Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 11, 2008
POLITICS/WAR: Talking Points Memo Does Not Understand The NATO Charter

TPM's David Kurtz headlines an excerpt of Gov. Palin's interview with Charlie Gibson tonight "Palin Foreign Policy: War with Russia." Kurtz is working off an alarmist ABC News headline "EXCLUSIVE: GOV. SARAH PALIN WARNS WAR MAY BE NECESSARY IF RUSSIA INVADES ANOTHER COUNTRY"

Unfortunately for Kurtz's effort to make Gov. Palin into Dr. Strangelove, his post includes a direct quote from the interview:

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

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.

As you can tell from Gibson's question, Gov. Palin has simply reiterated the central and foundational element of the NATO Charter. Article 5 of the NATO Charter, to which Gibson and Gov. Palin refer here, "states that an armed attack against one or more of the Allies in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.". Article 5 is the reason for NATO's existence, and of course it was originally drafted in 1949 precisely to deal with the situation of a Russian (then Soviet) invasion of the easternmost frontier of NATO, which is precisely what Georgia and/or Ukraine would become if their NATO membership is approved next year.

Funny, isn't it, how the Left loses interest in multilateralism and treaty obligations when it suits their purpose? No responsible American leader would offer a different answer to Gibson's question. Any other answer would simply be a declaration of intent to withdraw from NATO.

UPDATE: TPM boss Josh Marshall repeats this line of attack on Gov. Palin, and seems incredulous at the notion that a NATO member might be obligated to go to war if another NATO member is attacked. Seven years ago, NATO invoked Article 5 following the September 11 attacks; it was much noted at the time that this recognized that an attack on the United States was an attack on all NATO members.

How soon they forget.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:23 PM | Politics 2008 • | War 2007-14 | Comments (29) | TrackBack (0)

she looked over coached, she has no opinion other that what she was spoon feed.
No clue on Georgia frightening.

Posted by: javaman at September 11, 2008 10:10 PM

she looked over coached, she has no opinion other that what she was spoon feed.
No clue on Georgia frightening.

Posted by: javaman at September 11, 2008 10:10 PM

Judging by the quotes (I watched some of the interview, but not all) it sounds like Palin not only understands what NATO is, but also understands it's limitations - specifically, that we shouldn't be admittting a country on the borders of Russia if our sometimes squishy Western European allies will wimp out on defending them.

There's no question Palin is inexperienced, but she does not appear to be clueless from what I have seen.

Posted by: Jerry at September 11, 2008 10:11 PM

The only thing that made me nervous, from what I have seen, was not knowing what the Bush Doctrine was. Granted, I've heard the phrase "Bush Doctrine" used to describe a couple of different ideas - I noted back in 2003 that there were actually three different "Bush Doctrines" - but Gibson was asking about the one I identified as #2 in that post, the doctrine of preemption. That said, she was only willing to commit to preemption in the case of an imminent threat of attack, which is more limited than Bush's or McCain's position.

Posted by: Crank at September 11, 2008 10:19 PM

Unless I'm mistaken, both Obama & Biden want Georgia added to NATO. Which, of course, would mean that Josh "I collaborated on the discredited Bush-CBS-Rather-Memo story" Marshall is attempting to smear Palin for supporting the very thing that his preferred ticket is on record endorsing.

I admit that I'm going off memory, though.

Posted by: RW at September 11, 2008 10:40 PM

No, you are correct. The lefty blogs - and not just TPM, either - are getting the vapors over her agreeing with their own ticket.


Posted by: Crank at September 11, 2008 10:44 PM

Calling Miss South Carolina. But seriously she seemed very programmed not the Soccer mom persona. Far too many basic interview techniques and not much humility when asked if she was ready for the job.

Spin away Crank. We all here may agree and disagree but as political hobbyist we knew what the Bush Doctrine is and all the incarnations.

Posted by: javaman at September 11, 2008 11:10 PM


Not enough humility? If she answered Gibson's question with any sense of being less than adequate fools on the left would have jumped on it as proof she isn't ready. If she is going to run she needs to say she feels she is ready. Maybe if she had uttered uh and um several times for each question then the Obama fans would think she was a deep thinker.

Posted by: largebill at September 11, 2008 11:26 PM

You’re trying for the second in command of the greatest country in the free world. That is why you have to answer that question with reflection and humility. Not, a quick Yes I am ready. An answer to that question requires serious introspection and pause.

Posted by: javaman at September 11, 2008 11:38 PM

I am a little confused .... when was Barack Obama asked point blank by a reporter if he was qualified to be president? and when has he shown humility?

Posted by: dch at September 11, 2008 11:51 PM

You didn't hear? Obama says he has "a lot of humility".

Yes, of course, Obama would be happy to tell you how humble he is.

