Cain shows inconsistencies in foreign policy understanding
November 2nd, 2011
12:09 PM ET
11 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. MTATL67

    Mr. Cain as a CEO should know full well that Foreign Policy is extremely important because it has a huge impact on our economy. Greece, Ireland and Portugal and the EU. What happens when China's ballooning economy bursts, not to mention the fact that they own most of our debt. What happens when relations with Pakistan deteriorate because of their blind eye on terrorism and tensions with India (thousands of from US relocated by American companies) escalate. How about the emerging economic power out of South America. NO as a former CEO Mr. Cain should be more than aware importance of U.S. Foreign policy.

    November 2, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Dude doesn't even know China has the bomb and thinks he's qualified to run the country and the free world? Get this clown out of here.

    November 2, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    somebody wrote:
    More inconsistent than Obama's foreign policy??? Highly unlikely!
    That has been most inconsistent about Obama's foreign policy has been where the success have occured. He's been literally all over the map in that regard.

    November 2, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. Lizzie

    Funny, noone ask candidate Obama if he knows anything about foreign policy, or how he will solve anything, all we heard was hope and change, and tingles are running up someones legs when he reads the telepromter, and when he talked about redistribution he did nit mean Soros and Buffets money but the middle classes money, see where that got Greece.

    November 2, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. texan

    Not inconsistency ; just a total lack of comprehension.

    November 2, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. Elizabeth

    I will be voting for Huntsman for many reasons, but chief among them is an incredible foreign policy understanding that is one of his main platform selling points. But just to be fair to Cain, I assume he was talking specifically in regard to Chinese nuclear powered aircraft carrier capability, which is under current development ?

    November 2, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. Len

    I hope Americans wake up and realize the GOP/Tea Party and the GOP candidates really do not know very much and really do not care about the middle class and poor! Wake up folks! Obama/Biden 2012.

    November 2, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Mariann Pepitone

    I made a statement prior to this message board that Cain is a sweet talker. He smiles as he is talking to the public making them believe he is the best candidate for the presidency advising them that he knows all about taxes. economy and jobs whereas he never took an interest in those subjects. Block was down and out and needed money so he talked Cain into hiring him as his manager. Block is thinking about a job in the WH which will never exist because Cain will not win.

    November 2, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Lola

    I can't believe anyone would come here and say Obama doesn't have a grasp on foreign policy. He excells in his foreign policy. Now imagine if only Congress would put through some of his domestic policies. As for Cain, he's dangerously close to "Africa is a continent?" territory.

    November 2, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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