Herman Cain in an interview with an Israeli newspaper said pushes by the "so-called Palestinian people" for statehood and an Iranian assassination plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States are evidence that President Obama is perceived as weak in the Middle East.
"I think that the so-called Palestinian people have this urge for unilateral recognition because they see this president as weak," Cain said during an interview with Israel Hayom. "I haven’t seen all the facts but I think this whole assassination attempt was another example of seeing this president as weak, in that regard. So, weakness invites attack and I think that he has projected a sense of weakness."
"I believe that his lack of a firm stand regarding Israel has emboldened Israel’s enemies, and America's enemies," Cain said. "He threw Israel under the bus with the statement about the 1967 borders. He just threw them under the bus. He threw Prime Minister Netanyahu under the bus prior to his visit to America. In a Cain administration there would be no question in the minds of the world and the American people that we would stand with Israel."
Cain was asked how he would handle relations with Iran differently, and said that he would attempt to "choke them."
"I don’t know if this is going to translate well in your language: Choke. Choke them economically," Cain said. "Here’s what I mean by that and I know that that’s not politically correct to say but here’s the idea: It costs them $70 a barrel to break even on their oil. It costs Saudi Arabia $30. We’re going to develop an energy-independent strategy. We will move toward energy independence in the Cain administration."
Cain has been emphasizing foreign policy of late with his campaign, with a pair of debates on the topic coming in November. Foreign Policy reported earlier this week that communications director J.D. Gordon had brought in a team of advisers to brief Cain on international relations after the candidate had stumbled earlier in the campaign, saying he would consider freeing some at Guantanamo Bay in a prisoner exchange and joking that he didn't need to know the leaders of foreign countries.
"Once he gets briefed on something, he learns and he retains it. He's been getting smarter on foreign policy every day," Gordon said.
According to Gordon, Cain receives both a daily briefing on international news and one-page briefs each day on a specific foreign policy issue. Republicans have seen Obama's relationship with Israel, which has bristled at the president's support for Palestinian statehood, as a potential opportunity to pick up Jewish voters in the coming election.