September 4, 2015

"I’m looking for the next commander-in-chief, to know who Hassan Nasrallah is, and Zawahiri, and al-Julani, and al-Baghdadi. Do you know the players without a scorecard, yet, Donald Trump?"

"No... You know, I’ll tell you honestly, I think by the time we get to office, they’ll all be changed. They’ll be all gone. I knew you were going to ask me things like this, and there’s no reason, because, No. 1, I’ll find, I will hopefully find Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the pack... I will be so good at the military, your head will spin. But obviously, I’m not meeting these people. I’m not seeing these people.... Now, as far as what you’re talking about now, I will know every detail, and I will have the right plan, not a plan like this where we’re probably going backwards based on everything that I’m hearing, but we’re probably going backwards, zero respect. We have, we are not a respected country, and certainly as it relates to ISIS and what’s going on, and Iran."

Trump responds to Hugh Hewitt.

Hewitt asked a type of question that we've seen used to trip up presidential candidates in the past. Trump demonstrated a new way to answer. There's none of the fear or shame in getting caught not knowing something.

Compare George W. Bush, running for President in 1999:
''Can you name the general who is in charge of Pakistan?'' asked [Andy Hiller, political correspondent with WHDH-TV]. He was inquiring about Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf, who seized control of the country on Oct. 12.

''Wait, wait, is this 50 questions?'' asked Bush.
Hiller replied: ''No, it's four questions of four leaders in four hot spots.''

Bush said: ''The new Pakistani general, he's just been elected - not elected, this guy took over office. It appears this guy is going to bring stability to the country and I think that's good news for the subcontinent.''

''I guess we know that 'C' at Yale was a gentleman's 'C,''' said [Al] Gore spokesman Chris Lehane, referring to Bush's characterization of his college academic record.

The Clinton administration has expressed disappointment that Musharraf has not offered a timetable for restoring democracy in Pakistan, but U.S. officials have not been alarmed at the military coup. They describe Musharraf as reasonable.

A Bush campaign official defended the governor's performance.

''The person who is running for president is seeking to be the leader of the free world, not a Jeopardy contestant,'' said Karen Hughes, Bush's communications director.

81 comments:

tds said...

A proper question here is: would Hugh Hewitt be able to answer this question if asked before he started preparing it.

In Poland during one of a presidential debates one candidate asked another "do you know how much apples cost?". Of course candidate asking this questions had it carefully researched and rote-learned all the facts before the debate.

tim maguire said...

I'm not so much bothered by his not knowing the names as I am the flip response he came up with--"I hope I'll find a MacArthur, I'll have a great plan, just you wait and see. It'll be aces, I promise!" No, I want to hear that he's already thought about it, that he already has a plan to address the growing threats.

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Yes tds, Hugh Hewitt is a very intelligent, well-informed political pundit. He is not an ambush journolister. Hewitt, unlike most of contemporary journalists, reads widely, studies history, and believes that America's commander-in-chief should do the same.

grackle said...

This is the type of question that the average viewer doesn’t know either. So … no negative effect on Trump’s campaign. If Trump ever falters on a question of which the answer is generally known to the average American then he MIGHT be in trouble.

No one except the anti-Trumpsters expect Trump to be a wonk on these subjects. Trump’s general viewpoint is what’s important – favoring a strong military, secure border, better negotiations with foreign leaders, etc. A POTUS establishes general goals and principles, gathers his experts to his administration and asks them to devise plans to implement them. And then manages the experts. No one expects the CEO of Ford Motor Company to know how to install a transmission or tune a carburetor. The POTUS is a management position, not a technical job.

We’ve been hearing for weeks from sources both left and right that Trump is going to ruin the GOP’s Hispanic strategy to get more Hispanic votes but guess what? Trump leads ALL GOP candidates among Hispanics.

http://tinyurl.com/nextnl3

I believe Trump has at least one vulnerability:

One of Trump’s strong points is that he speaks without notes or teleprompter and thus seems more natural than most politicians. It’s a stream of consciousness type of delivery. It is very effective but it is also dangerous to speak off the cuff like that. He could blurt out something so outrageous that it could derail his campaign.

Scott said...

The press never poses "gotcha" questions to Democrats.

machine said...

facts schmacts....he is a rude,uninformed,blowhard so "conservatives" love him.

(see Palin, S.)

tds said...

Michael Fitzgerald: ok, there is interview with him on youtube by Eric Metaxas. I'll have a look

Robert Cook said...

One's not knowing the persons and personalities involved in matters of great global moment suggests that one also does not know much or anything about those matters of great global moment, or about the facts--known or contested--or differing opinions on those persons and matters of great moment or the regional and global traditions and histories and clashes and resentments and aspirations that bear on these matters of great moment. If one does not know the above, how can one purport to know how to deal with these matters?

What Trump is saying is that he doesn't need to know anything about anything...he'll just hire underlings, snap at them them to "Fix it!", and expect his high-priced janitors will follow his executive orders.

Original Mike said...

Who knows the captain of the JV team, anyway?

Phil 3:14 said...

So he wants a General who will ignore his Commander in Chief and threaten world war, that's reassuring.

But I am waiting for Mr. Trump to fade away.

M Jordan said...

Gotcha questions should be reserved for the intellectually pompous, not the Trumps and Palins of the world. The point is to reveal hypocrisy, yank them off their high perch of fake intellectuality.

The beauty of Trump is he is un-gotcha-able. The media and the Republican establishment haven't learned yet that the old bag of tricks roll off this man like bb's off the hood of a BMW. Trump is much, much wilier than all of them, so far.

