Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) continues to try to build her foreign policy credentials before she runs for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. In a letter to Sec. of Defense Robert Gates, Palin criticized the Obama administration for cutting funding for missile defense system, even after N. Korea tested a new rocket.
Palin opened her letter to Gates by expressing her concern, “I would like to express my deep concern over your proposed budget cuts to the Missile Defense Agency. In these crucial times of rocket design and technology development by North Korea and Iran, I believe the global missile defense shield is more important now than ever.” (Translation: Obama is making America less safe).
The future 2012 candidate answered charges by critics that missile defense systems don’t by stressing the need to protect the American way of life, “Critics of this program believe that we are wasting money on a system that does not guarantee success. However, to ensure our security, our freedom, and our American way of life, we must continue to be diligent in developing technology that can expand to protect us from multiple threat targets. Your announcement of a proposed $1.4 billion reduction of the Missile Defense Agency’s budget is not the best decision for today’s threat environment.”
She called for continued development of a global missile defense system, “I am deeply concerned with North Korea’s development and testing program. It has the clear potential of impacting Alaska, Hawaii, and possibly the West Coast with a nuclear armed warhead. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that we continue to develop and perfect our global missile defense shield.” (Translation: I smell a campaign issue here. Somebody has to be the heir to the Bush Doctrine in 2012 so why not me)?
My question is that since missile defense systems have never proven successful in non controlled tests, how does spending money to have more of them protect America? The reality is that the Pentagon has been rigging the ground based missile defense tests. The military runs the tests in good weather locations and geography. They changed their testing procedure after Congress started threatening to decrease funding for the program if they didn’t see some positive results. The air based missile defense tests have been constant failures, but Republicans always ignore the data because Star Wars goes back to Ronald Reagan.
Palin is following the Bush playbook. She is trying to paint Obama as unsafe for America, while creating a threat to the country in N. Korea, and claiming the need to protect the American way of life. Mouthing conservative clichés may get her the GOP nomination, but it won’t beat Obama.
This is a dense strategy that is based on convincing voters that Sarah Palin in Alaska knows more about national security than Robert Gates and Barack Obama. If Palin wants to be taken seriously, she needs to use the time until 2012 to take international trips and learn about the issues. If she chooses to sit in Alaska and repeat the same failed Republican strategy from 2006 and 2008, then she and her party will lose in 2012.