Sarah Palin said a lot of interesting things during her interview with Charles Gibson last week, not the least of which were her extraordinary fumble on Gibson’s question regarding the Bush Doctrine and her inability – after three tries – to be able to enunciate one way in which McCain/Palin would change Bush’s economic policies. But America should pay very close attention to her vision of U.S. foreign policy toward Russia under a McCain Administration.
I earlier discussed how John McCain’s vision of good and evil would lead this country down the path of increased military entanglements and decreased safety. Now, in her speech, Palin echoed McCain’s destructive vision with a haphazard pronouncement of the most reckless policy vision for the U.S. since the decision to invade Iraq with virtually no evidence.
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…. 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.
And that was it. With regard to whether the U.S. would commit to war against a major military power, Palin matter-of-factly said “that is the agreement”. To be sure, Palin later tried to backtrack from her statement with an after-the-fact soliloquy on diplomacy, but the words had already been uttered. McCain is willing to go to war with Russia over Georgia.
Obviously, anyone watching the news over the past month knows that Russia just invaded Georgia. Prior to last month, however, I’ll bet that few Americans knew there even was a Georgia aside from the State in the southeastern U.S. Probably fewer still could point to Georgia on a map. Of what strategic significance, then, is Georgia to U.S. national security interests? More importantly, what makes that interest so significant that McCain is willing to place our country on the brink of war with a nation that has the strategic nuclear capability to wreak unheard of devastation on the U.S.? In other words, why in Hell is John McCain willing to put our national security in considerable peril in the name of protecting our national security?
This is another example of McCain’s willingness to carry forward the destructive foreign policy agenda of the Bush Administration. Bush earlier withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty amid threats that it would further strain U.S./Russian relations. Then, in the days following Russia’s invasion of Georgia, the U.S. signed an agreement with Poland that would place U.S. ballistic missile interceptors, and U.S. troops, along the Russian boarder, drawing protests from Russia and threads that it may attack Poland. Now McCain wants to press for Georgian inclusion into NATO even it if means war with Russia.
The Bush Administration started writing checks our military couldn’t cash when it invaded Iraq, necessitating troop commitments that stretched our military thin and diverting so many resources from Afghanistan that at this point even a troop surge may not restore stability there. Of course Iran and North Korea, seeing that we are overextended and cannot project significant military power to them, will become belligerent. Of course Russia, seeing us bogged down in Iraq, will try to reestablish itself in its region.
McCain will carry forward Bush’s reckless foreign policy, thereby further weakening our military and threatening our national security. We cannot sugar-coat the seriousness of Palin’s foreign policy announcement - our ground forces are stretched so thin that a major threat to our security interests may necessitate a nuclear response. Palin is essentially saying that including Georgia in NATO and subsequently protecting Georgia is so important to our national security that we’re willing to start a nuclear war with Russia to protect Georgia.
McCain wants us to believe that he is an expert on foreign policy and that the geographic proximity of Palin’s home state to Russia makes her one too. But his policies – which take the mantle from Bush – are juvenile, bullyish, reckless, and ultimately dangerous. A resurgent Russia is but one lesson that McCain refuses to learn from attacking a country on faulty intelligence. McCain now wants to stay bogged down in that country, further depleting our military resources, while committing our country to the defense of non-strategic interests the protection of which may force us to unleash nuclear (or, as Palin – echoing Bush – incorrectly says, “nucular”) weapons.
We cannot fight Russia and the War on Terror. McCain, with all his expertise, refuses to admit that, and that pigheadedness places millions of American lives at risk. Wake up America! This election is about more than pigs and lipstick, war stories and moose tales. John McCain’s foreign policy agenda may bring about an aggression against the U.S. that makes 9/11 look like a car accident.