Saturday, March 01, 2014


Sarah Palin is crowing because words written for her five and a half years ago seem to have -- belatedly -- come true:
In 2008, when she was the GOP vice presidential nominee, Palin questioned in a speech whether then-Sen. Barack Obama would have the foreign policy credentials to handle a scenario in which Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

"After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence – the kind of response that would only encourage Russia's Putin to invade Ukraine next," she said in Reno, Nevada on October 21, 2008.

The former Alaska governor was happy to highlight her prediction on Friday and scold those who criticized her 2008 comments.

"Yes, I could see this one from Alaska," she said on Facebook.
Or, um, her speechwriters could. Or, to put it more precisely, they could see an imminent crisis that, as it turned out, wasn't so imminent. And in the same speech, the words they put in Palin's mouth condemned in advance what's turned out to be the greatest foreign policy triumph of the Obama presidency, the raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed.

Let's start at the beginning. In a speech on October 19, 2008, Joe Biden predicted an early foreign policy crisis in an Obama presidency:
"Mark my words," the Democratic vice presidential nominee warned at the second of his two Seattle fundraisers Sunday. "It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

"I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate," Biden said to Emerald City supporters, mentioning the Middle East and Russia as possibilities. "And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he's gonna need is, he's gonna need you – not financially to help him – we're gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we’re right."
Two days later, in what The Weekly Standard called "prepared remarks" -- translation: Palin wasn't the author -- the Alaska governor did a riff on possible foreign policy crises that might result from Obama policies. Now, please note two things:

First, Palin's speechwriters were predicting a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine "next," presumably in (to use Biden's words) the first "six months" of an Obama presidency. It's more than six months since Barack Obama became president, according to my calendar.

And second, Palin's speechwriters were condemning an invasion of Pakistan without the country's assent -- which is precisely how Osama bin Laden was killed.

Transcript of Palin remarks via the Standard -- emphasis mine. Video is at the end of the post.
Did you hear what Senator Biden said at a fundraiser on Sunday? He guaranteed that if Barack Obama is elected, we'll face an international crisis within the first six months of their administration. He told Democrat donors to mark his words - that there were "at least four or five scenarios" that would place our country at risk in an Obama administration. Thanks for the warning, Joe!

He didn't specify what all those four or five scenarios will be, but for clues, let's review the Obama foreign policy agenda.

Our opponent wants to sit down with the world's worst dictators. With no preconditions, he proposes to meet with a regime in Teheran that vows to "wipe Israel off the map." Let's call that crisis scenario number one.

Senator Obama has also advocated sending our U.S. military into Pakistan without the approval of the Pakistani government. Invading the sovereign territory of a troubled partner in the war against terrorism. We'll call that scenario number two.

He opposed the surge strategy that has finally brought victory in Iraq within sight. He's voted to cut off funding for our troops, leaving our young men and women at grave risk. He wants to pull out, leaving some 25 million Iraqis at the mercy of Iranian-supported Shiite extremists and al Qaeda in Iraq. By his own admission, this could mean our troops would have to go back to Iraq. Crisis scenario number three.

After the Russian army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama's reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence - the kind of response that would only encourage Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine next. That would be crisis scenario number four.

But I guess the looming crisis that most worries the Obama campaign right now is Joe Biden's next speaking engagement. Let's call that crisis scenario number five.
(Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that Palin also criticized Obama's plan to withdraw from Iraq in that speech. Hey, Sarah, are you going to call for us to send troops back in now?)

Palin said that "Senator Obama's reaction" to the August 2008 Georgia crisi "was one of indecision and moral equivalence." It will probably not surprise you to learn that the McCain-Palin characterization of Obama's response was, to use a CNN fact-checker's word, misleading:
Obama, on August 8, issued a general statement strongly condemning the "outbreak of violence in Georgia" and urging "an immediate end to armed conflict." "Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war," Obama said in the statement. As facts emerged about the fighting, Obama issued a statement on August 9 condemning Russia's "aggressive actions" and saying Russia had "escalated the crisis." Obama reiterated his "call for an immediate cease-fire."

