Foreign-policy ignorance = electability?

SCOTT OLSON/Getty Images News In Passport’s list yesterday of the top 10 foreign-policy gaffes from the campaign trail, Mike Huckabee had the dubious honor of placing #1 (not knowing about the NIE on Iran) and #4 (tying Benazir Bhutto’s assassination to fears about illegal immigration from Mexico and citing flat-out wrong statistics to support his ...

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597308_biden_25.jpg

SCOTT OLSON/Getty Images News

In Passport's list yesterday of the top 10 foreign-policy gaffes from the campaign trail, Mike Huckabee had the dubious honor of placing #1 (not knowing about the NIE on Iran) and #4 (tying Benazir Bhutto's assassination to fears about illegal immigration from Mexico and citing flat-out wrong statistics to support his assertions). Another oops moment that we didn't point out, but that Fox News did, was Huckabee saying that Pakistan borders Afghanistan on the west, when it is actually the east. Huckabee also said it was too early to say whether martial law should "continue" in Pakistan, even though martial law was lifted weeks earlier.

Compare that to this nuanced answer that Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, gave in response to a question about Iran's nuclear program during an October debate in the runup to caucus and primary madness:

SCOTT OLSON/Getty Images News

In Passport’s list yesterday of the top 10 foreign-policy gaffes from the campaign trail, Mike Huckabee had the dubious honor of placing #1 (not knowing about the NIE on Iran) and #4 (tying Benazir Bhutto’s assassination to fears about illegal immigration from Mexico and citing flat-out wrong statistics to support his assertions). Another oops moment that we didn’t point out, but that Fox News did, was Huckabee saying that Pakistan borders Afghanistan on the west, when it is actually the east. Huckabee also said it was too early to say whether martial law should “continue” in Pakistan, even though martial law was lifted weeks earlier.

Compare that to this nuanced answer that Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, gave in response to a question about Iran’s nuclear program during an October debate in the runup to caucus and primary madness:

We talk about this in isolation. The fact of the matter is the Iranians may get 2.6 kilograms of highly enriched uranium; the Pakistanis have hundreds, thousands of kilograms of highly enriched uranium.

If by attacking Iran to stop them from getting 2.6 kilograms of highly enriched uranium, the government in Pakistan falls, who has missiles already deployed, with nuclear weapons on them, that can already reach Israel, already reach India, then that’s a bad bargain.

Presidents make wise decisions informed not by a vacuum in which they operate, by the situation they find themselves in the world. I will do all in my power to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but I will never take my eye off the ball.

What is the greatest threat to the United States of America: 2.6 kilograms of highly enriched uranium in Tehran or an out of control Pakistan? It’s not close.

So what’s happened now? Joe Biden has pulled out of the race for the White House, and Mike Huckabee won Iowa’s Republican caucuses. Food for thought, folks. I’m just sayin,’ food for thought. 

Christine Y. Chen is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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