(3PM – promoted by RiaD)
Palin does not want to be mocked for her claim that she has foreign policy experience because she can see Russia from Alaska. To buttress her foreign policy resume, Palin explained to Couric that “we have trade missions back and forth” between Russia and Alaska. Some may interpret a governor saying “we” as meaning that Palin, similar to other governors, led trade missions overseas. Well, the “we” means that the State of Alaska has a history of grassroots diplomacy with Russia — only Palin stopped any diplomatic missions when she became Governor. The record also reflects that Palin has not traveled to Russia or even met any foreign heads of state until the other day. And, the “back and forth” must be related to some country other than Russia, which is not in the top 20 of trade partners with Alaska. To buttress her missioning claim, Palin then delivers the next mocking point, citing Putin’s need to fly over Alaska to reach DC as part of her national security credentials! OMG, people living near international airports start sending out your resumes for VP because I’m sure some foreign head of state flew over your head!
While Alaska has had a “grass-roots diplomacy” with Russia over the years, Palin rejected such opportunities while she was Governor:
(1) In May 2007, a Russian politician met Palin in Anchorage to discuss the “struggles of the Arctic’s native people and the possibility of Palin visiting the other side of the Bering Strait.” However, Palin ditched that opportunity so she could instead focus on constructing a gas pipeline:
But so far, in her first 21 months of office, Palin has balked at grabbing that opportunity, instead focusing her energies on home-front issues – raising taxes on the oil industry and backing construction of a natural-gas pipeline.
In fact, “Palin has shied away from launching any major initiatives in Russian diplomacy despite Alaska’s historic ties with Russia.”
(2) As for any trips planned for Russia:
Patricia Eckert, a trade specialist in the governor’s office, said that currently no trips are planned for Russia. “I am not aware of any plans but that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t.”
(3) Another opportunity for Russian diplomacy exists in the Northern Forum, an organization that represents leaders of regional governments in Russia, Finland, Iceland, Canada, Japan, China and South Korea and Anchorage “is the seat of the Northern Forum.” However, Palin reduced its support to this forum:
Yet under Palin, the state government – without consultation – reduced its annual financial support to the Northern Forum to $15,000 from $75,000, according to Priscilla Wohl, the group’s executive director. That forced the forum’s Anchorage office to go without pay for two months.
(4) Prior governors sent representatives to the Northern Forum’s annual meetings, but stopped this practice, and did not even send a rep to the annual meeting held “in the heart of Russia’s oil territory”:
“It was an opportunity for the Alaska governor to take a delegation of business leaders to the largest oil-producing region in Russia, and she would have been shaking hands with major leaders in Russia,” Wohl said.
Ok, so maybe Palin only canned grassroots diplomacy in favor of one-on-ones with Pootie. If Palin had met up with Putin anywhere, she’d likely be screaming those “credentials” from her helicopter. But, then she would be easily outed again for lying. Palin is not missioning with Putin in Russia — cause she has never visited the country. Palin could be conducting trade missions with Putin in another country… except that she has “never traveled outside North America” until late last year. Palin’s foreign travel experience has been visiting Canada and Mexico and a “brief trip to Kuwait and Germany to see Alaska National Guard troops.” And, Palin has “never met a foreign leader until her trip this week to New York.” Ok, so scratch Palin missioning with Putin in Russia or some other foreign country.
So, who is the “we” from Alaska that is involved in trade missions with Russia? A little google of Alaska trade missions showed that some private citizens and government officials have been on foreign trade missions. The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute was involved in a trade mission with China, but I don’t see Palin’s face in the pic — or Putin’s.
A search of the Alaska governor’s site shows that Alaska does have trade missions. When I did a search for “Palin trade mission,” the top response was a page that did discuss a trade mission, but the only reference to Palin was an email addy at the bottom of the page. After reviewing several responses that did not show Palin on a trade mission, I did a query of “palin ‘trade mission'” that yielded two results, but no trade mission with Palin.
Another search for “trade mission” at the state site yielded 54 results, mostly during years when she was not governor. Indeed, former “Governor Murkowski and a group of Alaska trade, fishery and tourism representatives led a trade mission to Germany’s largest seafood port, Hamburg, in April 2006 and met with seafood buyers and media.”
If trade missions are part of Palin’s foreign policy credentials, then why is it not displayed prominently on her site, particularly after she made these claims to Couric?
So, was Palin ever involved even in any negotiations with the Russians on these back and forth trade missions? Well, Russia is not one of Alaska’s “top 20 export partners.”
Palin has two trade specialists working for the governor’s office. The top countries receiving Alaskan goods are Japan, Korea, China, Canada and Germany, according to 2006 export data, the most recent figures published, with seafood accounting for 50 percent of products exported.
Palin avoided answering the who and whats of all this missioning with Russia by pointing out that she also has national security experience because Putin must fly over Alaska when traveling to DC!
“It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where – where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is – from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to … to our state,” she said.
Well, that make’s sense in a Palin world.