Michael K said...

would Hugh Hewitt be able to answer this question if asked before he started preparing it.

No, Hewitt and a lot of other people, like me, know the answer. A few years ago, the new Democrat Chair of Homeland Security did;t know the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Most politicians are pretty ignorant and rely on staff. A few, like Dick Cheney, are deep into policy and facts and are hated by the left. It sort of goes together.

Maybe Hillary doesn't know what "secret" means. She may think it is about fucking.

Michael K said...

"he is a rude,uninformed,blowhard so "conservatives" love him."

Says a rude uniformed blowhard.

ddh said...

Hugh Hewitt has been asking the same questions practically word for word of everyone--Republicans, Democrats, politicians, and journalists--for at least five or six years. He frequently asks guests whether they have read "The Looming Tower" or know who Sayid Qutb is. Anyone with half a brain who goes on his show ought to check out what questions Hewitt typically asks. If I were to criticize anything about Hewitt's questions, it is that he should ask them about the organizations, not their leaders.

Trump's fumbling and whining about gotcha questions show that Trump didn't prepare, he didn't "delegate" preparation to "the best people," and he may not even know who the best people are outside of real estate development.

Larry J said...

There are a lot of media types who have their favorite areas and who expect everyone else to care about them. With a little thought, I could easily assemble a list of questions that Hewitt couldn't answer. What does that prove? Nothing.

Any president is well advised to have a competent staff and people at the State Department and DoD to help with these types of questions. I don't expect any president to know who the Third Deputy Assistant Undersecretary for Rice Production in the Philippines is or similar levels of arcane knowledge. I expect someone who can assemble a good working staff, evaluate incomplete and changing information, made decisions, and modify those decisions as the circumstances dictate. The old military adage that "no plan survives first contact with the enemy" applies to dealing with complex problems in the real world.

LBJ micromanaged the Vietnam war to the point where he bragged that the military couldn't bomb an outhouse without his permission. How did that work out? Jimmy Carter was an extreme micromanager who even set the schedule for the White House tennis courts. How did his administration work out? Obama seems to believe he's the smartest man in any room (the bride at every wedding, the corpse at every funeral). How is that working out?

Of the list of 16 or so people running for the Republican nomination, Trump wasn't even in my top 10. However, at the moment, he seems to be doing better than the others. If past performance is any guide to future outcomes, the odds are that he will fade sometime in the next 6 months. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. Pundits like Hewitt are doing the job of the RNC establishment by trying to stick a knife into Trump's back. If they can't own him and control him, they must try to destroy him. The funny thing is, the more they do this, the more his poll rating rise.

Drago said...

ddh: "Hugh Hewitt has been asking the same questions practically word for word of everyone--Republicans, Democrats, politicians, and journalists--for at least five or six years. He frequently asks guests whether they have read "The Looming Tower" or know who Sayid Qutb is."

Absolutely true. So much so that most political insiders and politicians even state that they are a bit nervous when they come on the show. That does not mean that Trump would personally know that. In fact, given Trumps business/schedule etc., I would be surprised if he did know it. So it begs the following questions:
What is the Trump campaign staff up to?
What/who IS the Trump campaign staff?
Who is responsible for knowing interview "lay of the land" background?

Ann Coulter is certainly a big fan of Trump and she knows Hewitt perfectly well. Why didn't someone give Trump the word?

ddh: "Trump's fumbling and whining about gotcha questions show that Trump didn't prepare, he didn't "delegate" preparation to "the best people," and he may not even know who the best people are outside of real estate development."

Hmmmm, that's probably not accurate regarding who Trump knows is the best. The "best" probably aren't on his staff. Despite all the hype, it's all free media that Trump is living on and I would bet Trumps prep guys/gals aren't that numerous or that politically experienced.

As for Trump's "whining", that's simply a trademark.

He should have asked Hewitt: "Can't I just eat my waffle?"

Bobby said...

Michael K,

"A few years ago, the new Democrat Chair of Homeland Security did;t [sic] know the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims."

I think you are slightly mistaken. I believe you are referring to Silvestre Reyes, former Democratic Congressman from Texas, who was the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee (2007-2011). In Dec 2006, when asked if Al Qaeda was exclusively Sunni or Shi'a, he replied "both" and then claimed "predominantly probably Shi'ite." (He also refused to answer whether Hezbollah was Sunni or Shi'ite). You can imagine how thrilled we all were to hear that he would be minding the store. Jane Harman (whom Pelosi jumped in favor of Reyes) was wrong about a whole lot of things, but at least she knew the subject material. Reyes was a real piece of work.

The Democratic Homeland Security Chair (now ranking minority member) was/is Bennie Thompson. He may or may not have known the difference, either, but as far as I know, he was never asked. But I do very little work with HLS, so it's entirely possible that I've just never been told the story.

Drago said...

machine: "facts schmacts....he is a rude,uninformed,blowhard so "conservatives" love him"

Would a blowhard claim to be able to stop the rising of the oceans?

Don't answer. Once again you have violated the machine-is-sure-to-beclown-himself-rule-if-posting-more-than-3-words guidance.

Ken Mitchell said...

I used to listen to Hugh Hewitt's radio program, but I lost all respect for him when he started insulting every caller who expressed concerns about a Romney candidacy with the insult "You're a nutter." (Hewitt, like Romney, is a Mormon.) Some of the callers were, no doubt, but many didn't appear to be a "nutter" at all.

