Monday evening on the Hugh Hewitt Show, Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson announced he will be making another trip outside the United States as he familiarizes himself firsthand with international issues.
"I have a tendency to like to see things firsthand. So you know, I went down to the Arizona border, went to Ferguson, went to Baltimore," Carson told Hewitt. "You know, I tend to make a much bigger impression, so by going over to Jordan and actually talking to the Syrians themselves, and really getting their perspective on things, very different from what we hear in the media. And it makes a difference. And I think we need to make decisions based on real information as opposed to filtered information."
Carson said he will be visiting Nigeria, Kenya, and Zambia, departing for the African nations on Dec. 27. He said he picked Kenya because he has traced his ancestors back to there. He said he wants to visit Nigeria to see firsthand the effects of the Islamist group Boko Haram.
"And Zambia, because the twins, the Banda twins are there," he said. "We separated them. They were joined at the top of the head facing in opposite directions almost 18 years ago, and this is the year they graduate from high school."
Carson said the trip will take about a week.
Hewitt mentioned a friend who runs a mission in Kenya, and noted many Americans go there on aid missions. He then asked Carson whether he thought private-only or public-private development of Africa should take precedence.
"I think what we did, you know, particularly with the AIDS program in Africa was outstanding," he said, referencing President George W. Bush's investment of U.S. funds during his presidency. "You know, I know some of the things that have been found in Rwanda with their coffee in the way that it has really boosted the economy there, created things for people. I know some of our companies have gone to Cameroon and, you know, developed millions of acres of very, very fertile land, made great profits because of the things they were able to produce, but also built the infrastructure of that country and provided jobs for people there and teach people there major ag business so they can carry it on themselves. And those people tend to be much more friendly toward the United States, and that beats the heck out of borrowing billions of dollars from China, paying the interest on it, and then giving it to people as foreign aid. So you know, that's the kind of private initiatives I think will really not only benefit Africa, but it will benefit us as well."
Hewitt noted Carson was criticized during his recent trip to Jordan, because he did not take press with him. Carson said there would be press with him during the trip to Africa. Hewitt then returned the conversation back to Nigeria and Boko Haram.
"Boko Haram, of course, is an agent of Islamic terrorism which struck America last week," he said. "Do you think American ground troops ought to be committed in Nigeria if they are requested by the Nigerian president to assist in the eradication of Boko Haram?"
Carson said that if the Nigerian president asked for American troops, he would be willing to sit down and talk about "various alternatives." He said it would be more appropriate to look at all of the options, rather than just "giving in to what someone asked for just because they're asking for it."
"[B]y the same token, you know, when we look in the Middle East and we see what's going on and what's worked effectively, it has been using our Special Ops people in conjunction with the people who are already there, you know, particularly in Northern Iraq, the Kurds and parts of Syria," he said. "You know, those are the things that work, and maybe we can work with some of the government troops in Nigeria with our Special Ops people and various tactical advantages, which would help tremendously rather than committing a bunch of American troops to this effort."
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