Don’t make fun of her for this one.
The news media seems to have presented Fiorina touting her medieval history bachelor’s degree tongue-in-cheek, and it seems liberal watchers are having a good time with it, too. If her curriculum was serious, though (and not too limited to European history, which is a big IF), I don’t know why people are laughing at this. To some extent, ISIS/ISIL does want to restore the glory of medieval Islamic civilization:
“All Muslims acknowledge that Muhammad’s earliest conquests were not tidy affairs, and that the laws of war passed down in the Koran and in the narrations of the Prophet’s rule were calibrated to fit a turbulent and violent time. In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. ‘Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,’ Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day.” (The Atlantic)
If you don’t know anything about this era, well, then go read about it, or listen to John Green. Now of course, it’s important to understand all the differences; just knowing the era of several centuries ago misses the impacts of Western imperialism, the tumult of 20th century Middle East history, and 21st century forces. Honestly, if a candidate wants to bring some worldliness to the foreign policy debate, I welcome it. Better than the vast majority of candidates going off the gut.