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November 01, 2011

"Peace Through Strength, And Clarity:" Cain Says He Believes China May Have Nukes One Day In the Future
Update: Wait, Did He Just Misspeak? Did He Mean Nuclear Powered Aircraft Carriers?

I'm sure this is charming, or something.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you view China as a potential military threat to the United States?

HERMAN CAIN: I do view China as a potential military threat to the United States... we already have superiority in terms of our military capability, and I plan to get away from making cutting our defense a priority and make investing in our military capability a priority, going back to my statement: peace through strength and clarity. So yes they're a military threat. They've indicated that they're trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have. So yes, we have to consider them a military threat.

That's actually cut a bit. The full quote from the PBS transcript:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you view China as a potential military threat to the United States?

HERMAN CAIN: I do view China as a potential military threat to the United States.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And what could you do as president to head that off?

HERMAN CAIN: My China strategy is quite simply outgrow China. It gets back to economics. China has a $6 trillion economy and they're growing at approximately 10 percent. We have a $14 trillion economy -- much bigger -- but we're growing at an anemic 1.5, 1.6 percent. When we get our economy growing back at the rate of 5 or 6 percent that it has the ability to do, we will outgrow China.

And secondly, we already have superiority in terms of our military capability, and I plan to get away from making cutting our defense a priority and make investing in our military capability a priority, going back to my statement: peace through strength and clarity. So yes they're a military threat. They've indicated that they're trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have. So yes, we have to consider them a military threat.

For what it's worth, super-smart media genius Judy Woodruff seems to have not known China's been a nuclear power since the late 50s, too.


Personable guy. Great smile. Let's nominate him.

I understand that part of this is just a show. Most presidential candidates don't "know" all the stuff they pretend they know. They cram, they get briefed.

But again there's some very basic, very elementary stuff here that Cain seems to have missed.

I don't think you should need to get briefed to know that China is in the Nuclear Club. The list of known members is small enough to... I was going to say memorize, but you don't have to memorize them, do you? You should just know it from day-to-day reading.

I don't know what's going on here.

Don't shoot the messenger. I realize "The Messenger" here, me, has a choice about what stories to post, and obviously I chose to post this.

But I didn't make the story up. I'm highlighting it, sure, but obviously I didn't create the story.

Sure, I'm anti-Cain. I confess that.

Because I find this worrisome. And I do not believe that most Americans, choosing a president, are going to find it "charming" and "folksy" that a candidate doesn't know China is in the Nuclear Club and has been for a long time.


Was Cain Just Talking About Nuclear Capability In Aircraft Carriers? A commenter asks if he might just have meant nuclear capability in their aircraft carrier fleet.


The quote's at about 11:45. A commenter asks is it possible he intended "nuclear capability" to be a part of the aircraft carrier mention? That is, that he only meant China sought nuclear-powered aircraft carriers?

I suppose he'll say that. There's some reason to think that maybe it's possible he meant that, as this article from 2007 says that China actually is building a nuclear aircraft carrier.

Did he mean that?

Well... It should be noted that article is a bit of a stray -- while it is on the internet, it seems that that report is questionable, and China's confirmed current goal is to build conventionally-powered aircraft carrier, nevermind the nuclear type. It is the normal conventionally-powered aircraft carriers people talk about, as China is just starting to build those.

In other words, that "nuclear powered aircraft carrier" talk would make sense if China already had aircraft carriers and was now considering giving them nuclear engines. But in fact that's not the case. The near-term worry is about China building aircraft carriers, period, not about whether they'll be conventionally powered or nuclear powered.

I'm pre-inclined to think he doesn't know what he's talking about based on ignorance about the Right to Return. Your mileage may vary.

What If He Meant Long Range Nuclear Missile Capability? Another suggested possibility, since, while China has nukes, maybe he meant their ability to deliver the nukes?

Well, they do have ICBM's already. So maybe he means more of them? But it wouldn't make sense to discuss "developing the capability."

New Headline... Thanks to Drew.

How About "Build Up" Its Nuclear Capability? Another commenter says this might just be an errant verb -- maybe he meant "build up" or "expand" rather than "develop." And sure, of course they're interested in doing that.

I guess.







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