Bachmann Is Right About That Iran Embassy, Sorta


Outside the former US embassy in Iran: Ninara/FlickrOutside the former US embassy in Iran. Ninara/Flickr

Okay, you’ve probably heard by now about Michele Bachmann’s latest ride on the gaffe train: Talking to supporters in Waverly, Iowa, Wednesday afternoon, the firebrand congresswoman declared that if she were elected president, “we wouldn’t have an American embassy in Iran.” As just about everyone in the press corps promptly pointed out, the US hasn’t had a diplomatic presence in Tehran since 1979, when there was this little Shi’ite revolution thing, and workers at the US embassy were held hostage for a year by Iranian students sympathetic to the new revolutionary government.

But…what if we give Bachmann the benefit of the doubt? There is, after all, still a building that used to be the US embassy in the Iranian capital. It’s reportedly now a museum dedicated to American terribleness—according to Lonely Planet, this “US Den of Espionage” is No. 35 on the list of top 95 things for tourists to see in Tehran.

So perhaps Bachmann meant what she said. Perhaps she meant that, if she sits in the Oval Office, there’d be no ex-embassy-cum-anti-American museum in the Islamic Republic of Iran…because there’d be no Islamic Republic of Iran. Just a thought.

If so, Bachmann’s actually on the cutting edge of international relations theory: In one short statement, she’s managed to simultaneously construct a national security threat and deconstruct it by predicting its annihilation. Political scientists, let’s call this exciting new process “threat derationalization.”

[Update: A damage-control statement by the Bachmann campaign insists that the congresswoman was “speaking in the hypothetical.” So much more comforting.]

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate