Michele Bachmann's 9 greatest foreign-policy moments

On Wednesday, Rep. Michele Bachmann announced that she will not seek another term in Congress in 2014, making clear that her decision has absolutely nothing to do with her prospects for winning reelection or the FBI's reported probe into whether her campaign improperly used funds during the 2012 presidential campaign. You can watch her announcement here: 

The end of Bachmann's congressional career means we may soon be robbed of her foreign policy punditry. So without further ado, here are some of her greatest hits -- on topics ranging from climate change to North African geography:

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Does Michele Bachmann hate Muslims? She says that she doesn't. But the president of Iran? Definitely a hater:

During her stop in Estherville, Iowa, Bachmann responded to Ron Paul's accusation on the Jay Leno show last night that she "hates Muslims."

"I don't hate Muslims," Bachman said. "I love the American people. And as president of United States, my goal would be to keep the American people safe, free and sovereign."

"The haters are the president of Iran," she said, referring to Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "He stated unequivocally that given a nuclear weapons he will use that weapon to wipe Israel off the map, and he's willing to use it against the United States of America."

The Arab Spring

In her resignation video Wednesday, Bachmann claimed that President Obama has turned "the Middle East into a devastating, evil, jihadist, earthquake." That's a familiar theme for the congresswoman. Here she is laying the blame for the Arab Spring -- which is apparently a bad development altogether -- at Obama's feet: 

The Muslim Brotherhood

According to Bachmann, the Muslim Brotherhood has inflitrated the U.S. government:

The U.S. Dollar

But does the Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy even compare to the U.S.-led effort to do away with the dollar and embrace a global currency? Judge for yourself:


Bachmann has also served as a chief rabblerouser with regard to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Given the political points she's scored off the attack, it perhaps isn't all that surprising that she considers it an act of divine intervention:


Then again, her advocacy on the issue of Benghazi would probably have been more effective had she been able to place Libya on the African continent from the get-go:



Drone strikes

For a taste of Bachmann's questioning style, here she is interrogating a thoroughly confused John Brennan:

REP. Michele Bachmann:  When the White House conducted their armed drone strikes in North Africa, particularly in eastern Libya, prior to the attack on our mission in Benghazi on 9/11 last year, did the White House notify the State Department of the armed drone strikes before they were made?

DIR. John Brennan (director of central intelligence): Armed drone strikes in Libya? I'm unknowing of such, and I would defer to the White House to address your question.

REP. Bachmann: Were there any armed drone strikes in Northern Africa that were made by the White House?

DIR. Brennan: White House doesn't have a drone capability, responsibility, whatever. So I -

REP. Bachmann: Did they have any directives toward having armed drone strikes in North Africa?

DIR. Brennan: Again, I don't know what it is specifically you're referring to, but again, I would defer to the White House on whatever happened at that time.

DIR. CLAPPER: (Referring to ?) the capability, the UAVs that were over - flying over Libya were military and were unarmed.

REP. Bachmann: And so were there any armed drone strikes that were made in North Africa prior to 9/11?

DIR. Clapper: In Libya?

REP. Bachmann: I'm asking in North Africa. I'm asking the - I'm asking Director Brennan. Were there any armed drone strikes that were made by the United States in North Africa prior to 9/11?

DIR. Brennan: Well, we usually don't talk about any type of specific actions, but again, I don't know what you could be referencing.

REP. Bachmann: I'm just wondering if the State Department was aware or if the military was aware or if the CIA was aware. And if we aren't going to talk about that, we aren't going to talk about that, but that's a question I'd like to know.


Let's also not forget that Bachmann was the first to raise the alarm on Iran's (non-existent) plan to annex part of Iraq:

Iran is the trouble maker, trying to tip over apple carts all over Baghdad right now because they want America to pull out. And do you know why? It's because they've already decided that they're going to partition Iraq.

And half of Iraq, the western, northern portion of Iraq, is going to be called.... the Iraq State of Islam, something like that. And I'm sorry, I don't have the official name, but it's meant to be the training ground for the terrorists. There's already an agreement made.

They are going to get half of Iraq and that is going to be a terrorist safe haven zone where they can go ahead and bring about more terrorist attacks in the Middle East region and then to come against the United States because we are their avowed enemy.

Climate change

Many have called global warming the preeminent national security issue of our time. And it's another issue Bachmann has been out in front of:

Carbon dioxide, Mister Speaker, is a natural byproduct of nature. Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs in Earth. It is a part of the regular lifecycle of Earth. In fact, life on planet Earth can't even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to human life, to animal life, to plant life, to the oceans, to the vegetation that's on the Earth, to the, to the fowl that - that flies in the air, we need to have carbon dioxide as part of the fundamental lifecycle of Earth.

Michele, we are going to miss you.



Ignore what the White House is 'considering' in Syria

FP alum Josh Rogin, now plying his trade over at the Daily Beast, had a scoop yesterday: The White House has requested that the Pentagon draw up plans for implementing a no-fly zone in Syria. While President Barack Obama hasn't made any decisions yet, an administration official affirmed, "the planning is moving forward and it's more advanced than it's ever been."

Rogin knows his stuff, and I have no reason to doubt the story is true. But this leak, suggesting America's policy on Syria is poised to change radically, sounds eerily familiar. Here is a trip down memory lane:

May 3, 2013: "U.S. Considering Arming Syria Rebels." -Radio Free Europe

April 5, 2013: "The White House ... is reviewing a new set of potential military options for assisting rebels in Syria." -Wall Street Journal

March 15, 2013: "CIA begins sizing up Islamic extremists in Syria for drone strikes" -Los Angeles Times

Feb. 26, 2013: "U.S. moves toward providing direct aid to Syrian rebels" -Washington Post

Feb. 7, 2013: "Pentagon leaders favored arming Syrian rebels" -Washington Post

Dec. 3, 2012: "The White House has been loath to make a direct intervention in Syria but clearly indicated Monday that the use of chemical weapons could change the equation."-AFP

Nov. 28, 2012: "The Obama administration, hoping that the conflict in Syria has reached a turning point, is considering deeper intervention to help push President Bashar al-Assad from power." -New York Times

Feb. 22, 2012: "Shelling of Homs resumes as U.S. signals possibility of arming Syrian opposition" -Al-Arabiya

Feb. 8, 2012: "International 'militarisation' in Syria growing closer, warns US official" -Telegraph

To be clear, none of these stories is inaccurate. They all quote Obama administration officials' remarks about the options currently on the table to respond to the Syrian crisis. They always note that the White House is considering its options -- not that the president has made a decision yet.

But just because these articles aren't wrong doesn't mean they shed much light on what the Obama administration is thinking on Syria. It's the job of large swathes of the U.S. defense establishment to prepare options in the event that Obama decides to intervene more aggressively. Roughly 24,000 people work in the Pentagon alone -- if one team in the building is mulling efforts to arm the rebels or implement a no-fly zone, it's fair game for a newspaper to write that the Defense Department is in the planning stages on those options. But that doesn't mean the possibility will ever become a reality.

Collectively, all these articles suggest that U.S. policy toward Syria is in a state of flux -- any moment now, the blaring headlines suggest, Washington could jump headfirst into this conflict. In reality, U.S. policy has been fairly constant: The Obama administration provides humanitarian and non-lethal aid to the opposition, but largely is opposed to entangling the American military in the conflict. Like anything else, that could change. But more than two years into this war, the picture should be pretty clear.