Saturday, September 27, 2008

Break for Commentary

I'm going to deviate for a moment here from the usual and do something I've never done before on this blog: make an observation on the current presidential campaign.

// Begin commentary

I know just about everyone in the world has seen this excerpt from Sarah Palin's ridiculous interview with Katie Couric. I just needed to weigh in on something here that struck me hard.

Much has been said about her foreign policy being based on her being able to see Russia from her backyard. That's obviously an absurd idea. That's like saying you're an expert on dentistry just because you can see a dentist's office from your balcony.

However, it's another, related statement that had even more alarm bells going off for me. Namely, this one starting at 0:53:
As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border.
Okay, so what I'm to gather from that one statement is this:
  1. Man, those air traffic controllers in Alaska sure are multi-taskers! Not only did new trainees have to pass the ATSAT exams and Oklahoma City, but they must also pass the Foreign Service Exam. Why? Well, since they work Russian overflights, they're now apparently diplomats.
  2. Secondly, if I was flying from Moscow - you know, the capital of Russia, where Vladimir Putin is actually located - to Washington, D.C. I sure as hell would not travel the long way over Siberia and the Pacific Ocean. You know those aforementioned Russian diplomatic overflights? They're likely going westbound over the Atlantic or north via a polar route. I guess those poor controllers won't get to practice their diplomacy skills for a while.
  3. Lastly - and the most important thing for me - is: she talks about Vladimir Putin as if he was an outbreak of the flu or a temperamental puppy. I mean, complete with dipsy-doodle hand puppets.
Amongst my many interests is the study of Russia. I've read up quite a bit on its history, its people, and its politics. Over the past year, my reading has progressed from the WWII and Stalin eras to more recent events in the country's history, most importantly the rise of Vladimir Putin. The immediate post-Soviet era promised the rise of a new, democratic Russia. Putin has reversed that trend at an alarming rate, consolidating power, flexing his military muscles, and silencing the voice of the Russian people.

The fact that this governor treats this powerful individual with such irreverence and naivety is inexcusable. Does she not recognize at all the kind of person she would be dealing with? Her inexperience is staggering.

Putin doesn't "rear his head".
This hockey mom is talking as if all she'd need to do with little Vlad is look into his dead lifeless eyes, waggle a finger, say "Dontcha know that's wrong?" and Putin would just stop what he's doing. It doesn't work like that. We're talking about a truly evil man with unspeakable power under his command.

I mean, just picture this:

While there's no question of Putin's malicious intent, at least he is a somewhat known quantity with a modicum of reason. He's a total bastard but at least he's a cold, calculating one. But what about those countries with bona fide nutjobs as their heads of state? How would she deal with President Ahmadinejad from Iran? Hugo Chavez of Venezuela? Kim Jong-Il (or his successor) from North Korea? These are leaders with little-to-no scruples and who already have little-to-no respect for our country. What exactly could she bring to a diplomatic table? Moose hunting tips? She has nothing to offer on a national or international level, no background that would help bridge the divides we have with many of these rogue states.

Neither presidential candidate is perfect in this campaign, but wow... having this woman anywhere near the White House just seems so profoundly dangerous. I cannot bear the thought of her representing our country in the national arena. Anyone who thinks she is somehow qualified or capable of holding the second highest office of this great nation needs to have their head examined. That goes doubly true for the presidential candidate who chose her. The grace period for her to prove herself has completely expired.

I almost feel sorry for her. Almost. She is way in over head, but she should have known that before she accepted McCain's offer. Those elected to the highest offices of this country should be given that privilege based on their ability to make this country better than it was before they took office. I fail to see how anyone, on either side of the aisle, could possibly believe Palin has that ability.

// Commentary complete

3 comments: said...

I like when you get political, don't be afraid to do it more often. But I will say, if there is any topic important enough for your commentary, this is it! I did not have high expectations for her, but this is just astounding. I am truly scared she might win. (I say she because if not for her, McCain would not stand a chance right now)

Annie said...

I discovered your blog via Don Brown and Get the Flick. You are a wonderful writer, and for a non-ATC, four on the floor at all times reader, you bring your world to life for me.

Your commentary on issues political is also first rate.

I hope you'll do it again. And again. And again.

Many thanks!

Wicked Penguin said...

@toby: Scary stuff all around. Can't wait for Thursday, though. :)

@annie: Thank you for visiting here and taking a peek into my world. I'm happy that folks outside of ATC are enjoying it as well.

I don't guarantee you'll see a lot more political stuff from me on this blog, but that's mainly for personal and professional reasons. However, I do enjoy writing that kind of subject matter.