In her first interview since being nominated as the vice-presidential candidate for the Republican party, Sarah Palin showed the US and the world why she was nicknamed the “Barracuda”.
Despite having the thinnest of grasps of international and security issues, she didn’t shy away from diving in those troubled waters, and already laid out the foundations of what can come to be known as the “Barracuda Doctrine”
Being, by her own description, a regular “hockey mom” from a small town, Palin carries the same simple mental frame to the stage of international affairs. The “Barracuda Doctrine” can be characterized as follows: the US “must not blink” and do “whatever it takes” to “stop the terrorists that are hell-bent on destroying America”.
Three simple propositions: “don’t blink”, “everything it takes”, “stop terrorists” – Robocop couldn’t have done it better.
If this means going across international borders and breaking every international treaty in the book, so be it. If it means going to war with Russia, so be it as well. It’s all according to “God’s plan”.
In her case, “God’s plan” meant that, until last year, her total foreign experience amounted to trips to Canada and Mexico; she only left North America in 2007 to visit American troops in Kuwait and injured soldiers in Germany, in what she describes as “the trip of a lifetime”.
She has also never met a foreign leader – which is something that she is not in the least worried about. In fact, that only comes to prove that she is not part of the “politics as usual” gang. One has to assume that would be the gang of those that actually know with whom they’re talking to.
Classifying as “unprovoked” the Russian military action on Georgia, Palin expressed her believe that the US must “keep an eye” on Russia – one has to assume it would be the same unblinking eye of American righteousness.
Strongly in favor of getting Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, she lightheartedly (and unblinkingly) admitted that “perhaps” that could lead to war with Russia.
Not that she loses a lot of sleep thinking about what goes on inside the Kremlin. Asked what insides on Russia she has (being governor of a state that neighbors Russia), Palin didn’t hesitate to mention that she could see Russia from Alaska. She may not have a clue about Putin and Medvedev’s intentions, but she sure is your woman if you want to spy the seals across the Bering Strait.
On another hot matter, Iran, Palin made clear that she did not believe Ahmedinejad would come so far as to use atomic weapons (would Iran ever get so far as to actually build them). However, Palin fears that he would “allow terrorists” to use them, which calls for “putting the pressure” on Iran.
This “pressure” could come in the form of a Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, which would be regarded as entirely justifiable by the vice-presidential candidate.
In fact, one has to assume from this interview that anything Israel chose to do would be pre-approved by a vice-presidential cabinet under Palin. Pressed on this matter, she repeated again and again that, being a “friend of Israel”, the US could not “second guess” any actions that Israeli leaders would take in order to “defend themselves”.
One wonders if this view would go so far as to approve an Israeli preemptive nuclear attack on Iran, Israel being thus far the only nuclear power in the Middle East.
On 9/11, Palin pinpoints the hijackers “not believing American ideals” as the reason behind the attacks. At the point of standing up to salute the flag, Palin exposed her answer to the problem, which consists in providing them “the hope that all Americans have instilled” in them.
Palin’s poor understanding of security matters became even more evident when, asked if she agreed with the Bush Doctrine, she made clear that she didn’t have a clue on what that would be.
She blathered about Bush’s “world view” – which, according to her, made him try to “rid this world of islamic extremism and terrorists that are hell-bent on destroying” the US – and the “beauty of American elections”, that provide “new leadership” to correct the “blunders” that were made while ridding the world of evil-doers.
Charlie Gibson, the interviewer, then helped her a little, explaining that the Bush Doctrine consisted in asserting the right of the US to preemptively attack any foe deemed to pose a threat, even if no hostile action had been taken against the US.
Energized by the fresh understanding of what this “Bush Doctrine” was, Palin jumped to confirm that the US had “every right” to defend itself, given that “legitimate and enough intelligence” was provided that a “strike is eminent”, which makes her a strong backer of the Bush Doctrine after all, although oblivious of its existence.
In the end, what comes out if this interview is the portrait of a “hockey mom” that feels the need to consider everything in the simplest of terms, and is not in any way prepared for the complexities that a cabinet-level position entail.
One that, thrown in the global playing field and armed with a nuclear stick, would not hesitate to shoot away, not pausing for a moment to consider if she wasn’t scoring against her own team.
If elected, McCain, at 72, would become the oldest man to reach the White House. In the event of his incapacitation, Palin would automatically assume the presidency, making her, now at 44, the youngest President in American history.
America is just coming out of 8 years of the most inexperienced President in living memory. At a time when reestablishing American standing in the world is a crucial concern for Washington, could it afford a repeat of history?
Is America ready for the “Barracuda President”? Would the world survive it?
These are to questions that American electors should consider very carefully when they elect their new President.