After the surge when al Qaeda was in ashes. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — remember we weren’t even in Afghanistan by this time… Barack Obama went into Afghanistan creating another problem.
Of course, most people will remember it was George W. Bush (under a Republican administration) who invaded Afghanistan in 2001, with the stated goal of removing the Taliban in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
Whether this blatant lie was the result of post-truth politics, historical revisionism, just plain ignorance, or all of the above, it was not just a ‘rare exception’.
Below are some ‘greatest hits’ in recent Republican presidential campaigns which should never be forgotten:
Herman Cain’s Libya implosion – “What are you asking me?”
In 2011, Herman Cain was briefly a media darling as he led in the polls as top contender for the 2012 Republican nomination. Pew Research Center called the millionaire former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza “the most covered candidate” of 2011.
But the Cain campaign began to unravel after he was asked simply whether he agreed or disagreed with President Obama’s decision to bomb Libya and oust Muammar Gaddafi. It became clear that the Republican front runner had no clue about what was going on in Libya, though by that time the war had dominated US and international headlines for months:
Sarah Palin’s “Africa the country vs. Africa the continent”?
Sarah Palin was Senator John McCain’s running mate for the 2008 election which saw Barack Obama take the White House. Palin was well-known for her charismatic stage presence and humorous quirks, but also for her lack of knowledge of well… just about everything. She dominated headlines and created dissension within the McCain-Palin camp.
When asked about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – the US-Canada-Mexico free trade bloc, Palin began speaking about the “country” of Africa:
If there are allegations based on questions or comments that I made in debate prep about NAFTA and about the continent versus the country when we talk about Africa there, then those were taken out of context.
Rick Perry didn’t know Turkey was a US ally in NATO
In a 2012 Republican presidential debate, Texas Governor Rick Perry seemed not to know that Turkey had long been a close US ally and member of NATO. This is a man who at the time also argued that US troops should redeploy to Iraq, and that he would make this happen if elected president.
He included Turkey on a list of enemies the US should fight in the ‘war on terror’:
Obviously when you have a country that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists … not only is it time for us to have a conversation about whether or not they belong to be in NATO… we need to send a powerful message to countries like Iran, and Syria and Turkey that the United States is serious and that we’re going to have to be dealt with.
It seems Herman Cain grew tired of the media inquiring as to whether or not he actually knew anything about the world during his 2011 campaign. When asked how he planned to respond to media questions he was unsure about, he said mockingly:
Ironically, it wasn’t Cain’s shocking lack of knowledge and brazen mockery of foreign countries that tanked his bid to be Republican presidential nominee. He suspended his campaign only after controversy amidst reports of an extra-marital affair and allegations of sexual harassment.
A danger to the world
Such ignorance combined with hubris seems to be a unique ‘virtue’ of the American political class especially celebrated in right-wing politics. The rest of the world should remain watchful and wary of this dangerously ascendant trend.
– Listen to informed foreign policy analysis here.
– Stay updated on the anti-war movement in the US here.
– In the UK, join your local branch of the Stop the War Coalition.
– See more international reporting from us at The Canary Global.
Featured Image via Andrew Dallos/Flickr
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