At least I hope they aren't:
Cain replied, “I’m ready for the ‘gotcha’ questions and they’re already starting to come. And when they ask me, ‘Who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan?’ I’m going to say you know, ‘I don’t know. Do you know?’ And then I’m going to say, ‘How’s that going to create one job?’ I want to focus on the top priorities of this country. That’s what leaders do.
“They make sure that the nation is focused on the critical issues with critical solutions,” Cain said. “Knowing who is the head of some of these small insignificant states around the world, I don’t think that is something that is critical to focusing on national security and getting this economy going. When I get ready to go visit that country, I’ll know who it is, but until then, I want to focus on the big issues that we need to solve.”Via Nathan Hamm, who adds:
I’ll give most people a pass for being ignorant about Central Asia. It doesn’t even surprise me that someone aspiring to be the US President would be ignorant of the region. But to be so epically ill-informed about a supply route that that both the Bush and Obama administrations thought important that runs right through a country he so bluntly calls “small” and “insignificant,” well… that’s just funny. (And not for nothin’ but surely at least one American job has to have been created by GM’s factory in Uzbekistan.)Smirking aside, I actually think Cain's pretty much correct about this. There is a supply route that runs through Uzbekistan, but it's hardly essential for the US to pursue its geopolitical interests. And while the GM factory may have created a job or two, the total number won't be much higher than that. In any case, that sort of "gotcha" question has no bearing on the presidential race.
Cain is obviously all but irrelevant, but its more worrying is that no major political candidate seems to have much understanding of, or interest in, international political and economic dynamics. Secretary Clinton may be the furthest along the curve, and she has a new article in Foreign Policy that looks like it's dedicated to the topic. I haven't had time to read it in full yet, so perhaps I'll have more to say later. But if it contains sense it will be the exception.