Archive for the ‘Britain’ Category

Brit PM Gordon Brown retreats on Budget spending spree

March 26, 2009

Gordon Brown seemed to heed warnings about the health of the Britain’s public finances as he retreated from plans for a massive spending package to revive the economy in next month’s Budget.

The telegraph (UK)

He was understood to have been considering announcing a new fiscal stimulus package in the Budget and encouraging other countries to do the same in an attempt to tackle the global recession.

But he appeared to have backtracked after a warning on Tuesday from Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, that Britain cannot afford further tax cuts or public spending rises and a shock failed gilt auction yesterday which raised questions over the country’s ability to borrow tens of billions of pounds to fight the economic crisis.
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Speaking in New York, where he is canvassing support for a deal on a global rescue package ahead of the G20 meeting in London next week, he said had no plans to add to the £20bn fiscal stimulus announced by Alistair Darling last autumn.

He shifted the focus from fiscal stimulus to other mechanisms intended to revive the economy. The prime minister pointed to the importance of quantitative easing, last year’s fiscal stimulus and “incredibly low” interest rates.

“If you take these three changes that have happened over the last few months together, that’s where you look for results on the combination of these three,” Mr Brown said.

He said there were other “effective and quicker ways” of kick-starting demand.

Many European leaders are growing increasingly concerned over the scale of public borrowing. Mirek Topolanek, the Czech prime minister, who holds the presidency of the European Union, said plans by Britain and America to borrow money to fund an economic recovery plan were a “way to hell”.

Euopean Union President: Obama “will undermine the stability of the global financial market”

March 25, 2009

As the President of the United States gets ready for his first trip to Europe, he’ll have to prepare humself for disunity over his budget and economic plan — from the European Union.

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek told the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, that Obama, ” talks about a large stimulus campaign by Americans.  All of these steps, their combination and their permanency, is a way to hell.”

Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek addresses deputies at the European Parliament.

Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek addresses deputies at the European Parliament.

The “biggest success” of the European Council so far this year is a refusal to follow the same path, he said.

“We need to read the history books and read with it the lessons of history,” Topolanek said.

But Britain’s Pime Minister, Gordon Brown, meanwhile, is trying to convince Obama to spend even more……

Here is how Gordon Brown faced the heat at the EU:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=94lW6Y4tBXs

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reacts,  as he listens to ... 
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reacts, as he listens to the debates, Tuesday March 24, 2009 at the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, eastern France. Brown called for global standards of financial regulation and insists every continent must pour enough funds into their economies to beat the crisis.(AP Photo/Christian Lutz)

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From The Telegraph (UK)

Mr Brown used a speech to MEPs in Strasbourg on Tuesday to exhort the European Union to take the lead in rehabilitating the world economy and forging a new “moral” capitalism. He called for an end to offshore tax havens, tougher financial regulation, and international limits on remuneration.

But his message risked being overshadowed by a warning from Bank of England Governor Mervyn King that Britain may not be able to afford further fiscal stimulus measures.

Mr King told the Treasury Select Committee that the UK’s deficit levels were already “very large”.

“I think the fiscal position in the UK is not one where we could say, ‘well, why don’t we just engage in another significant round of fiscal expansion’,” he added.

The remarks were seen as embarrassing to Mr Brown, who has successfully pressed the case for wealthy countries to bring forward significant fiscal stimulus packages to refloat the economy.

Read it all:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/p
olitics/gordon-brown/5047550/Gordon-Bro
wn-seeking-to-win-over-US-bankers-with-hi
s-vision-for-global-economy.html

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A top European Union politician on Wednesday slammed U.S. plans to spend its way out of recession as “a way to hell.”

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, told the European Parliament that President Barack Obama’s massive stimulus package and banking bailout “will undermine the stability of the global financial market.”

Associated Press

A day after his government collapsed because of a parliamentary vote of no-confidence, Topolanek took the EU presidency on a collision course with Washington over how to deal with the global economic recession.

