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.]

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight 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