Gary Johnson Insists His Lack of Foreign Policy Knowledge Is Actually an Asset

“Maybe I think too much.”

Gary Johnson appeared on MSNBC on Tuesday to defend himself against critics who say his lack of foreign policy knowledge should disqualify him from serious consideration as a presidential candidate. The concern emerged after two separate incidents; one in which the Libertarian presidential candidate asked “What is Aleppo?” and in another interview in which he was unable to name a single foreign leader he respected.

But while attempting to assert his competence, the former New Mexico governor appears to have stumbled into yet another gaffe by suggesting that somehow his ignorance of foreign policy is actually an advantage. After all, Johnson argued, you can’t engage in war with a country you can’t accurately locate. He also claimed that the geographical knowledge of our leaders puts “our military in harm’s way.”

“We wonder why our men and service women suffer from PSD [sic] in the first place?” Johnson said. “It’s because we elect people who can dot the I’s and cross the T’s on these name and geographic locations, as opposed to the underlying philosophy which is let’s stop getting into these regime changes!”

He suggested to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell “maybe I think too much.”

(h/t Alice Ollstein)


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.