I know I declared a mercy rule on Herman Cain, but two developments have created a one-time exception. First, Cain sent up the first signal that he might drop out of the race. Second, he delivered a foreign policy speech while adding a "paper" and a "brochure" to his campaign website. And I just can't quit Herman Cain -- the man has provided way too much fodder for this blog to simply let him fade away. So, for old time's sake -- one last post!!
There's little in the way of an overarching strategic vision or discussion of cross-cutting issues (
though, to be fair, that could have been in the speech itself which, according to NRO's John J. Miller, "was curiously light on substance."). The paper is really just a list of twenty countries, the labels Herman Cain applies to them, and then a paragraph or two of whatever his interns could find on Wikipedia description. Some examples of the labels:
Mexico: "Friend and Partner"
Canada: "Friend and Ally"
Iran: "Adversary Regime"
Afghanistan: "Strategic Partner"
Pakistan: "Danger and Opportunity"
India: "Strategic Partner"
I'm only disappointed that the Cain campaign wasn't more thorough and imaginative with its countries. Some suggestions:
Chile: "Strategic, mountainous ally"
Turkey: "Sultry Minx"
Saudi Arabia: "Ask John Bolton"
Lebanon: "Good kebabs"
Hawaii: "This one's ours, right?"
Uzbekistan: "Wait, that's a real country?"
As for the countries Cain does talk about, well, some highlights suggest that
outdated Wikipedia entries Cain's staff might have needed another draft:
Germany is a key figure in Europe’s economy. It has risen to the daunting challenge of keeping the euro afloat in troubled financial times – no small feat....
Russia’s insistence on the New START Treaty has put the U.S.A. at a distinct disadvantage, not only relative to Russia, but also to the world’s other nuclear powers.
Mr. Cain sheds no tears for Colonel Gaddafi, who personally ordered the killing of Americans. However, the White House launched the war in Libya under the Obama Doctrine of the “responsibility to protect.” The question now is: “protect whom?” The Libyan rebellion-turned-government has been aided by al Qaeda, and it is dominated by Islamists that have not been friendly to U.S. interests. Also, despite the fact that Libya is more of a vital interest to Europe than it is to America, (Europe buys 90% of Libya’s oil and it would be Europe that would be overwhelmed in any refugee crisis), President Obama spent more than a billion dollars on this adventure and led the initial military action. As president, Mr. Cain will work to bring clarity to the Libyan situation....
Under President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt was a friend. With Mubarak shoved out by Arab Spring protests -- with help from President Obama -- Egypt could be a nightmare unfolding.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which was determined to be a terrorist organization under Mubarak, is poised to pick up a sizable number of seats in Parliamentary elections. Though in office too long, at least Mubarak maintained peace with Israel, which polls show 90% of Egyptians oppose. Now we’re seeing the results, with cross-border attacks on Israeli civilians, the ransacking of Israel’s embassy in Cairo, opening up the border to a terrorist organization in Gaza, and open season on Coptic Christians, with churches being burned and mobs on killing sprees.
Egypt is an example of the pressing need for the clarity that Mr. Cain will bring to U.S. foreign policy....
Mr. Cain’s overall strategy for our chief economic competitor is this: Outgrow China. His economic policies will unleash the growth potential of the U.S. economy and transcend the threat from China. (emphasis added)
There's more, but you get the drift. As you can see, for a number of countries, Cain's paper lists concerns and then says Cain will bring "clarity" to the issue -- without saying exactly what that means in terms of policy. In other words, Cain keeps calling for carity in an unclear manner.
In other places, the paper simply gets its facts wrong (cough, Germany, cough) or proposes fantastical solutions (cough, China, cough). There are plenty of other mistakes (check out the Yemen section), but I'll let the readers find them in the comments.
To conclude, Herman Cain managed to hire some of the worst campaign interns ever to produce this dud of a document.
Herman, I swear....
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Daniel W. Drezner is professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.