Once the Cain camp realized that the voters were not happy with the notion of requesting Kissinger’s services, Cain’s campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon said that Cain had not actually asked Kissinger to be his Secretary of State, and chalked the entire incident up to Cain being sleep deprived during his interview with the Milwaukee newspaper.
Likewise, Cain attempted to avoid questions in Iowa on Tuesday when he was asked about Kissinger, “until he was told that his campaign had said he was joking about the offer of the plum cabinet job to the former secretary of state,” reports the Washington Post.
However, when watching a video clip of the interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, there is no indication that Cain was making a joke when he referred to Henry Kissinger.
Cain did once indicate that he intended to “bring a sense of humor to the White House. America’s too uptight!”
But that begs the question, what is the joke? What specifically is funny about asking Henry Kissing to serve as his Secretary of State?
“Dr. Kissinger has retired and I respect that,” Cain told The Fix from Iowa. “I was not serious about asking him, I know he's retired, but I was serious about seeking his counsel, and he was nice enough to say that I could seek his counsel some more. Which I treasure."
Still, even if Cain had not asked Kissinger to be his Secretary of State, Cain has already indicated that Kissinger is one of his key foreign policy influences. The two men met last month over breakfast to discuss foreign policy and Cain reportedly continues to consult with Kissinger on a regular basis.
I just appreciate that he's kind enough to give me his perspective on the Middle East and a lot of these other countries around the world. He was like a wise sage, giving me a lot of perspectives about how you go about dealing with these issues,” said Cain of his meetings with Kissinger.
For some, news of Cain’s relationship with Kissinger raises a red flag. Serving under Nixon and Ford, Kissinger is held responsible for the “illegal” bombings of Cambodia during the Vietnam War and for negotiating a "peace" deal that abandoned U.S. POWs and MIAs. He is also reported to have worked behind the scenes with the CIA to put General Augusto Pinochet into power in Chile and then encouraging alleged political repression in that country. Though Pinochet was undeniably an improvement over his predecessor, the communist Salvador Allende, who was on the verge of consolidating his power in Chile, there is no authorization in the U.S. Constitution for our government to meddle in the affairs of other nations. Kissinger also reportedly pushed for the Turkish invasion of Cyprus as well as the Indonesian invasion of East Timor.
Kissinger has also been recognized as a long-time Bilderberg attendee, said to be instrumental in that organization alongside David Rockefeller and a number of other bankers and globalists.
Likewise, Kissinger openly articulated support for President Obama’s foreign policy regarding the Iranian unrest following the disputed election. Kissinger said, “I was a McCain supporter, but I think the president has handled this well. Anything that the United States says that puts us totally behind one of the contenders, behind [Mir Hossein] Mousavi, would be a handicap for that person. And I think it’s the proper position to take that the people of Iran have to make that decision.”
He also expressed support for then-Senator Obama’s proposal to directly negotiate with the Iranian regime, asserting that it would permit the United States to outline a vision for a stable Middle East and for America’s ideas regarding nuclear proliferation.
“I’m in favor of negotiating with Iran,” exclaimed Kissinger.
Regarding Obama, Kissinger added, ““He can give a new impetus to American foreign policy, partly because the reception of him is so extraordinary around the world. I think his task will be to develop an overall strategy for America in this period when really a new world order can be created. It’s a great opportunity.”
In other words, Kissinger is a heavy proponent of nation-building and American interference into the regimes of other nations. And he has managed to impress Cain with his expertise in executing an interventionist foreign policy.
During the interview with the Journal, Cain has also indicated a number of other names he would like to see in his potential administration, including former United Nations ambassador John Bolton, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, though he has not stated which roles he would like to see each of them to fill.
“My Administration will include a majority of business people as well as some seasoned office-holders who are not afraid to challenge the status quo,” Cain said.
Cain has already admitted that he requires an array of foreign policy advisers because he does not have his own fully defined stance on foreign policy, and his interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel underscored that point. When asked how his policy toward Libya would differ from President Obama’s Cain appeared caught off-guard for a moment, and then provided an unclear response comprised of several starts and stops:
"President Obama supported the uprising correct? President Obama called for the removal of Gaddafi? Just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing before I say yes, I agree or no, I didn't agree," Cain said. "I do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reasons. Nope that's a different one. I gotta go back. I got all this stuff twirling around in my head. Specifically what are you asking me if I agree or don't agree with President Obama?"
He also stated that he disagreed with the ways in which President Obama “assessed the situation” in Libya before finally asserting that he “would have supported” the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi.
Cain's campaign attempted to explain the confusion.
“The video is being taken out of context,” said spokesman JD Gordon. “He was taking questions for about 30 to 40 minutes on four hours of sleep. He didn’t say anything wrong or inaccurate; it just took him a while to recall the specifics of Libya.”
Gordon added, “It just took him a while to gain his bearings.”
Not everyone is satisfied with that explanation. “It is yet another foreign policy stumble for Cain,” said Republican consultant Mike Murphy. “The questions about his qualifications for the job will only rise higher now.”
Cain is already struggling in the polls as of late. A new poll from the Washington Post-ABC News shows that Cain’s negative ratings among Republicans has more than doubled since mid-October, while a new CNN survey reveals that Cain has dropped 11 points in a hypothetical national Republican primary ballot in less than one month. Much of that fall has to do with the sexual harassment charges levied against Cain during his time at the National Restaurant Association, but his constant foreign policy gaffes certainly will not improve the situation.