Posted by: The Crank at September 12, 2008 12:10 AM

Man, you guys are unbelievable. If your main argument is, and has been, that "Obama has no experience; he's not ready to serve as Commander-in-chief," then how can you honestly support a ticket where a woman with just as little or less experience is one 71 year-old heartbeat away from the Presidency?

For the 894th time, I ask, I implore, I beg, I appeal to your intellectual honesty . . . just come out and say it: you don't support Obama because he's the Democratic president. Period. Nothing more.

Not because he's charismatic & people are "moved by him (like Reagan . . . or Palin). Not because he has no foreign policy experience (Reagan, Bush, Clinton, LBJ, etc.). Not because he has no clear economic plan (uhhh, McCain anyone?).

It's the most mind-boggling display, day-after-day, to come here and read this stuff. And I'll admit, in a deeply perverse way I come here daily to see how low you'll all stoop (I know left-leaning blogs who do the very mirror of this, and they're freakish to observe too).

But seriously, Crank, how can you keep twisting & spinning this crap? You think Obama has no experience, no understanding about foreign policy. Fine. We respectfully disagree. But please, for the love of all that's true and logical and intellectually-sound, don't waste one word trying to convince your readers that Palin has a CLUE, at this point, about foreign policy. She was sequestered & coached for two weeks, and that's the best she could do?

C'mon. You like her, you like her social policy, you like her toughness mixed with charm? Fine, you can call her Ronalda Reagan. But don't try to tell us she's also Henrietta Kissinger. Cause she ain't.

Posted by: Mike at September 12, 2008 7:12 AM

She's a governor. By definition, Governors run states, they don't travel to other countries & negotiate foreign policy agreements. Her expertise is in executive experience & her history of reforming not only her state, but her own party within that state. Likewise, Obama's expertise is.....well, it's not foreign policy cuz that's why he chose's not executive experience because he has's not reform because he was a part of the Chicago machine....what IS his expertise? Well, doesn't matter. He's the nominee, the choice of the Dems.

Really, we go through these machinations every few years & have the same arguments, the only difference is the names. I remember in '92 when the Bush/Quayle campaign was assailing Bill Clinton's lack of foreign policy experience.

how can you honestly support a ticket where a woman with just as little or less experience is one 71 year-old heartbeat away from the Presidency?
You guys keep running that thing up the if someone running a CAMPAIGN is equivalent to someone running a STATE.
But don't try to tell us she's also Henrietta Kissinger. Cause she ain't.
Who has said that she is? Just because 'we' aren't jumping up and down & saying that she's less experienced than the Messiah - which is laughable - doesn't mean that we're conveying that she's as entrenched as the average DC insider. She's the governor of Alaska...that's a notch above a US senator precisely because of the executive power & experience.

If you dispute that....then answer this: why, exactly, did John Corzine give up his US senate seat & go after the governorship?

You don't think she has the chops: fine. That's okay. To argue that Obama has more is ludicrous. That you're best bet is to compare your #1 to our #2 is quite telling, though.

Posted by: RW at September 12, 2008 9:07 AM

BTW, Mike, loved this section of your site, about Republicans:

I detest them, I loathe them, I despise & hate them from the core of my soul, to the center of my very existence. I wish they weren't Americans and I wish they didn't control or affect my country's policies.


I think we now know all we really need to know, don't we?

Posted by: RW at September 12, 2008 9:11 AM

First, nobody on this planet with the hubris to run for President, no matter the party, no matter the leanings, hasn't a shred of humility. None. Not a trace. If they did, do you think they would go for the job?

VP seems to have a slightly different job description, and really, it's not XO (which, certainly since Haldeman) has been Chief of Staff), but Zampolit (remember that from the Hunt for Red October?)--chief political shill to help you get elected. Ya think FDR would have tapped some political hack from Missouri for a 4th term otherwise? That said, Palin's answer was programmed from a really stupid question. Yes, she should have shown a bit of humility, but really, how many politicians really are humble?

I won't go after McCain/Palin on the experience issue; or even on the crazy issue. It's too played out for too long. Sticking to issues is a nice theory, but it's never, and I mean never been done in over 200 years. Why start a nice trend now?

McCain is someone I can't support, because he has basically said that what hasn't worked in the past will work now, because he says it nicer. What do you call someone who keeps doing the same thing but expects different results?

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at September 12, 2008 9:19 AM

just come out and say it: you don't support Obama because he's the Democratic president.

Candidate. You meant to say, 'candidate.'

It is this sort of gaffe (you're not the first to start calling him the president prematurely) that reveals unbelievable hubris on the part of both the candidate and his supporters.

Do you suppose that if Cap'n Bullshit is elected, he will keep his silly, meaningless 'O' symbol? Will he tolerate serving under the same seal as lesser lights such as Truman and Kennedy?

I suppose he'll have the arrows removed from the eagle's talons and replaced with little diplomats, eh.

