If Libertarian candidate for president Gary Johnson ends up with enough support to participate in the presidential debates, he’d better take a remedial class on major world crises. Thursday on “Morning Joe,” Johnson drew a blank when asked what he would do with Aleppo.
Perhaps Johnson forgot to pay his cable bills and hasn’t watched the news in a few years. The Aleppo region is the center of the Syrian civil war and much of the refugee crisis. Aleppo has become almost a mini-world war. Russian warplanes are bombing from the sky. Iranian-led militias with soldiers from Iraq and Lebanon are on the ground fighting Syrian rebels backed by the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. ISIS is moving in on the territory, and most tragically, innocent civilians are being killed and maimed
But when asked “What would you do if you were elected about Aleppo?” the former New Mexico governor looked stunned. “And what is Aleppo?” Gary Johnson answered.
An incredulous Mike Barnicle said, “You’re kidding,” to which Johnson answered that he was not.
When Barnicle clarified, Johnson responded with this:
Okay, Got it. Well, with regard to Syria, I do think that it’s a mess. I think the only way that we deal with Syria is to join hands with Russia to diplomatically bring that at an end but when we’ve aligned ourselves with — when we have supported the opposition, the Free Syrian Army, the Free Syrian Army is also coupled with the Islamists, and then the fact that we’re also supporting the Kurds and this is, it’s just a mess. And this is the result of regime change that we end up supporting and, inevitably, these regime changes have led to a less safe world.
Host Chuck Scarborough followed up, asking Johnson if he really thinks “that foreign policy is so insignificant that somebody running for president of the United States shouldn’t even know what Aleppo is, where Aleppo is, why Aleppo is so important?”
I seriously doubt that Johnson had no knowledge of Aleppo, that what he displayed was a mental hiccup. But his gaffe compounds the perception that the isolationist leanings of the Libertarian candidate is not the proper world view for a commander-in chief.
But then again, as Jamie Weinstein points out, Barack Obama’s former ambassador to Iraq doesn’t really know what Aleppo is either:
— Jamie Weinstein (@Jamie_Weinstein) September 8, 2016
Cross-posted at The Lid