Editor's Note: Dr. James M. Lindsay is a Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations and co-author of America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy. Visit his blog here and follow him on Twitter.
By James M. Lindsay
Michele Bachmann gave The Street a video interview on foreign policy. She says that her ultimate foreign policy goal is “to see peace in the world.” Her strategy for achieving that end is a “peace through strength policy.” She criticized the New Start Treaty, called Iran a “third-world basket case,” and speculated that Tehran would share its nuclear weapons technology with nations like Sudan and “state sponsors of terror.” Bachmann also condemned President Obama’s decision to send U.S. troops to central Africa:
We don’t know where that will go…Once we get involved in a foreign entanglement, if there’s anything we’ve learned in the last twelve years it’s that it’s very difficult to extricate once we get involved.
Bachmann plans to give a major foreign policy speech this Thursday on board the USS Yorktown, which is anchored in Charleston, South Carolina. (The Yorktown, which is named after one of the most significant battles in American history, is a decommissioned ship, so no federal laws about political speeches on federal property are being violated.)
The latest IAEA report on the Iranian nuclear weapons program has put Iran back in the news. As the New York Times reports, the GOP candidates—with the notable exception of Ron Paul—are taking a hard line on the issue. The candidates don’t necessarily have any better ideas for dealing with Tehran than the White House does, but as the Times notes, “projecting toughness on Iran may offer one of the few political openings on foreign policy that Republicans can use to attack President Obama.”
Rick Perry got a pat on the back he might not want. In an interview with USA Today, former president Bill Clinton said it’s “crazy” that Republican candidates are attacking Perry for “one of the best things he did”—support a Texas law granting in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants.
Gallup’s latest poll shows Herman Cain even with Mitt Romney; both men have 21 percent support from Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.
Although the CNN-AEI-Heritage Foundation national security debate has been pushed back to November 22, CBS and the National Journal are going ahead with their foreign policy debate scheduled for this Saturday, November 12 at 8 pm. The National Journal asked its National Security Insiders, a pool of defense and foreign policy experts, to suggest some questions to ask, and it has kindly posted some of them. We’ll see if any of the questions get asked—or more importantly, answered.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Jim Lindsay.