Last night, Sarah Palin admitted that she had never, not even once, met with a foreign leader as Governor of Alaska. Lots of foreign leaders come to Alaska, she said, but no, she had never met with any of them.
Then, Palin repeated the weird idea that she has foreign policy experience, and understands Russia, because the border of Alaska is close to the border of Russia. The borders of Russia and Alaska touch, it’s true, but most of Alaska is actually very far away from most of Russia.
Where Sarah Palin has lived and worked, in Juneau and in Wasilla, it’s very far from Russia. Wasilla, the closer of the two locations, is almost exactly 750 miles from the nearest piece of Russian soil, as the crow flies. Yet, although Sarah Palin has never been to Russia, and has never received a Russian leader as Governor of Alaska, and doesn’t speak Russian, she thinks that she’s an expert on Russia – just from being 750 miles away from Russia.
By that reasoning, everyone who lives in Miami is a foreign policy expert on Honduras, because Honduras is less than 750 miles away. People in Memphis, Tennessee and Nebraska must be foreign policy experts about Mexico because they live about 750 miles away from the nearest piece of Mexican soil.
Everyone knows how much people in Chicago know about Winnipeg, living as they do about 710 miles away from that Canadian city. You hear Chicagoans saying wise things about Winnipeg all the time.
As for myself, from my home town in Upstate, New York, I enjoy foreign policy expertise about Prince Edward Island, which is less than 750 miles away. I’m also an expert on issues in Atlanta, Georgia, which is closer to my home than Wasilla is to Russia. Minnesota is also very familiar to me, being so close as it is.
Goodness me. Why did I forget to put all this experience on my resume? I live just a four hour drive from Wall Street – I could be the new head of the Lehman Brothers bank!
Thank you, Sarah Palin, for encouraging me to live up to my potential.