Thursday, September 11, 2008

Clarifying my thoughts

Sarah Palin's comments about a possible war with Russia are explosive, but not for the reason some people seem to think.

If you read the transcript (I haven't seen the video) it is clear that Palin is NOT advocating for a war with Russia. Nor is she saying that we should go to war if Russia invades another country. That was not her mistake.

Her statement was that a Russian invasion of a NATO nation (which is what Georgia wants and (I think) McCain and Palin are advocating) would require America to go to war with Russia. This is technically correct. Again, this was not her mistake.

Her mistake was in getting bogged down in a hypothetical.

World leaders, especially leaders with nuclear weapons, must always be careful when choosing their words. "War" is perhaps the most incendiary of all such words. And "War with Russia" just adds fuel to the fire. A good leader does not throw out a comment like this without a lot of careful thought. Because, if a world leader does not think carefully, they could just aggravate an already tense situation. Sarah Palin's statement was technically true, but hypothetically disastrous. THAT was her mistake.

So don't get dragged into a fight with people about the technical details of the NATO treaty. That is not the issue here. The issue is whether it is a good idea to have as VP a person who doesn't understand the most basic rules of diplomacy.


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