Alaska’s “View” of Russia

diomede100208.jpgVP Candidate Sarah Palin has stated that she has Russia foreign policy experience as a function of Alaska’s geography – that she can see Russia from the state. Although there are some discrepancies over her exact statement on the matter (and the confusion from Tina Fey’s spoof on Saturday Night Live – “I can see Russia from my house!”), an LA Times blog sets the record straight. Although Wasilla, Alaska is only marginally closer to Moscow than New York, there is the reality of the island of Little Diomede:

Smack in the middle of the Bering Strait are two small islands. There’s Big Diomede, which sits in Russian territory, and Little Diomede, part of the United States. At one point, these two islands are a little less than 2 1/2 miles apart. On an unfoggy day, you could, if you really wanted to, see one island from the other island. The population of Little Diomede is about 170 Inupiat Indians. It’s unknown if they are keeping an eye on Big Diomede, which reportedly has a small military presence. Bet the Inupiat are probably more concerned about their other neighbors, the polar bears, whales and walrus. Some of the Inupiat are famous for their ivory carving.

You can’t make this stuff up. For a person potentially vying for the highest office in this country, her foreign policy experience with the most important and challenging relationship Washington will have to navigate depends upon a small hunk of ice practically in the Arctic Circle. As Steven Colbert points out, given that Big Diomede in Russia is across the international dateline, Palin can arguably see into the future!