Asked on Meet the Press this weekend whether the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador was an act of war, Herman Cain gave the following response:
After I looked at all of the information provided by the intelligence community, the military, then I could make that decision. I can’t make that decision because I’m not privy to all of that information… I’m not going to say it was an act of war based upon news reports, with all due respect. I would hope that the president and all of his advisers are considering all of the factors in determining just how much, how much the Iranians participated in this.
That struck me as a refreshingly reasonable position. Yet the Washington Post’s election handicapper, Chris Cillizza, decided to make that quote the centerpiece of an article on Cain’s “know‐nothing foreign policy.” He then presents a poll showing that Republicans don’t care much about foreign policy this year, only to conclude that foreign‐policy ignorance could be a fatal handicap for Cain. His evidence for that conclusion is a quote from Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations, who specializes in arguing for wars and imperialism. Boot, as it happens, just wrote a blog post for Commentary titled, “Iran Plot Goes Straight to the Top,” where he attacks those willing to question the evidence against Iran’s leaders and vaguely supports attacking them.
Cillizza’s article makes clear that foreign‐policy ignorance is far preferable to the Washington Post’s idea of expertise. The worst part is that Cain, who claims not to know what neoconservatives are, seems likely to become one, call Boot for advice, and win the Post’s respect.