And yes, Hewitt is FREQUENTLY guilty of asking "Gotcha!" trivia questions in his interviews.

Jeff (@EmpireOfJeff) tweeted: "You "conservative" "pundits" still don't get it: Trump isn't our candidate. He's our murder weapon. And the GOP is our victim. We good, now?"

I agree. I favor Ted Cruz rather than Trump, but I _DESPISE_ the "Country Club" Republican establishment, who have never done squat to actually roll back government programs, or even to slow down the acceleration in the expansion of government programs. So if Trump is able to eliminate bad "RINO" candidates like Bush, Rubio, Huckabee, Santorum, Graham and the other "scamnesty" peddlers, more power to him!

The big phony issue over the last few days was "Would Trump sign The Pledge to support the Republican nominee and not to run on a 3rd Party candidate. The REAL question is, would Bush? And if Trump is the nominee, will the RINO establishment support him? Or try to tear him down the way they have routinely attacked Tea Party candidates?

Richard Taylor said...

I'm a little chagrined that people view any of these as "gotcha" questions. We've been at war with Al Qaeda for almost two decades now (longer if you count how long they've been at war with us). The other players have only been in the news constantly for the past several months, in relation to the Iran Nuclear deal.

The idea that Trump will have "top...men" in charge of dealing with all of this doesn't encourage confidence. These issues will be among the top two or three the new president will face immediately after taking office. "I'll figure it out once I get elected" is not an answer. Leave those post-election issues to things like how to name a post office or something.

Interesting,not crazy said...

Trump will give Petreaus a full pardon and put him in charge of knowing who terrorists are. The top guy does not need to know everything. He needs to have the right people working with him. Anybody with half a brain understands this.

Drago said...

Cookie: "What Trump is saying is that he doesn't need to know anything about anything...."

That's quite the little extrapolation you've got going on there conspiracy-man.

You might want to revisit that assertion for logical coherence.

Or, since you are believer in hilariously nonsensical conspiracies, you might not.

Bobby said...

Richard Taylor,

Henry Kissinger once said that the problem with presidential candidates saying "I will appoint and listen to very smart advisors" as a means of shoring up their foreign policy and national security credentials is that Presidents surround themselves with lots of smart advisors, who have lots and lots of differing opinions and figuring out who is most right on any particular topic and which one(s) to listen to yields an almost random result if the President isn't familiar with the subject material.

Big Mike said...

@Richard Taylor, the President is supposed to have a cadre of great advisors. It's part of the job description, and an area -- one of the most critical areas -- where Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have repeatedly fallen down. Barack thinks he has to be the smartest man in the room, and he reacts with raw anger when confronted with people who are better prepped or know more about an area than he is. And Hillary can't even be bothered to find someone who knows how to translate the word "reset" into Russian. From the Emails we infer that her top advisor on Libya was Sid Blumenthal. Can you figure out why Libya was such a failure?

Larry J said...


Blogger Richard Taylor said...
I'm a little chagrined that people view any of these as "gotcha" questions. We've been at war with Al Qaeda for almost two decades now (longer if you count how long they've been at war with us). The other players have only been in the news constantly for the past several months, in relation to the Iran Nuclear deal.

The idea that Trump will have "top...men" in charge of dealing with all of this doesn't encourage confidence. These issues will be among the top two or three the new president will face immediately after taking office. "I'll figure it out once I get elected" is not an answer. Leave those post-election issues to things like how to name a post office or something.


The US spends many billion dollars each year on the TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms: CIA, NRO, NGA, DIA, FBI, etc.) that make up the Intelligence Community. The exact number of billions is classified but it's substantial. It spends billions more on the State Department and gobs of billions more on the DoD. I'd rather have a president who attends and listens to the daily intelligence briefings (unlike Obama) than one who thinks he knows everything because he can answer a media type's trivia questions. The threats change on a daily basis. Things we think we know today will be obsolete next week. If the president doesn't listen to the professionals whose lifetime job it is to know these things, then why not abolish or scale back those TLAs?

Thorley Winston said...

I used to listen to Hugh Hewitt's radio program, but I lost all respect for him when he started insulting every caller who expressed concerns about a Romney candidacy with the insult "You're a nutter." (Hewitt, like Romney, is a Mormon.).

Hugh Hewitt is an Evangelical Roman Catholic Presbyterian not Mormon. He’s also not in the habit of insulting his callers and opts instead for letting the more hostile ones talk and discredit themselves. Having listened pretty regularly during the 2012 campaign, I never heard him once call someone who called into his show a “nutter.” Although given your obvious confusion about basic facts, it’s possible you’re thinking of someone else who called you a nutter. Most likely many someones.

Bobby said...

Larry J,

But the problem is that those advisors aren't going to be agreeing on things. Mike Vickers, for example, is going to have a different opinion on what is going on in a problem with, say, ISIS and what the best option is to address that problem than, say, Keith Alexander, and John Brennan is going to differ from James Comey, and so on and so on. Of course, Presidents cannot be independent experts on everything and are going to have to consult their advisors, especially on matters where they have little to no expertise. I'm sure Trump's experience has provided him with insights and expertise on things like property, the economy, the financial sector and maybe some aspects of the law, etc., and that will be useful to the nation if he's in the White House. And if you think those are most important issues confronting the nation, then you'd want a President like that in the White House.

But if you're really serious about national security being the nation's pre-eminent problem, Trump is not your candidate. Sorry, but he's not.

jacksonjay said...

How about President Obama's top man, DNI Dumbass Clapper. In 2010, he was dumbfounded by Diane Sawyer about Al-Queda arrests in London. "London ?"

As I recall, Hewitt predicted victory for John McCain and Mitt Romney. Take that what it's worth.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am on Trump's side here. He is answering like an MBA, and not a career politician. And maybe they should ask the Dem politicians the sort of questions that Dems are guaranteed to get wrong, such as: Why are increases in the minimum wage bad? Why do they cause unemployment? What are the long term societal effects of a welfare state? What are the long term effects of running the country on borrowed money? Why is national debt dangerous? What are the negative effects of raising taxes on higher earners? What is the optimal tax rate? Notably, Trump can probably answer most of these questions correctly. Very likely none of the Dem candidates can come close - but with Socialist Sanders probably even further out. Likely they would all get all of the questions wrong. And, yes, this Dem blind spot is a large part of why we are in the 7th year of the Obama Recession.

An MBA is taught to delegate, and both Romney and Trump have shown themselves good at it. To make their fortunes, they have had to hire top people in areas that they are not expert in, or don't have time for. He is exactly right that knowing the names of the current, and esp past, terrorist leaders is not nearly as important as knowing how to hire the experts who will keep hi current on this and other threats.

ddh said...

Drago, we agree.

Thorley Winston and Ken Mitchell, Hugh Hewitt is as even-tempered a radio host as there is on the air, so I am skeptical of Ken's charges that Hewitt frequently insults his guests. (Having said that, I think it's fair to describe some people as nutters, such as those who think George W. Bush planned 9/11 to provide the justification to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. And as for Mormons, I was told that if I voted for Romney, people would start pushing for legalizing polygamy, and they were right!) Ken, you should be able to provide an example since Hewitt provides transcripts of his radio interviews.

ddh said...

Thorley Winston, Hugh Hewitt is a Presbyterian, not an "Evangelical Roman Catholic Presbyterian," whatever that is.

Bobby said...

Bruce Hayden,

It might very well turn out that Trump's management style and delegation of authority turns out to yield the best foreign policy and national security policy that we need, sure. But I believe that result is far less likely than with a President who is well-versed and experienced in foreign policy and national security matters. Again if national security is one of many concerns, maybe this is an acceptable risk because you believe he's the right man on so many other issues; if national security is your most pressing concern, you do not vote for Trump and just hope that he gets it right when he's in office.

Coupe said...

Politico said he fumbled the question. After reading the article, it wasn't so much a fumble, as a recovery and a new first down. Piss on the defense waving their arms like it wasn't a completed pass.

Roughcoat said...

Hewitt once described himself to Andrew Sullivan as an "Evangelical Roman Catholic Presbyterian." I don't know whether an "Evangelical Roman Catholic Presbyterian" church/denomination formally exists or whether this is just something Hewitt made up. I suspect the latter. Catholicism and Presbyterianism are theologically incompatible.

Dude1394 said...

I thought that Trump again is rewriting the playbook. He will find out soon enough who those guys are but only the east coasties and policy wonks really care about that stuff.

He also knows he will get gotcha questions from now on from the left and right, do not play the game. Rick Perry messed up a silly jeopardy questions and pretended it mattered. Now even a simple misspeak is grounds for a tut-tutting from the elites.

David Begley said...

Read Hugh Hewitt's interview of Carly the same day.

It is why she is my number 1 choice.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

They ran an entire civilization off of Spock's brain, but that was science fiction.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I wonder if it will be captured on video, the precise dawning moment when it occurs to someone that Donald Trump is genuinely bonkers, like it dawned on that guy who worked for Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland."

It'll go viral, it's safe to say.

William said...

I heard part of the interview. Trump was shaky about the difference between Quds and Kurds and the religious orientation of Hezbollah and Hamas. If you have doubts about Trump, the interview was not reassuring........I will say this about Trump. He plays to win and that will be his goal in the Middle East. I don't know how you define victory in that neck of the woods, but I'm sure Trump will find some way of securing a really huge win.......Obama, on the other hand, only wants a moral victory. Syria, Libya, and Iraq have been moral victories for him. A moral victory is defined as the refusal to intervene in the internal affairs of any country except to airlift their refugees to Minnesota.

Jack Wayne said...

Has everyone forgotten that Hewitt was SOLIDLY for Bush, McCain and Romney? He probably carried a torch for Dole and Bush #1 as far as I know. Plus, he's a lawyer and we know what they're worth.

walter said...

Although posting anything positive about him seems to be taken as being fully on-board the Trump train, which is not where I'm at, he repeatedly brings up/out worthwhile points.
The idea that a presidency is the sum of its parts, not necessarily choosing a micro-manager (see Carter) is important. In Obama's case, when not issuing executive orders, he "delegates" bits he doesn't or can't accomplish through leadership (EPA). Appointing Holder was a really sad chapter. Prematurely pulling out of Iraq another. He seems to be angling against Hillary..who he appointed.
And how about all the white guilt that was repaired by voting in Mr. creased pants/sealed records?
Bernie can't control his own podium. Let's have him as commander in chief.

clint said...

"grackle said...

...We’ve been hearing for weeks from sources both left and right that Trump is going to ruin the GOP’s Hispanic strategy to get more Hispanic votes but guess what? Trump leads ALL GOP candidates among Hispanics."

Would it be too cynical to note that only legal immigrants and citizens answer polls, so this is probably undercounting the illegal immigrants who vote?