Posted by: lauraw at September 12, 2008 10:17 AM

How about this gem from last night, "'I can see Russia from Alaska"

Spin that Crank without mentioning Obama.

Posted by: javaman at September 12, 2008 11:19 AM

Come on Crank

This is the best you can do? This was your first time seeing the person you want to be VP answer substantive questions and the best you can come up with is to argue that a couple of left-wing bloggers misrepresented one of her answers?

Seems to me you realize she is in way over her head here. Or did she impress you with her inability to directly answer a single question and avoid specifics.

Perhaps you believe that she was referencing Abraham Lincoln when telling a church group that the war was God's plan?

Posted by: James at September 12, 2008 11:25 AM

Kirsten Powers is a Republican, right?

I don't suppose you want to see the entire quote in context?

Of course not. Slander doesn't work that way. As Gibson and whoever edited the interview well know.

Posted by: lauraw at September 12, 2008 11:33 AM

"Or did she impress you with her inability to directly answer a single question and avoid specifics. [sic]"

You mean like Obama?

And Palin actually told the church group to pray that the war was God's plan. There is a big difference between saying: "The war is God's plan" and "Let's pray and hope that the war, because it is happening, is part of God's plan." She clearly said the latter if you actually listen to the entire statement.

And that is no different than the prayer Obama made at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, asking God to help him do God's will.

Posted by: per14 at September 12, 2008 11:40 AM

I suppose he'll have the arrows removed from the eagle's talons and replaced with little diplomats, eh.

Nice one.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 12, 2008 11:54 AM

Palin=George W. Bush in a dress.

Posted by: Berto at September 12, 2008 12:18 PM

As evidenced by several of the comments here & the overplayed hyperbole amongst the media types, many still have no idea how to react to the Sarah Palin phenomenon.

Here's my plea: continue doing exactly what you're doing now.


Posted by: RW at September 12, 2008 12:27 PM

I can't help but notice that Republicans will defend ANYTHING so long as it advances Republican concerns. Bush is totally incompetent, but the diehards love him. Same with Palin: she is telegenic and exciting, but a little bit dumb. No matter. Republicans love her. God help us all.

Posted by: steve at September 12, 2008 12:49 PM

@Per: A couple of thoughts on your response (though I'm still waiting for Crank to weigh in).

1) The idea that Obama hasn't given specifics is laughable. They're on his website, there were some in his acceptance speech and when interviewers ask for specifics, they get them. The reality is that this is a soundbite world we live in, so that's what most "journalists" go for and that's what those who do not actively pay attention to are restricted to seeing.

2) Why would your response to a criticism of Palin be to attack Obama? Try pretending that Obama does not exist and answer the legitimate critiques of Palin (those that don't touch on her abilities as a parent).

Has she done anything to demonstrate real knowledge, by which I mean more than scripted talking points, about any major foreign relations issue? About any domestic issue other than Alaskan oil reserves?

It's fine to vote for McCain if you think his policies are better than Obama's? An argument can be made there. I think it's an incredibly weak one, but I can see it.

What I cannot see, and neither Crank, nor you, nor any of Palin's defenders, is any evidence that she has sufficient knowledge to lead this country.

Posted by: James at September 12, 2008 12:51 PM

James, I could say the same thing about Obama. And anything the guy does say to try to convince me is very likely to be inoperative the next day. So not only do I see no evidence that convinces me Obama is ready to lead the country but I could not believe it if I did.

Further, as has been said again and again, you guys are arguing the top of your ticket against the VP on ours.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 12, 2008 1:15 PM

Let me amend this to the end of spongeworthy's above comment:

"....and losing"

Posted by: RW at September 12, 2008 1:25 PM

James: you make a good point and I concede that a defense should not entirely consist of, "But, but, look at your candidate." I'm not saying Palin has extensive foreign policy knowledge or that she is truly ready to lead the country as President on January 20. But who truly is ready to lead this country right now? Certainly not Obama. There will always be a learning curve, and I am comfortable that she can tackle that curve if she has to do so. Everyone imagines the doomsday scenario of McCain dying, and okay, let's assume that happens. If Palin becomes President, what reason do you see that Obama is more qualifed than her, or that Obama has the knowledge to be President. I've never seen anything indicating that to me. So, we'd have an inexperienced President either way. So, if I'm basing my vote only on the experience issue, I'd rather vote for McCain/Palin because McCain is, in fact, still alive.

I'm sorry but Obama is not specific when asked questions. His website is specific, which is great. So is McCain's. But when Obama is asked questions, he hems and haws and qualifies. Frankly, he is not any more eloquent than Bush at extemperaneous (spelling?) speaking. If he were white and had a southern accent, all the comedians would be making fun of him.

Posted by: per15 at September 12, 2008 1:43 PM

Oops. That last comment was me. It wasn't Pete Rose's long-lost brother who wore #15.

Posted by: per14 at September 12, 2008 1:45 PM
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