Most European leaders favor tighter financial regulation, while the U.S. has been pushing for larger economic stimulus plans.

Topolanek’s comments are the strongest criticism so far from a European leader as the 27-nation bloc bristles from recent U.S. criticism that it is not spending enough to stimulate demand.

They also pave the way for a stormy summit next week in London between leaders of the Group of 20 industrialized countries.

The host of the summit, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, praised Obama on Tuesday for his willingness to work with Europe on reforming the global economy in the run-up to the G-20 summit.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/e
u_eu_us_economy

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/BU
SINESS/03/25/EU.topolanek.u
s.economy/index.html

Britain showing signs of heading towards 1930s-style depression

March 16, 2009

Britain is showing signs of sliding towards a 1930s-style depression, the Bank of England says today for the first time.

By Edmund Conway, Economics Editor
Telegraph (UK)
The country is displaying early symptoms of being trapped in a so-called “debt deflation trap” where families find themselves pushed further and further into the red every month, according to a Bank report published today.

The stark warning will cause serious concerns, since it was this combination of falling prices and soaring debt burdens that plagued the US in the 1930s.
The Bank is using its Quarterly Bulletin to highlight the threat posed to the economy by deflation – where prices fall each year rather than rise.

Although inflation is currently in positive territory, it is expected to become negative in the coming months.

The Bank is worried that this may combine with high levels of indebtedness to squeeze families further.

It says that families with high debts could fall prey to the debt deflation trap. This means that the cost of their debts, which are fixed, would rise compared to average prices throughout the economy. While inflation erodes debts, deflation makes them relatively higher.

The Bank’s paper suggests that Britain is particularly at risk because there is a high proportion of families with significant levels of debt, and many of them are on fixed mortgage rate, which means they will not benefit from rate cuts.

Britons’ total personal debt – the amount owed on mortgages, loans and credit cards – is, at £1.46 trillion, more than the value of what the country produces in a year.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopic
s/recession/4996994/Britain-showing-signs-of
-heading-towards-1930s-style-depression-sa
ys-Bank.html

Government Health Care Often Means Waiting Lines, Rationed “Care”

March 11, 2009

In Canada, Britain and Europe, government health care often means long waiting lines and rationed treatment and care.

Here’s today’s example:

by Rebecca Smith, Medical Editor
Telegraph (UK)

Patients face a significant increase in waiting times for operations as ‘insane’ European rules mean doctors’ hours are cut so much medics will not be able to cope, surgeons have warned.
The key pledge of Labour’s NHS reform has been to reduce waiting lists and now the majority of patients are treated within the target of 18 weeks from seeing their GP.

However this will be reversed as junior doctors will be limited to working a 48-hour week, from their current 56 hours, it is claimed.
The extension of the European Working Time Directive will effectively result in the loss of thousands of doctor shifts, John Black, President of the Royal College of Surgeons said.

And the Government fears there will be a lack of locum doctors available to step in and help fill the gaps, following changes in doctors’ recruitment.

It means patients will have to wait months for routine operations as surgeons prioritise emergencies rather than scheduled cases.

The Royal College of Surgeons wants trainee surgeons on a 65-hour working week in order to produce safe, properly trained doctors and cover the workload required by hospitals.

Mr Black said: “If the 48 hour limit is enforced, surgeons will have to make a hard choice between caring for emergency cases and dealing with elective cases as there will not be the time available to do both. Surgeons will put patient safety first and focus on looking after emergency patients.

“All the progress on reducing waiting lists will go out of the window. Forty eight hours for surgeons is currently insane if we want maintain surgery in the NHS.”

Doctors have calculated an average hospital trust outside London will lose the equivalent of three trainee surgeons and other specialities such as paediatrics, trauma, and intensive care are likely to be similarly affected.

Smaller surgical units may have to shut or be merged in order to comply with the Directive, Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley warned.