Bob said...

Hewitt is probably the smartest of all the conservative talk-radio hosts. He's certainly the best prepared - - if you go on his show promoting a book, Hewitt will have read it in its entirety and will question you closely on it. He regularly features segments on US history - - the Lincoln-Douglas debates have been dissected in great detail, for example. The transcripts of his shows make wonderful reading, I can't recommend them highly enough, especially to Ann, who likes having transcripts to consult.

Ken Mitchell said...

ddh said... "Hugh Hewitt is as even-tempered a radio host as there is on the air, so I am skeptical of Ken's charges that Hewitt frequently insults his guests. "

I stopped listening to Hewitt during the 2008 primary season when the local radio station dropped his show, and it didn't seem worth the effort to figure out if he'd been picked up by another local radio station. But in 2008, Hewitt would FREQUENTLY use the phrase "You're a nutter!" and hang up. Yes, sometimes the caller was ... OK, a "nutter". But EVERY caller who was even the least bit critical of Romney (Remember Romney? 2012 wasn't his first rodeo...) who was running against McCain.

Frankly, Romney would have been the better choice, considering the obvious fact that the "mainstream media" was going to support the "maverick" McCain right up until the time that he actually got the nomination. The "media" was fated to support WHOEVER the Dem nominee was going to be.

Roy Lofquist said...

The only germane question here is how this will affect the nomination process. It was a very long time ago but I vaguely remember that "know it alls" weren't the most popular kids on the playground.

J. Farmer said...

This is where my support for Trump breaks down. I'm totally on board with the wall, E-VERIFY, entry/exit tracking for visas, and even getting rid of birthright citizenship.

BUT, Trump is absolutely atrocious on foreign policy. I know he's complaining about Hewitt, but Hewitt actually gave him a pretty light touch and even agreed with him on some of his more idiotic statements (e.g. the Iran nuclear deal requires us to come to their defense). Trump also used the, "I have a great plan but don't want the other side to know about" line in response to questions about China, which Hewitt allowed him to get away with.

Larry J said...

"Blogger Bobby said...
Larry J,

But the problem is that those advisors aren't going to be agreeing on things. Mike Vickers, for example, is going to have a different opinion on what is going on in a problem with, say, ISIS and what the best option is to address that problem than, say, Keith Alexander, and John Brennan is going to differ from James Comey, and so on and so on. Of course, Presidents cannot be independent experts on everything and are going to have to consult their advisors, especially on matters where they have little to no expertise. I'm sure Trump's experience has provided him with insights and expertise on things like property, the economy, the financial sector and maybe some aspects of the law, etc., and that will be useful to the nation if he's in the White House. And if you think those are most important issues confronting the nation, then you'd want a President like that in the White House.

But if you're really serious about national security being the nation's pre-eminent problem, Trump is not your candidate. Sorry, but he's not."

Every time you sit across someone in a negotiation, you're going to face competing agendas. You have to learn how to detect the agenda and judge the credibility of the source. Politicians are used to people kissing their assess. Business people are used to people trying to screw them over.

J. Farmer said...

@Bobby:

"But if you're really serious about national security being the nation's pre-eminent problem, Trump is not your candidate."

I agree that Trump is godawful on foreign policy, and it's by far the thing I dislike most about him. But I really disagree that national security is our "pre-eminent problem." The United States is fantastically secure, and we shouldn't buy into the scaremongering hoisted upon us to try to convince us to support endless military adventurism across the globe.

J. Farmer said...

*Sorry, "foisted upon us"

ddh said...

Ken Mitchell, Thanks for replying. I read Hewitt's transcripts so I would miss his replies to telephone callers.

J. Farmer, According to Annex III - Civil Nuclear Cooperation, Part D, Section 10 of the Iran nuclear deal, the US and the other signatories pledge to help Iran improve its defenses against sabotage of its nuclear program.

Here's the link:
http://eeas.europa.eu/statements-eeas/docs/iran_agreement/annex_3_civil_nuclear_cooperation_en.pdf

Anonymous said...

How about ask the current WH Resident the same question?

I would be more troubled if Trump could not (could?) name all 57 states won by the current Resident.

Kyzernick said...

The great thing about being the President of the United States of America is that on Day One in the White House, you can call a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and their intelligence aides, and sit down in the White House Situation room with coffee, tea or water, and proceed to be educated on the subject from the people who know the score.

During this process, you can develop a feeling for your generals and admirals and commodores and so forth, and pick out the ones who share your goals and interests, which in Trump's case probably adds up to advancing America's influence in the world and protecting our vital interests in such a way that enemies would be utter fools to attack them, while bombing the Ever Living Fuck out of ISIS and throwing some shade towards Iran, and perhaps even letting China know that our Ohio Class SSGNs know exactly where to fire their TLAMs in order to surgically remove the DF-21 carrier killer ballistic missiles as a threat in the Pacific Theater.

This is in contrast to Obama, who already thinks he knows it all, picks generals and admirals whose primary concern is diversity in the military and giving green cards to illegals who sign up to learn tactics to bring back to MS-13 in the barrio, and making sure America stays humble and meek while setting "Red Lines" involving the use of CBW that can be crossed with impunity.

Yeah, I think America's foreign policy could use a bit of Trumping up.

Kyzernick said...

Trump will give Petreaus a full pardon and put him in charge of knowing who terrorists are. The top guy does not need to know everything. He needs to have the right people working with him. Anybody with half a brain understands this.

