Our favorite Rick Santorum moments

Rick Santorum announced today that he is ending his campaign for president, which will spare him the possible humiliation of losing his home state of Pennsylvania to Mitt Romney at the end of this month. Credit where it’s due, the former senator ran a remarkably impressive campaign. Having lost his last senate election by a ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Rick Santorum announced today that he is ending his campaign for president, which will spare him the possible humiliation of losing his home state of Pennsylvania to Mitt Romney at the end of this month. Credit where it's due, the former senator ran a remarkably impressive campaign. Having lost his last senate election by a whopping 18 points, Santorum seemed like something of an afterthought in the race until literally days before the Iowa primary. He proceeded to win 11 states and rack up 275 delegates, looking for a time like he had a real chance to beat Romney, or at least force a contested convention. 

Santorum's campaign will also be remembered for some downright bizarre utterances on foreign policy. Here's a few of the most memorable:

Dutch death panels

Rick Santorum announced today that he is ending his campaign for president, which will spare him the possible humiliation of losing his home state of Pennsylvania to Mitt Romney at the end of this month. Credit where it’s due, the former senator ran a remarkably impressive campaign. Having lost his last senate election by a whopping 18 points, Santorum seemed like something of an afterthought in the race until literally days before the Iowa primary. He proceeded to win 11 states and rack up 275 delegates, looking for a time like he had a real chance to beat Romney, or at least force a contested convention. 

Santorum’s campaign will also be remembered for some downright bizarre utterances on foreign policy. Here’s a few of the most memorable:

Dutch death panels

Shortly before the Missouri primary, Santorum — arguing against Barack Obama’s healthcare law — made some rather startling claims about the medial system in the Netherlands, claiming that 1 in 20 deaths in the country were caused by forced euthanasia, and that elderly Dutch wear bracelets that say  "do not euthanize me" and "don’t go to the hospital, they go to another country, because they’re afraid because of budget purposes that they will not come out of that hospital if they go into it with sickness."

When asked by a Dutch reporter where the candidate had gotten these alarming facts, a campaign spokeswoman would only say, "It’s a matter of what’s in his heart."

Declaring war on China

If China thinks Mitt Romney’s rhetoric is bombastic, they should be glad that won’t have to contend with President Santorum. During a discussion of Chinese currency policy during a debate in October, the candidate unleashed this one

"You know, Mitt, I don’t want to go to a trade war, I want to beat China," he said. "I want to go to war with China and make America the most attractive place in the world to do business."

Santorum was a marginal enough candidate at the time that Chinese state media evidently didn’t deem it worthy of a response.

The Arab Spring should have started in Iran

Santorum may have "recognized the looming threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions for nearly a decade," but he seems fuzzy on some basic facts about the country’s population. In a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition last July, he criticized President Obama’s policies in the Middle East, saying, “we see an Arab Spring that should have been a real Arab Spring starting in 2009 with the protests in Iran.”

Yes, because the Arab Spring would have been much better without all of the Arabs. 

The inadvertant one-state solution

In a video from last November that surfaced around the time of the Iowa caucuses, Santorum defends Israel’s West Bank settlements to a young voter, but seems to accidentally contradict official Israeli policy. 

"All the people that live in the West Bank are Israelis, they’re not Palestinians," he says. "There is no ‘Palestinian.’"

He should probably check with Tel Aviv before conferring Israeli citizenship on 4 million Palestinians, or whatever he wants to call them. 

The Jelly Belly address

This wasn’t so much about what he said as where he said it. For some reason, with his campaign starting to sputter, the candidate seemed to think that a national security address at the Jelly Belly headquarters in California would be a good idea. Yes, Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans. But the Gipper also had the good sense not to deliver the "Evil Empire" speech into a microphone with a Jelly Belly logo on it.

See also: The greatest foreign-policy hits of Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry.  

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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