5 National Security Hurdles Governor Palin Must Clear

11/01/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

1. KNOWLEDGE: Governor Palin must demonstrate the knowledge necessary to be Commander-in-Chief.

Governor Palin has repeatedly cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as a qualification for being Commander-in-Chief.  This despite the fact that Russia isn't even in the top twenty countries that trade with Alaska and that Moscow is actually closer to Maine than Alaska.  Moreover, when asked about the Bush Doctrine, Palin did not recognize the argument over preemption that dominated American politics and foreign policy circles for years.  She did not even obtain a passport until last year and has shown little interest in international affairs. 

2. PAKISTAN: Governor Palin must explain the McCain-Palin position on eliminating Al Qaeda's safe-haven in Pakistan.

Pakistan is one of the most critical issues currently facing our country.  Our intelligence community and the Pentagon believe that the safe haven on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border represents the most likely source of another attack on the United States.  Yet incredibly, Governor Palin's position on this issue appears to be at odds with John McCain's.  While he has criticized Barack Obama for arguing that the U.S. should take direct action against high value terrorist targets inside Northwest Pakistan, Governor Palin has made remarks suggesting she supports such measures.

3. IRAN: Governor Palin must explain the McCain-Palin strategy for dealing with Iran.

Governor Palin has called Barack Obama's proposal to engage in diplomacy with Iran without preconditions "dangerous" and "naïve."  Yet, it is almost the exact same position as the one taken by one of her own campaign's advisors -- Henry Kissinger.  Moreover, Palin has made public statements that would implicitly give Israel a green light to attack Iran -- even though such an action would have serious national security implications for the United States and the Bush administration has reportedly opposed such a move.

4. RUSSIA: Governor Palin must explain the McCain-Palin position on Russia.

Instead of carefully avoiding hypotheticals and inflammatory language, Governor Palin recklessly speculated about a possible war with Russia -- the world's second largest nuclear power.  She must clarify her ticket's positions on Georgia joining NATO and the potential for war with Russia over South Ossetia.

5. VISION: Governor Palin must articulate what her vision is for American foreign policy

Governor Palin has said little about her own foreign policy views and philosophy.  In an interview with Katie Couric she seemed to take a position similar to the Neoconservatives and George Bush's first term and early second term that we should be aggressively spreading democracy as the main goal of U.S. foreign policy and that this type of approach would help eliminate terrorism.  She must expand on this view and give a fuller description of her general approach to national security.

A more detailed version of this post appears on Democracy Arsenal.