WASHINGTON - In her first interview since becoming the Republican nominee for vice president, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said the United States might have to go to war with Russia under certain circumstances, and she firmly rejected questions about her readiness for office.
Palin, who returned to Alaska to see her oldest son off to Iraq yesterday, sat down with ABC World News anchor Charlie Gibson for a series of interviews. The first interviews aired on World News and Nightline and the final clips will air today on Good Morning America, World News and a special edition of 20/20.
Like Sen. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, Palin has taken a hard line on Russian aggression. When asked if, under the NATO Treaty, the U.S. would need to go to war with Russia if it invades Georgia again, she said, "perhaps so.
"I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help," Palin said. "For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable." Noting she had recently spoken by telephone with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, she added: "We have got to keep our eyes on Russia." Palin said she favored including the former Soviet Republics of Georgia and Ukraine in NATO and that the situation does not necessarily have to result in war.
Palin brushed off questions about her readiness to assume the vice presidency.
Asked if she had ever traveled out of the country, she said she has traveled to Canada and Mexico, as well as to visit troops in Kuwait and Germany. She said she has never met a foreign head of state but noted that other vice presidential candidates in history had not, either.
"I don't think we can second-guess what Israel feels it has to do to secure its nation," she said when asked how she would respond if Israel decided to obliterate Iran's nuclear weapons facility.
Questioned about entering into Pakistan to pursue terrorists, she said, "I believe that America has to exercise all options in order to stop the terrorists who are hellbent on destroying America and our allies. We have got to have all options out there on the table."