Somewhat amusing that this happens the same day I write a long piece arguing that McCain will not keep the nation safer than Obama would.
Here's the full context of her statements:
This is a pretty major gaffe for three reasons.
GIBSON: Would you favor putting Georgia and Ukraine in NATO?
PALIN: Ukraine, definitely, yes. Yes, and Georgia.
GIBSON: Because Putin has said he would not tolerate NATO incursion into the Caucasus.
PALIN: Well, you know, the Rose Revolution, the Orange Revolution, those actions have showed us that those democratic nations, I believe, deserve to be in NATO.
Putin thinks otherwise. Obviously, he thinks otherwise, but...
GIBSON: And under the NATO treaty, wouldn't we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?
PALIN: Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help.
But NATO, I think, should include Ukraine, definitely, at this point and I think that we need to -- especially with new leadership coming in on January 20, being sworn on, on either ticket, we have got to make sure that we strengthen our allies, our ties with each one of those NATO members.
We have got to make sure that that is the group that can be counted upon to defend one another in a very dangerous world today.
GIBSON: And you think it would be worth it to the United States, Georgia is worth it to the United States to go to war if Russia were to invade.
PALIN: What I think is that smaller democratic countries that are invaded by a larger power is something for us to be vigilant against. We have got to be cognizant of what the consequences are if a larger power is able to take over smaller democratic countries.
First, it immediately shows that she is in lock-step with the neo-con position on these issues, which really blows much of her "change" appeal right out of the water. It's a big wake-up call to a lot of folks who bought the hype about her.
Second, while her statements seem at least somewhat reasonable, she made a rookie mistake by answering the question about us going to war with Russia at all. We may be in NATO, and NATO may mean mutual defence, but it is still blindingly stupid to put into words what is normally only implied by the treaty: war with Russia. A smarter and more experienced politician -- i.e., one actually ready for the White House -- would have given a more diplomatic response.
Third, the imagery here could be the "tone arm yanked screeching off the record" moment for Palin's little honeymoon with the American people. The media and the public will boil down all that context above into just a soundbite: "Sarah Palin warns about war with Russia". This in turn will cause millions of voters to suddenly shift from a warm fuzzy image of Sarah Palin smiling and relaxed with her baby on her shoulder, to a very tense Sarah Palin with one hand on the "red phone" and the other on the button. And that should scare the crap out of anyone with an IQ above room temperature.