In a speech that I thought Governor Sarah Palin was giving today, but then I remembered that today was yesterday in Hong Kong… and tomorrow is today, sigh – darned International Date Line. Some excerpts of her speech at the CLSA Asia Pacific Markets Conference posted on WSJ’s Washington Wire:
A few snippets… you can read the rest there.
You can call me a common-sense conservative. My approach to the issues facing my country and the world, issues that we’ll discuss today, are rooted in this common-sense conservatism… Common sense conservatism deals with the reality of the world as it is. Complicated and beautiful, tragic and hopeful, we believe in the rights and the responsibilities and the inherent dignity of the individual.
We don’t believe that human nature is perfectible; we’re suspicious of government efforts to fix problems because often what it’s trying to fix is human nature, and that is impossible. It is what it is. But that doesn’t mean that we’re resigned to, well, any negative destiny. Not at all. I believe in striving for the ideal, but in realistic confines of human nature…
Regarding our financial crisis:
Lack of government wasn’t the problem. Government policies were the problem. The marketplace didn’t fail. It became exactly as common sense would expect it to. The government ordered the loosening of lending standards. The Federal Reserve kept interest rates low. The government forced lending institutions to give loans to people who, as I say, couldn’t afford them. Speculators spotted new investment vehicles, jumped on board and rating agencies underestimated risks.
American jobs in every industry will be threatened by the rising cost of doing business under this cap-and-tax plan. The cost of farming will certainly increase. That’s going to drive up the cost of groceries and drive down farm incomes. The cost of manufacturing, warehousing and transportation will also rise. We are all going to feel the effects. The Americans hardest hit will be those who are already struggling to make ends meet today, much less with this new tax every month…
The more politically open and just China is, the more Chinese citizens of every ethnic group will be able to settle disputes in court rather than on the streets. The more open it is, the less we’ll be concerned about its military buildup and its intentions. The more transparent China is, the more likely it is that they will find a true and lasting friendship based on shared values as well as interests. And I’m not talking about a U.S.-led democracy crusade. [We’re] not going to impose our values on other countries. We don’t seek to do that. But the ideas of freedom and liberty and respect for human rights, it’s not just a U.S. idea. They’re very much more than that. They’re enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and many other international covenants and treaties.
Be sure to read the whole post over at Washington Wire.
Josh Painter posted on early reaction to her speech from people who expressed their thoughts using social media. The New York Times wrote a rare positive article on her speech:
A number of people who heard the speech in a packed hotel ballroom, which was closed to the media, said Mrs. Palin spoke from notes for 90 minutes and that she was articulate, well-prepared and even compelling.
“The speech was wide-ranging, very balanced, and she beat all expectations,” said Doug A. Coulter, head of private equity in the Asia-Pacific region for LGT Capital Partners…
…A number of attendees thought Mrs. Palin, the former vice presidential candidate, was using the speech to begin to broaden her foreign policy credentials before making a run for the presidency in 2012.
“She’s definitely a serious future presidential candidate, and I understand why she plays so well in middle America,” said Mr. Coulter, a Canadian….
…Melvin Goodé, a regional marketing consultant, thought Mrs. Palin chose Hong Kong because, he said, it was “a place where things happen and where freedom can be expanded upon.”
“It’s not Beijing or Shanghai,” said Mr. Goodé . “She also mentioned Tibet, Burma and North Korea in the same breath as places where China should be more sensitive and careful about how people are treated. She said it on a human-rights level.”
Mr. Goodé, an African-American who said he did some campaign polling for President Obama, said Mrs. Palin mentioned President Obama three times on Wednesday.
“And there was nothing derogatory in it, no sleight of hand, and believe me, I was listening for that,” he said, adding that Mrs. Palin referred to Mr. Obama as “our president,” with the emphasis on “our.”
Mr. Goodé, a New Yorker who said he would never vote for Mrs. Palin, said she acquitted herself well.
“They really prepared her well,” he said. “She was articulate and she held her own. I give her credit. They’ve tried to categorize her as not being bright. She’s bright.”
Then the Wall Street Journal in an Op/Ed posted this afternoon says that Governor Palin understand Beijing better than the Obama Administration does.
Mrs. Palin sees China’s authoritarian nature as a security concern for the U.S. and its allies in Asia-Pacific, and she has a point. North Korea, Burma and other rogue regimes couldn’t sustain themselves without Chinese support. Not to mention the hundreds of missiles Beijing has pointed at Taiwan and its navy’s increasingly muscular attitude in the South China Sea…
…Mrs. Palin also espoused the value of alliances with like-minded democratic countries in the region such as Japan, Australia and India. The U.S. "can, must and should" work with China to address issues of "mutual concern," she said. "But we also need to work with our allies in addressing the uncertainties created by China’s rise."
The Obama Administration could take a page from this book. So far, the White House has gone out of its way to downplay human rights in China and tiptoe around recent crackdowns in Tibet and Xinjiang, preferring to focus on hipper issues like climate change. This "don’t ask, don’t tell" approach to Beijing does no favors to the Chinese people, much less to the West’s core interests in Asia. At the same time, America’s other alliances in the region have been largely ignored. (read the whole article)
Well done Governor Palin in your debut on the paid speaker’s circuit. A good step in building up foreign policy cred.
Update: Governor Palin posted a much longer excerpt of her speech on Facebook. I encourage you to go read it.