What has surprised me a bit about Palin’s speech tonight was how many foreign policy remarks there were, and what has been so disappointing, albeit grimly predictable, was how lamely she made the alarmist claims about Russia and other petro-states, as if regimes utterly dependent on their oil revenues to keep their creaking, mismanaged economies running are in any position to engage in embargoes. Her remarks about the BTC pipeline are worth pondering, since they echo so much of the hysterical commentary of the last few weeks, and they should cause us to look more closely at what was going on with the BTC pipeline last month. Hardly a publication prone to Russophilia, The Economist reported a few weeks ago that the BTC pipeline was shut down in mid-August not by the Russian campaign in Georgia, but instead by PKK terrorism in Turkey. Contrary to the propaganda that was being regularly offered as news reporting during the early days of the campaign, the pipeline inside Georgia was never bombed and, so far as I have been able to determine, was never even targeted. One of the central things that “everyone” claimed to know about the reason for the Russian campaign was basically wrong, and Sarah Palin just made this erroneous claim a significant part of her demonstration of her foreign policy acumen.
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