... as facts emerged about Russia's actions, Obama's statements shifted to criticizing Russia.
Meanwhile, McCain went Full Metal Johnny as usual, declaring that "we are all Georgians" and expressing his solidarity with Ukrainian Georgian president "Misha" Saakashvili. McCain's chummy use of the nickname can be explained in part by the fact that the McCain campaign's top national security adviser, Randy Scheunemann, was also a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government. Once Palin was chosen as McCain's running mate, Scheunemann drew the dirty job of trying to get her up to speed on foreign policy. Hence the speech Palin is so proud of right now -- the one in which she predicted an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine that happened five years later, and that pre-condemned the raid the got bin Laden.

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Buford said...

In our world, broken clocks are correct twice a day...In SP's world, that broken clock is NEVER correct...I betcha her porch is a good place to watch the Rooskies and get stupid...

Victor said...

"...and expressing his solidarity with Ukraininan president "Misha" Saakashvili..."

I believe you mean Georgian President, Steve, no?

McCain can live another 10,000 years, and after all of that time, he still won't be able to wash-away the stench that was his stupid and ignorant VP pick - Sarah "The Whore of Babblin'-on" Palin!!!!!!!

Victor said...

I'd heard that the meth up in Wasilla could do some serious damage to a person's mind and "soul" - and after looking and listening to her, I think they vastly under-rated just HOW MUCH serious damage it can do!

A mind is a terrible thing to baste.

Steve M. said...

I believe you mean Georgian President, Steve, no?

Right -- fixed now. Thanks....

Victor said...

You're welcome.
I'm 1/2 Russkie and 1/2 Uke.

And I am fluent in Russian - but my Ukrainian, once pretty fluent, is very rusty.

But in either language, I know that Saakashvili is usually a Georgian name, or one from the lower Caucuses.

Steve M. said...

I used to eat pierogis at Leshko's and the Kiev on Avenue A in the '80s. That's the extent of my knowledge of Ukraine.

Victor said...

Great places!!!

In the early-mid- 80's, I tended bar in Lys Mykyta (The Sly Fox, in Uke), on 2nd Ave, between St. Marks and 9th St - underneath The Ukrainian National Home.

I used to eat at both places often - but I especially loved "The Cave," with was a couple of yards North from what we called 'The Ukrainian National Asylum.'

Man, their food was GREAT! And fairly cheap!

Great times, great times...

Steve M. said...

Yeah, definitely. And you might have served me a beer or two at Lys Mykyta back in the day....

Victor said...

What brand of beer did you order?

And did you always order the same brand?

Maybe I'll remember you!

Good bartenders always remember what their good-tipping customers drink.

I'm, of course, assuming from reading you for years and years, that you WERE, and still are, a good/great-tipper! ;-)

I was the long-haired blonde, one earringed, bartender, who looked like a Middle Linebacker, and when it was really busy, sweated like Patrick Ewing in an over-time game! :-)

Steve M. said...

I was probably drinking Heineken at the time. And yeah, I was not a bad tipper. Short guy, at the time probably with a girlfriend who was a couple of inches taller than I was.

Ken_L said...

The neo-cons are still baying for Ukraine and Georgia to be admitted to NATO immediately, if not sooner. Deep down they remain frustrated they never got to defeat the Russkies in a proper war. The USSR wasn't supposed to dissolve itself more or less peacefully; it was meant to go down in flames courtesy of American righteous wrath. Canonising Reagan as the victor of the Cold War is all very well but it's not enough. They won't be happy until Moscow looks like Manila 1945 and the video of Putin hanging from a noose is on YouTube.

That's the thing about so many neo-cons: it's all personal and they will remain permanently furious until their innumerable enemies have all been not just defeated, but humiliated and obliterated. Fortunately, they don't seem to be as influential as they were 10 years ago.

Aunt Snow said...

Jeebus, is everything score-keeping to these wingnuts, and particularly, to this stupid woman?

"See, look, I was right once!" (except, of course she's not.)

She's like the rooster who takes credit for the sun rising.

Aunt Snow said...

In the '70s I was drinking at the Blue & Gold around the corner on 7th. I think beer and a shot were $1.30.

Victor said...

Aunt Snow,
Yeah, that price sounds about right for that time.

I don't remember the Blue & Gold, though. But then, I didn't hit that part of the city until about 1982, or so.