Alaska is near Russia, and Gov Palin’s other foreign policy experience

This site discusses only geopolitical aspects of the election, esp those that tell about us — about America.  This post discusses a “talking point” concerning geopolitics.  We study these to learn how the candidates see us; our reaction to them shows if the candidates are correct. 

After the selection of Palin as the Republicans’ candidate for Vice President I said McCain believes we are stupid. Is he correct?  Here we have the next step in this experiment, as McCain’s team attempts to convince us that Palin is qualified.

From another perspective the meme described here marks the low level of debate we can expect during this extraordinarily important Presidential campaign.  It will be a long time until Election Day.  Please get involved.  Vote.  Donate time and/or money.  Write and talk about the issues.


  1. Today’s talking point for the proles
  2. Even dumb memes can spread rapidly
  3. The big question for the 21st century
  4. For more information about Gov Palin
  5. Other FM posts about the candidates

1.  Today’s talking point for the proles

Transcript of interview with Cindy McCain on ABC’s “This Week”, 31 August 2008 — See the video here. Excerpt:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But she has no national security experience.

C. MCCAIN: You know, she — the experience that she comes from is with what she’s done in the government.
And, also, remember, Alaska is the closest part of our continent to Russia. So it’s not as if she doesn’t understand what’s at stake here.
It’s also about making decisions and being targeted in what she thinks. She has a — she has a great mind. And she has a very serious direction in where she goes.

While we should not lean on the statements of the candidate’s wife, this talking point is appearing elsewhere — along with “Palin’s military experience as Commander of the National Guard” — around the Internet.

2.  Even dumb memes can spread rapidly

Here are other examples of this talking pint spreading around the Internet.

Palin Will Be Welcomed by Social and Economic Conservatives“, Michael Barone, blog of US News and World Report, 29 August 2008 — He is a senior writer for US News and World Reports and frequent speaker on FOX news.  Excerpt:

Foreign policy experience? Well, Alaska is the only state with a border with Russia. And it is the only state with territory, in the Aleutian Islands, occupied by the enemy in World War II. On the other hand, my recollection is that Geraldine Ferraro, who had far less experience especially in foreign policy than George H. W. Bush, held her own in the 1984 vice presidential debate.

Commander of the Alaskan National Guard, Cont’d“, Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online (NR), 31 August 2008 — He is an author and Editor-at-large for NRO.  Excerpt:

Email to Goldberg:

Before you dismiss that Commander of the Alaska National Guard stuff. This came from a reader who plays the game and it jibes with my knowledge.

  1. Alaska is the first line of defense in our missile interceptor defense system. The 49th Missile Defense Battalion of the Alaska National Guard is the unit that protects the entire nation from ballistic missile attacks. It’s on permanent active duty, unlike other Guard units.
  2. As governor of Alaska, Palin is briefed on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counterterrorism. Her exposure to classified material may rival even Biden’s.
  3. She’s also the commander in chief of the Alaska State Defense Force (ASDF), a federally recognized militia incorporated into Homeland Security’s counterterrorism plans.
  4. Palin is privy to military and intelligence secrets that are vital to the entire country’s defense. Given Alaska’s proximity to Russia, she may have security clearances we don’t even know about.

Oh I don’t dispute that she has more national security bona fides than the press is making it seem. I thought I posted on this the other day, but now I can’t find the link (posting from the car was not always successful and so history has lost some real brilliance!). Alaskan governors deal a lot more with international and national security issues than, say the Governor of Arkansas. There are all sorts of treaty issues, missile defense stuff, bases, etc up there. The military is a very big presence.

Also, while I think there are political drawbacks to the fact that Alaska’s government lives pretty much entirely off oil revenues, understanding of international energy markets requires a grasp of international affairs as well. …

As these memes spread out through the Internet, they get more bizarre.  As in “YOU MSM IDIOTS, SARAH PALIN DOES HAVE FOREIGN POLICY EXPERIENCE.“, Greg Ransom, posted at Presto Pundit, 29 August 2008 — Note the pictures of Gov Palin with our troops.  We will probably see many many more before Election Day.

3.  The big question for the 21st century

As this campaign becomes increasingly surreal, so we might come to see it primarily as comedy (gallows humor?).  Some are already at that point:  Matthew Yglesias asks the big question for the 21st century:

What is at stake here? Are the Russians threatening Alaska?  Even in Red Dawn that didn’t happen.

