Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sarah Palin Exhibits Growing Foreign Policy Expertise During Keynote Address At The India Today Conclave, Becoming More Presidential In Character

Those who consider Sarah Palin a "dummy" might want to reconsider after reading this account of her appearance as the closing keynote speaker at the 10th India Today Conclave in New Delhi on March 19th, 2011. During this visit, Palin not only showed her growing foreign policy expertise, but her remarks about China also demonstrated that she took time to familiarize herself with the recent history of South Asia, and in particular, the long-standing dynamic between India and China before her visit. Palin also demonstrated that her Presidential character continues to grow; this visit should result in her being taken more seriously as a Presidential candidate. The first media stories have appeared on the CNN Political Ticker and India Today; Conservatives4Palin notes in this post that both the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times misquoted Palin. CNN News video embedded below:

Palin got an extremely warm welcome when she delivered her address at the conference in New Delhi. She spoke to a packed room on a variety of subjects including the U.S. economy, energy, the rise of China, national security, and finally, to ties between the United States and India. Palin cited India’s economic growth from market reforms in the 1990s as a lesson for the United States. “You unleashed the creativity and the hard work of the Indian people. You turned away from a system where the central government sets targets for all sectors of the economy to a system that lets the market set its own targets. And that works,” she said.

But it was the Q & A following the address that attracted the most attention. While Conservatives4Palin has embedded a 30-minute video of the Q & A, I present summarized highlights of the most pertinent questions below (after the jump):

-- China: Palin questioned whether China's stockpiling of ballistic missiles, submarines and new-age, ultramodern aircraft could truly be for defensive purposes in the face of an absence of any overt threat to China's security and sovereignty. This is probably the most important remark she made during her visit, because of India's long-standing rivalry with China. After the 1959 Tibet uprising, when India granted refuge to the Dalai Lama, relations between India and China quickly deteriorated, leading to a brief military conflict in 1962. Since that time, China has repeatedly tilted in favor of Pakistan in its disputes with India as a strategem to keep India preoccupied; some sources believe future military conflict is possible. The only way Sarah Palin could have known her remarks about China would be well-received in India would be if she had researched the recent history in advance; this indicates Sarah Palin does her homework.

-- President Obama's response to Libyan crisis: Palin mildly criticized Obama's handling of the Libyan crisis, saying there should have been "more decisiveness, less dithering". But she did back much of Obama's overall game plan, saying that ground troops should not be used in the conflict and indicated that strategic air strikes and a no fly zone are appropriate measures.

-- Why the Republican ticket lost the 2008 election: Palin attributed the loss to a star-struck media seduced by a Barack Obama who artfully minimized his lack of experience through repetitive mantras of "hope" and "change", which sent thrills running up the legs of influential girly-men like Chris Matthews. Palin also appeared to suggest that the race might have turned out differently had she been at the top of the ticket instead of McCain, but then quickly rejoindered that she was kidding. Personally, I do believe it would have turned out differently; McCain barely showed a pulse during the campaign.

-- Will she run for President?: Palin would not be drawn into saying she would seek the Republican nomination in the 2012 U.S. presidential elections, but she did say that it's time for a woman to become President.

-- Why does Sarah Palin remain a Republican instead of going third party?: Palin said that although the Republican Party's apparatus was at times frustrating to deal with, she considers Presidents Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln role models and cites them as her reasons she joined the party in the first place. Consequently, I believe it's unlikely that Palin would go third party; when Pat Buchanan tried it in 2000, he only got two percent of the vote. It takes incredible effort and copious funding to get an alternative party certified in 50 different states.

Sarah Palin's next stop on this trip is Israel. During her two-day visit, which begins on March 20th and ends on March 22nd, she will be meeting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as well as other nationalist figures, including MK Danny Danon (Likud). She is expected to visit the Kotel, as well as Jerusalem and Nazareth, and will tour Israel by helicopter. It doesn't appear that she will meet with Palestinian officials to get their perspective as well.

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