What if you could ask Sarah Palin only one question?
Yes, we know Sarah Palin doesn't like to answer questions. She avoided interviews when she ran for Vice President of the United States. She even refused to answer a question in the Vice Presidential debate -- for which answering questions was the very point. She continues to avoid interviews, except in the most protected, user-friendly venues. Those of the "If you could be any tree, what kind would it be?" variety.
In fairness, I appreciate her attitude. If I knew as little as Sarah Palin and was on the world stage, I wouldn't want to be questioned either.
No hyperbole here. Keep in mind that to Ms. Palin, "What newspapers do you read?" was not only never answered, but later referred to by her as "Gotcha Journalism."
In fairness, given her avoidance of all serious questioning, pretty much anything that Sarah Palin can't answer is considered "Gotcha Journalism."
It still would be nice to know what newspapers Ms. Palin does read, since she never got around to replying, other than, "Everything." (Admittedly, that's a hefty reading list.) But that's not the question I'd like her to answer. After all, someone who yowls about Death Panels clearly doesn't rely on much of anything to inform her.
No, if a person could ask Sarah Palin only one question, what I'd like to hear the former half-term governor finally answer -- seriously -- is:
"What do you actually know about foreign affairs?"
It's important to remember that to this day, the only comment we still have from her on the subject is: "They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska." Sorry, that really doesn't cut it. No, really.
Considering that Sarah Palin is relentlessly pawning herself as Informed, a Leader, an Expert - who wants to be president -- it's critical to know what that expertise is.
So, "What do you actually know about foreign affairs?"
In the two years since telling us that she and all Alaskans can see Russia, there is nothing to suggest she has made the slightest effort to learn anything more. Her only travel outside the U.S. has been to give a speech in Hong Kong, and that was to mostly American businessman. She hasn't met any foreign leaders. For all we know, she hasn't even met any foreign tourists. So, as far as it appears, Sarah Palin is still clueless when it comes to knowing pretty much anything about the world outside.
But still, Sarah Palin yammers on, continuing her snake oil tour, giving her opinions on matters she knows zero about.
"What do you actually know about foreign affairs?
This all came up yet again because last week, Sarah Palin commented on a statement that the President of the United States made about world power, and she showed -- yet again -- why being clueless is also dangerous.
"I don't understand a world view," she scolded, "where we have to question whether we like it or not that America is powerful."
The only thing that makes sense in her admonition are the words, "I don't understand a world view."
You see, what President Barack Obama had said was something far more thoughtful about understanding America. "It is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts -- because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower, and when conflicts break out, one way or another we get pulled into them. And that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure."
What the president understands is that the word "we" doesn't mean "me," as it seemingly does to Sarah Palin. It's all of us, that whole pesky "We, the People..." thing. What the president understands further it that as the world's superpower, our actions cost American lives. And cost money so gargantuan that it impacts the American way of life. In Iraq and Afghanistan alone, 5,400 American have been killed; 37,000 wounded. Almost $984 billion spent.
And some Americans -- both liberal and conservative -- don't like that. But as the president stated, like it or not, because we are the world's dominant power, we -- all of us -- get dragged into almost every conflict, anywhere.
That's why if we can reduce losing American lives and spending money, it is better.
Unfortunately for Sarah Palin, when you don't know anything about the world, when you have no experience in foreign affairs, when you make no effort to learn, when all you do is flit around as a demagogue -- what results is that empty words pour out and prove, yet again, your painful hollowness. And all that can come of that are thoughtless actions which get American mired down in disaster after crushing disaster, when instead we should strive to keep them from occurring in the first place.
For eight years, we just saw what happens when a president is intellectually lazy. We saw a budget surplus of $300 billion go to a deficit of $482 billion. We saw an unprovoked war started based on a lie. We saw our nation attacked, 3,000 killed, because a briefing memo was ignored. We saw a city wiped off the map by a hurricane.
And yet for all this, Sarah Palin's intellectual curiosity makes George Bush look like a Rhodes Scholar.
And still, she yammers on.
And still the question remains for Sarah Palin -
"What in the world do you actually know about foreign affairs?"
Follow Robert J. Elisberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobertElisberg