[Oct. 2016 Opinions] He lost me at Aleppo

By Izzy Ullmann ’17


I am the kind of person who is always giving others the benefit of the doubt. Making mistakes, drawing blanks and being forgetful is simply human nature. However, I find it quite difficult to give the benefit of the doubt to a presidential candidate who simply “draws a blank” at the name of a city in the center of an international crisis.

In an interview with MSNBC news, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson was asked what he would do about Aleppo if he were elected. Johnson simply responded, “And what is Aleppo?”

To answer his question, Aleppo is the central discussion point of foreign policy. It is the renowned city in Syria where thousands of civilians have dealt with a corrupt government and opposition forces in midst of the Syrian Civil War.

Anyone who remotely tunes into the news knows Aleppo.

What would Johnson have done if he had been president during the Cuban Missile Crisis? Would he have paused and asked what exactly Cuba is? Or better yet, if it’s an acronym.

According to the Scientific American website, our brains have two types of memories. The first one is the short-term, which stores temporary information we think about, and the second is the long-term, which holds large amounts of information gained through experience.

With that, we are much more likely to forget temporary items stored in our short-term, such as a relative’s birthday, feeding our cats or getting milk from the supermarket.

However, forgetting deeply rooted ideas, such as the Syrian Civil War, means much more than drawing a blank. To me, it paints the picture of an utterly unfit presidential candidate, especially for the 2016 election where foreign policy has been emphasized as the most important policy point by CNN and other media sites.  

So if you are currently in the crowd of people who hate both Clinton and Trump, take a closer look at Johnson before hopping on the third party bandwagon. International safety is something that definitely poses threats to the Staples community, especially being so close to New York City. So with that, it seems simple to me that our president should know not only what Aleppo is, but also the proper actions to take for the safety of our country.