Many Americans still remember the joke made by Tina Fey in a return to SNL to play the role of Sarah Palin back in 2008.
While introducing herself, Fey’s version of Palin stated in a folksy, matter-of-fact way that she could, “see Russia from [her] house.” As funny as it was at the time, this joke was actually borrowed from an interview with ABC News‘s Charlie Gibson:
Palin: …We have got to keep our eyes on Russia…And, Charlie, you’re in Alaska. We have that very narrow maritime border between the United States, and the 49th state, Alaska, and Russia. They are our next door neighbors.We need to have a good relationship with them. They’re very, very important to us and they are our next door neighbor.
Gibson: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?
Palin: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.
It's so cold I think I can see Sarah Palin from my house.
— Booth (@Boothacus) March 1, 2014
Yes, Twitter, Sarah Palin totally called this exact Ukraine scenario 6 years ago….
— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) February 28, 2014
Palin’s recent attempt to claim credit for having somehow predicted the troubles in Ukraine in 2008 seems to suggest that she spent a good portion of her time as governor on that Alaskan island, watching the Russians with a kind of giant telescope.
A giant, future-predicting telescope that enabled Palin and Palin alone to know exactly who was doing what in Russia and Ukraine, and to then predict with absolute perfection the exact outcome of ongoing tensions in the region. All of this despite having no access to high levels of intelligent information of American or Russian origin.
All joking aside, it is possible that Palin may have been right about Russia pushing its weight around in order to maintain strategic military positions in countries that border it.
But then, that was never the criticism aimed at Palin back in 2008. The criticism is the idea that anyone who wants to know what Russia is planning can go to an island and stare across the water at Russian land. Proximity alone does not generate intelligence.
That would be like me going to the outskirts of Washington D.C, standing there for a few minutes and saying aloud, “You know something? I think that members of Congress are working on passing a bill of some kind. I don’t know what kind, but I know they’re there. And I know there’s some kind of legislative process happening.”
Also, let’s not forget the biggest holes in Palin’s “I told you so” argument:
– Palin had no way of knowing that hundreds of thousands of people would flood the Ukranian capital in protest of Viktor Yanukovych’s pro-Russian agenda.
– She had no way of knowing that protesters would continue their fight despite being exposed to freezing conditions and increasingly hostile Ukranian security forces.
– She did not know that despite the bloodiest confrontation in the nation’s history, the protesters would ultimately take the capital.
– She did not know that Yanukovych would successfully flee the country instead of being arrested or murdered.
In actuality, despite her smug claims, the only thing she’s really attempting to take credit for is something that is obvious to anyone who knows anything about Russia’s military behaviors in relation to land bordering their country in strategic locations. The sort of things that are…well….predictable.
Predictable in a way that does not require setting foot on an island in Alaska to draw such a conclusion. Predictable with or without the mystical future-predicting telescope.
Image via Wikimedia Commons