Thursday, September 11, 2008

Palin-Gibson Interview #1

Here's a transcript of the first part of ABC anchor Charlie Gibson's interview with Sarah Palin. Rather than copy-paste the whole thing here, I'll make references to it and let y'all read it over there, or just trust me to not take the comments I'm responding to out of context. As I expect this to be a fairly lengthy, I'll bold the key points to facilitate skimming.

1. She engaged in a circular argument about whether she feels she's qualified to be VP

PALIN: [O]n January 20, when John McCain and I are sworn in, if we are so privileged to be elected to serve this country, will be ready. I'm ready.

GIBSON: And you didn't say to yourself, "Am I experienced enough? Am I ready? Do I know enough about international affairs? Do I -- will I feel comfortable enough on the national stage to do this?"

PALIN: I didn't hesitate, no.

GIBSON: Didn't that take some hubris?

PALIN: I -- I answered him yes because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can't blink.

So I didn't blink then even when asked to run as his running mate.

The definition of a circular argument. In effect, she said "I didn't blink when asked to be VP because a VP can't blink when faced with tough decisions." Oh, good. I'm glad that was cleared up.

2. She's been outside of North America exactly once. Luckily, it was a life-changing trip.

GIBSON: Did you ever travel outside the country prior to your trip to Kuwait and Germany last year?

PALIN: 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.

I'm not saying that a potential VP must have been all over the world or anything, but can't we all agree that it would be way better if they have? Part of engaging in international diplomacy is having a sense of foreign culture and peoples, and one would have a much better sense of places one's visited. And it doesn't seem she did much more than visit US troops on this trip. Did she even meet any Kuwaitis or Germans on this trip?

3. She's never met a foreign leader.

PALIN: 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, Charlie, 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.
See what I mean about her nomination destroying McCain's biggest advantage over Obama?

4. She would add Ukraine and Georgia to NATO, even though Putin has said he would not tolerate such expansion, and even though including these nations would commit us to go to war to defend them.

GIBSON: Would you favor putting Georgia and Ukraine in NATO?

PALIN: Ukraine, definitely, yes. Yes, and Georgia.

GIBSON: Because Putin has said he would not tolerate NATO incursion into the Caucasus.

PALIN: 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, but...

GIBSON: And under the NATO treaty, wouldn't we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?

PALIN: 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, at this point and I think that we need to -- especially with new leadership coming in on January 20, being sworn on, on either ticket, 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.

GIBSON: And you think it would be worth it to the United States, Georgia is worth it to the United States to go to war if Russia were to invade.

PALIN: What I think is that smaller democratic countries that are invaded by a larger power is something for us to be vigilant against. We have got to be cognizant of what the consequences are if a larger power is able to take over smaller democratic countries.

As has been endlessly discussed over the past few years, the US military is being stretched thin by our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And Palin wants to commit us to defending former Soviet republics against Russia, which, last I checked, has a substantially more advanced army than either enemy we've fought during the Bush Administration. This statement is another example of the blustering, belligerent foreign policy of McCain and the Republicans.

5. Israel would have a complete carte blanche to attack whomever they pleased during a McCain/Palin administration

GIBSON: What if Israel decided it felt threatened and needed to take out the Iranian nuclear facilities?

PALIN: Well, first, we are friends with Israel and I don't think that we should second guess the measures that Israel has to take to defend themselves and for their security.

GIBSON: So if we wouldn't second guess it and they decided they needed to do it because Iran was an existential threat, we would cooperative or agree with that.

PALIN: I don't think we can second guess what Israel has to do to secure its nation.

GIBSON: So if it felt necessary, if it felt the need to defend itself by taking out Iranian nuclear facilities, that would be all right.

PALIN: We cannot second guess the steps that Israel has to take to defend itself.

Isn't that shocking? "We cannot..." Israel can do whatever they want to defend itself, even if that means attacking Iran, Syria or anyone else they perceive as a threat, and McCain/Palin won't second guess them. At his recent speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), John McCain reiterated a long-standing tenet of American foreign policy that we will defend Israel, through at least military aid and likely through direct intervention, if necessary. And Palin doesn't think that promise gives us the right to ask them to not to anything stupid, that might commit us to war.

6. She doesn't know what the Bush Doctrine is.

GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?

PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

GIBSON: The Bush -- well, what do you -- what do you interpret it to be?

PALIN: His world view.

GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.

PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership, and that's the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.

GIBSON: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

PALIN: I agree that a president's job, when they swear in their oath to uphold our Constitution, their top priority is to defend the United States of America.

I know that John McCain will do that and I, as his vice president, families we are blessed with that vote of the American people and are elected to serve and are sworn in on January 20, that will be our top priority is to defend the American people.

It's the most significant new American foreign policy in decades, and she doesn't know what it is. Actually, that's not surprising for someone whose running mate says her most prominent foreign policy credentials are commanding the Alaska National Guard and being geographically close to Alaska. Oh yeah, that reminds me...

7. She felt it necessary to point out that one can see Russia while standing on an Alaskan island.

GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, 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, from an island in Alaska.

GIBSON: What insight does that give you into what they're doing in Georgia?

PALIN: Well, I'm giving you that perspective of how small our world is and how important it is that we work with our allies to keep good relation with all of these countries, especially Russia. We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it's in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.

So she thinks she has a unique perspective of how important it is to not piss of Russia, yet as previously discussed, she wants to extend our umbrella of protection right up to their border with Georgia, despite Russia's contention that they won't let that happen. What does she think is going to happen? We're going to say "We'll defend Georgia!", and Putin will respond "Oh yeah? You and what army?"

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