It is understood the Department of Health is considering increasing the length of time it takes to qualify as a consultant surgeon from seven years to eight or nine so doctors can gain enough experience and also comply with the limited working week.

Vanessa Bourne of the Patients Association said: “How can this be happening in a supposedly patient-centred service? Access to high quality safe care is the paramount requisite for patient and clinician alike and this muddle needs sorting out before patients are put at risk.”

The new regulations come into force on August 1 at the same time hospital trusts are trying to cope with organising the new intake of junior doctors.

The shake-up of doctors’ training, which caused a fiasco in 2007, means more trainees are in longer-term posts so there are now fewer candidates looking for locum posts and temporary jobs.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/pol
itics/4975055/Hospital-waiting-lists-will-soar-du
e-to-European-laws-surgeons-warn.html

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In the U.S., Some 50,000 applicants to nursing schools were turned away last year because there weren’t enough spots, even as a nursing shortage leaves hundreds of thousands of jobs vacant and threatens the quality of care in hospitals and nursing homes, Reuters reports. The federal stimulus package contains some $500 million to address health staffing shortages, of which about $100 million will go to address the nursing shortfall.

Treasury might not be up to the job of fighting recession

March 10, 2009

The Treasury might not be “up to the job” of spearheading the British Government’s response to the recession, according to the IPPR, one of Labour’s favourite think tanks. Britains worry…

By Christopher Hope
The Telegraph (UK)
Senior officials from the IPPR, the Institute of Public Policy Research, also questioned whether Gordon Brown’s policy of appointing former bankers as ministers was appropriate in dealing with “problems that banks have caused themselves”.

The Treasury was “not in good shape” to cope with the pressures of becoming a more interventionist Government while keeping a right rein on public spending, the IPPR said.

Guy Lodge and Tony Dolphin from the Institute said: “The lights are on in the Treasury but who is minding the tills? After hiving off so much responsibility for fiscal and monetary policy, the department is not in good shape to tackle the biggest economic crash for decades.”

They said part of the problem was that, when Mr Brown was Chancellor between 1997 and 2007, the Treasury spread itself too thinly and became a “Department for the Domestic Front”, wrapping its “tentacles” around large swathes of policy including welfare reform and child poverty.

This has meant that when the economy went downhill, the Treasury lost its core skills of keeping a check on the public finances and lost touch with its “conventional role of saying ‘no'” to more public spending.

In article in this week’s edition of ‘Public Finance’, the pair said: “Genuine doubts have been raised about whether the Treasury has the people it needs to face all these challenges simultaneously.

“The ‘Alistair and Mervyn’ show might be about to hit the road. It remains to be seen whether Treasury staff are well placed to support such a ‘show’.”

The departments suffers from “ridiculously high turnover rate in posts”, they said, adding: “Treasury officials rarely spend more than a year in post before moving on. This weakens the department’s skills base and deprives it of specialist expertise.”

Staff numbers have been cut by 17 per cent over the past four years. More cuts are planned by 2011. To make matters worse, the Treasury has also had problems filling policy posts. A recruitment drive last year was “only partially successful in plugging the skills gap”, leaving the Treasury short of vital skills.

They said: “One consequence of these changes is that today’s Treasury has few staff with experience of fighting a recession or dealing with a major economic calamity.”

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financetopics/rec
ession/4967743/Treasury-might-not-be-up-to-the-jo
b-of-fighting-recession-warns-IPPR.html

And other than Turbo Tax manipulation, what is U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s experience in dealing with recession?

Biden: “U.S., West Not Winning In Afghanistan”

March 10, 2009

Vice President Joe Biden says the “deteriorating situation” in Afghanistan poses a security threat to every NATO country and beyond.
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BRUSSELS — Vice President Joe Biden urged NATO members to jointly confront Al Qaeda and other extremist groups in Afghanistan where he said instability threatens all of the alliance’s members equally.

Appearing before NATO’s top decision making body, Biden solicited ideas to reverse a losing military strategy in Afghanistan as part of President Barack Obama’s policy to bring more European allies on board to fight the Taliban-led insurgency.

