As Republican Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin makes her way around the television interview circuit, it allows us to learn more and more about her foreign policy positions. In her RNC address, she declared victory in Iraq within sight and cautioned against a myriad of threats from Russia, Iran, and al-Qaeda. In an interview with ABC News’ Charles Gibson she left the door open to war with Russia, supported the use of US ground troops in Pakistan without the permission of its government, and cautioned against second-guessing a potential Israeli decision to attack Iran. And in an undelivered but publicly released speech earlier this week, she accused Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of dreaming of eliminating the Jewish people.
Now attention falls to an interview with CBS News‘ Katie Couric, in which she spoke at length about her foreign policy credentials, her position on Pakistan and why we still shouldn’t second guess Israel.
On foreign policy experience she cited again her close proximity to Russia and Canada, and trade missions which had been sent back and forth. She also used the question to once again raise the prospect of Russia as a threat to national security, warning that “as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America,” it will be through Alaska.
Regarding the war on terror, she sees this as an opportunity “to be able to usher in democratic values and ideals around the world.” She also declared “we need this nation building effort.” She seemed particularly interested with the opportunity presented by Pakistan’s new government, saying it was a chance to “forge better, tighter, more productive relationships.” She then said “I’m sure that President Zardari too will agree with us” as they commit to fighting this terror war.
Relations between Pakistan and the United States have been worsening in recent days as the Bush Administration has stepped up unilateral strikes on Pakistan’s soil. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said on Tuesday that he does not believe the Pakistani government can back such actions, though he did insist the strikes would continue.
But her harshest words were left, as in the past, for the Iranian government which she says “seek(s) to destroy America.” She once again condemned Democratic Presidential nominee Barrack Obama for supporting unconditional talks with Iran, though she did open the door to talks with Syria, provided they met certain unspecified preconditions.
She also elaborated on her prior comments about second-guessing Israel on a decision to attack Iran, claiming that doing so would “send a message that we would allow a second Holocaust.” She condemned Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s speech to the United Nations earlier this week, and said “if hearing him doesn’t allow Americans to commit more solidly to protecting the friends and allies that we need, especially there in the Mideast then nothing will.”
She also warned that if Americans “are not waking up to understand what it is he (President Ahmadinejad) represents,” we risk being lulled into a “false sense of security” which she likened to the one that preceded September 11.