Potential Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson seemed confused on Wednesday evening about which countries belong to NATO during an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
While discussing the threat that Russian President Vladimir Putin poses, Hewitt asked Carson how NATO should respond if “Putin attempts in the Baltic states anything like he’s attempted in Ukraine.”
Carson said that NATO “would be willing to go to war if they knew that they were backed up by us.”
Hewitt then asked if the U.S. should commit to going to war with Russia over the Baltic states.
“Well, if we have them involved in NATO,” Carson responded. “We need to convince them to get involved in NATO and strengthen NATO.”
Hewitt then pointed out that the Baltic states are already part of NATO.
Later in the interview, Hewitt brought up Carson’s response again, noting that “it appeared you didn’t know that the Baltic states were a part of NATO.”
“Well, when you were saying Baltic state, I thought you were continuing our conversation about the former components of the Soviet Union. Obviously, there’s only three Baltic states,” Carson said.
“Right, and they’re all part of NATO,” Hewitt responded.
Hewitt told Carson he was worried about his knowledge of geography.
“What I worry about as a Republican, as a conservative, is that because you’ve been being a great neurosurgeon all these years, you haven’t been deep into geopolitics, and that the same kind of questions that tripped up Sarah Palin early in her campaign are going to trip you up,” Hewitt said. “And so how are you going to navigate that, because I mean, you’ve only, have you been doing geopolitics? Do you read this stuff? Do you immerse yourself in it?”
Carson said that he’s “read a lot in the last six months.”
“There’s a lot of material to learn. There’s no question about that,” he said.
H/t Huffington Post