Palin seems to be dimly aware of the problem with putting a hair trigger inside what nuclear- armed Russia regards as its sphere of influence. But she is in a bind, one which is ironically largely of McCain's and the media's making. Because nobody has pressed him for what his "League of Democracy" means and what NATO membership would entail, she didn't have an answer to the obvious "An attack on one is an attack on all, right?" question.
Or at least she didn't have an answer that either made sense, or reflected a standard formula, as with, say China and Taiwan. She was forced to freelance, and despite help from Charlie, just dug herself in deeper.
This is actually good news; the biggest problem we have had over the last 8 years is the combination of Republican lies and Republican chest pounding has prevented any public discussion of any substantive foreign policy or national security question. From the invasion and occupation of Iraq to the placement of provocative, but useless, anti-missile missiles in Europe, there has been no policy discussion.
Palin's inability to answer this question is not a result of her not remembering her talking points. There ARE no talking points that make sense in response to the question, "But doesn't that mean we risk a nuclear war if we add Georgia under the current NATO doctrine?" So she had to make some up. And, since all she has is McCain's "Fight" and "Victory" and "Democracy" bluster to draw on, she was in deep trouble.
Not her fault.
Steve Benen discusses her rejection (apparently unknowingly) of the Bush Doctrine of preventative war.
One the of the inside the beltway rules McCain has broken with this selection is that you can't really pick a complete incompetent to be VP. Just as a basic requirement of governance, you have to pick somebody who could at least plausibly take on the role. Agnew may be a counter-example to that, but even Quayle had spent 12 years in the Senate and, if he didn't know stuff like what the equivalent of Bush's sea change in American foreign policy consisted of, he had by then acquired staff who did.
Palin is coming with nothing. No personal knowledge. No trusted adviser. No national security staffer she can rely on. No intelligence staffer. Just her, and her moose-gutting knife. That's not the kind of VP we can believe in.
A TPM reader provides MAP detail. It is very like the EC admission process, as posited in comments, and includes the proviso that the incoming country be free of border or territorial disputes.