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September 02, 2008

Palin Foreign Policy
Posted by Moira Whelan

Taking a step back from all of the gossip about Palin (drip, drip, drip), we now have enough evidence to start putting together an understanding of her foreign policy credentials. It really speaks to McCain’s judgment that he, a person who claims to be an expert on these issues, would actually choose as his running mate someone who couldn’t even converse about basic foreign policy issues.

What we know:
Palin got a passport in 2007. She claims to have visited Germany, Kuwait and Ireland…but we’re now learning that the Ireland “trip” was a refueling stop. Oh, and she has been to Canada.

She sees the war in Iraq as “A mission from God”…but really hasn’t focused on it…but she favors an exit plan.

The campaign is pretty thrilled with Palin’s national security experience. Cindy McCain stressed how Palin knows what she’s talking about because Alaska is near Russia.

When VP nominee Joe Biden took the stage in Denver, he spent a good amount of time talking about America’s foreign policy…something he knows a lot about as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Given that Palin would be a heartbeat away from the presidency, and would presumably be counseling the President on these difficult decisions, I’m looking forward to what she has to say.

I'm sure the press will be doing a true comparison here, and not lower the bar on the issues that are, after all, the most important to voters.


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I surprised that the Republicans have not added that Canada borders Alaska in order to add to Palin's very thin resume when it comes to foreign affairs.

I have put in hours researching the candidates (In fact, I found this site researching Joe Biden's management style). When I researched McCain's foreign policy advisors (easy to find with google), I found that to a man (correct, no women here) they are from the Bush/Reagan/Bush administrations, which says to me one trick pony - hard line only with over 50% with neocon ties. When I looked at Obama's foreign policy advisors I found they were a combination of folks from both the Clinton administration and academia with a broad range of view points included. Particularly significant to me is that Obama includes human rights' experts where McCain does not, and he has some folks who are quite well known for creative and effective ideas and solutions. After Sarah Palin is spoon-fed foreign policy, she will have a hard-line view only, however, as David Brooks said the other day, "She is quite effective at taking a little knowledge and spinning it into clear, simple answers."
For those of you interested in foreign policy and not yet experts, I recommend this incredible set of lectures from University of California:

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