Published on
The San Francisco Chronicle

Palin Would Support War With Russia

Carla Marinucci

US Presidential Republican nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain embraces his VP running mate Sarah Palin as they campaign in Fairfax, Virginia. In a break with tradition, Republican presidential candidate McCain and Palin could spend more time together on the campaign trail than apart, a senior campaign aide said Wednesday. (AFP/Paul J. Richards)

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, emerging from media silence for her first serious interview as the GOP vice presidential pick, said Thursday that the United States might have to go to war if Russia were to invade Georgia again.

And on the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, she appeared
entirely unfamiliar with the Bush Doctrine, the central foreign policy
tenet of the current administration, which asserts the right to wage
preventive strikes in the aftermath of such terrorist attacks.

Palin made her statements during an interview with ABC "World News"
anchor Charles Gibson in which she was pressed on her foreign policy
credentials and knowledge. Additional Gibson interviews with Palin will
be broadcast today on ABC.

Palin said she favors admitting Georgia and Ukraine to NATO. Asked
if the United States would have to go to war if Russia again invaded
Georgia when it was a NATO member, Palin said, "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.

"And we've got to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have exerted
such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country,
unprovoked, is unacceptable," she told Gibson. Russia invaded Georgia
after the ex-Soviet republic invaded the separatist region of South

Palin said she had insights into U.S. relations with Russia because
"they're our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from
land here in Alaska ... from an island in Alaska."

During the interview in Fairbanks, Alaska, Palin acknowledged that
she had never met a leader of a foreign country and that she had
visited only Canada and Mexico before a trip to Kuwait and Germany to
visit U.S. troops last year.

"But, Charlie, again, we've got to remember what the desire is in
this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual, and
somebody's big fat resume that shows decades and decades in that
Washington establishment, where, yes, they've had opportunities to meet
heads of state."

'Ready' to serve

But she insisted she was ready to be Sen. John McCain's vice president - and, if necessary, president of the United States.

"I answered (McCain) 'yes' because I have the confidence in that
readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a
way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on,
reform of this country and victory in the war, you can't blink," she

Throughout the interview, Palin appeared prepared, though she stuck
to carefully constructed talking points. In one segment, asked to
explain what the country should do if Israel struck Iranian nuclear
facilities, she repeated three times that the United States cannot
"second-guess" what Israel must do to defend itself.

But she seemed off-balance when asked about the Bush Doctrine -
which includes preventive war, spreading democracy to eliminate
terrorism and brandishing power to force other countries into line.

Asked if she agreed with the Bush Doctrine, she asked, "In what respect, Charlie?"

Said Gibson: "What do you interpret it to be?"

Palin: "His worldview."

Gibson: "No, the Bush Doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war."

Palin answered that she believed the president "has attempted ...
to rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell-bent on
destroying our nation."

After Gibson informed her of the doctrine's definition of
"anticipatory self-defense" against any country that might attack the
United States, she replied: "If there is legitimate and enough
intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American
people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the
president has the obligation, the duty to defend."


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Asked if that meant a right to go to conduct cross-border attacks
from Afghanistan without the approval of the Pakistani government,
Palin said, "We have got to have all options out here on the table."

Palin - who has spoken in her church about U.S. troops being "on a
task that is from God," was asked if she believed the United States is
fighting a "holy war."

Quoting Abe Lincoln

She deflected the question and said she was merely quoting Abraham Lincoln, adding, "I would never presume to know God's will."

On other issues, Palin appeared to do a sharp turn on the issue of
man-made global warming in a part of her interview broadcast on

In an August interview with the conservative Web site,
Palin said, "I'm not one, though, who would attribute (global warming)
to being man-made."

But asked Thursday whether she believed man had a role in it, Palin said:

"I believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to
the issue of global warming, climate change. ... Regardless of the
reason for climate change, whether it's entirely, wholly caused by
man's activities or is part of the cyclical nature of our planet - the
warming and the cooling trends - regardless of that, John McCain and I
agree that we gotta do something about it, and we have to make sure
that we're doing all we can to cut down on pollution."

The interview will be broadcast in three parts over the next two
days. ABC's "World News," "Good Morning, America," "Nightline" and
"20/20" will all feature the interview.

The broadcasts will include biographical footage of Palin and
coverage of her 19-year-old son, Track, who is scheduled to be deployed
to Iraq this week.



Prior to Thursday, the GOP governor was virtually inaccessible to
reporters on critical issues like national security, terrorism and the

In the week since she accepted the nomination at the Republican
National Convention, Palin has stuck mostly to the script reprising her
widely praised speech - and has not taken media questions when
appearing at the side of her running mate.

The protective cocoon surrounding her has provided a sharp contrast
to GOP presidential candidate McCain, who has had a generally warm
relationship with media at his events, where he has welcomed their

The McCain team has created a "truth squad" to protect her from
charges in the media. And it has surrounded her with seasoned Bush
operatives and media handlers to prepare her for Gibson and the coming
debate with Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden.


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