Maybe Gary Johnson had a daydream and woke up thinking he was on Jeopardy. Where it might be appropriate to answer the question in the form, “What is Aleppo?”
I’m glad Gary Johnson didn’t immediately know what Aleppo was, the epicenter of the world’s humanitarian crisis. Because it reminds me of what every politician, whatever we think, is interested in during an election – winning. This is especially ironic because if you listen to the rebels’ rhetoric and many of the rural Syrian civilians they sound like libertarians. They just want to be left alone. It seemed like initially, Johnson thought Aleppo was a poisonous dog food on recall. Then, he had to channel his inner advisor and blurt out a very broad statement on Syria as a whole.
He equated our backing of both the rebels and the Kurds as a major contributor to the “mess.” But we all know it goes deeper, further back and is more complex than that. Some argue that information is not a prerequisite for leadership. However, where in history has anti-intellectualism paid off? This guy is running for national office, and he would inherit the mess in Syria. He will be at the helm of the world’s premier non-profit governmental organization that plays a strong leadership role in the world. As President, his defacto job is a strategic vision, for all things, and especially foreign policy where he has special autonomy. He’s either lazy or completely missing the point here.
The IAVA forum was yesterday, 9/11 anniversary a few days away and the next war zone is on everyone’s minds. Why didn’t Gary Johnson enter “Morning Joe” (a show that often asks foreign policy questions,) prepared? Libertarians, evidently, believe in isolationism, so they don’t care about the rest of the world. Except the remainder of the world is staring at us. Libertarian speakers and ideas have swayed me in the past.
But now I am beginning to view this Libertarian ticket as a kind of anti-intellectual movement. Legalizing marijuana is not the pressing issue of our time. I suppose it’s your individual liberty not to know about Syria. Policy not based on lessons learned, global status quo or intelligent thought is the result of not paying attention. Maybe they have faith in human nature once completely free. That’s nice. No one in Aleppo does.
Then again, it’s no surprise. The average American probably does not care about Syria, either, except to avoid it like a contagion. But it’s not possible any longer. China, Russia, Iran, and proxies are engaged in Syria. It is a kind of world proxy war. Splintered groups are causing havoc around the world, and there is no one group to point the finger at. It’s hard to blame anyone when they do not have a concrete, confident, and clear answer on how to handle the Syrian crisis. But we can hold serious reservations when our would-be leader doesn’t even know geography.
Through the Johnson lens ISIL is an exaggerated threat. ISIL being an overblown threat might be true, and we should be more objective. But, we’ve lost sight of Al-Qaeda and other world actors as ISIL has become the priority. But where once some credibility could have been given, we now know Johnson’s foreign policy comments might not be based on critical thought. I think a modern day president needs to be incredibly informed about the world and this Aleppo mishap is a disqualifier on national television mid-campaign/job interview with the American people.