Monday, October 10, 2011


actually, i think the question is stupid. i don't think candidates should waste their time memorizing the names of every foreign leader. i'm obsessed with central asia so i know who islam karimov is, but i can't off the top of my head give the names of a lot of world leaders, even from some pretty important countries. i doubt if the vast majority of people could name every one.

what's more of an issue is the fact that it seems like cain didn't know there was a country called "uzbekistan" and that when the questioner brought it up, he assumed the place was small and insignificant. in fact, it's neither.

uzbekistan solidly medium-sized. it's 57th in the world in terms of land area (out of 236 countries). that's slightly bigger than morocco, and a bit smaller than sweden. it also has more land than other more familiar mid-sized countries like germany and japan. uzbekistan is 46th in the world in terms of population, which is between malaysia and saudi arabia.

as for "insignificant", the significance of a country is usually pretty debatable. but i don't think you can call a country insignificant to american interest as long as the u.s. is fighting a war in a bordering country and is desperate for supply routes.

again, i am not slamming cain for not knowing these facts about uzbekistan. lots of well-informed people don't. but he's an idiot for pretending he knows something about a place he hasn't heard of. a few months ago, cain was refreshingly one of the only candidates who didn't pretend to know everything about anything, saying: "The thing that you’re going to learn about Herman Cain, if he doesn’t know something, he’s not going to try and fake it or give an answer that he doesn’t know what hes talking about." that's great! but why did he try to fake knowing something about uzbekistan?