he told Woodruff on Monday that China wants to "develop more aircraft carriers like we have," which is true. In August, China's first aircraft carrier sailed out of the northeastern port of Dalian for its first set of sea trials. China spent nearly a decade refurbishing the 67,000-ton, 300-meter (1,000-foot) ship, a project started by the former Soviet Union as part of a naval buildup that has taken place over the last decade. Very few countries have aircraft carriers, and only the United States, with 11, has more than two in service.

China has also been busy developing advanced aircraft for its air force as well. Analysts believe the Chinese J-20 stealth fighter will have the radar-evading capability of fifth-generation fighters produced by the United States, such as the F-22 and F-35. China began testing it in January.

In recent months, Cain has downplayed the importance of foreign policy. Meanwhile his campaign has said the candidate has been studying up on national security and foreign policy matters.

While the economy is by far the top issue with voters, foreign policy and national security do matter, and a CBS debate in South Carolina on Nov. 12 and a CNN/Heritage/American Enterprise Institute debate in the nation's capital on Nov. 22, will focus on those issues.

Also see:

Five candidates offer ideas on strengthening U.S. manufacturing

Cain raises more than $400k in one day; supporters call allegations 'high-tech' lynching

Huntsman unveils energy policy


Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Ditty1991

    we need to come home. ron paul is the only candidate whos gonna do that.

    November 2, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Reggie from LA

    It was reasonably apparent on Meet the Press a couple of weeks ago. I will give to Cain, his understanding of financial and economic affairs, although 9-9-9 was a no-go by any stretch. However, once out of that box, he was not as comfortable addressing social and especially foreign policy. These things considered, he's a one-trick pony. That is not an attribute for someone who would hold the most prestigious office in the world. How many tricks does Perry have? ...while thinking of it.

    November 2, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Based on what they're saying so far, some of the candidates may need to do a little more studying on the big issues from overseas. Take Herman Cain, for example."

    Interesting article in it's attempt at leaving out all but one GOPer candidate's overseas strategy ... hopefully we'll get to the remaining candidates "big issues requiring more study" as well.

    November 2, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. once upon a horse

    this just shows that the GOP is so desperate to take the White House back they really could care less who wins as long as he has an R by his name. It's pretty sad if you ask me.

    November 2, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. the dogs of war

    Cain shows Inconsistencies in understanding while our current head of state his holiness obama shows zero understanding

    November 2, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. vic , nashville ,tn

    Herman Cain, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry they don’t have any plan in foreign policy , economy, national security etc every day they are changing their views

    Only choice we have Obama so next five years will be lame duck president( nothing will get done )

    We need third party or Hillary Clinton must run as independent

    November 2, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. al in memphis

    Really, if it's not about cutting taxes what do you expect from this group. Smaller government has to mean smaller role in foreign affairs and certainly a smaller military. Maybe we can sell a few of the idled aircraft carriers to the 1% so they can be used to protect their money from foreign invasions and the other 99% can benefit from the trickle down affect.

    November 2, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    from the article:
    On the issue of China as a nuclear power, Cain told PBS's Judy Woodruff Monday that China has "indicated that they're trying to develop nuclear capability." China actually tested its first nuclear weapon in 1964, .....
    -----–
    Sounds to me like Mr. Cain doesn't know the difference between China and North Korea. Either that or he's falling back on his high school social studies curriculum. I really wonder if he's smarter than a fifth grader on this subject. What's really scary about Cain isn't his lack of knowledge. It's the fact that not only does he not anything, but he has failed to surround himself with people who actually do.

    November 2, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. shoegazer

    "In recent months,Cain has downplayed the importance of foreign policy"......Well that assures him the Hawk vote.

    November 2, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "Inconsistencies"

    In other words, he's totally clueless and the MSM is euphamizing it for his benefit.

    November 2, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Democrat Party - leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    In other words, he's totally clueless and the MSM is euphamizing it for his benefit
    ===============================================================
    They've been doing it for Obama for 3 years so why not now for Cain?!!

    November 2, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. Woman In California

    Inconsistencies in foreign policy and EVERYTHING else.

    November 2, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. anon-i-mouse

    Apart from unduely pandering to Isreal, Obama has had a stellar foreign policy. Bin Laden and other top AQ officials, dead. Libya a stunning success without harm to 1 American. Iraq war ending. Afghanistan improving. Aid to Japan after tsunami. Hillary Clinton chosen as Secretary of State, etc, etc, etc. People who think Obama has done nothing need to stop watching Fox news and get a clue.

    Obama/Biden 2012.

    November 2, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    Inconsistent? I believe the word is "ignorant".

    November 2, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. sequoia

    Sadly, Cain supporters consider total ignorance on world affairs and foreign policy a GOOD thing. It's Ammmrrkin to be an idiot to them. It's patriotic!

    November 2, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  16. LegendRx

    Obama knows Foreign policy like no other. President Barack Obama, He's a keeper! Next.

    November 2, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. vet in texas

    I love how all those defending Mr. Cain.

    Just today, close your eyes and vision all of the things Cain is saying, now take those same things and vision Obama giving a speech:

    Exactly, which is why we all think he is a joke.

    Anyone who thinks Cain is viable probably voted for W twice.

    November 2, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. Steve, New York City

    This is an easy one. All Cain has to do is talk about wanting to kill terrorists, and talk up our important alliance with Israel any chance he gets, and he might get enough clueless people to believe that he has foreign policy crediblity.

    November 2, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. seriously???

    I'm really beginning to think that all these people who include "Ron Paul is the only candidate who..." in their posts are just as challenged as your typical Bachmann/Palin supported. The Ron Paul "revolution" is beginning to look like a REVOLTING CULT.

    November 2, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. vet in texas

    Let me get this straight:

    W got Saddam and Khalid Sheik Muhammad, but the military got Al Awalaki who gave us the Ft. Hood shooter, and the underwear bomber, and Bin Laden along with several other top al queada leaders?

    How is that possible?

    November 2, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Dean

    Obama shows inconsistencies in foreign policy understanding.

    November 2, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. ConservaFASCISTS/TeaHadists/Tea Queda/TeaLiban

    I do not feel safe with Cain as POTUS with his lack of foreign policy knowledge. President Obama was chastised by McCain over his foreign policy credentials and so far the President has passed with flying colors. I can't say the same for Mr. Cain. When you refer to potential allies/enemies of the U.S., I don't think degrading them by calling them "beki, beki, beki stan" is very statesman like.

    November 2, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  23. Sandy

    Obama has 4 years experience being POTUS and a stellar record in foreign policy, which these repubs have no clue about.

    Obama 2012!

    November 2, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "In other words, he's totally clueless and the MSM is euphamizing it for his benefit
    ===============================================================
    They've been doing it for Obama for 3 years so why not now for Cain?!!"

    I'm sorry, I can't understand you through all the sniffles. Would you like a tissue?

    November 2, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. Just Saying

    Cain has NOT demonstrated inconsistencies in his knowledge of foreign affairs or on any other policy issues. He has consistently demonstrated that he knows absolutely NOTHING. Just Saying...

    November 2, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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