Muftic: GOP candidates short on foreign policy
Nearly all of the GOP field of potential presidential candidates lack foreign policy experience. That is alarming.
Whoever is elected to the White House will assume the mantel of the leader of the Free and Western World and must be able to command respect of our allies if they have any hope to lead them. Given the threats from Russia rising and ISIS inflaming, this is not the time for amateur hour, steep learning curves, and on-the-job education. Too many mistakes in judgment calls based in ignorance while learning the ropes could be catastrophic for national security.
Three GOP governors set about lately to fill gaps in their resumes before they begin their campaigns for the White House. They failed the” worthy of respect” test. They were nearly laughed out of England.
A four day visit of courtesy calls and viewing ancient architecture does not bestow credentials of foreign affair expertise on anyone whose total career has been absorbed by state and local issues. In fact, the governors’ ignorance became painfully obvious when they incorrectly assumed they are on the same page with their host country. The idea of gaining foreign policy experience is to listen and learn, not to lecture their hosts about what the people they are visiting should think. Stump speeches and campaign modes should be left at home.
Gaining knowledge of beliefs held by foreigners does not necessarily mean agreement, but it is helpful in watching language and semantics when abroad to make a better impression, to win friends and influence people.
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin this month refused to deny the concept of creationism in an appearance on British television. Interviewers’ faces could not mask their raised eyebrows and disbelief.. Walker confirmed what the more secular Europeans believe: America is full of science deniers still stuck in the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. What sells in Kansas on this issue gets few buyers in most of the world.
Chris Christie of New Jersey likewise stumbled when he pandered to a fringe group that opposed measles vaccines. He allowed it was fine for parents to have a choice in vaccinating their kids. Sen. Rand Paul, though not in the UK, voiced something similar, linking measles vaccines to autism for which there is no scientific evidence. Both had to do some quick back-peddling.
The shrillest voice criticizing the careful semantics President Obama uses in referring to Muslims has been Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana. He is the same governor who, while visiting the United Kingdom, lectured the English that there were some parts of Great Britain that were no go zones for British police because they were controlled by Muslims. That tidbit was news to the British, but it certainly hyped Muslimphobia back home.
While most Americans usually do not make foreign policy the main factor in voting choices, it might be different in 2016, especially if we have not yet defeated ISIS. The GOP needs to vet its candidates very carefully if they have any chance of beating a hawkish former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.
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