Sarah Palin on Foreign Policy
Republican Governor (AK); 2008 nominee for Vice President
The administration cut support for democracy programs. And where the president has not been clear, I ask where is his clear and where his strong voice of support for the Iranians who are risking all in their opposition to Ahmedinijad? We need a foreign policy that distinguishes America's friends from her enemies and recognizes the true nature of the threats that we face
But after cramming furiously, Palin managed to emerge intact from the Gibson interview--stumbling only over whether she agreed with the "Bush doctrine" ("In what respect, Charlie?") and in discussion why the proximity of Alaska to Russia afforded her insight into its behavior on the world stage. ("They're our next door next door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska").
There was so much I could and should have said, and I later kicked myself for not doing so. For instance, that Russian bombers often play cat-and-mouse with our Air Force near Alaska's airspace. That melting polar sea ice has created new trade routes but has also created security threats. And that, yes, you can indeed see Russia from Alaska.
And those were just the foreign policy issues (though issues certainly foreign to most governors). But Katie's purpose--shared by most media types--seemed to be to frame a "gotcha" moment. And it worked. Instead of my scoring points for John McCain, I knew that I had let the team down.
PALIN: No and Dr. Henry Kissinger especially. I had a good conversation with him recently. And he shared with me his passion for diplomacy. And that’s what John McCain and I would engage in also. But with some of these dictators who hate America and hate what we stand for, with our freedoms, our democracy, our tolerance, our respect for women’s rights, those who would try to destroy what we stand for cannot be met with just sitting down on a presidential level as Barack Obama had said he would be willing to do. That is beyond bad judgment. That is dangerous.
BIDEN: John and Gov. Palin now say we have to bring our friends and allies along. Our friends and allies have been saying, “Sit down. Talk. Talk. Talk.” And John McCain has said he wouldn’t sit down.
PALIN: A two-state solution is the solution. That needs to be done, and that will be a top agenda item under a McCain-Palin administration. Israel is our strongest and best ally in the Middle East.
BIDEN: No one in the Senate has been a better friend to Israel than Joe Biden. I would have never joined this ticket were I not absolutely sure Barack Obama shared my passion. But you asked whether this administration’s policy had made sense. It has been a failure. Bush insisted on elections on the West Bank, when I said, “Big mistake. Hamas will win.” What happened? Hamas won. We kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said, “Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don’t, Hezbollah will control it.” Now what happened? Hezbollah is a legitimate part of the government. We will change this policy with diplomacy that understands that you must let Israel negotiate and stand with them, not insist on policies like this administration has.
A: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It’s funny that a comment like that was kinda mocked, I guess that’s the word. Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. We have trade missions back and forth, we do. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.
A: I think, with Ahmadinejad, personally, he is not one to negotiate with. You can’t just sit down with him with no preconditions being met. Barack Obama is so off-base in his proclamation that he would meet with some of these leaders around our world who would seek to destroy America and that, and without preconditions being met. That’s beyond na‹ve. And it’s beyond bad judgment. I’ve never heard Henry Kissinger say, “Yeah, I’ll meet with these leaders without preconditions being met.” Diplomacy is about doing a lot of background work first and shoring up allies and positions and figuring out what sanctions perhaps could be implemented if things weren’t gonna go right. That’s part of diplomacy.
A: We shouldn’t second guess Israel’s security efforts because we cannot ever afford to send a message that we would allow a second Holocaust, for one. Israel has got to have the opportunity and the ability to protect itself. They are our closest ally in the Mideast. We need them. They need us. We don’t have to second-guess what their efforts would be if they believe that it is in their best interests to fight against a regime, especially Iran, who would seek to wipe them off the face of the earth. It is obvious to me who the good guys are in this one and who the bad guys are. The bad guys are the ones who say Israel is a stinking corpse and should be wiped off the face of the earth. That’s not a good guy who is saying that.
A: I see the United States as being a force for good in the world. And as Ronald Reagan used to talk about, America being the beacon of light and hope for those who are seeking democratic values and tolerance and freedom. I’m not one of those who came from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduate college and their parents give them a passport and give them a backpack and go off and travel the world. No, I’ve worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life until I had kids. I was not a part of that culture. The way that I have understood the world is through education, through books, through mediums that have provided me a lot of perspective on the world.
A: I have never heard or read of any statements Governor Palin has made on foreign policy other than to say that we should support our troops.
A: What we have got to commit to, especially when we talk about Russia, no Cold War. We have got to know that our mindset needs to be opportunity for pressure and diplomacy and sanctions if need be, as we keep our eye on a country like Russia.
Q: You don’t want to start a war with Russia.
A: We do not want to start a war with Russia. No Cold War. That’s got to be off the table. Opportunity comes with new leadership being ushered in, being elected in into our democracy where we can start forging even better relationships and strengthening the allies that we have. That’s the opportunity that John McCain is going to make sure happens.
A: Being an optimist I see our role in the world as being a force for good and one of being the leader of the world. Humankind embraces the values that encompass life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And that’s not just in America, that is in our world. And America is in a position, because we care for so many people, to be able to lead and to be able to have a strong diplomacy and a strong military. Also at the same time to defend not only our freedoms but, to help these rising, smaller democratic countries that are just putting themselves on the map right now, and they’re going to be looking to America as that leader. We being used as a force for good is how I see our country.
A: Canada, Mexico, and then, yes, that trip, that was the trip of a lifetime to visit our troops in Kuwait and stop and visit our injured soldiers in Germany That was the trip of a lifetime and it changed my life.
Q: Have you ever met a foreign head of state?
A: I have not and I think if you go back in history and if you ask that question of many vice presidents, they may have the same answer that I just gave you. But, again, we’ve got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual and somebody’s big, fat resume maybe that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment, where, yes, they’ve had opportunities to meet heads of state.
A: Ukraine, definitely, yes. Yes, and Georgia.
Q: Putin has said he would not tolerate NATO incursion into the Caucasus.
A: Well, you know, the Rose Revolution, the Orange Revolution, those actions have showed us that those democratic nations, I believe, deserve to be in NATO. Putin thinks otherwise. Obviously, he thinks otherwise.
Q: And under the NATO treaty, wouldn’t we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?
A: Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you’re going to be expected to be called upon and help. But NATO, I think, should include Ukraine, definitely. We have got to make sure that we strengthen our allies, our ties with each one of those NATO members. We have got to make sure that that is the group that can be counted upon to defend one another in a very dangerous world today.
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NY-25:Ann Marie Buerkle