Michelle Bachmann is Looney Tunes, as is shown by her history on Politifact.com, but we all know that nobody is wrong one hundred percent of the time – heck, even Hitler and Vlad the Impaler did a few good things along the way! So let me point out a moment of utter clarity and good sense shown by Ms. Bachmann:
CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer asked [Ms. Bachmann] if she agreed with Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s pledge that he would send no foreign aid to Pakistan.
“We have to recognize that 15 of the sites, nuclear sites, are available or are potentially penetrable by jihadist,” Bachmann explained. “Six attempts have already been made on nuclear sites. This is more than an existential threat.”
“At this point, I would continue that aid,” she added. “Pakistan is a nation that it’s kind of like, too nuclear to fail.”
Yes, this was (as the referenced article points out) probably classified information, and yes, that’s a pretty serious no-no for any candidate for president. But she is right in that Pakistan is most certainly “too nuclear to fail” – and that brought to mind another interesting article from this morning titled “Medvedev: Russia may target US missile shield“:
Medvedev said that Russia will carefully watch the development of the U.S. [missile] shield and take countermeasures if Washington continues to ignore Russia’s concerns. He warned that Moscow would deploy short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, a Baltic Sea region bordering Poland, and place weapons in other areas in Russia’s west and south to target U.S. missile defense sites. Medvedev said Russia would put a new early warning radar in Kaliningrad. He said that as part of its response Russia would also equip its intercontinental nuclear missiles with systems that would allow them to penetrate prospective missile defenses and would develop ways to knock down the missile shield’s control and information facilities.
For those of us who remember the Cold War, it’s Deja Vu all over again, isn’t it? And it’s the same old arguments that one the one hand it’s a huge waste of taxpayer dollars to defend Europe against Russian (neo-Soviet?) belligerence, but on the other hand, all it takes is one uber-nationalist idiot in charge of Russia to bring back the bad old days of the policy of Mutual Assured Destruction – MAD – and classroom duck-and-cover drills. Should we wait until the day that said idiot is in charge for us to once more step up to protect Europe? Or should we maintain our military presence there in an attempt to forestall any dreams of war-president glory the idiot may have? Or will our presence actually strengthen the likelihood that Russia will have such an idiot in charge? It’s hard to say which is more likely; indeed, it’s not even clear how to err on the side of caution given the choices and permutations involved!
Furthermore, have we not seen how economic woes in Greece – Greece! – slammed not only the economic stability of the European Union, but even shook the U.S. economy? It’s a clear indication of just how interdependent the world really is when the economic woes of a small nation on the other side of the planet can shake the American economy. It’s also a clear sign of just how important it is to the American economy that we must at least try to maintain political stability in Europe, just as Ms. Bachmann pointedly observed that it is America’s best interests to keep sending foreign aid to Pakistan.
People, this is realpolitik in its true form, the nuts-and-bolts pragmatism of keeping this world from preventable tragic upheavals. Any candidate who believes that “we should just stop wasting our taxpayer dollars, close all our overseas bases, and pick up and leave” is living an ideologue’s fantasy. Ms. Bachmann deserves props for her (probably excruciating) moment of clarity. I hope that in this case at least, the other candidates will pay attention, listen to reason, and abandon the fantasy of libertarian isolationism in a world where such is no longer even remotely possible.