With the stipulation that if he's caught doing that shady shit again, his head rolls, I fully support this. That's our MacArthur, folks.

Bobby said...

Larry J,

"Every time you sit across someone in a negotiation, you're going to face competing agendas. You have to learn how to detect the agenda and judge the credibility of the source. Politicians are used to people kissing their assess. Business people are used to people trying to screw them over."

I don't disagree with you at all there. But assume that Trump was batting a thousand on his business deals- we know that's an impossible standard, but just for the purposes of our discussion- would his batting average be so high if he'd had no education, training or experience in real estate and finance- doesn't it stand to reason that his technical education played at least some role in allowing him to make such great business decisions? Why wouldn't it work the same in law or medicine or war? By your own admission, he has to "detect the agenda and judge the credibility of the source"- would you not agree that, being illiterate about the subject matter, he's going to be at a disadvantage vis a vis a President who is not starting from zero?

I'm not saying he'd necessarily be a terrible foreign policy President - I am saying that being ignorant of some rather important issues cannot and should not somehow be viewed as a positive, which is what many Trump supporters are trying to tell me. For some reason, Trump supporters want me to believe that his career in business means he would absolutely be better at foreign policy than Nixon, better at the economy than Reagan, better at winning the Civil War than Lincoln, better at executing the Louisiana Purchase than Jefferson, etc. Why can't his supporters just acknowledge that he's weak on foreign policy and national security matters, but that it's an acceptable risk because he's so strong on everything else? Instead, Trump supporters are adopting an attitude very similar to the 2008 "hopey-changey" Obama supporters and trying to pretend like he'd be the best at everything ever. That's ridiculous.

Bobby said...

J. Farmer,

I didn't mean to imply that national security should be the "pre-eminent" issue by which voters should be considering their Presidential candidate. I mean, it is for me- in fact it's probably the only issue that I'm passionate about- but I'm just one voter who has spent his entire adult life working in foreign policy and national security, so of course it matters to me (I'd expect educators to care more about education policy and business owners to care about the economy, etc.). There's over 300 million Americans, and we don't all need to be the same. I'm merely stating that (a) believing national security is the pre-eminent issue of the election is incompatible with (b) supporting Trump as the first choice Presidential candidate.

rcocean said...

God Save us from the pompous foreign policy windbags that think knowing the name of some obscure Middle eastern group is important.

Hewitt is the ultimate Establishment Republican stooge. He called anyone who opposed Amnesty racists. He called anyone who opposed H. Meyers SCOTUS nomination a 'Crazy extremist'. He's swooned over Dole, McCain and Romney and supported Ford and Bush I over Reagan.

He's the ultimate Corporate/Country Club Republican - he's also a 3rd Rate talk show host.

J. Farmer said...

@ddh:

I am aware of the provision of the deal that Trump is referencing, but he is completely wrong in saying that it compels the US to come to Iran's defense in response to an attack. Nothing in that section requires it, and the section has to do with civil nuclear cooperation, and provisions for safeguarding nuclear materials from theft or sabotage. This is training and assistance that the IAEA already provides to nuclear power countries. Iran has a right to develop nuclear energy under the NPT.

J. Farmer said...

@Bobby:

I understand your point, and I agree with you. Foreign policy is a major area of interest to me, and it's something I focus on particularly in presidential elections since it's an area where the president is able to act with a great deal of latitude. I also agree that Trump is a disaster in terms of his foreign policy positions, such as they are.

readering said...

What goes around comes around. Hewitt is questioning the candidates in Simi Valley this month because he and other conservatives pilloried CNN and the rest of the so-called lamestream media for posing supposed gotcha questions on irrelevant topics to Republicans in the 2012 cycle (Stephanopolous on contraception!). CNN caved to demands for a conservative questioner for 2016. Hewitt has perfected the art of asking liberal guests gotcha questions while generally fawning over conservative guests. But even after watching what happened to Megyn Kelly, like Icarus he could hot help himself, so proud of the wax wings CNN gave him that he flew too close to the Trump sun.

Big Mike said...

If being able to win at Trivial Pursuit is the necessary precondition for being elected President of the United States, then my neighbor should certainly be in the race.

Still, the best answer would have been "you mispronounced his name."

ddh said...

J. Farmer,

I think we largely agree.

Trump: ". . . if Israel invades Iran, I don’t know if you know, but we have a clause in that agreement that the way I read it, it’s almost like we have to go, and by the way, I can guarantee you that clause, first of all, should have never been there, maybe they had it taken out, but we didn’t win anything. But do you know there’s a clause in there that in theory, we’re supposed to help them fight Israel?"

Hewitt: "Yup. Yeah, it’s in Annex Three. We agree to cooperate in the security of their nuclear installations."

Hewitt corrects what Trump said. The signatories of the Iran deal promise to cooperate with Tehran on the security of its civil nuclear program "as appropriate." Many forms of cooperation on security for civilian nuclear facilities would also be applicable to security for military programs.

But don't get me wrong. Trump hasn't begun to learn about foreign policy, as his fumbling of a question in the same interview on the South China Sea shows. He's deluding himself if he thinks that he will have more free time to learn about it as the campaign moves ahead.

Michael K said...

"Hewitt is the ultimate Establishment Republican stooge. He called anyone who opposed Amnesty racists."

I think you are confused. It is the "Establishment GOP who favor amnesty. The conservatives don't want amnesty. If you heard that, I would appreciate a link. His shows all have transcripts on line.

J. Farmer said...

@ddh:

"Hewitt corrects what Trump said."

