Carson Displays His Total Ignorance of Foreign Policy

Ben Carson gave an interview to Hugh Hewitt, undoubtedly a friendly face who hoped Carson would do well answering his questions on foreign policy. Unfortunately for him, the answers were so utterly clueless that Hewitt himself seemed taken aback by it.

When Hewitt asked whether NATO countries should be willing to go to war if Russia invades the Baltic states, Carson called for those countries to join NATO.

“I think part of the problem throughout the world right now is that our allies cannot be 100 percent certain that we’re behind them,” Carson said Wednesday on Hewitt’s radio show. “We need to convince them to get involved in NATO and strengthen NATO.”

Hewitt countered that the Baltics are already a part of NATO, while Carson said he mistakenly thought Hewitt had meant all of the former Soviet Union countries.

Oh, of course he did.

The two also sparred on the origins of Islam. Carson contended that Islam “emanated from Esau,” a biblical figure who lived thousands of years ago, while Hewitt said the religion stemmed from the Prophet Muhammad, who founded the religion in the year 600 A.D.

*headdesk* He can’t even keep his Christian mythology straight. Islam is supposed to have come from the line of Ishmael, not Esau. Either one is nonsense, of course.

The potential field, made up largely of current and former governors and senators, often spar over whether the executive experience of a governor or foreign policy experience of a senator is a stronger asset for a White House bid.

Carson lacks both, a fact that led Hewitt to compare his foreign policy knowledge to that of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was famously criticized during the 2008 presidential election for her foreign policy interview with Katie Couric.

“You’ve been being a great neurosurgeon all these years, you haven’t been deep into geopolitics, and that the same kind of questions that tripped up Sarah Palin early in her campaign are going to trip you up,” Hewitt told Carson.

Ouch. When a friendly interviewer compares you to Sarah Palin, that has to leave a mark.

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  • John Pieret

    When a friendly interviewer compares you to Sarah Palin, that has to leave a mark.

    Not when someone is on the same par as Sarah when it comes to critical thinking and knowledge of reality. He probably took it as a compliment.

  • comfychair

    Vote Dunning-Kruger 2016!

  • tbp1

    Carson Displays His Total Ignorance of Foreign Policy Everything Except His Own Very Narrow Medical Speciality.

    FIFY

  • Nemo

    Assuming this is an accurate summary, that first question is inane. If a NATO state is invaded, other NATO states have to respond. It’s not optional. That’s kind of the whole point of NATO. So, as little respect as I have for Carson, I have to give him credit on that one, for attempting to interpret the question into something sensible.

  • keithb

    Nemo:

    The question was phrased like “Should the US intervene if Russia invades the Baltic States?”

    And Carson replied that they should join NATO, no knowing that they were already *in* NATO.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/carson-stumbles-little-details

  • Al Dente

    Carson is a very intelligent person who knows a lot about one field and little or nothing about anything else.

  • Trebuchet

    Hey, he can just appoint me Secretary of State. After all, I can see Canada from my house. (Really!)

  • shadow

    @7 Trebuchet:

    I have in-laws in Japan.

  • ffakr

    Carson seems to be in a fog every time I hear him.

    Having personally made it through a brain hemorrhage and brain surgery with remarkable success.. I tend to wonder if something similar but more pronounced happened to Carson.

    In my case, I had an AVM go kaplewie. Since it was not a hypertensive hemorrhage, I didn’t fall over dead. In fact, I didn’t get in to see a Dr. until 5 days after the event and didn’t get an MRI till the day after that. I didn’t require surgery until a month later, after my brain had cleaned up after itself.

    I was feeling quite well by the time of the MRI in fact.. I only went in because I wanted to play with the imaging. 😉

    It wouldn’t shock me to find out that Carson is no longer practicing medicine because he can’t anymore. I’d be completely unsurprised to find out he had some sort of traumatic incident that has impaired his mental acuity.

    There may not even be a medical record of the incident.

    In my case, I had enough pre-med courses under my belt to realize that some of my symptoms seemed an awful lot like a brain hemorrhage but I dismissed that Idea because a) I wasn’t dead and b) I was fairly healthy and, I thought, far too young at the time for such a thing.

    If Carson isn’t simply hiding something, I suppose it’s not inconceivable that he’d be able to similarly convince himself that what he was experiencing could not possibly be what his gut told him it was.