He warned the situation in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan was worsening, adding, “The deteriorating situation in the region poses a security threat from our respect not just to the United States, but to every single nation around this table.”

“It was from that remote area of the world that Al Qaeda plotted 9/11 and subsequent attacks” in Europe and elsewhere.

In his speech, Biden said the Obama administration will be keen to engage NATO allies in global security discussions, marking a departure from the last eight years when Washington often was on a go-it-alone course that upset its European allies.

“President Obama and I are deeply committed to NATO. Lets get that straight right from the start,” Biden told the North Atlantic Council — the panel of ambassadors from NATO’s 26 member nations.

Biden said Americans view a terrorist attack in Europe “as an attack on the United States. That is not hyperbole … We view it as a gateway to further attacks on the United States. So please understand that this is not a U.S.-centrist view that only if America is attacked is there a terrorist threat.”

He said he came to hear ideas from the allies on how NATO can bring stability to Afghanistan.

“It is from that area that Al Qaeda and its extremist allies are regenerating in conceiving new atrocities aimed at the people around the world from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to the United States, Europe and Australia,” he added.

After his consultations with NATO allies he will meet with senior officials at EU headquarters.
His visit, less than a week after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with senior NATO and EU officials here, highlights the new priority that diplomatic outreach to allies has become for Washington.

An issue closely related to the Afghan war is growing concern that neighboring Pakistan could be sliding further into instability.

Obama launched a strategic review of U.S. policy in Afghanistan after he took office in January. That review is expected to be completed later this month.

“What I want to learn is what your countries believe are working, what you think is not working, how we can do a better job in stopping Afghanistan and Pakistan from being a haven for terrorists,” Biden said.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/200
9/03/10/biden-warns-deteriorating-sit
uation-afghanistan/

See Also Reuters:
“West Not ‘Winning’ in Afghanistan”
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200
90310/pl_nm/us_afghan_nato_b
iden_4

While President Obama and VP Biden attempt to squeeze more troops out of Europe, they are facing the economic problems of the global recession as well as great uncertainty about U.S. policy, commitment, capability and ability….

Related:
Obama Throws Britain Under the Bus: Relationship “Reset” and “Regime Change”

Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?
.
Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama

Czech President Says Obama Views “Unknown” On Key Foreign Policy Issues

White House: U.S. Will Not Shoot North Korean Missile

Obama, State Department, White House Staff, Hillary “Unaware,” “Overwhelmed” by Expectations
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Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol

 Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Obama Throws Britain Under the Bus: Relationship “Reset” and “Regime Change”

March 10, 2009

Remember when Donald Rumsfeld made the remark about “Old Europe”?  Eeryone howlded, including Democrats.  Now Barack Obama has thrown Britain under the bus and nobody has said a thing….There is real “regime change” ongoing….at the White House…..What’s next?  A “special relationship” with Hamas and the Taliban?

Our fear here that barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel and others just don’t get it….In their haste to change everything about everything since moving into the White House, Team Obama may be doing irreparable harm to U.S. foreign policy, strategic alliances, along with the economy and everything else….

Primum non nocere

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/10/am
ericans-apologizing-to-british-pm-gordon-brown/

Donald Rumsfeld

By Frank Geffney
The Washington Times
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The British are understandably mystified. Long accustomed to a “special relationship” with the United States, they are trying to figure out why the latter’s likable new president would go to such lengths to distance himself from the country that has for generations been America’s closest ally.

First, there was Barack Obama‘s decision to return the Churchill bust that had graced the Oval Office since then-Prime Minister Tony Blair gave it to George W. Bush as a post-Sept. 11, 2001, gesture of solidarity. Then, there were the successive affronts during the visit by Mr. Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown, to Washington last week: A seemingly thoughtless official gift (a set of DVDs of popular American films); a painfully chilly and brief press availability before the start of the two men’s private meeting; and no formal joint press conference of the kind George Bush afforded Mr. Blair on all but one of numerous visits to Washington (the exception a hastily arranged trip right after the September 11 attacks).