I am not sure it's right to say that he "corrects" trump. His next sentence after the one you quote is, "It’s remarkable, and I’m glad you know about it. And I’m glad you’ll stand with Israel."

Hewitt's "stand with Israel" remark makes no sense in terms of the deal, and it was Trump who gave the example of Israel attacking Iran.

Ken Mitchell said...

ddh said... "But don't get me wrong. Trump hasn't begun to learn about foreign policy, as his fumbling of a question in the same interview on the South China Sea shows. "

Political incompetence concerning the Spratley Islands in the South China Sea is hardly unique among people who have far more political experience that does Trump. Ronald Reagan was the first "babe in the woods" concerning the Spratleys; if he had simply said, in 1989, "The United States of America will never recognize territorial claims for artificial islands constructed in international waters", and then punctuated the issue by instituting regular maritime surveillance of the area, it would never have gotten this bad.

The Chinese may have some legitimate claims to the Paracels, but if ANY nation has a claim to the Spratleys, it would be the Philippines.

There's a simple solution to the problem with the Spratleys, which should have been undertaken back when the USS New Jersey was still in commission; shell these reefs back below the mean high water mark.

J. Farmer said...

@Ken Mitchell:

China was only brought up once during the interview, and the exchange is as follows:

HH: Okay, looking to Asia, if China were to either accidentally or intentionally sink a Filipino or Japanese ship, what would Commander-In-Chief Donald Trump do in response?

DT: I wouldn’t want to tell you, because frankly, they have to, you know, somebody wrote a very good story about me recently, and they said there’s a certain unpredictable, and it was actually another businessman, said there’s a certain unpredictability about Trump that’s great, and it’s what made him a lot of money and a lot of success. You don’t want to put, and you don’t want to let people know what you’re going to do with respect to certain things that happen. You don’t want the other side to know. I don’t want to give you an answer to that. If I win, and I’m leading in every single poll, if I win, I don’t want people to know exactly what I’m going to be doing.

HH: Fair response. Good response.


In fact, that was neither a fair response nor a good response. It was a ridiculous response, and it's been Trump's standard ploy to avoiding questions he has no answer for one way or another.

readering said...

China exchange shows Hewitt trying to stay in the Donald's good graces.

Bobby said...

J. Farmer,

No, Trump has a secret plan to resolve the Spratly Islands problem and just because he doesn't know any of the stakeholders involved doesn't have any bearing on the matter! He will "be so good at the military, your head will spin!" He will be better than Petraeus or Odierno or Lloyd Austin or Eric Olson- what do those losers know about the military, they spent their lives in military service, while Trump was in business. CLEARLY, he is better suited to know about military strategy than them after boning up in just a couple of days!

J. Farmer said...

@readering:

China exchange shows Hewitt trying to stay in the Donald's good graces.

Judging by Trump's post-interview reaction, I don't think he succeeded.


@Bobby:

Haha :)

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

The problem with the answer is that it bespeaks of American triumphalism. MacArthur wasted an Army taking over all of the Philippines. He only needed part of it to get to Japan, but he had said "I will return." In Korea, he pushed on to the Yalu river and threatened China in spite of president Truman's orders.

ken in tx said...

MacArthur had to liberate the Philippines to prevent the Japanese from massacring the civilian population, which they sincerely tried to do in Manila.

grackle said...

The funny thing is, the more they do this, the more his poll rating rise.

Right. So far.

But I believe that result is far less likely than with a President who is well-versed and experienced in foreign policy and national security matters.

“Well-versed” they may be but none of the GOP candidates(likely to win) have any “experience” in foreign affairs.

I wonder at the utility of a candidate locking themselves into a specific foreign policy plan before availing themselves of the intelligence briefings that a POTUS receives and before listening to his cabinet’s informed recommendations. Shouldn’t they instead be offering general foreign policy principles(arm the Kurds, destroy ISIS) until they can digest all that top secret material?

grackle said...

The funny thing is, the more they do this, the more his poll rating rise.

Oops. Just found the latest poll. Yep. Trump’s ratings are indeed on the rise.

Poll headline: Trump beats Hillary head-to-head

http://tinyurl.com/pzo9m3c

Ken Mitchell said...

I think that one of the points that everybody - except Trump! - seems to be missing is that the life expectancy of an Al Qaeda or ISIS leader is measurable in weeks or months. Why should Trump bother to memorize the names of the Whack-A-Mole of the Week? Especially when the election is over a year away? We'll probably have gone through three generations of ISIS martyrs before January 20, 2017, no matter WHO is elected.

Bobby said...

Grackle,

"Shouldn’t they instead be offering general foreign policy principles(arm the Kurds, destroy ISIS) until they can digest all that top secret material?"

Sure, maybe, but Trump didn't even do that. The man is illiterate on national security and foreign policy matters. That may or may not cost him any votes (I don't believe most Americans vote on foreign policy issues and even those who claim that national security is a priority, in my opinion, probably don't weight the issue very much in making their preferences). But let's not pretend that he's even floating general foreign policy principles- he's not.

Ken Mitchell,

"I think that one of the points that everybody - except Trump! - seems to be missing is that the life expectancy of an Al Qaeda or ISIS leader is measurable in weeks or months. Why should Trump bother to memorize the names of the Whack-A-Mole of the Week?"

