It’s not just the fact of the trip itself that suggests she’s running, it’s the destinations on her proposed itinerary. If you were an aspiring Republican nominee, which foreign hotspots would you be sure to hit to further ingratiate yourself with the base? For starters: Israel, of course, not only to show solidarity but to counter Huckabee’s appeal to evangelicals. He’s been to the Holy Land more than a dozen times and has plans to go again soon. Beyond Israel, where else? Well, to draw a contrast with Obama, you’d naturally choose an ally with whom relations have deteriorated under Hopenchange, signaling that as president you’d restore American prestige by repairing vital relationships. Which means Britain.

Palin’s suggested stops thus far: Israel and Britain.

The Daily Beast has learned that Sarah Palin will be traveling overseas in the new year. At the top of the list: Israel and England, both countries she has said she wanted to travel to in the past. The schedule and itinerary is still fluid, but an overseas trip in 2011 will boost her foreign policy credentials, something she can turn to in a potential 2012 presidential run.

Up to now Palin’s travel outside of North America includes visiting troops in Germany and Kuwait while she was governor and last year she gave a speech on the economy in Hong Kong. During the 2008 campaign, there was some confusion about whether she had also visited Iraq when traveling to see soldiers in Kuwait, but that turned out to be a visit to the border. McCain staffers at the time also said she had visited Ireland, but that was a re-fueling stopover…

The former Alaska governor was criticized in 2008 for her limited global travel, but this first foreign trip post-governorship would burnish her foreign policy credentials and would certainly be accompanied by a media frenzy as both the Israeli and English press follow her closely.

The goal, plainly, is to deny SNL et al. any more dopey “I can see Russia from my house” attacks on her alleged parochialism. Not that this will stop them, but it’ll hopefully make them less credible. As for the foreign press, they’ll be baiting her every step of the way to attack Obama. Will the “politics stops at the water’s edge” rule be in effect, or is that already long gone?

Other destinations to come, no doubt: Iraq and/or Afghanistan in order to greet the troops, and then…? If it’s a purely base-pleasing tour, figure a stop in Japan and/or South Korea to show support for the anti-Pyongyang alliance. If it’s something broader, aimed at getting the attention of centrists and independents for the general election, then … where? Germany, maybe? That’s bailout HQ these days, and a photo op with the most powerful woman in the world would be good campaign fodder. Where else?

Update: Palin advisor Rebecca Mansour doesn’t quite claim that the Daily Beast is making things up, but…

@shushwalshe how do you claim “exclusive” knowledge of anything when you’ve got nothing but conjecture? You call this journalism?