The 20 questions we would ask Sarah Palin | FP Passport

The 20 questions we would ask Sarah Palin

Since the governor isn't here I'll step in:

1. In a broad and long-term sense, would you have responded differently to the attacks of 9/11?

Surge in Afghanistan earlier and stay longer. Ask Rumsfeld to resign earlier. He was overly focused on Transformation.

2. Is Iraq a democracy?

Not yet.

3. What’s the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?

They believe in different successors to the prophet.

4. What is your preferred plan for peace between Israel and Palestine? A two state solution? What about Jerusalem?

Palestine gets a state when they get their house in order. We'll help them to that end once they stop sending suicide bombers over the border and calling for the destruction of the US and Israel. Jerusalem goes to Israel.

5. How do you feel about French President Nicolas Sarkozy's recent visit to Syria? Do you believe the United States should negotiate with leaders like President Bashar al-Assad?

France has always positioned itself as the third tent pole. An alternative to either the US or Russia. They have much deeper relationship with the Arab world (as in Algeria) in terms of history and business. For now, relations with Syria are best confined to backchannel that Jordan has been doing so well for us. In time, Syria might be a negotiating partner.

6. Nearly 40 percent of the world's population lives in China and India. Who are those countries' leaders?

Do you have a serious question? Policy is more important than names.

7. Do you support the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, which would lift restrictions on sales of nuclear technology and fuel to India, a country which hasn’t signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty?

Yes but non-proliferation should be a precondition. India is a strong friend of the US. A relationship we should foster further.

8. Other than more drilling, what steps do you suggest the U.S. take in order to move toward energy independence? Do you believe more investment is needed in alternative energy research? If so, how would you recommend this funding be allocated?

Ramp up nuclear, wind, geothermal and hydro power. Look for creative solutions like tax credits for green buildings. Create "X prizes" to foster R&D competition.

9. How would you balance concerns over human rights and freedom in China with the United States' growing economic interdependence with that country?

China has repeatedly stated that human rights is a "western concept." Remind them that "national sovereignty" and "capitalism" are also "western concepts". Remind them also that MFN doesn't last forever and we have friends in India who would be more than happy to make our televisions.

10. What's more important: securing Russia's cooperation on nuclear proliferation and Iran, or supporting Georgia's NATO bid? If Vladimir Putin called you on the phone and said, "It's one or the other," what would you tell him?

Tough call. Probably Georgia. Iran is a problem but upholding democracy takes precedence.

11. Critique the foreign policy of the last administration. Name its single greatest success, and its most critical failure.

Greatest success was fostering a coalition of nations to fight terrorists. Toppling Afghanistan with a small contingent was very impressive. Most critical failure: L. Paul Bremmer and Rumsfelds intransigence.

12. What do you think will be the most defining foreign-policy issue in the next five years?


13. What role should the United States play in the global effort to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS? Should it support contraception, or abstinence only?

We've taken a lead role for some time now and have been doing well. We need to attack this from any angle possible. Education, prevention and treatment. If that means passing out condoms to the developing world, so be it.

14. You've said that the federal government spends too much money. What, in your view, is the appropriate level of spending as a percentage of GDP?

We're currently at about 20% (I had to look it up) which surprised me. I don't think the question is that simple as we have debt servicing as a huge portion of that. Once that debt had been serviced we should be cutting that spending down to about 15% or even 10% if possible.

15. You're an advocate of reducing environmental restrictions on drilling. How much oil needs to be found in the United States before the country achieves energy independence?

False choice. We are not going to drill our way into independence. It will offset a significant portion of our spending and help with SPR but independence is unrealistic.

16. What are your picks for the three most enlightening books written on foreign policy in the last five years?

Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism
The Wealth of Nations (yes I actually read it)
The World Is Flat

17. Who among the world's leaders can be listed as the top three friends of the United States and why?

Again with the world leaders. It's about nations being friends not leaders. Great Britain, Canada and Australia are our closest allies.

18. In your opinion, which U.S. president was the most successful world leader and why?

World leader? As distinct from most successful president? I'd have to go with either FDR or Reagan. FDR saw America through WWII. Reagan fought communism with a messianic zeal.

19. Which U.S. political thinkers, writers, and politicians would you enlist to advise you on matters of foreign policy and why?

George Will is a member of the loyal opposition and it's always good to have someone that smart tell you when you're wrong.

Daniel Pipes is George's polar opposite but also quite smart.

I'd have to think about some others.

20. Who is the first world leader you'd like to meet with and why?

Jalal Talabani and Hamid Karzai. They are the two most important conversations we need to have.


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