He gets answered in the comments.

joejoejoe Says: Kamchatka bitches!  Everybody knows that Kamchatka is key to Asia.  Palin is totally ready to kick your ass in Risk.

Tyro Says: It is true though: Alaska is the only American state that is quite close to the mainland of a major country that isn’t Canada or Mexico.  Despite this, of course, Palin never seemed to have any need to or interest in getting a passport until 2007.

Alaska Trivia Says: Anchorage is only 130 miles closer to Moscow than is Boston.  And Boston is 60 miles closer to Moscow than Juneau is.

Ed Marshall Says: That did happen in Red Dawn. They came across the Bering Strait and cut the Alaskan pipeline and tried to link up with the great Cuban/Honduran reconquista but they “stopped their butt cold” somewhere.

BruceMcF Says:  Clearly, McCain has been studying foreign policy by playing Risk, and is worried about the Chinese breaking into Yakutsk while we have all our armies in Iraq and neighboring Afghanistan.

Kent Says:  As a former Alaska resident I can tell you this is pretty bogus.  The Bering Straight and far western Aleutian Islands might be geographically close to far eastern Russia.  But that doesn’t mean you can get there.  On occasion a few Russian airlines have attempted weekly summer service between Anchorage and Patropavlovsk and Vladivostok but they usually drop the service when passenger volume doesn’t justify the route.  Currently if an Alaskan wants to visit Russia they must take Alaska Air from Anchorage to Seattle, then from Seattle (back over Alaska) to Seoul, Korea on Northwest.  From Seoul, the flight goes to Yuzhno. It takes about 20 hours, and includes an overnight stay in Seoul.

5.  For more analysis of McCain’s choice of VP

  1. Zenpundit — who has collected many links on the topic! 
  2. Also drop by Sic Semper Tyrannis, the blog of Patrick Lang (Colonel, US Army, retired) — esp note the comments, which typically run from good to excellent.
  3. What is McCain Thinking? One Alaskan’s Perspective.“, by AKMuckraker, posted at Mudflats, 29 August 2008 – A seemingly fair look at Palin.
  4. Most esp, see National Review Online’s The Corner — a stream of wildly enthusiastic posts.
  5. Palin the irresponsible choice?” David Frum, National Post, 29 August 2008 — A conservative dissents from the enthusiasm about Palin.
  6. Palin touts stance on ‘Bridge to Nowhere,’ doesn’t note flip-flop, Anchorage Daily News, 31 August 2008 — IMO a fair review of her record as Gov.
  7. No Experience Necessary“, Michael Kinsley, Slate, 31 August 2008 — “How Sarah Palin made the GOP change its mind about presidential qualifications.”  Best article so far, IMO!

Skimming #4, the NRO site, is fascinating.  Pure identity politics:  she’s one of us, we love her.  They like her for who she is, not what she can do.  Almost zero discussion of her training, experience, or ability to function as President.  Strange, very strange for conservatives.  And it show the moral bankruptcy of the Republican Party.

Not about Palin, but useful analysis:   “Foreign Policy and the President’s Irrelevance” by George Friedman on Stratfor, 5 Feb 2008 

Please share your comments by posting below (brief and relevant, please), or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

6.  My Posts about the Candidates

1.  How the Iraq and Vietnam wars are mirror images of each other  (7 February 2008) — Now we have McCain, the leading Republican Presidential candidate, talking of an open-ended commitment to victory in Iraq.

2.  What do blogs do for America?  (26 February 2008) — As our problems reach critical dimensions and our economy sinks into what is (at best) a severe recession, our national leadership will likely move into the hands of someone with astonishingly little capacity to govern. 

3.  A look at the next phase of the Iraq War: 2009-2012  (1 March 2008) — What is next in Iraq?  None of the leading candidates have expressed any intention of leaving Iraq – except in the distant and vague future.  McCain intends to fight so long as (or until) we suffer few casualties, then stay for a long time (perhaps a hundred years, as McCain said here and here) ).  On the other hand, Obama has been quite explicit…

4.  Our metastable Empire, built on a foundation of clay (3 March 2008) — We can elect leaders with vast ambitions (foreign for McCain, domestic for Obama), but can no longer afford them. 

5.  How long will all American Presidents be War Presidents? (21 March 2008) — The Presidential campaign rolls on in the seventhyear since 9/11, with the only debate about the Long War being in which nations America should fight. We see this even the speeches of the most “liberal” candidate, Senator Barack Obama.

6.  American history changes direction as the baton passes between our political parties  (18 May 2008) – Importance of the November 2008 political landslide.

