Palin is also seeing six other world leaders — Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — as well as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in New York this week.
None of these are old alliance leaders. These head of states are all on the forefront of the US global diplomatic engagement efforts.
Karzai from Afghanistan is now the front line confronting Al Qaeda in the War on Terror.
Uribe from Colombia is the US closest ally as we confront Chavez and Venezuela in Latin America. Colombia is also awaiting Congressional approval of a free trade agreement.
Saakashvili from Georgia is on the frontline against a militarily resurgent Russia. Georgia also is a central player in the oil pipeline from Central Asia, something I am sure Palin has a great deal of experience and understanding.
Yushenko from Ukraine is where the next confrontation against Russia would likely occur (most likely political confrontation and influence rather than outright war).
Talabani from Iraq is where the Bush doctrine promoting democracy as a counter to islamofascism is currently playing out successfully.
Zardari from Pakistan is where the islamofascist is currently working to destabilize. It is also where the war in Afghanistan will be won.
and Singh from India, the up and coming economic power that is the world's most populous democracy, a likely counterweight to China's growing influence in Asia, and also a nation under attack from islamofascists.
All of these leaders and their nations are who the US will have to influence and must build stronger relationship with. These things are on the “to do list” for the next administration. Establishing personal rapports with these leaders will serve Palin much better than meeting Harper of Canada, Gordon of UK, Sarkozy of France, Merkel of Germany, or Rudd of Australia. These nations are really already in the "with us" column. Japan and Israel are both currently in political flux but regardless of the outcome, will also remain in the "with us" column. Despite what the press may say, relationship with these nations under Bush has never been stronger.
Whoever chose these head of states for Palin to meet was thinking about her as the Vice President rather than Palin as a Vice President candidate needing to buff up her foreign experience resume. I am impressed with this selection. I am also impressed that these leaders are risking some potential backlash should Obama wins. Perhaps they recognize that even if McCain lose in 08, Palin will likely be an important US player in the years to come.
What is funny is that these are all more essential head of states than Obama has met.