Bachmann Doctrine: Her foreign policy views

Rep. Michele Bachmann has been hawkish on the ongoing mission in Afghanistan and the winding-down American presence in Iraq.
REUTERS/Alex Gallardo
Rep. Michele Bachmann has been hawkish on the ongoing mission in Afghanistan and the winding-down American presence in Iraq.

On Oct. 18, when the Republican candidates debated in Las Vegas, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul were asked about cutting national security spending. Gingrich gave one of his vintage wonky responses: “The fact is, we ought to first figure out what threaten us, we ought to figure out what strategies will respond to that. We should figure out what structures we need for those strategies. We should then cost them.

“I’m a hawk, but I’m a cheap hawk. But the fact is, to say I’m going to put the security of the United States up against some arbitrary budget number is suicidally stupid.”

Paul, meanwhile, has proposed a 15 percent cut to the national defense budget, though he justifies it by saying a less ubiquitous military presence globally will reduce the risk of attacks against Americans at home or abroad.

War on terror
Bachmann has been hawkish on the ongoing mission in Afghanistan and the winding-down American presence in Iraq. She’s frequently said “General [David] Axelrod,” an adviser for President Obama’s re-election effort, has influenced the president’s Middle East strategy more than generals on the ground.

She said Thursday that she would make her military decisions based on conditions on the ground, and she offered no hard timetables for troop withdrawl.

“As president, my decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan or Iraq would be based on military considerations and not on turns helping my personal political fortunes.  We must and we can win in Afghanistan and we must provide General [John] Allen the resources he needs to win,” she said. “And we must return to the negotiation table with Iraq so that the peace is preserved there [instead of withdrawing remaining U.S. forced by the end of this year], and to seek repayment for the heavy price we paid in liberating the Iraqi people from a brutal dictator.”

Most of the Republican pack jumped on Obama when he announced the final withdrawal timeline in October, nearly all of them expressing doubt that the conditions are the ground warrant American forces leaving the region.

Perhaps the most outspoken advocate for leaving troops in the region is Rick Santorum, who’s had lively back-and-forths with other candidates (mainly Paul) on the issue. In September, he was emphatic about leaving a fighting force in Iraq.

“I’m not for taking them out of the region,” he said at a debate in Orlando. “I believe we need to listen to our generals, and our generals are being very, very clear that we need to continue to stabilize Iraq, the Iraqi government wants and needs our intelligence in particular, needs force protection. We need to have anywhere — I’m hearing numbers of 20,000, 30,000 troops potentially to remain in Iraq, not indefinitely, but to continue to make sure that this is a stable transition.”

The GOP candidates have been pretty unanimous in their support for Israel. Herman Cain and Mitt Romney, the two candidates leading in most polls, were asked about Israel at the candidate’s September debate and they both propped up America’s ally.

“The right course is to stand behind our friends, to listen to them, and to let the entire world know that we will stay with them and that we will support them and defend them,” Romney said.

“If you mess with Israel, you’re messing with the United States of America,” Cain said. “We will stand solidly behind Israel.”

• The United States should “utilize our facilities at Guantanamo Bay,” Bachmann said, and she would rescind Obama’s executive order banning enhanced interrogation techniques.

• Some topics she did not address: Iran, Libya, China or relationships with American allies, including those dealing with the debt problems in Europe.

• America “faces an enemy within as well,” Bachmann said: the national debt. The deficit super committee has improperly used defense funding as a “pawn,” and  “Obamacare” will drain the nation of resources it could be putting into national defense, Bachmann said.

She ended her speech on that note: “While jobs and the economy are the most important issue in this election, we must never forget that we are at war. We can win the war against our debt that is threatening our national security. We can win the war on terrorism. But we must win this war by convincing the world that freedom is better than rule by terror.

“Ours will be a long and difficult task; a war that will not be won easily, but we will win it.  We must win it if we are to keep America free, safe and sovereign.”

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/11/2011 - 10:09 am.

    If we go back to 1981, it sorta disproves Mrs Bachmann’s theory that higher taxes lead to less jobs. I would also love to hear Bachmann explain more fully how building a fence on our southern border will help our economy.

    Ms. Bachmann blames domestic economic woes on domestic policy. But then what explains correlated poor economic performance in other countries? Are they all also hampered by Dodd-Frank?

    Let’s right-size everything. Some things are too small. Other things are too big. But everything should be just right. It sounds like the Three Bears Plan.

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 11/11/2011 - 11:05 am.

    A few questions are in order.

    What specific cuts is she proposing? Talk of cuts mean nothing without specifics.

    How can we remain in Iraq without the consent of the Iraqi government? They want us out.

    How can there be a final agreement in the Palestinian/Israeli dispute without an agreement on borders? If Netanyahu continues with his policy of allowing “natural growth” of settlements, will there ever be any fixed border? What border compromise does Bachmann support?

  3. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 11/11/2011 - 12:01 pm.

    One thing in favor of Michele in this campaign is that she should be learning quite a bit.
    If after this Presidential campaign she elects to remain in the National political arena, she should have broadened her awareness of issues other than the social “issues” she has been hung up on for so long.
    But, then on the other hand………..

  4. Submitted by Fritz Dahmus on 11/11/2011 - 12:33 pm.

    Hey (#1)Richard Schulze,

    I know when my taxes are raised, the first thing I do is hire a bunch of people….not!

    We can point out statistically instances where raising taxes did not blow up the economy…so what. Taxes are certainly a part of the cost of doing business…and it is good for growth when the cost of doing business is down…as it is with all costs (wages, fuel, etc..)….it is good when they are low. More money to grow the business!

    Dodd-Frank affects Wells Fargo immensely (billions of cash laying around waiting for news on the demise of Dodd-Frank). I’m guessing Wells Fargo does some business internationally…just a guess. Let’s go with a yes! So, that’s how Dodd-Frank affects the international economy. I am not saying it is the sole reason for the world-wide recession…but lack of flow through the world’s financial houses is a major concern in the world economy.

    The fence on the border question has to do with the belief that illegals coming accross the Mexican border will work for less, with no work-comp to pay, etc….and thus will be hired before a more expensive US citizen (yes that would be breaking the law). See paragraph on the cost of doing business.

    If you don’t like Bachmann politically…fine. But don’t ridicule just for the sake of ridiculing her.

  5. Submitted by Cecil North on 11/11/2011 - 01:00 pm.

    Does Bachmann really think it’s up to the military to decide when and if our nation fights wars? There’s a huge difference between listenning to the military when it comes to war-fighting strategy and tactics, and making the decision to engage in warefare. The latter is the sole responsibility of our civilian government. It cannot, and must not, be abdicated to “the generals”. Sadly, I get the distinct feeling that Bachmann fails to understand this.

  6. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/11/2011 - 01:52 pm.

    Cecil: Bachmann is simply saying that a smart Commander-in-Chief listens to the commanders on the ground regarding strategy and tactics unless they happened to be a graduate of West Point or Annapolis.

    LBJ famously stayed up nights picking and choosing bombing targets over North Vietnam to be added to the next day’s missions. We all know how that turned out.

  7. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/11/2011 - 03:52 pm.

    Mr. Dahmus, Two points:

    1)Have you ever considered who is hiring these “illegals coming [accross] the Mexican border”? Why is it the employers are not a part of the enforcement solution? Why ‘waste’ money on a fence? When enforcing the employer part of the equation would be much more ‘cost effective’. Unless of course you’re thinking of the ‘stimulative’ effect that building a fence would have on the economy…

    2)The vast majority of these “illegals coming [accross] the Mexican border”, have less than a fifth grade education. It surprises me that you are concerned about these migrants taking jobs from Americans that are…let’s just say much better educated.

    Lastly, I do appreciate the fact the Ms. Bachmann has many folks that agree with her views. But that does not mean her views translate into good policy or that they stand any chance of getting through the two houses of the legislative branch to become law.

    I think Bachmann is running to become a conservative hero, not president. She repeatedly brings up fights she was on the right side of, but then lost.

    This video collects three instances of Mrs Bachmann perplexing people with her views on the constitution, the Mexican border, and feminism. Watch the faces of her sparring partners. Enjoy….

  8. Submitted by Virginia Martin on 11/11/2011 - 08:16 pm.

    This repeated assertion that higher taxes are “job killers” is patently false and can be proven so. In Minnesota, we can go back to the 1970s when Wendy Anderson was governor of the “Minnesota Miracle.” It was a miracle because it had relatively high taxes that funded a wonderful educational system that is the foundation of a prosperous economy, and it was a clean, well run, government where citizens cared about things like government and education and had a high percentage of its people voting.
    This is easy to prove. Just correlate taxes up or down with prosperous times and with economic morasses.For more evidence, look at other states and correlate high and low taxes with other characteristics of that state: educational levels, health issues, wages and salaries, safe working conditions . . . On and on. I have never seen a state or this country seriously lower taxes (like the repubs want) and end up more prosperous. Show me (said Harry Truman).

  9. Submitted by David Willard on 11/14/2011 - 07:01 pm.

    S0 typical of The new Stribune Express examining quite thoroughly a Conservative, yet strangely silent on any critical analysis during St. Obama’s run or Strange Mark Dayton’s run or Weird Al Franken’s run. Are you trying to be an alternative to the Stribune or a more lefty lackey to to Democrats in Minnesota? Here, take my money… NOT!

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