7.  President Obama, an Muslim apostate?  (2 June 2008) — Nope.

8.  Is Obama running for the office of Chief Shaman?   (6 June 2008) — Weirdness from our next President.

9.  Does America need a charismatic President?   (15 july 2008)

10.  More about charisma, by Don Vandergriff…(#2 in the “getting ready for Obama” series)  (16 July 2008) — About charisma:  know it before you buy it!

11.  Obama might be the shaman that America needs  (17 July 2008) — At what point does criticism of Obama’s charisma and rhetoric become criticism of leadership itself — and blind faith in technocratic solutions so loved by policy nerds?  Michael Knox Beran crosses that line in “Obama, Shaman“, City Journal, Summer 2008.

12.  Obama describes the first step to America’s renewal, 8 August 2008 — Obama’s statement about America may be the simple truth; this may be why so many find it disturbing.

13.  A powerful perspective on the candidates for President of the US, 28 August 2008 — John Derbyshire expresses what I have said about the candidates dreams of saving the world.

14.  McCain believes we are stupid. Is he correct?, 30 August 2008

For interesting articles about the candidates from other sources, see About the candidates for President of the United States.

19 thoughts on “Alaska is near Russia, and Gov Palin’s other foreign policy experience”

  1. On the subject of “national security experience,” I seem to recall that we have elected actual Presidents lately with weaker security/foreign policy credentials than Palin. What national security experience does one gain from being governor of Arkansas, exactly?
    Fabius Maximus replies: Presidents are not exclusively concerned with foreign affairs. They also have to govern America. Folks choose someone on the basis (among many other factors) of their domestic experience and international experience. The desired mix varies from person to person, and for America from time to time.

    At most times in the past I suspect most people more heavily weighted domestic experience. What makes Obama and Palin extraordinary — in the view of many people — is their relative lack of experience in either field.

  2. This is exactly correct, most presidential candidates have no national security experience. Palin the VP candidate has none, and neither does BO, dem candidate for President.

    But she has a son headed into the Iraq, in the Army. She did in fact have command over the Alaska Nat Guard…she is an expert marksman for what that’s worth…I guess we could hand her a rifle and she could shoot some Russians….she brings that to the job of vice president…but what national security experience does BO bring to the job of president?

    answer: zilch. nada…maybe worse:

  3. A friend sent me an article from Salon, I think, on the possibility that McCain’s mental health has been affected by the number of traumatic experiences he’s had, including his imprisonment and torture. I answered “I hate it when electoral politics comes down to this level, where everything depends on the personal traits of the leader.”

    Bush’s seriously flawed if not sociopathic personality is not the most important, or even the fifth most important, reason why we’re in Iraq. McCain may sound over-the-top at times , and his VP may be a non-entity, but America’s course will be about the same under them as under BO. There are big structural forces that determine our stance toward the world. Neither McCain nor Obama have the slightest ability to prevent Russia from doing what it wants in Georgia, despite what they say.

  4. “The desired mix varies from person to person, and for America from time to time.”

    A president with little interest in foreign policy and huge interest in domestic reforms and fiscal policy might be a desirable mix today.

    To discuss the foreign policy experience means to use the old Republican talking points. I would be more interested in their economic policies. McCain seems to be extremely inexperienced in economic policy, and Palin has probably less state-or-higher-level economic policy experience than 80% of the senators and congressmen (including Obama).

    Fab; a look at your blog topics tells me that you’re more interested in economic stuff than foreign policy, why did you get distracted like this? Influenced by talking points?
    Fabius Maximus replies: You need not look far for your answer. The site’s headline says “a discussion of geopolitics, broadly defined, from an American’s perspective.”

    On the top of the right-side menu are the FM “reference pages” — archives of links to articles on this site and elsewhere, by topic. Of the 19 topics (ignoring the “about” and “comment policy”), 9 are about foreign affairs (8 of which are military-related). The other 10 concern a wide range of topics, only one of which is largely economics.

    So “look at your blog topics tells me that you’re more interested in economic stuff than foreign policy” is not correct. I should write more about the economic aspects of geopolitics, but I find it boring

  5. To Mr. K : Top 4 Reasons Why the U.S.A.F. is in Irak. IMHO.

    1. Fossil fuels
    2. Spread of democratic ideals, transforming the middle east into real estate for mcdonald’s, disneychannel, et. al.
    3. As a garrison to guard against Russia, Iran, & other aspiring powers.
    4. None of the above. Have weapon (“greatest military in the world”), use it. Otherwise it becomes obsolete & irrelevant.
    Fabius Maximus replies: There is the alternative of looking at the official goals for the war.

    “”Victory In Iraq Defined“, part of Our National Strategy for Victory in Iraq (November 2005).

    For more about this see the FM reference page on “Goals and Benchmarks Iraq War“.

  6. Using Cindy “Queen of beers” McCain’s views on Alaska to slam Sarah Palin is a new low.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I strongly disagree.

    As I show by other quotes — and I could provide many more — this appears to be a “talking point” of the McCain campaign. If they use Mrs. McCain to promulgate it, analysis fo these statements are appropriate IMO.

    I believe your comment relies on an outdated view of family member’s role in political campaigns. Mrs. Clinton broke that mold in the 1990’s. Mrs. McCain and (to a greater extent) Mrs. Obama are players in the game. One reason both campaigns use them is (IMO) that they can speak boldly — while responses can be attacked as “a new low.”

  7. Speaking of economics… I think this area is the strongest one for not voting for McCain/Palin, and will be of most interest no matter who gets elected going forward. I think Obama’s intellect and flexibility and curiosity are going to go a long way here, along with his proclivity towards consensus-building.

    We are essentially in a transition as big as the Industrial Revolution if not bigger. In all such situations the political realm lags behind the economic realm, as opportunists use new technologies to evade the spirit if not the letter of existing laws. Efforts to cope with same are impeded by both those who resist change and those who approach it idealistically. The political system will catch up, eventually, at least until the next major discontinuity, but meanwhile, some new bad things become possible and happen.

    Some results are obvious… the subprime thing and mortgage-backed derivatives confounded traditional econometrics for risk and fell outside traditional regulatory practices. Some are quite counterintuitive. The increased overall wealth (global GDP) that has resulted from the fall of the Soviet empire and new technologies such as the Internet have not lifted all boats, but gone to a very few people, in all possible systems and societies. The rise of democracy has led to an increase in what must be called slavery.

    These are summary conclusions from a recent and excellent book called “Rogue Economics” (by Loretta Napoleoni, 2008) which should be required reading for this site and the electorate…
    FM Note: Here is Loretta Napoleoni’s website, and its summary of the book.

  8. Thanks for the reference, Greg. Is “Rogue Economics” similar in any way to Naomi Klein’s “Disater Capitalism”?

  9. Thanks for the reply. Iraq has the potential to produce up to 11 M bbl/day. I see that as reason number one. Though hardly secular liberals, the Iraqis are a great deal more tolerant than the real source of radical islamic terrorism. Getting Iraq to that potential would bring the “victory” I think.

    I don’t buy the use the military or lose it argument. We would have invaded somewhere closer…like Venezuela maybe.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Take those production estimates with a box of salt. Nobody knows. I consider 11 million very uhlikely. That is more than current Saudi output, although they are reportedly increasing it to 12/5.

  10. I think the Klein book focuses on one example… political entities using war and reconstruction to finance their own interests in the private sector. Quasi-legal and elitist in its delivery of benefits. Prisoners taken and for some unknown reason not treated as either POWs or arrested criminals (they must be exactly one of these and any ethical person would choose; I think they are the former) are essentially owned. A-Q is an entity that has declared war, and of course they fall into the paradigm. Klein is anti-Bush on this matter.

    Napoleoni’s book is more global and historical and states that similar things have happened before, and some of the results nowadays are surprising. She had expected this period to be unique but it is not (the ear when sailing technology and navigation ignited a first globalization that had similar properties, and so did the Industrial Revolution. It turns out that in a broad sense one could say that when circumstances change, such that new ways of making money emerge, there is always a time lag between people doing that (with all sorts of negative side effects that laws do not cover, or where enforcement and other systems are either inadequate, absent, or obsolete) and the political process coping with those.

    Does anyone know the ratio and numbers for combat troops in Iraq versus armed private contractors? Assuming the ratio is less than one, at what point do we see something to worry about? 10% “Hessians?”, 25%?, 50%? What does it mean? Is Obama’s proposal to provide free college for national or military service an example of a political adjustment to rogue economic activity? Is it not conservative and ameliorative (assuming, fairly I think, that this does more good than harm) to the Republic to have the government advocate more active engagement of more educated people in itself?

  11. The big concern I have about Palin is not Palin, but what her choice, and how it was made, says about McCain’s willingness to take UNCALCULATED risks.

    McCain is not a poker player: he plays craps. Now craps is a game of pure chance, with the notable feature that, if you play enough, you WILL lose all your money. Palin’s choice is a craps player’s choice: Not only is it an admitted “roll of the dice”, but it was taken without even calculating the odds.

    Palin has lots of interesting pieces of potential dirty laundry (Membership in the alaska secessionist party, her bridge-to-nowhere and access-road-to-bridge-to-nowhere behavior, $20M in debt for a 9000 person town, pregnant teenage daughter that even her spokesperson didn’t know about, no experience when experience has been one of the big thrusts of the campaign, using her firing power for personal revenge (now laywered up, BTW), and who knows what else…)

    Now such items should not necessarily disqualify someone for VP: After all, there is really only about a 1 in 3 chance (death or major disability) that she will matter in that bucket-of-warm-piss job at all. But they should not be a suprise to a campagin, and should not come out in a flood of revelation within a long weekend of her announcement.

    It appears that the republican party never even really vetted her. EG, the Democrats were reportedly the first one to dig through the archives of her hometown paper (online only goes back to 2000, she was mayor before that). There are many reports that the republicans did not contact ANYONE in the Alaskan republican party to get their opinion of Palin as a candidiate.

    What does it say about McCain and his campaign that he selects a VP candidate who he met once, talked on the phone with for a short time, and never did a through background check on?

  12. WaPo has a big story on the secret vetting of the McCain campaign on lots of VP possibles — so this ‘not vetted’ anti-McCain stuff seems weak.

    the hands of someone with astonishingly little capacity to govern.
    Both Mayor and Governor are executive roles — Palin has more real experience governing than (non governing Senators) McCain, Biden, and Obama combined.
    She’s the most popular governor in the USA.
    She has experience fighting corruption, in her own party, and winning — something Obama will be missing.

    Her last two years she has spent governing — Obama’s last year has been spent … campaigning.

    I suspect any Dem Pres. will do better in economics than any Rep, because the easiest way to get things done is to do what the other party wants in economics, so Clinton got Rep-wanted NAFTA and Welfare Reform, while Bush II did the big-gov’t Medicare expansion (sort of like the Dems wanted). If Obama’s promised programs actually get funded, the USA will be in much deeper do do than now.

    So Iraq Freedom & Values for Rep Pres, and better Econ plans, but real Econ laws for a Dem Pres, but worse Iraq Freedom and Values (abortion/ US SC). 2/3 for Reps.

    What is at stake? Will America lead freedom loving people outside America, or will it accept that foreign sponsored terrorist thugs take over in various hotspots? I’ll be voting for Freedom, even it means fighting for it; Dem voters will want to save cash and US lives in the short run and accept reduced freedoms. As they accepted N. Viet & Khmer Rouge commie victories 30+ years ago.

    The Dems will not pay for freedom, nor bear any burden.
    The Dems continually ask, and want their voters to ask, what gov’t goodies are they gonna get this year — not what they can do for their country.

    When Obama says this country isn’t what it once was, when is he referring to?

  13. The Washington Post investigation is effectively campaign members saying “All of this wasn’t a suprise” and “we didn’t check the hometown paper because we wanted it to be a suprise”.

    The NY Times investigation includes uncited others saying “this was very last minute”, and, more importantly, CITED FBI statements going “what background check”, and two CITED alaskan republicans going “I called around, NOBODY was asked about her”.

    Thus I think the following statement is a fair conclusion: Palin was selected by McCain as his running mate with almost no contact, no familiarity, and a suprisingly light background investigation.
    Fabius Maximus replies:

    Palin Disclosures Raise Questions on Vetting“, New York Times, 1 September 2008
    Campaign money hurts Palin’s outsider image“, AP, 2 September 2008
    McCain: Palin Vetting Was ‘Thorough’“, Washington Post, 2 September 2008

  14. I think everyone is missing the real problem with Palin. In the U.S. we don’t trust politicians to “vette” politicians. We vette them through electoral processes. The more they are put through the electoral ringer the more their ideas, values, qualifications, personal flaws, experience, etc, etc, etc, are analyzed by voters. A person who has never faced many voters has never faced the most important challenge in a democracy!

    Number of voters who have voted for candidates in all career contests:

    * McCain: tens of millions
    * Obama: tens of millions
    * Biden:a million plus(hard to tell for sure can’t find old electoral records)
    * H. Clinton: tens of millions
    * almost every other candidate who declared in this presidential election: more than a million
    * Sara Palin: less than 200,000 and probably less than 180,000
    * Number of voters who cast ballots for North Carolina Governor Mike Easley in Mecklenburg Co. NC in the 2004 general election: about 186,000

    Who is John McCain trying to kid. How can any voter know this person has been scrutinized to the level needed to be in line for leader of the most powerful democracy in history!

  15. Update: Another examples of Gov Palin’s experience negotiating with Russia

    Attack of the Russian Fish“, Matthew Yglesias at his bog, 6 September 2008:

    “The ‘Alaska is close to Russia’ line rears its head once again — but with a twist. Now instead of just being told that Alaska is near Russia, Sarah Palin is said to have dealt with Russia on ‘permitting issues and with fishing issues dealing with the sea fishing industry there in Alaska.’ {Youtube link}

    “I’m sure that was a tense negotiation. I’m not really sure I understand why the GOP is out there with these lame talking points. On the one hand, it’s really quite normal for people with no foreign policy experience to become president — Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, etc. — and on the other hand Palin doesn’t seem to have any noteworthy experience or profile on domestic issues either so it’s hardly as if she’s one fishing permit deal away from being a seasoned veteran of the political scene.”

    Comment by Kent, September 6th, 2008 {FM note: Unconfirmed info; I post this FWIW}:

    “OK, this is utter rubbish.

    “I spent 10 years working for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in Alaska which is the federal agency responsible for managing commercial fisheries around the US. First thing to understand. When it comes to fisheries management, states manage commercial fisheries in state waters which extend from the shoreline to 3 nautical miles offshore. the Federal government through NMFS manages commercial fisheries in federal waters and the US EEZ (3 to 200 miles offshore).

    “Now a quick glance at the map will tell you that there is no place where Alaska and Russia are within 3 miles of each other. There is what’s called the “Convention Line” running through the Bering Sea which divides the US and Russian EEZs but this is all federal waters not state waters. And there are lots of joint US-Russian fisheries management initiatives going on that deal with managing “straddling stocks” or stocks of fish that straddle the Convention Line. My bosses at NMFS and commanders of the US Coast Guard in Alaska were always dealing with their Russian counterparts on dozens of issues. And there are various international fisheries conventions and agencies operating in the North Pacific in which the US, Russia, Canada, and Japan are involved. However is is the Federal government that participates in this sort of thing, not the state government of Alaska.

    “That said, there are numerous international issues in which the State of Alaska is actually involved, however they mostly involve Canada. Alaska and Canada have been involved in a longstanding salmon fishing boundary dispute in the Dixon Entrance (the Southeast maritime border between the Alaska and British Columbia). I’m not sure if that’s been resolved. And there are environmental disputes to do with cross border pollution from mines in British Columbia that pollute water that flows into important salmon fishing rivers in Alaska.

    “The fact that the McCain folks are throwing nonsense against the wall to do with Russian relations and not even mentioning the actual international relations with which the State of Alaska is actually involved tells me they are just making shit up and no nothing of which they are speaking. In any event, I doubt Gov. Palin has been involved in any of these sorts of diplomatic issues anyway in her short term as governor. These are complex longstanding disputes that are being dealt with by career agency bureaucrat types over time periods that last decades. A flashy governor like Palin probably has nothing to do with this sort of thing.”

  16. I would beware a little bit of Vladimir Poutine if he has a desire to control – most countries controlled by Russia got something you might find a little different than generally good. I would leave Russia alone, but there could be higher quality things to swallow than Poutine and I never generally order or eat it. If Russia tries to get control of places again – i might invite in Poland or something good but towards Russia I would be very hostile should a situation materialize with Russia trying to regain control – I would kick their ass harder than Ronald Reagan aspired to.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I don’t know what you are attempting to say, but Russia is in many ways a weak state — in the midst of a demographic collapse of a magnitude seldom seen outside war zones (as described here).

  17. I would be kind to Poland and other countries that successfully got out of Russian orbit (including Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavian former states. I would be open to inviting in Ukraine to our diplomatic issues and possibly Georgia. Sarah Palin is not articulate enough, unfortunately to look good saying it – McCain probably told her to go do it -fine but we have to respect any country not in NATO OR 2) Still in Russias orbit wishing to wrongly stay in there to force to change their mind if they do not want to. They can be respected but I would be much more severe towards Russia, especially if they start trying to expand control (god forbid into Europe). At least Germany backs off when they are told to fuck out of somewhere and they don’t come back but Russians REMAIN power. We have to be a bit weary of this.

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