Talking Points Memo Does Not Understand The NATO Charter

TPM’s David Kurtz headlines an excerpt of Gov. Palin’s interview with Charlie Gibson tonight “Palin Foreign Policy: War with Russia.” Kurtz is working off an alarmist ABC News headline “EXCLUSIVE: GOV. SARAH PALIN WARNS WAR MAY BE NECESSARY IF RUSSIA INVADES ANOTHER COUNTRY”

Unfortunately for Kurtz’s effort to make Gov. Palin into Dr. Strangelove, his post includes a direct quote from the interview:

GIBSON: And under the NATO treaty, wouldn’t we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?

PALIN: 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.

But NATO, I think, should include Ukraine, definitely, at this point and I think that we need to — especially with new leadership coming in on January 20, being sworn on, on either ticket, we have got to make sure that we strengthen our allies, our ties with each one of those NATO members.

We have got to make sure that that is the group that can be counted upon to defend one another in a very dangerous world today.

As you can tell from Gibson’s question, Gov. Palin has simply reiterated the central and foundational element of the NATO Charter. Article 5 of the NATO Charter, to which Gibson and Gov. Palin refer here, “states that an armed attack against one or more of the Allies in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”. Article 5 is the reason for NATO’s existence, and of course it was originally drafted in 1949 precisely to deal with the situation of a Russian (then Soviet) invasion of the easternmost frontier of NATO, which is precisely what Georgia and/or Ukraine would become if their NATO membership is approved next year.

Funny, isn’t it, how the Left loses interest in multilateralism and treaty obligations when it suits their purpose? No responsible American leader would offer a different answer to Gibson’s question. Any other answer would simply be a declaration of intent to withdraw from NATO.

UPDATE: TPM boss Josh Marshall repeats this line of attack on Gov. Palin, and seems incredulous at the notion that a NATO member might be obligated to go to war if another NATO member is attacked. Seven years ago, NATO invoked Article 5 following the September 11 attacks; it was much noted at the time that this recognized that an attack on the United States was an attack on all NATO members.

How soon they forget.