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Primed For Action

DW staff (ls)September 12, 2008

In her first media interview, John McCain's running mate said she supports Georgia's NATO bid and emphasized the US government's responsibility to defend Georgia -- even if it means going to war with Russia.

Sarah Palin
McCain's vice presidential pick has made her position on Russia clearImage: picture-alliance/ dpa

"Perhaps so," was the answer Sarah Palin gave ABC News interviewer Charles Gibson when asked if the US would be obligated to engage in war with Russia should the latter invade Georgia again.

"I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally," continued the anti-abortion and pro-gun rights mother of five. "You're going to be expected to be called upon and help."

While underlining her position regarding Russia, Palin also noted her belief that both Georgia and Ukraine should be admitted into the western alliance.

The relatively unknown governor of Alaska until John McCain made waves by choosing her as his vice presidential pick in the White House race, Palin has been particularly criticized for her lack of experience in foreign affairs.

Stepping into the limelight

US and Georgian flags
Palin emphasized her country's obligation to protect Georgia from another Russian attackImage: AP

She used her first media interview, however, to make her position on Russia known.

"We've got to keep an eye on Russia, under the leadership there. For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller Democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable," she said, referring to Moscow's five-day war with Georgia last month.

During the interview, Palin was also asked to comment on the McCain camp's contention that she was well aware of the importance of US-Moscow relations because of her state's proximity to Russia -- a point that recently drew ridicule from the media.

But the Alaska governor maintained her position, telling Gibson, "they're our next-door neighbors, and you can see Russia from land here."

In the interview, Palin also told Gibson she would be prepared to assume the job of president if it became necessary: "I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission that we're on," she said.