Dr. Ben Carson appeared on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show yesterday, and a fair assessment is that at least on foreign policy he did not do terribly well. Here’s part of how National Review wrote it up:
Neurosurgeon and prospective Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson stumbled on key foreign policy questions during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday, appearing to not realize the Baltic States are members of NATO and dating the founding of Islam to well before the birth of Christ…
When asked about the origins of the rage felt by Islamic fundamentalists against the West, Carson said “You have to recognize that they go back thousands and thousands of years — really back to the battle between Jacob and Esau.”
“Dr. Carson,” Hewitt said, “you know, Mohammed lives in 632 A.D. So it’s a 13, a 1,400-year-old religion. How do you go back to Jacob and Esau, which is B.C.?”
“I’m just saying that the conflict has been ongoing for thousands of years,” Carson replied haltingly. “This is not anything new, is what I’m saying.”
“So it’s not specific to the Islamic faith, or to the Salafist offshoot of the Islamic faith?” Hewitt pressed.
“Well the Islamic faith emanated from Esau,” Carson said. Biblical tradition claims that Esau is one of the sons of Isaac and the ancestor of all Arabs — but even with that understanding, he was born thousands of years before Islam was first founded.
Carson also said he believes that, despite being locked in a brutal regional war, Sunni and Shi’a Islamic radicals could “unite” against the United States. It was an assertion Hewitt called “unique,” and one that many foreign policy experts would likely dismiss entirely…
Early gaffes by candidates on foreign policy are fairly common, but because Carson hasn’t previously held office these sorts of stumbles could be given more weight by some in deciding who is ready to become President in 2016.