Palin’s worldview takes shape in Hong Kong

Palin’s worldview takes shape in Hong Kong

Sarah Palin made huge news when she spoke yesterday to a group of Hong Kong business types with former McCain campaign foreign-policy guru Randy Scheunemann in tow. The speech included some of the most critical statements about the Chinese Communist Party by an American political leader in years.

Now The Cable brings you previously unreleased extended excerpts of Palin’s speech, which give a window into the foreign-policy persona she is crafting in anticipation of 2012.

Palin on the post Cold War international order:

Later this year, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall – an event that changed not just Europe but the entire world.  In a matter of months, millions of people in formerly captive nations were freed to pursue their individual and national ambitions.

The competition that defined the post World War II era was suddenly over. What was once called "the free world" had so much to celebrate – the peaceful end to a great power rivalry and the liberation of so many from tyranny’s grip.  

Some, you could say, took the celebration too far.  Many spoke of a "peace dividend," of the need to focus on domestic issues and spend less time, attention and money on endeavors overseas.  Many saw a peaceful future, where globalization would break down borders and lead to greater global prosperity. Some argued that state sovereignty would fade – like that was a good thing? — , that new non-governmental actors and old international institutions would become dominant in the new world order.

As we all know, that did not happen.

On the so-called Global War on Terror:

This war – and that is what it is, a war – is not, as some have said, a clash of civilizations.  We are not at war with Islam. This is a war WITHIN Islam, where a small minority of violent killers seeks to impose their view on the vast majority of Muslims who want the same things all of us want: economic opportunity, education, and the chance to build a better life for themselves and their families.  The reality is that al Qaeda and its affiliates have killed scores of innocent Muslim men, women and children.  

On the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan:

We can win in Afghanistan by helping the Afghans build a stable representative state able to defend itself.  And we must do what it takes to prevail.  The stakes are very high.

On the U.S. defense budget and federal spending:

We need to go back to fiscal discipline and unfortunately that has not been the view of the current Administration.  They’re spending everywhere and with disregard for deficits and debts and our future economic competitiveness. Though we are engaged in two wars and face a diverse array of threats, it is the DEFENSE budget that has seen significant program cuts and has actually been reduced from current levels!

First, the Defense Department received only ½ of 1 % of the nearly trillion dollar Stimulus Package funding — even though many military projects fit the definition of "shovel-ready."  In this Administration’s first defense budget request for 2010, important programs were reduced or cancelled.  As the threat of ballistic missiles from countries like North Korea and Iran grow, missile defense was slashed.

On the Chinese military:

China has some 1000 missiles aimed at Taiwan and no serious observer believes Taiwan poses a military threat to Beijing. Those same Chinese forces make our friends in Japan and Australia nervous. China provides support for some of the world’s most questionable regimes from Sudan to Burma to Zimbabwe. China’s military buildup raises concerns from Delhi to Tokyo because it has taken place in the absence of any discernable external threat.  

China, along with Russia, has repeatedly undermined efforts to impose tougher sanctions on Iran for its defiance of the international community in pursuing its nuclear program.  The Chinese food and product safety record has raised alarms from East Asia and Europe to the United States.  And, domestic incidents of unrest — from the protests of Uighurs and Tibetans, to Chinese workers throughout the country rightfully make us nervous.  

On democracy and human rights:

I am not talking about some U.S.-led "democracy crusade."  We cannot impose our values on other counties.  Nor should we seek to.  But the ideas of freedom, liberty and respect for human rights are not U.S. ideas, they are much more than that.