Friday, September 12, 2008

Interview Observation

In her first major interview as the Republican vice presidential nominee, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was stumped when asked about the so-called "Bush Doctrine," unable to answer whether she agreed with the six-year-old U.S. policy of military preemption. [snip]

Later in the interview, Palin was asked why exactly being the governor of Alaska made her an expert on Russia -- a claim that the McCain campaign has used to justify her national security bonafides. Her response was to cite geographic proximity, claiming that from some points in her home state, one could actually see the increasingly confrontational nation.

PALIN: We have to keep our eyes on Russia. Under the leadership there.

GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions does the proximity of the state give you?

PALIN: They're our next door neighbors. And you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.


Palin's geographical proximity to Russia is a claim of foreign policy experience?


Following that line of thinking then, and given that I am -- as the crow flies -- within three miles of a foreign country and have over many decades actually spend a lot of time in that same country, and given that I am a few (just "a few" mind you) years older than that woman, I guess that qualifies me as quite a bit more experienced in foreign policy! But I would not be promoting myself as any having any qualified experience in any real foreign policy on any sort of governmental level.

The "POW / Lipstick" ticket is a platform for more of the same old failing policies, only worse. If anything the last eight years has taught us it is that we don't need any more of that kind of clueless incompetence in positions of power.


Moose In The Headlights

Fail! The Bush Doctrine is not limited to Islamic extremism. It allows us to invade any country if we believe it will "prevent" that country from attacking us, even if there is no evidence that country has any plans to attack us. Exhibit A is Iraq, which had no plans to attack us.

Scary Sarah Graduates Neocon 101

In her interview with Charlie Gibson, Sarah Palin revealed some gaping holes in her knowledge of foreign affairs, including her "Moose in the Headlights" ignorance of the Bush Doctrine.

And even more revealing was her absolute certainty that she has the knowledge, experience, and credibility to be President on Day 1, based on the fact that you can see Russia from the remotest Alaska island. (And has she ever been there? Never mind.) Charlie Gibson rightly called that Hubris, and it was truly scary.

But even scarier was her near-command of neocon ideology, after just one week of coaching by McCain's neocon-in-chief, Randy Scheunemann. There was no hesitation in her delivery of neocon talking points, indicating she became a true believer under Scheunemann's tutelage.

Josh Marshall has been warning for months that McCain's devotion to neocon ideology (a.k.a. naked imperialism) is even greater than Bush's. Josh reminds us that McCain was even closer than Bush to Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi con man and neocon cats-paw who tricked us into invading Iraq by promising we would be greeted with candy and flowers, instead of a deadly insurgency. And Josh has written extensively about Randy Scheunemann, McCain's top foreign policy advisory, who was a paid agent of Georgia and seems determined to drag us into World War III.

Impact of Palin's Foreign Policy Flub

The first thing to point out is that Palin's mishandling of the question regarding the Bush Doctrine is conclusive proof that she does not belong on the ticket. She is not ready and she proved it. [snip]

If you want to learn about that yourself I recommend hilzoy's take over at Washington Monthly:

The point of the Bush Doctrine was to change that: to say, as Bush said at West Point: "If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long." It was, basically, the acceptance of preventive war: war waged not in response to evidence of an imminent attack, but in response to the possibility that a country that was not attacking us now might attack us at some point in the future.

To anyone who had been following foreign policy in even the most cursory way, but who had somehow forgotten what the name "Bush Doctrine" referred to, Charlie Gibson's explanation would have made it clear what big Bush administration change in policy was under discussion. "Oh, right", such a person would think: "that."

For that reason, one of the most striking things about Palin's response, to me, was this: in answering Gibson's question, she seemed to think that she was accepting the Bush Doctrine, but what she actually said just restated the old doctrine of preemption.

So it is important. However voters may not know it was important that she know that. The term "Doctrine" linked to a Presidential name is a foreign policy term of art. It is elemental. Not to understand that makes you a real neophyte and Palin clearly did not understand the term. Again, regular voters may not know this. The key is now how the media informs them that this was a serious mistake.


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