The British press has offered several face-saving explanations for these serial rudenesses. Perhaps Mr. Obama is “exhausted.” Alternatively, he is simply “focused elsewhere” in the midst of cratering capital markets, collapsing automakers and skyrocketing unemployment.

The real answer, however, was supplied by an unnamed State Department official whom London’s Sunday Telegraph reported on March 8 “reacted with fury” when asked by the paper why the Brown visit was so, er, “low-key.” According to the Telegraph, “The official dismissed any notion of the special relationship. ‘There’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.’ ”

Such a comment by a representative of the State Department – an institution that never saw a foreign government it wanted to offend – is a sign of how serious Team Obama is about “resetting” the U.S.-U.K. relationship. Of course, as that term applies to friendly Britain, it means something very different than when used to describe the administration’s desire for improved ties with America’s enemies, actual or potential, like Russia, Iran and “Palestine.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news
/2009/mar/10/farewell-to-britain/

Related:
Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?
.
Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama

Czech President Says Obama Views “Unknown” On Key Foreign Policy Issues

White House: U.S. Will Not Shoot North Korean Missile

Obama, State Department, White House Staff, Hillary “Unaware,” “Overwhelmed” by Expectations
.
Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol

 Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
(Now we can add stupid….)

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Obama says US is losing war in Afghanistan and hints at Taleban talks

March 8, 2009

President Obama conceded today that the US was not winning the war in Afghanistan and opened the way for negotiations with moderate elements of the Taleban, much as America did with Sunni tribes in Iraq.

The new strategy, which comes as Mr Obama prepares to send an additional 17,000 US troops into Afghanistan, emerged after a frenetic 48 hours of American diplomacy in the region involving new overtures to Iran, Russia and the Muslim world.

The fresh approach to Tehran is causing significant concern in Israel and the Arab world over fears that Mr Obama is making too many concessions to Iran at a time when his own officials say it now has enough enriched uranium to make one nuclear weapon.

Mr Obama’s admission of the dire situation in Afghanistan followed an invitation to Iran by Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to participate in a US-headed regional conference on Afghanistan later this month.

Read the rest:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new
s/world/asia/article5869476.ece

Obama has little reason to fall in with the G20

March 8, 2009

“REDUCED cost of government, adequate government income, and ability to service government debts are all so important to ultimate stability . . . The United States seeks the kind of dollar which a generation hence will have the same purchasing and debt-paying power . . . Our broad purpose is the permanent stabilisation of every nation’s currency.”

By Irwin Stelzer
The Times (UK)

So wired Franklin D Roosevelt to the representatives of the 66 nations attending the London Economic Conference on July 3, 1933. Sailing on his yacht at the time, the president decided to torpedo prime minister Ramsay MacDonald’s plan for international action to deal with war debts and currency stabilisation.

Gordon Brown is less concerned about maintaining the value of his currency than that old dissimulator FDR professed to be. He needs a successful, or at least big and glitzy international conference for other reasons, not least for the political uplift that a sprinkle of Obama stardust might provide. But enough cynicism. Equally important is the prime minister’s belief in the need for international co-ordination and a strong stand against protectionism.

So he is relieved to have avoided MacDonald’s fate: the American president will attend the April 2 London conference of the G20 nations.

The important question is whether the conference can achieve its goal of a co-ordinated response to the world recession. There are reasons to doubt it.

The first is that Brown’s plea to a joint session of Congress to avoid “a protectionism that . . . in the end protects no one” fell on deaf ears. The White House and the Congress have assured their trade-union funders that Doha is dead, and there will be no more trade-opening measures. Indeed, existing agreements are to be tightened. Washington has more in common with French president Nicolas Sarkozy than with Brown when it comes to trade.

