McGinniss goes on to ask a series of intriguing questions about the trip. The answer to this one, though, is that the odds are heavily in favor of "Yes."
Sarah told the Sunday Times of London, “I am going to Sudan in July and hope to stop in England on the way. I am just hoping Mrs Thatcher is well enough to see me as I so admire her.”
Aides to the ailing Margaret Thatcher won’t let Sarah anywhere near the former British prime minister. That’s no surprise.
But how about the trip to Sudan, where summer temperatures in the capital, Khartoum, average more than 105 degrees? (Maybe the move to Arizona was to acclimatize her.)
On anyone’s list of the most unfortunate countries on earth, Sudan would have to be near the top. Put it this way: Sarah’s not going there for the shopping.
Can anyone see any reason for Sarah to make this trip other than to give herself another “foreign policy” credential for the 2012 campaign?
–Is Franklin Graham paying for it?
Palin is Graham's political protégé.
In early 2009, as Palin's executive abilities in Alaska were rapidly declining, and Alaskans along the lower Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers faced severe hardships, Graham was the one to lead her
Here she was caught, screwing up her face time with Emmonak elder, Nick Tucker:
After Palin quit, Graham has been there for her, during the first book tour, and to lead her
Palin is so anti-Alaska Native, she probably thought the trip to Marshall and St. Marys with Graham qualified as a foreign visit, so this will probably be her third foreign policy-oriented experience under Graham's wing.
Samaritan's Purse has been in Sudan since the late 1970s, and some of the work done there has been notable in its genuine effort to relieve what is some of the worst human suffering on the planet:
(Note that Samaritan's Purse Canada was able to piggyback these young doctors' medical training in socialist Cuba into their program.)
Graham has insinuated himself into African politics for decades, especially in Sudan, and - naturally - very deeply in the highly Christianized southern part, which is slated soon for independence, as a result of the plebiscite of January 2011, in which 98.83% of the electorate opted for secession. The numbers of Christians in the population there is variously estimated, but most agree upon the explosive expansion of their interests there in the first decade of this century:
Scholarly and U.S. Department of State sources state that a majority of southern Sudanese maintain traditional/indigenous beliefs with those following Christianity in a minority (albeit an influential one). However, some news organizations claim a Christian majority and the US Episcopal Church claims the existence of large numbers of Anglican adherents from the Episcopal Church of the Sudan: 2 million members in 2005, 4 million, or almost half of the nation's population, in 2011.Southern Sudan might be close to hell on earth, but it has apparently been missionary heaven.
Graham's involvement in Sudanese politics has gone so far as to intervene on behalf of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, when al-Bashir was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in March, 2009:
For all his faults, Mr. Bashir has demonstrated that he is able to cooperate. On several occasions he has complied with my requests. When a hospital we operated in eastern Sudan was seized by government forces, Mr. Bashir granted us limited access. Mr. Bashir also made television time available for us to broadcast a Christian program at Christmas and Easter.On the surface, it appears that Graham's view on this wasn't far from the mark.
More important, Mr. Bashir helped make the peace agreement a reality. Now, his arrest could threaten the south’s elections and referendum, and hurl the country back into civil war. His removal could also spur retaliation by Bashir loyalists and other forces against civilians, United Nations peacekeepers or international aid workers.
We do have other options. The statute that established the court allows for the United Nations Security Council to postpone the court’s proceedings for 12 months, giving Sudan the time it will need to achieve peace. In that period President Bashir should do everything he can to ensure that the provisions of the agreement go fully into effect, and to cooperate with the United Nations and the United States to bring about political stability in Darfur.
Right now, 40 heads of African nation intelligence agencies are meeting in Khartoum, under al-Bashir's wing. Importantly, al-Bashir, while addressing the conference yesterday, stated:
“We have realized peace in South Sudan, and we paid its dues which resulted in the creation of a new entity in Africa, and we will be the first to welcome and cooperate with the new nation."Graham may be up to speed on the complexity of Sudanese politics, but can any mortal drive enough information into Palin's head about this that she can make some sense out of it? Or to leverage and use this to pick up the debris of what is looking more and more like total failures of the Pawlenty, Bachman, Perry and Santorum campaigns, as revealed today (with net changes among likely GOP voters between March and late May)?:
Full results for Republican contest. Palin benefits the most from Huckabee, Trump and Daniels departure. Two person race as of now.That poll was taken before Palin's bus tour, which probably didn't help her, but if Palin somehow makes this African trip into something more substantive, less self-centered than what we've grown so accustomed to, she could conveivably move past Romney into first place among GOP voters. The regional implications of South Sudan's impending independence are something that has yet to be recognized much in the American media.
Romney – 21% (16)
Palin – 17% (5)
Giuliani – 8% (-)
Gingrich – 6% (2)
Paul – 6% (2)
Cain – 4% (-)
Pawlenty – 4% (1)
Bachmann – 3% (1)
Perry – 3% (-)
Huntsman – 1% (*)
Santorum – 1% (*)
Johnson – * (-)
Other / no opinion – 17%
The temptation to blowing it, might be too great for Queen Esther, though. One of the proposed names for the new country of South Sudan is the Kush Republic, named after the Biblically noted entity known as Cush, which briefly ruled from the Southern Sudan all the way to Jerusalem, Tyre and what would now be Damascus, from around 727 BC to 653 BC.
Franklin Graham's American political protégé is the candidate of choice of the Dominionists, and he knows it. Her policial machine might be closer to farce than a force, but Graham's organizations are quite astute. He will probably engineer a meeting and photo op between incoming South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit, who is Catholic, and Palin, who wants to scoop up Santorum's potential acolytes.
This is shaping up to be the most fascinating GOP runup to presidential primaries I've ever witnessed.