Except you- and Trump!- got that wrong. The names that Hewitt threw out are not your fly-by-night "Whack-A-Mole of the Week" terrorist leaders. Ayman Al-Zawahiri is a founding member of Al Qaeda and has had a $25M reward on his head since 9/11. Hassan Nasrallah has been the leader of Hezbollah since 1992. Admittedly, Daesh/ISIS/ISIL chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and al-Nusra leader Abu Mphammad al-Julani are relatively new to the party: al-Baghdadi has only been a Specially Designated Global Terrorist since Oct 2011, and a-Julani received that distinction in May 2013. Still, that's well over two years now for the newest of the four, and decades for two of them. If you're serious about national security, you know who these guys are. Nice try, though.

a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

Re: Losing an Army of 40,000 in the Philippines, not according to the book Retribution. Maybe attacking the Japanese when they had hostages made them angry.

grackle said...

I said earlier: “Shouldn’t they[GOP candidates] instead be offering general foreign policy principles(arm the Kurds, destroy ISIS) until they can digest all that top secret material?”

Sure, maybe, but Trump didn't even do that.

Maybe the commentor has a different idea of what “general foreign policy principles” consist of but to me surrounding ISIS, capturing the oilfields that ISIS is using to bankroll their Caliphate, taking the oil as compensation for USA expenses, destroying ISIS, arming the Kurds, getting the participation of Middle Eastern allies, negotiating more advantageous trade deals, securing the border against criminals and terrorists, building a wall to keep them out, getting the military back to full strength – all these are general goals(or principles) that expert advisors would be called upon by ANY POTUS to implement.

Readers, Presidents never attend to details, with the exception of Carter, with disastrous results. Presidents set goals, list the desired outcomes, delineate general principles, review the plans their advisors formulate and then give the go-ahead to the folks in their administrations that actually carry them out.

It’s a little like Hugh Hewitt vowing that he hates gotcha questions while simultaneously throwing them hard at Trump.

Bobby said...

Well, none of those are things he brought up in the Hewitt interview, which is what I was referring to, but yes, he has mentioned them in other venues- and frankly, none of those are serious solutions, except maybe arming the Kurds and securing the border against criminals and terrorists.

"Readers, Presidents never attend to details, with the exception of Carter, with disastrous results."

Nixon was, by far, the President most attendant to details on foreign policy, at least since Woodrow Wilson, and maybe ever. And they weren't disastrous results. Agreed, that if a President is personally weak on something, then he really needs to delegate it to more competent subordinates- which is something that the Carter White House failed to do well (to say nothing of the current White House). I'm just saying, if you think national security is the "pre-eminent" issue of the campaign, you vote for a candidate who knows the regions, knows the players and is likely to craft a competent strategy- not a total crapshoot because the guy doesn't know any of the threats, any of the players or any of the details. If you could acknowledge that, but say you're still voting for him because other issues are more important, fine. But you guys can't do that- you have to believe that his national security illiteracy is actually a STRENGTH! It's "hopey-changey" 2008 Obama supporters, all over again.

grackle said...

Nixon was, by far, the President most attendant to details on foreign policy, at least since Woodrow Wilson, and maybe ever. And they weren't disastrous results.

Naw, readers, the commentor has it wrong again. The foreign policy advisor who actually implemented Nixon’s goals, principles and desired outcomes was a man justly famous for foreign policy expertise named Henry Kissinger. Read about his many books on foreign policy, several published before he ever became Nixon’s foreign policy wonk, some of which were best sellers. Wiki has loads of info on Kissinger:

http://tinyurl.com/p9lepd6

Question: Did Nixon during his campaign for the Whitehouse in 1978 ever mention detente with China, which turned out to be Nixon’s most famous policy initiative? I do not remember that he did but memory is a fugitive and unreliable thing. How about this: If the commentor can find any proof that Nixon campaigned on a China/USA détente before Kissinger became his advisor I’ll gracefully concede this point to the commentor.

Bobby said...

Grackle,

You know, they say memory can be a fickle thing. Here's video:

www.cspan.org/video/?c4496934/richard-nixon-1968-speech

You get detente with China AND the Soviet Union in that campaign speech.

Readers, Kissinger was absolutely Nixon's foreign policy point man, and his doctoral thesis about Metternich, Castlereagh and the Congress of Vienna, A World Restored, was probably the intellectual framework on which detente and the Grand Design was founded. But even a cursory read of his White House Years and Years of Upheaval demonstrates how involved Nixon was in the minutiae of foreign policy making in his White House. It was a team. It truly was "Nixinger."

Bobby said...

Grackle,

I thought I posted a reply to you this morning, but I must have forgotten to hit the publish button... Hangover Monday and all of that... Anyways, CSPAN has video of Nixon's speech at the RNC in August 1968 --

http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4496934/richard-nixon-1968-speech

You get detente with China and the Soviet Union in this one little clip.

Agreed that Kissinger was Nixon's foreign policy point man, and his dissertation about Metternich, Castlereagh and the Congress of Vienna, published as A World Restored almost certainly laid the foundation upon which Nixon's detente and the Grand Design were based. But even a cursory read of Kissinger's White House Years and Years of Upheaval reveal how involved Nixon was in the practical details of foreign policy development.

But, anyways, yes, there's your proof. Memories are very fallible.

grackle said...

Granted: Nixon favored détente before Kissinger became his advisor.

Also, I see that in my last post I had a typo – “1978.” It should read “1968.”

And for the commentor: When an Althouse post is 2 days old there is a delay, usually a day, until new comments are posted. It was also confusing to me for awhile – posting comments then re-posting when the comment didn’t show up right away.