Wednesday, September 03, 2008

McCain claims that Sarah Palin has foreign policy experience because "Alaska is right next to Russia"

I found this latest story through ThinkProgress, which has picked up the source story through ABC News. ABC's Charles Gibson questioned Republican presidential candidate John McCain about Gov. Sarah Palin's foreign policy experience. Gibson stated that Palin had not traveled overseas until last year. McCain replied that "Alaska is right next to Russia."

And here is the transcript from ThinkProgress:

GIBSON: But as you know, the questions revolve really around foreign policy experience. Can you honestly say you feel confident having someone who hasn’t traveled outside the United States until last year, dealing with an insurgent Russia, with an Iran with nuclear ambitions, with an unstable Pakistan, not to mention the war on terror?

MCCAIN: Sure. And one of the key elements of America’s national security requirements are energy. She understands the energy issues better than anybody I know in Washington, D.C., and she understands.

Alaska is right next to Russia. She understands that. Look, Sen. Obama’s never visited south of our border. I mean, please.

Now I know this talking point has been circulating through the GOP pundits as a means of bolstering Sarah Palin's foreign policy credentials. Fox News Co-host Steve Doocy first used this talking point in a debate on Palin's foreign policy credentials on August 29, 2008:

Then Cindy McCain used the same talking point on August 31, 2008 in saying that "Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia." From YouTube:

Then McCain's informal adviser Karl Rove presented a twist on this latest theme in arguing, on September 2, 2008, that then Texas governor George W. Bush was qualified to be the commander-in-chief, during the 2000 presidential election, because Bush had to deal with the border of Mexico:

And finally, on September 2, 2008, neocon activist Frank Gaffney presented the argument that Sarah Palin has gained foreign policy experience through "osmosis:"

Napoleon is said to have declared that "Geography is destiny." That certainly is true of Gov. Palin. Her state is adjacent to Russia, a nation that has in recent years demonstrated a rising aggressiveness towards its neighbors. The targets are not just the relatively weak and formerly enslaved countries on its littoral like Georgia – the scene of a bloody invasion last month aimed at toppling the elected government there. Moscow has also conducted simulated strategic bombing runs with Soviet-era long-range, nuclear-capable aircraft. These offensive missions are designed to penetrate U.S. northern air defenses in a manner reminiscent of the most provocative of Kremlin behavior during the Cold War.


Speaking of geography, Alaskan territory is also along the trajectory of ballistic missiles launched eastward out of Stalinist North Korea. For that reason, among others, Alaska's Fort Greely was selected as the site for the principal U.S. ground-based defense against such missiles.

As that state's governor, Sarah Palin would know more by osmosis – if nothing else – about the necessity for U.S. anti-missile systems than either Messrs. Obama or Biden. In fact, the Democrats have reflexively opposed such defenses and promise to starve them of funds if elected. Opinion polls suggest that the support missile defense enjoys among Gov. Palin's Alaskans is shared by strong majorities of their countrymen elsewhere. Her judgment versus Sen. Biden's on the question of whether America should be protected against present and growing missile-delivered threats will be one of the highlights of the vice presidential nominees' debate.

I'm trying to analyze this latest GOP argument of presenting Sarah Palin's foreign policy qualifications because she can "know more by osmosis," and that Alaska is close to Russia. It is just ludicrous. It is absurd. And what is worst is that the same GOP talking points are regurgitated by pundits and politicians, hoping that the American people are just that stupid into believing them. Even John McCain obviously believes that the American people are stupid since he regurgitated the same talking point.

Talk about GOP insanity.

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