Yesterday, John Brennan was confirmed by the Senate to become the director of the CIA. This whole brouhaha over John Brennan, national security, drone attacks, Benghazi and the like should seem very familiar to you. This is almost exactly what we went through just a couple weeks ago with Chuck Hagel. Republicans were mad. They were furious. They demanded answers from the Obama administration. They were gonna block this nominee at all costs. Yet, in the end, nothing changed. Best I can tell, the White House did not fork over any mysterious, all-telling documents. There were no significant policy changes. Nothing. Both John Brennan and Chuck Hagel were confirmed. What we did see was the internal struggle within the Republican Party. They simply don’t know who they are. (more…)
In high school, you knew that there were some teachers who were going to call on almost every student in the room and therefore you had to be ready. These debates are exactly the same thing. You have to be ready. Rick Perry simply is not ready. I don’t know if he can remember what he’s been told. It is mind boggling how awful he has been in these debates.
So, you’re on Fox news and you getting softball questions about foreign policy. These are questions that you have been thinking about for the last six months. If you haven’t thought about these questions, why are you running for president? Rick Perry gets a softball question about what to do if a terrorist organization gets a hold of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. This is a nightmare scenario that the intelligence community has been talking about for over a decade. This is easy.
First, the right answer – If a terrorist organization gets a hold of a nuclear weapon, we have to approach the problem from multiple different areas. First of all, I’m on the phone with the director of the CIA and the director of National Intelligence. What do they know and what are our options? Secondly, I’m on the phone with the current president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari. What does he know? While I’m on the phone with him, we are coordinating a conference call with the presidents/Prime Ministers of Britain, France, Germany, India and we’re patching in the NATO commander. There will be several more calls over the next several hours. We need to have a strong, muscular coordinated response that secures the nuclear weapon or destroys it. It is clear that there are some factions within the Pakistani army and the Pakistani special intelligence forces that sympathize with the Taliban/Al Qaeda. We want Pakistan to know that they’re a sovereign country, but we also want them to know that we are going to take a strong and aggressive approach to this problem. There’ll be no negotiating with terrorists. The terrorists who have taken this nuclear weapon will be hunted down and captured or killed. We’ve proven that we have the capability and capacity to do this in Yemen (Anwar al-Awlaki) and with Osama bin Laden.
This is the right answer. This is the answer that plays well both with the Republican and Democratic audience.
What Rick Perry said was the wrong answer. What is he talking about regarding F-16 sales to India? I find it interesting that he mentions that the Obama administration did not sell F-16s to India but somehow he forgets to mention that the Obama administration has negotiated the sale of F-35s, one of our most sophisticated jets. How is the selling F-16 fighters to India going to do anything to secure a loose nuclear weapon in Pakistan? What you saw was Rick Perry in panic mode. Basically, his mind pulled up what ever he could remember about Pakistan. Admiral Mullen said something about a terrorist group. He remembered this and spewed it on stage. He remembered something about fighter jet sales to India. He said whatever came to his mind (unfortunately, nothing that came to his mind) and answered the question anyway. Fail!