On Sunday Rush Limbaugh told Chris Wallace on Fox news Sunday that Ben Carson was not qualified to be president. Rush’s comments result from the claim that Ben Carson lacks any foreign policy experience. But, I’d be interested to know which one of the GOP candidates Rush and other similar critics believe have this foreign policy experience? Does the fact that Chris Christie ate a doughnut while visiting the United Kingdom and Canada establish his foreign policy credentials? Does the fact that Ted Cruz drafted legislation dealing with foreign policy matters while a first time Senator provide him foreign policy experience? Does Marco Rubio have foreign policy experience because he’s an eloquent speaking first term senator? Does Jeb Bush have foreign policy experience even though he cannot give a consistent answer whether he agrees with his brother going into Iraq? What about Donald Trump who didn’t know the difference between the Kurds and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard?
The truth is that senators and governors have no foreign policy experience either. In fact, if we are to choose a President simply on the basis of how much foreign policy they have handled, I suppose Hillary Clinton should be the candidate of choice.
In our system, a President is the primary figure who has experience in foreign policy. Such experience does not come with traveling to foreign countries. It does not come solely from speaking to foreign leaders. It does not come from drafting legislation. It comes with dealing with foreign policy matters over time and a capacity to learn from ones mistakes; hence the word experience.
This is not an endorsement of Ben Carson. It is a defense of what I think was a baseless attack. I’m sick of Carson, a world-renowned neurosurgeon, being portrayed by many as an idiot.
We must evaluate candidates not solely upon their past actions, but instead how they might act in response to changing circumstances in the future. If the George W. Bush and Obama administration has taught us anything, it’s that intelligence, wisdom, and a capacity to change ones actions in the face of changing circumstances are more vital to maintaining a successful foreign policy then trips a candidate has taken or legislation they’ve signed. After all, Hillary Clinton boasts about having traveled to over one hundred countries. But, Ambassador Stevens is still dead.