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Words of Unwisdom

Author: Micah Zenko, Douglas Dillon Fellow
December 31, 2013


Once again, I spent too many hours watching press conferences, congressional hearings, congressionally-mandated reports, answers to reporters' questions, and reading news articles last year. Most of them reveal nothing, but occasionally one comes across something unusually puzzling, hypocritical, depressing, or inspiring that stands out. In chronological order, here are this year's top 20 notable foreign policy comments from the U.S. government. Some of them stand alone, while others require context and elucidation. See here for the top quotes from 2011 and 2012.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: "A nuclear Iran is an existential threat to the United States as well as Israel." (Senate Armed Services, confirmation hearing for Chuck Hagel to become the Secretary of Defense, Jan. 31, 2013.)

Sorry, Sen. Gillibrand. While a nuclear Iran could pose an existential threat to Israel, it simply is not to the United States -- which is an ocean or two away, and has an estimated 4,650 nuclear warheads.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: "In some respects [a drone is] a perfect assassination weapon. It can see from 17,000 to 20,000 feet up in the air, it is very precise, it can knock out a room in a building if it's armed, it's a very dangerous weapon. Right now we have a problem, there are all these nations that want to buy these armed drones. I'm strongly opposed to that." (Breanna Edwards, "Dianne Feinstein: Time to Set Drone Rules," Politico, March 7, 2013.)

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