The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Palin’s Geography Lesson

Last updated: July 31, 2020 | September 25, 2008 | Frazer Pugh

In her interview with Katie Couric, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin again points to her state’s proximity to Russia as evidence of her national security cred. She offers, “As Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border.”

But a glance at a globe shows how misdirected this claim is. No flight from Moscow to Washington would go anywhere near Alaska — they fly over the Atlantic. Take a look at Delta’s flight routes to Moscow. Even flights from San Francisco go over the Atlantic:


To confirm, I plugged some numbers into MapCrow. Sure enough, the transatlantic route from Washington to Moscow is just 4,857 miles. A flight from Washington to Provideniya, Siberia (the closest Russian city to Alaska) is 4,007 miles — and then it’s an additional 3,973 miles to Moscow.

So the Palin route is nearly twice as long as the logical route.

And Palin’s claim that you can see Russia from Alaska is dubious. On a clear day, you can see one sparsely populated Russian island from one sparsely populated Alaskan island.

But it’s OK if her geography’s a little weak — Laura Bush says the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee is a quick study.

Frazer Pugh | I work in the investment management sector as a professional. Previously, I advised top financial services companies on balance sheet management, portfolio planning, and valuations as a consultant. I am currently pursuing a part-time MBA at Melbourne University, where I am a lecturer in accounting and hedge fund strategies, as well as a mentor/coach in a part-time equity analysis initiative. I have a bachelor's degree in economics, a master's degree in finance, and am a Chartered Accountant. I enjoy instructing and assisting others in achieving their objectives.


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