The second obstacle to close co-operation was made clear by the president in a press conference with the prime minister. Brown talked of grand bargains, a global new deal. Obama spoke vaguely of better co-ordination of financial regulation, and expressed no enthusiasm for co-ordinating American recovery efforts with those of the EU, except to call on Britain and Europe to do more. The president faces a bailout-weary Congress, and one that wants any additional borrow-and-spend directed at the plight of America’s homeowners. Indeed, even when it comes to regulation, the White House and key congressional figures let it be known that America has no intention of ceding any of its powers to an international body.

Perhaps the only area of solid agreement was a distaste for “tax havens” — those places to which over-taxed individuals and companies can legally flee. Nothing appeals to the leaders of nations such as high-tax Britain and soon-to-be-high-tax America as the possibility of a cartel that can impose its policies by disciplining “cheaters”.

The third obstacle in the path of a Brown triumph at the conference is money. The prime minister wants a larger role to be assigned to international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. But that would mean a larger contribution from cash-strapped Obama, which is not on the cards, especially since America is already under-represented at the IMF and the administration is taken with the scathing criticism of the IMF from economists it respects, such as Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

Fourth, Obama has no sentimental attachment to Britain or to Europe. He has a broadly leftist ideology, but other than that he is a “whatever works” sort of guy, to borrow from Tony Blair. Which is why his primary attention is on Asia, where Japan and China must continue to purchase Treasury IOUs if the Obama domestic programme is to be financed.

It is no surprise that Japan’s prime minister Taro Aso beat Brown for the prize of first foreign leader to be granted access to the Obama Oval Office. Or that Hillary Clinton slid over the little matter of China’s human-rights violations when she visited the regime’s leaders.

Finally, Obama knows that his presidency is doomed if there is another attack on the homeland that George Bush kept safe for seven years. That is why he has felt it necessary to make the war in Afghanistan, home of plotters aiming to do harm to America, Obama’s War. So he wants more troops from his European allies. And troops that will fight, not merely “reconstruct”, or patrol peaceful areas, or remain in barracks at night. But the Europeans are having none of it, which Obama — who already knows this — will have officially confirmed to him at the Nato meetings to which he will fly after the G20 session.

Read the rest:
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/busine
ss/columnists/article5864579.ece

Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama

March 7, 2009

President Barack Obama’s gift of a set of DVDs to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown appalled the British media, furious about the lack of traditional protocol afforded to Brown while he was in Washington.

Iain Martin, a columnist and blogger for the Daily Telegraph, wrote that he found Obama to be rudeness personified toward Britain.

Martin tells NPR’s Robert Siegel that Britons are used to a full news conference when their prime minister is in town.

“Only at the last moment was it agreed that there would be a small press conference, and, I think, it was read as a metaphor for the concern that Obama really just didn’t like having the Brits in town,” Martin says. “Yes, he’s dealing with the biggest global crisis in 70 years.

“Still, it would have been nice if he could have welcomed Brown with just a hint more enthusiasm.”

From NPR:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s
tory.php?storyId=101561670&ft=1&f=1004

In The White House, Protocol Not Just For Computers

A lot of people get paid a lot of money to prevent the kind of gaffe just made this week by President Obama and Hillary Clinton, America’s top two representatives to the world.  Usually they work in an office called “protocol.”

Protocol and dacorum are the opposite of awkward and foolish rolled into disrespectful and inappropriate.
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There have been awkward moments before at the White House and in presidential administrations and sometimes they cause pain and embarrassment to visiting dignitaries.  Sometimes they detract from years of great diplomacy.

Just ask Hu Jintao, President of China, after he was introduced at the White House during a Bush hosted ceremony as the President of the “Republic of China,” which most of us know as Taiwan.  President Bush added to the lack of protocol and decorum that day by manhandling President Hu toward the exit to the stage, a “touching” just not allowed  — except maybe for children.

Related:
Hillary: One-Time Health Care Failure Now American’s Chief Diplomat, Fouls Up First Time Out

 Obama Forges New Path in Protocol