If Sarah Palin should declare her candidacy for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the past few days may be looked back at by political historians as an important marker. While pundits continue to dwell on the supposedly collapsing poll numbers for Palin and trumpet the erosion of her presidential ambitions, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee was abroad, buttressing the one area seen as a major weakness in Palin's ability to project herself as a national political leader, foreign policy. Palin was the keynote speaker at the India Today Conclave in New Delhi, an assembly of the most prominent Indian business leaders. Her speech dealt with her vision of America, with a major focus on energy independence and oil drilling, a possible key issue for a future Sarah Palin for President campaign.
After her speech to India's elite, Sarah Palin went off to Israel for a brief visit, which included a private dinner with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The dual visits to India and Israel within such a compressed period of time showed Sarah Palin as not only comfortable but even self-confident on the world stage. In New Delhi, she answered questions in an unstructured Q & A session that was devoid of major gaffes. The interview she granted Fox News upon her return from Israel, in which she commented on events in Libya and the Middle East, revealed a Palin that was no longer awkward in speaking publicly and to the media on issues involving the international arena.
It seems clear that Sarah Palin has been working hard on buttressing her knowledge of foreign policy issues, and her facility in discussing international affairs in a public setting. No doubt, Palin has been helped by some serious coaching from others who are much more knowledgeable on foreign policy. The question that surfaces is this: for what purpose has Sarah Palin devoted time and effort towards enhancing her grasp of foreign affairs? Critics on the left, and even within the establishment of the Republican Party, will argue that this is merely for the purpose of increasing her marketability and fees as a celebrity speaker. I think these critics do not fully comprehend the objectives and political ambitions of Sarah Palin, and her determination and focus in pursuing them.