Israel = ally, Iran = adversary, Russia = rival: It's a simple world, according to Herman Cain
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Friday 02 December 2011
Henry Kissinger may have declined to serve in any theoretical Herman Cain administration. But if a blissfully simple foreign policy map issued on Mr Cain's website is any guide, the pizza magnate-turned-presidential candidate would be able to get by without the good doctor.
The world-according-to Herman-Cain, cribbed from Facebook's map of global friendships and greeted with guffaws across the blogosphere, makes the George W. Bush universe of "good guys" and "bad guys", look positively, well, Kissingerian.
On Mr Cain's map, the US's most important friends and foes appear with a one, two or three-word label.
Canada, Japan and Israel are "Friend and Ally". Brazil and India are "Friend" and "Strategic Partner" respectively. Britain gets the top rating of "Our Special Relationship" – though Mr Cain's alleged sexual peccadilloes may have the Foreign Office cringing.
Then there are the bad guys – Iran, North Korea and Venezuela, described as "Adversary Regimes".
As for the fiendish complexities of relationships with Pakistan and Egypt, no worries. Put those two down as "Danger and Opportunity".
China is described as "Competitor", while Russia is labelled "Rival".
In fairness, it should be noted that even before he was left speechless by an elementary question about Libya last month, Mr Cain never portrayed himself as a foreign policy savant.
"I'm not supposed to know anything about foreign policy," he has said. "Because you run for president, people say you need to have the answer.
"No, you don't! That's not good decision-making."
But the US and the world will surely be spared the experience. After an improbable spell atop Republican polls, Mr Cain seems close to leaving the race following allegations of serial sexual harassment, and a 13-year-long affair that only ended in September.
The candidate denies all, but yesterday dropped another hint he may soon throw in the towel.
"I will talk this through with my wife and family this weekend and re-evaluate," he told CNN.
Foreign policy maps are the least of his worries.
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