Robert Fisk: Mangling everything in its path, Typhoon Sarah blows in to Asia

Our writer is there to witness the carnage as Alaska's former mom-in-chief touches down in Hong Kong

Share
Related Topics

Grotesque, unprecedented, bizarre, unbelievable. Sarah Palin was all of that in Hong Kong yesterday. And more. Dressed in a cutesy virgin-white blouse and black skirt with the infamous bee-hive hairdo, she was a blessing to every predicting spectator.

"There'll be one or two self-deprecating remarks, a reference to healthcare, taxation, out-of-control spending and a poorly told joke," my investor companion muttered when the lady walked on to the stage of the Hyatt conference room. All he forgot was the bit about Islamic terror. Alas, she did not fail us. "No recording, no photography, no video tapes, no mobile phones," they kept shouting over the public address system. And you could see why.

It was Sarah's trip to Asia and her first appearance since her resignation as Alaska's top Mum. In her state capital, she told us, you could see a moose in the middle of the city. It was not a common sight in Hong Kong. Why, in Alaska, where 20,000 square miles of the state was glacial and with only two humans per square mile, "it seems to me that God just chucked this bucketful of resources there". It was then we realised that whoever wrote the Palin sermon for her, they had – mercilessly – allowed some of the real Sarah to show through. Even husband Todd got a mention. He had flown with her into Hong Kong. And – here was a reference to the Alaska fish and caviar consumed in this "beautiful", "magnificent" and "libertarian" part of China – "some of the fruits of our labour, mine and Todd's, ended up on tables here". The caviar at the Hyatt, it should be added, comes from Iran.

But Alaska was more than just a fish market. It was "the air-crossroads to the world" where "Main Street, for me, it's a small town tucked between two mountain ranges". It went on and on. Alaska was "the last frontier", a "place where you can still feel that pioneering mountain spirit... It has shaped me." We sat there, mystified. Was she trying for the presidency next time round? Or re-election to the governorship of that wretched glacial state?

To prove her shining Republicanism, Sarah quoted Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. She quoted Lincoln. She quoted Thomas Jefferson. History and common sense were not on the side of liberalism and "utopian pipe dreams". But there'd been progress. In the past, we had the "horse and buggy business", she said, then Ford came along with the motor car and the kids sat singing in the back, but now the kids have headsets. And what happened to the Reagan legacy? "Many Republicans in Washington gambled it away."

She talked, of course, about the infamous "death panels" – a big smirk here from Sarah – and "market-friendly responsible ideas" (this must have been the speech-writer) and offered slippery advice: "We can responsibly develop our resources without damaging the environment."

She spoke too fast. She gabbled her words. Scatty was the word for it. We slalomed between the fall of the Berlin Wall, the break-up of Yugoslavia and 9/11. Then it started. The war on "vicious terrorism", the war against "violent fanatics who wished to end our way of life", our battle against "radical Islamic extremists" with "twisted vision". This was not a clash of civilisations but "a war within Islam". We slalomed again. Asia – "what an amazing place!" – was at its best "when it was not dominated by a single power".

What on earth was happening? Had Sarah just looked up from her podium and seen China? Addressing what was surely the neo-conservative wing of the Republican party, she could not "turn a blind eye" to Chinese policies that created "uncertainty", which supported "questionable regimes" and "made a lot of people nervous". America wasn't going to impose its values on other countries, but America was going to have to "ramp up" its defence spending.

Then family again. "I have a husband," she said. "I think I could have used a wife. He's awesome." This really floored the Chinese. Poor Todd.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

After Savile, we must devote our energies to stopping the child abuse taking place now

Mary Dejevsky
A ‘hugely irritated’ Sir Malcolm Rifkind on his way home from Parliament on Monday  

Before rushing to criticise Malcolm Rifkind, do you know how much being an MP can cost?

Isabel Hardman
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower