Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Russia, boy I don't know...

The scene above is from the 3rd season of the West Wing. In the clip, Bartlett tell Richie that a Secrete Service Agent was just killed in a robbery. Richie responds by saying "Crime, boy I don't know."

Tonight Sarah Palin had a similar moment, except hers was televised and her answer can be better summarized as "Nuclear holocaust, boy I don't know".

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.

PALIN: Well, you know, the Rose Revolution, the Orange Revolution, those actions have showed us that those democratic nations, I believe, deserve to be in NATO.

Putin thinks otherwise. Obviously, he thinks otherwise, but...

GIBSON: And under the NATO treaty, wouldn't we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?

Yes. Of course. That's why it's so important that we not allow a country with a ONGOING conflict into NATO. Whoever started the trouble in Georgia (Russia's hands aren't clean; but neither are Saakashvili's), it would be ludicrous to allow a country that currently has hostile forces stationed within its borders into NATO.

Saakashvili does not get to declare war between the two largest nuclear stockpiles in the world.

Somebody get Sarah Palin a copy of The Guns of August.

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.

But NATO, I think, should include Ukraine, definitely, at this point and I think that we need to -- especially with new leadership coming in on January 20, being sworn on, on either ticket, we have got to make sure that we strengthen our allies, our ties with each one of those NATO members.

We have got to make sure that that is the group that can be counted upon to defend one another in a very dangerous world today.

GIBSON: And you think it would be worth it to the United States, Georgia is worth it to the United States to go to war if Russia were to invade.

PALIN: What I think is that smaller democratic countries that are invaded by a larger power is something for us to be vigilant against. We have got to be cognizant of what the consequences are if a larger power is able to take over smaller democratic countries.And we have got to be vigilant. We have got to show the support, in this case, for Georgia. The support that we can show is economic sanctions perhaps against Russia, if this is what it leads to.

It doesn't have to lead to war and it doesn't have to lead, as I said, to a Cold War, but economic sanctions, diplomatic pressure, again, counting on our allies to help us do that in this mission of keeping our eye on Russia and Putin and some of his desire to control and to control much more than smaller democratic countries.

His mission, if it is to control energy supplies, also, coming from and through Russia, that's a dangerous position for our world to be in, if we were to allow

I don't know how many times she used the word "democratic".

"Democracy, boy I don't know."

But that's not what worries me. She doesn't understand the function of NATO. If a State, be it Georgia, the Ukraine or France, becomes a NATO member we are automatically obligated to protect them if they are invaded. We don't have options, we don't proceed with sanctions (when have sanctions ever worked?) we go strait to the beach, so to speak (On the Beach, good movie; bad grand strategy).

A hair trigger "red line" with a short time delay is deterrence. That is what kept West Berlin free for 45 years and what stopped the U.S. from intervening in Hungary or Checezlovakia. The red line can be a powerful tool, but must be applied judiciously. Should a NATO country be invaded and we respond with sanctions or diplomacy that's the ball game. We get to pack up our military units, say bydy-bye to the international system we worked so hard to create since 1945 and just wait for the Humongous to take over.

On the other hand, it makes no sense to go to war with Russia over two breakaway regions of Georgia.

A black and white, democracy versus Putin narrative does not work here. Complexity is not a vice.

She takes being disengaged to new heights. When I first saw that McCain had picked Palin it struck me that there was nothing in her academic or professional background that demonstrated any sort of curiosity about international relations, national security or diplomacy. This interview confirms my worst fears. She's a .22 caliber mind in a .45 ACP world. This nation, at this moment, has to expect more from our leaders.

We need a heavyweight.

No comments: