Rep. Bachmann Puts China And Russia In "New Axis Of Evil"
Appearing on Glenn Beck's web show yesterday, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said that China and Russia were part of a "new evil axis of power" and warned that the New START treaty with Russia would denuclearize the United States. "We're seeing third-word, basket case nations nuclearize up while the United States is denuclearizing," Bachmann told Beck, in a reference to Iran's nuclear program. She continued:
BACHMANN: But you're looking at a new axis of evil between North Korea, the Chinese, Russia, Syria. Isn't it interesting it includes state sponsors of terror? We're looking at potentially three Russian warships coming in, making their way into Syrian ports. This is not good. We're seeing an axis of evil extend, potentially, once — if Iraq falls and it looks like Iran will come into and have dominance in Iraq. ... [The Russians] see what the rest of the world sees. That's weakness on the part of the E.U., weakness on the part of the United States. They wanna be where there's strength. They see aggression in China and aggression in Iran. They're throwing in common cause with them. And with the satellite, their acolyte, Syria.
Bachmann's comments about Russia and China highlight her ignorance of the complexities of the international system. As president, Bachmann could not just attack every single nation she disagreed with because she would need those same nations to achieve many other foreign policy objectives. Russia and China, for instance, both sit on the United Nations Security Council and Bachmann would need their votes to pursue any meaningful multilateral defense initiative at the U.N. Both countries will be unlikely to support Bachmann's goals if she, as president, accused them of being evil.
Her comments on the New START treaty are just as inane. While the U.S. and Russia have agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals, the thousands of nuclear weapons that the countries will still have between them would be enough to destroy the planet many times over.
Equally reflective of Bachmann's simplistic understanding of affairs is her suggestion that Russia is "throwing in common cause" with Syria because Russian leaders perceive the U.S. as weak. In fact, Russia and Syria have been strong allies for decades and while Russian leaders certainly don't share Bachmann's views of U.S. military primacy, their decision to send naval vessels to protect Syria is an effort to prevent a Libya-style NATO bombing campaign aimed at overthrowing Bashar al-Assad. The war in Libya, which Bachmann opposed, was a clear display of American and NATO power.
Bachmann has repeatedly demonstrated during the course of her longshot presidential campaign that she has absolutely no idea what she's talking about, especially as it relates to foreign policy. For instance, earlier in the year, she told a conservative talk show host that Americans were concerned about the "rise of the Soviet Union." On several different occasions over the past several months, she's also claimed that Iranian leaders have vowed to use nuclear weapons against Israel and the U.S., an odd claim given that the Iranian government insists it is not interested in the bomb. A recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency concludes that Iranian leaders have not made a decision to pursue a weapon.