Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Absurd Analysis of the Iowa Race from the Council on Foreign Relations

The Council on Foreign Relations puts out a daily briefing that goes out to its member, key high ranking corporate officials and media throughout the country.

In its breakdown of the Iowa race, it states that there is no difference between the candidates on foreign policies, or for that matter even a difference with the policies conducted by President Obama. Here's the relevant passage:

Top of the Agenda: Presidential Race Kicks Off in Iowa 
Voters today begin caucusing in Iowa (CBS), kicking off a U.S. presidential race likely to be dominated by debate over the economy. Six Republican presidential candidates will compete in their first official test (BBC)of the election season. 
Analysts say it is unlikely that the caucuses will predict the Republican nominee but in the past has caused the early end of some candidacies (Bloomberg). Candidates Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum have been leading opinion polls heading into the voting. According to Politico, thanks to tweaks in the GOP's primary calendar tonight's results could narrow the field considerably or start off a long unpredictable slog among several candidates through April.
Pressing questions about the economy, jobs, and immigration are among those Iowans want answered,according to a debate published in the New York Times
Looking ahead to the Iowa caucuses and upcoming primaries in January, CFR's James Lindsay says Republican candidates are taking aim at President Obama's foreign policies, yet it's unclear what they would do differently.
Now, the brief does link to a CFR member James Lindsay interview that leads off:
James M. Lindsay, CFR's top political analyst, says on foreign policy, that other than Ron Paul who is strongly non-interventionist, Republican candidates "occupy the same space" as internationalists with the aim of questioning President Barack Obama's abilities as commander in chief. "There are probably differences of degree among those candidates, and while they clearly argue that they would produce a better foreign policy than Barack Obama, it's not clear just how different their foreign policy would be," Lindsay says.
But the entire idea of the brief is so that busy executives don't have to read dozens of briefing papers. The CFR Daily Brief is supposed to give the key points of what is going on. In this case, the Brief distorts what is going on, by failing to mention that Ron Paul's foreign policy position is exactly opposite of the other Republican presidential candidates.

Thus, it is impossible for anyone reading the briefing to deduce that Ron Paul's opposition to foreign interventions may be another  important reason for his growing support.

And, that is how the CFR rolls.

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