    In my case, the more likely explanation that I latched onto was that I was experiencing days of “Cluster headaches”.. also known as “Suicide Headaches” because of their tendency to drive sufferers to kill themselves. That’s also what my Primary Care Physician thought.. but just to be safe, she scheduled the MRI.

    I had never heard of Ben Carson before he thrust himself into politics.

    Does anyone know if he had the same fundamentalist beliefs and carried on the same way when he was a Physician?

  • Hoosier X

    So Ben Carson is Herman Cain with a medical degree? Is that about right?

  • khms

    #4 Nemo:

    Assuming this is an accurate summary, that first question is inane. If a NATO state is invaded, other NATO states have to respond. It’s not optional. That’s kind of the whole point of NATO. So, as little respect as I have for Carson, I have to give him credit on that one, for attempting to interpret the question into something sensible.

    Well, sort of. They do have to respond, but they are free to determine how – sending a stiff letter, for example, fulfills the letter of the treaty.

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    To be fair to Ben Carson, I don’t know that Carson has a proven record of disturbing sexual harassment.

  • Francisco Bacopa

    Having worked in the book trade for a while I have to say I’ve known of Carson for a long time. When high school graduation comes around it is vitally important to order 12 copies of his book Gifted Hands, and to be ready to order 20 more as the day approaches. This book is (or perhaps was) a traditional graduation gift in the African-American community. And independent booksellers often made new customers because the chains would sell through and not have any more at graduation time.

    ffakr makes a good point that we may be dealing with a brain-damaged man. Or perhaps not. Intelligence is modular. Brilliance in one area may be coupled with incompetence in another.

  • Larry

    Since when does a GOP presidential candidate require any knowledge of geo-politics or foreign policy? As best as I can see, the only skills they require is to sound like a protestant pope. Carson plays that pretty well, though not as good as some others.

  • ffakr

    @ #13

    It’s only fair to mention that I work in higher-ed and as a result I’ve come to know more than a few PhDs that were pretty nuts.. even some that were particularly successful in their fields.

    My current ‘problem children’ included a Paranoid and someone I suspect is a Sociopath. The hardest part in dealing with them is that they’re both, obviously, very intelligent and successful in their fields yet you can’t always rely on reason when dealing with them.

    My theory about a deficient Ben Carson is all speculation and conjecture. Still, I’d like to see some enterprising journalists look into his history to see if he’s been consistent.. and if he hasn’t, was there any leave of absence that coincided with his leaving medicine and his ‘evolution’ to wing-nut?

    The other possibility is that he has always been a nutcase who happened to excel as a surgeon.

  • blf

    I have to give [Carson] credit on that one, for attempting to interpret the question into something sensible.

    No, a competent person would have attempted to understand what the interviewer was asking: “The Baltic states and the US are all members of Nato. Nato’s treaty says an attack on one is an attack on all, and that Nato — its member countries — are obliged to respond. And that has happened, for instance, after the 9/11 attacks on the WTC in NYC, Nato voted that it was an attack on a fellow Nato member. With that basic background, I must point out I don’t understand what you are asking. Are you suggesting the US not honor its Nato obligations? Or that the Baltic states leave Nato? Or even that the US help Russia invade the Baltic states? What, precisely, are you asking?”

    Assuming a different question and answering that different question without even attempting to explain how the question is being interpreted, is a classic sign of incompetence.

  • karmacat

    The strange aspect about this is that it’s not hard to give a general answer, especially if your using Republican talking points. He could have said, “if Russia invaded the Baltic states, the U.S. and its allies would respond strongly with economic and military means. It is important that every country enjoy freedom like US has because the U.S. is so incredibly exceptional, blah, blah….”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1246980039 caseyboucher

    He’s not only ignorant of foreign policy, he seems ignorant of middle school geography. What’s scary is that makes him perfect for the GOP primary.

  • lofgren

    Assuming a different question and answering that different question without even attempting to explain how the question is being interpreted, is a classic sign of incompetence.

    Quite the opposite. It’s basic interview skills. You always ignore the qestion and instead answer the question you wish was asked. Watch any politician or pundit for three minutes while being interviewed and you’ll catch them doing it. The error here was as karmacat says failing to use your talking points effectively.