Make no mistake: Sarah Palin is up to speed on the world beyond Alaska's shores. What takes most of us years to learn--from travel, from meeting folks with funny-sounding accents, from reading, you know, books--she gleaned in a few sit-downs with heads of state and Henry Kissinger. She now can talk foreign policy as well as she can, well, hunt moose.
OK, but why are the leaders of the world wasting their time acting as her crash-course tutors on International Relations 101? Can't she just find some goateed TA up at Columbia University to give her a quick tutorial? No wonder the McCain camp wants to keep the press as far away as possible from Palin. I would too if I were running that campaign. The only sound bite was some dippy comment about Hamid Karzai's son's name (Lord, spare us the transcript of her meeting with Bono later today). Still, what I--and probably every journalist this side of Alaska--wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall in some of these meetings ("Um, Prime Minister Karzai, what's 'soft power' again?").
Like anyone stuck in midtown traffic yesterday, I watched with slight bemusement, slight befuddlement. On one hand, she is making a complete mockery of the United Nations and whole foreign policy establishment (which, let's face it, deserves to be mocked), not to mention pissing off every reporter in the process for restricting their access (Joseph Biden should demand the same time and attention among world leaders as his Republican counterpart--then let every reporter and blogger under the sun in to witness his exchanges with these heads of state).
On the other hand, she is bound to have her "Gerald Ford" moment (remember in 1976 when the poor guy forgot that Poland was in the Soviet orbit?). If you put truth serum in any of these leaders' tea, they will freely admit these tutorials are a complete waste of time and sorry excuse for a campaign photo-op (Why not just give the Alaskan governor a free day pass to the Council on Foreign Relations?). Most are probably staring at Randy Scheunemann--who is operating as Palin's Suge Knight and probably wearing wrap-around shades and whispering advice into her left ear--harboring thoughts like, "This war-mongering goon is the last man I want to be sharing a room with."
Sorry to say, but a few sit-downs with foreign leaders does not a second-to-the-commander-in-chief make. The Republicans should know better and stop this farce. Doesn't Bono have better things to do with his time?