Archive for the ‘political’ Category

White House, State Dept Overuse of Political Advisors, Ignoring Experts is “Crazy, Dangerous”

March 24, 2009

Both Barack Obama and his inner staff of advisors and Hillary Clinton and hers, have already exhibited a tendency to rely heavily on political advisors instead of seasoned policy professionals and staff specialized in various nuances of national and international work.

President Obama’s repeated “talking down the economy,” including stressing the word ‘crisis’ and claiming that without the stimulus the nation faced ‘catastrophe,’ drew criticism from no less than Warren Buffett.

Then he switched course and urged confidence; but then he fueled the AIG lynching by expressing “outrage” which morphed into a disastrous House effort to levy a 90% tax on the AIG bonus recipients.

Senator Judd Gregg deadpanned today, “Americans started a revolution because a far off king abused his tax authority….”

Obama’s gift to Gordon Brown of the UK, a box of CD movies including “Star Wars,” was considered an insult by many in Britain.  When the PM tried to actually watch one of the flicks, his DVD player announced “Wrong Geographic Area.”

The White House didn’t even know or care that DVDs in Europe don’t use the same format as U.S. machines….

Hillary’s “Reset” button is another example.  Her political guys translated the word and got it wrong while real language and other experts at State were not consulted.  Why?

We question the entire “reset” line of thought.  Are we resetting to the Soviet era?

So beware the leaders so focused on politics and TV and without knowledge of the finer arts that experts bring….

A friend of ours in the State Department said, “Ignoring all our experts is crazy.  It’s dangerous.  It’s crazy-dangerous.”

Was it Joe Biden, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton that thought it was a good idea to encourage Russia to just hit the “reset” button?  Well, whoever….This is why we have experts in our government….

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red button marked "reset" in English and "overload" in Russian.


From Politico

Hillary Clinton’s departure for the State Department was meant to end the era of Clinton drama, and to leave the turmoil of her campaign behind. But one former Clinton aide, now a senior adviser to Secretary Clinton, has brought at least some of that drama along with him.

State Department reporters and observers have been buzzing about the brewing conflict since her second foreign trip, earlier this month, to Europe and the Middle East. On that trip, her longtime Senate press secretary Philippe Reines – one of the combatants in Hillaryland’s long civil wars – took over as the political staffer charged with handling the press.

The trip was marked by tussles over information and access, but it became known for a high-profile blunder in Geneva on March 6. There, Clinton met Sergei Lavrov, the dour Russian Foreign Minister, and cheerily presented him with a large red button in a yellow case, with the words “Reset” and “Peregruzka” written on it.

“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton asked.

“You got it wrong,” said Lavrov.

The error appalled some in the State Department, because the button – which was inscribed in Latin script, not Cyrillic – hadn’t been assembled with the help of State’s cadre of Russian speakers and professional translators, but rather by Clinton’s small political team. The day of the event, people involved said, Reines showed the finished product to officials who spoke Russian, but who weren’t native, or up-to-date enough to catch the error in a word out of computer terminology.

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 Russia Pressing “Reset,” Medvedev Orders Military To Re-Arm

 Barack, Hillary: Moronic “Reset” Idea for Relations With Russia

 Russian Relations With U.S., Europe Improve: But Putin, Medvedev Understand Strength, Power More than Diplomacy

Obama, State Department, White House Staff, Hillary “Unaware,” “Overwhelmed” by Expectations
Obama And The Fine Art of Political Nuances
Fine Art Of Protocol, International Relations Lost On Obama?

Protocol: Brit Media Furious At Obama 

In The White House, Protocol Not Just For Computers
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”

Russia Confronts Prospect of Real Political Instability

January 3, 2009

Uncertainty is creeping up on Russia. For the first time since Vladimir Putin‘s rise to power, Moscow confronts the prospect of real political instability. One of Russia’s savviest politicians, Anatoly Chubais, said last month that the likelihood of serious turmoil — economic, social and even political — is 50 percent.

The current crisis is global, and there is no sure way to forecast its length or depth. Such uncertainty would be disturbing in any country but is especially alarming here. For years, Putin steadily eliminated all political threats to his power, and by the end of his second term as president he enjoyed absolute authority. Now that authority is being challenged by forces beyond his control.

By Masha Lipman
The Washington Post

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, seen here, warned Ukraine ... 
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, seen here, warned Ukraine on Wednesday of “severe consequences” if it disrupted gas supplies to Europe, as another New Year’s Eve energy dispute went down to the wire.(AFP/RIA/File/Alexey Nikolsky)

Putin was blessed with rising energy prices that enabled him to build his oil-greased authoritarianism. He delivered generously to the nation, and the people readily withdrew from politics and rewarded him with high approval ratings. Likewise, the Russian elite stayed loyal, since the abundant oil revenue produced lucrative opportunities….

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Analysis: Israeli politics lies behind Gaza attacks

December 28, 2008

The people of Sderot, a small town in southern Israel a few miles from the Gaza Strip, have 15 seconds to take cover whenever the wail of sirens gives warning of another rocket attack.

By David Blair, Diplomatic Editor
The Telegraph (UK)

Palestinians try to dig out the remains of a security force ... 
Palestinians try to dig out the remains of a security force officer from Hamas as he lays in the rubble following an Israeli missile strike on a building in Gaza City,Sunday, Dec. 28, 2008. More than 270 Palestinians have been killed and more than 600 people wounded since Israel’s campaign to quash rocket barrages from Gaza began midday Saturday, Palestinian medical sources said.(AP Photo/Fadi Adwan)

For almost five years, this has been their daily ordeal and Sderot’s bus stops have been specially reinforced to serve as armoured shelters from the regular salvoes fired out of Gaza.

With a general election due on Feb 10, no Israeli government could afford to appear indifferent to this threat, especially as Palestinian fighters are deploying rockets with longer ranges and heavier warheads, with some weapons capable of hitting the port of Ashdod 20 miles from Gaza. In all, some 500,000 Israelis live within range of Gaza’s rockets.

The political imperative to act undoubtedly lay behind Israel’s decision to launch the attack. It will have weighed most heavily on the minds of Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and leader of the centrist Kadima party, and Ehud Barak, the defence minister and leader of the Labour party.

Both will be fighting the election against Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister from the right-wing Likud party. As they enter this contest, neither can afford to appear anything but hawkish.

Yet the scale of the response exposes Israel to international criticism. Almost 300 Palestinians have been killed in the last two days alone. By contrast, rockets fired from Gaza have killed 17 Israeli civilians in the last seven years.

An Israeli soldier stands on the hood of a military vehicle ...
An Israeli soldier stands on the hood of a military vehicle near the border with the Gaza Strip December 28, 2008. Israel pounded Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip from the air on Sunday for a second day and prepared for a possible invasion after killing nearly 290 Palestinians in the opening rounds of a fierce offensive. Despite the assault, militants fired some 80 rockets into Israel, emergency services said.REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun (ISRAEL)

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