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Sarah Palin, Foreign Policy Expert | The Nation

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Robert Dreyfuss

Bob Dreyfuss

News of America’s misadventures in foreign policy and defense.

Sarah Palin, Foreign Policy Expert

The zealots and zombies of the Christian right, those dark armies of the night, are girding for battle behind Sarah Palin's flag and, to be sure, she has credentials to lead them. But it's been hilarious this week watching Republican spokesmen trying to put a positive spin on Palin's utter lack of foreign policy experience.

Even funnier is watching cable TV pundits, trying to be even-handed, because if they were even the least bit honest they'd be cackling out loud about McCain's pick, live on national television.

Some GOP pundits and strategists have suggested -- as Jon Stewart has noted -- that Palin has a good grasp of foreign policy because her state is up there someplace near Russia. Perhaps the funniest commentary of this sort comes from one of the most rabid neocons, Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy. Gaffney titled it: "Sarah Palin's experience."

Now, reporters are scrambling to find out of Palin has ever -- yes, ever -- even been to Europe. Gaffney says: No matter. "Listening to her critics, one might think that John McCain's chosen running-mate is a complete ignoramus when it comes to matters of national security." Well, yes, Frank, that about says it.

Here are a few highlights of Gaffney's essay:

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.

And that is significant why, Mr. Gaffney? Well:

As it happens, the best of [our] defenses – including a squadron of America's state-of-the-art interceptors, the F-22 Raptor – are stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage. Governor Palin would not only be intimately familiar with that facilities' vital role in protecting U.S. territory. She would also appreciate its importance in the projection of American power in Asia and beyond as much of the nation's long-range transport aircraft supplying our military operations around the world transit through Elmendorf. Every Commander-in-Chief should have such insights.

Let's assume that Palin even knows that F-22's are stationed there. So her foreign policy experience involves some vague understanding about "the projection of American power in Asia and beyond"? It gets better:

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.

Umm, so her "experience" comes by "osmosis." Wait, there's more:

At present, one can only infer Sarah Palin's grasp of the danger posed by today's principal enemy: adherents to the brutally repressive and seditious program the Islamists call Shariah, a program they seek to impose worldwide through violent means and "soft jihad."

So besides osmosis, we can "infer" that she understands the insidious dangers of "soft jihad." Gaffney goes on:

America is only beginning to get to know Sarah Palin. ... It is not only wrong but foolish to portray her as totally unprepared to contend with the epochal foreign and defense policy issues we are confronting.

The above quotations are not, repeat not, satire. Gaffney really wrote this nonsense. As Casey Stengel said, You can look it up.

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