Gary Johnson just got into some trouble. He had an embarrassing blunder when asked about the Syrian city of Aleppo, “the epicenter of the refugee crisis,” as described to him by journalist Mike Barnicle after Johnson failed to answer the question.
The libertarian candidate hurt his presidential aspirations when, upon being asked what he would do about Aleppo, responded, “and what is Aleppo?,” Thursday morning, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show. Barnicle was caught by surprise, as evidenced by his brief and blunt comment, “you’re kidding.”
After the incident, Johnson declared he thought he had been asked about some acronym and not the Syrian conflict. This awkward moment shows what can be interpreted as a failing in the candidate’s foreign policy knowledge, which could damage his chances at becoming US next president.
He admitted to having “blanked”, and that he should have been able to identify Aleppo. He also stated in an interview that he felt “horrible” about it. However, incidents like these tend to be difficult to forget. Johnson currently has nine percent average approval rating — he needs, at a minimum, fifteen percent to be included in the presidential debates later this month, something he has been campaigning for.
Conflict in Aleppo, Syria
The situation in Syria, especially Aleppo, is very delicate, growing in complexity as the rebels battle fiercely against the government forces, led by Bashar al-Assad. His regime has been recently accused of performing a new chlorine gas attack against the opposition forces, which is prohibited by the Chemical Weapons Convention, ratified by Syria in 2013. Adding to the conflict’s ever growing complexity is that Shiite militia members from Iraq are preparing to join the fight as a third belligerent power.
Aleppo was the country’s largest city and the nation’s economic center before the Syrian Civil War broke out. The city has suffered massive damages ever since the start of the “Battle of Aleppo” four years ago, in 2012. Being among the most severely affected cities during the war, the West is currently held by government forces, and the east by the rebels, where the chemical attacks reportedly have taken place.
About Gary Johnson
Gary Earl Johnson was born on January 1, 1953, in Minot, North Dakota. He graduated from high school in 1971, and attended the University of New Mexico from 1971 to 1975, obtaining a bachelor degree in political science. Johnson founded and managed one of the largest construction companies in New Mexico, and was the 29th governor of that state for two consecutive terms, from 1995 to 2003.
He participated in the 2012 presidential election, receiving 0.99 percent of the votes, which is more than all the votes received by the other minor candidates combined and had the best result regarding raw vote numbers for the Libertarian Party. He’s currently running for president in this year’s presidential election after receiving the Libertarian nomination on the second ballot.
His views have been described as “socially liberal and fiscally conservative” since he has endorsed same-sex marriage, supports drug decriminalization and the separation of church and state, opposes internet censorship, foreign wars, and gun control.
Sources: Fox News