Listening to her critics, one might think that John McCain’s chosen running-mate is a complete ignoramus when it comes to matters of national security. In fact, Sarah Palin’s background in Alaska, including most recently her service as that state’s governor, suggests that the judgment of the Republicans’ candidate for Vice President with respect to this portfolio is likely to be substantially better than that of either Barack Obama or Joe Biden.
Consider the following factors:
* Gov. Palin has spent much of her adult life dealing with matters long central to the Alaskan experience and now of surpassing importance to the nation as a whole – namely, energy security and how we can provide for it. Having managed her state’s department responsible for oil and gas exploration and exploitation, having negotiated a long-delayed natural gas pipeline through Canada to the Lower 48 and having been married for nearly two decades to a blue-collar worker in Alaska’s North Slope oil fields, she knows more about the subject than all three of the others on the two parties’ tickets put together.
If Gov. Palin can bring to bear her insights into the need for expanded, yet environmentally sensitive drilling, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) – together with an appreciation of the need to introduce fuel-choice in our transportation sector, the object of the bipartisan Open Fuel Standard Act introduced in both the House and Senate shortly before the August recess – she will demonstrate unsurpassed leadership in what is, arguably, the single most important national security challenge of our time.
* Napoleon is said to have declared that “Geography is destiny.” That certainly is true of Gov. Palin. Her state is adjacent to Russia, a nation that has in recent years demonstrated a rising aggressiveness towards its neighbors. The targets are not just the relatively weak and formerly enslaved countries on its littoral like Georgia – the scene of a bloody invasion last month aimed at toppling the elected government there. Moscow has also conducted simulated strategic bombing runs with Soviet-era long-range, nuclear-capable aircraft. These offensive missions are designed to penetrate U.S. northern air defenses in a manner reminiscent of the most provocative of Kremlin behavior during the Cold War.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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