I first interviewed Herman Cain about his presidential dreams way back in December 2010. He was conversant on economic policy, but when he got to foreign policy he fell into a pattern that we've all come to know: This problem is tough, I'll ask my advisers to help with it, I love America.
What do you think of the Obama administration's handling of Iran and what would you do differently, if anything?
I don’t know if this is going to translate well in your language: Choke. Choke them economically. Here’s what I mean by that and I know that that’s not politically correct to say but here’s the idea: It costs them $70 a barrel to break even on their oil. It costs Saudi Arabia $30. We’re going to develop an energy-independent strategy. We will move toward energy independence in the Cain administration. We’ve got the resources to do it, we need the will, the leadership and we get some of these unnecessary regulations out of the way. We will impact the world price of oil. We get the price of oil down to $70 or below, and the Iranians won’t have enough money to build a nuclear program. They’re going to have to worry about feeding their people instead.
Hang on: Why would $70 per barrel be a magic number? It fell below that after the start of the Great Recession in September 2008, stayed slightly below or above that line, and only got consistently above $70 around October 2010. Every presidential candidate (and the incumbent!) wants to wean off foreign oil, but who else thinks it's a panacea for the Iran problem?
Meanwhile, here's Cain on the Israel policy of the last few months.
It wasn’t the president's right to suggest that they change those borders and I didn’t agree with that. For example, I think that the so-called Palestinian people have this urge for unilateral recognition because they see this president as weak. I haven’t seen all the facts but I think this whole assassination attempt [alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington] was another example of seeing this president as weak, in that regard.
The president didn't suggest "they change those borders" outside of what politicians in the region were already suggesting, or outside of what he and the Bush administration had already said. There's an all-foreign-policy debate in two weeks: I predict that it will be fun.