Posts Tagged ‘diplomacy’

Will Tony Blinken Get Cancelled By His High School Alumni Association?

September 23, 2021

Australia nixed a $66 billion submarine contract with France and made a new deal with the USA and UK. France is so angry that it recalled its ambassadors to the US and UK. This Biden Administration move was even more of a shock since his french-speaking Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, spent his youth in France and went to high school at prestigious École Jeannine Manuel in Paris, receiving his baccalauréat in 1980. So, is Tony still a member in good standing of the school’s alumni association, or do they want le sweat-shirt back?


“Blinken Faces an Awkward Visit to Paris, His ‘Second Home,’” Michael Crowley, New York Times

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Fox News Mission to the United Nations

December 10, 2018

Fox News Mission to the United Nations

Heather Nauert, a former Fox News personality and current State Department PR flack, has been tapped by President Trump as Nikki Haley‘s replacement as U.N. Ambassador. Ms. Nauert has shown a fine grasp of diplomacy in her current position at State:

She also accompanied Secretary of State Pompeo to Saudia Arabia for a grim discussion about the torture and murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi, marking the solemn occasion by posting a grinning tourist self-portrait on Instagram.

Heather Nauert has been at the State Department for 19 months. That’s her first and only government experience.

“Ms. Nauert is one of numerous television personalities with roles in Mr. Trump’s as-seen-on-TV administration. Mr. Bolton was a Fox contributor, and Bill Shine, a former Fox co-president, serves as deputy chief of staff. Larry Kudlow, a longtime CNBC host, stars as the president’s chief economic adviser.”

— “Heather Nauert’s Pick as U.N. Envoy Hints at Reshaping of the Role,” Peter Baker and Michael M. Grynbaum, New York Times


“Three Takeaways as Trump Picks Former Fox Anchor for UN Envoy Post,” John T. Bennett, Roll Call

“Who is Heather Nauert? The new UN ambassador with little experience,” Julian Borger, The Guardian

“What do most U.N. ambassadors have in common? Decades of experience.” Adam Taylor, Washington Post

“Heather Nauert Says Visit to ‘It’s a Small World’ Ride Qualifies Her For U.N. Job,” Andy Borowitz, The New Yorker


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Top Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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Missile Crisis: Trump Warns Russia, Russia Warns Trump

December 6, 2018

Back in October, mustachioed National Security Advisor and Cold War reenactor John Bolton first warned Vladimir Putin that President Trump is just itching to pull the U.S. out of the Reagan-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo now says this will happen in 60 days. President Putin offers to respond by ramping up Russia’s missile development. This would be a good time to refurnish your fallout shelter.


“Trump Hits Replay on the End of the Cold War,” Mark Gongloff, Bloomberg


“Nuclear War Experts: ‘John Bolton Is an Asshole,'” Matthew Gault, Motherboard

Song: “Russia, Russia (Lay That Missile Down),”  written by Tom Paxton, recorded by Prescott Reed (we don’t know if he’s the balalaika player). 1958.

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The Nutella Affair

June 19, 2015

The Nutella Affair

Not since Louis XII seized Milan has there been such conflict between France and Italy. French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal urged the public to stop eating Nutella, the chocolate hazelnut goo, to help prevent deforestation. Nutella is 20 percent palm oil, and palm plantations are often created by cutting down huge swaths of topical forests. Italy went into an uproar, since Nutella is made by Ferrero, the huge confectionery firm based outside Turin. Michele Anzaldi of the Camera dei Deputati was outraged by the grave e brutto slur against eccellenza italiana.


Kid Senator Pens ‘Cheeky’ Letter to Iran; International Crisis Ensues

March 11, 2015

Kid Senator Pens 'Cheeky' Letter to Iran; International Crisis Ensues

In office for a couple of months, young freshman Senator Tom Cotton (AR-R) wrote an open letter to the leaders of Iran, saying that any nuclear agreement they sign with the current administration won’t be worth a bucket of warm spit in two years when the Tea Party takes over the White House. That’s misleading, but 46 other GOP senators signed on anyway, some of them older guys who really don’t know what they’re signing. These political pen pals are being hailed as … traitors, reckless, dumb, dangerous and irresponsible, trolls, saboteurs, and so on.

Secretaries of State past and present denounced the letter as a dangerous political stunt. Iran blew it off, but there’s been a strong, substantial public backlash in the USA. Now the GOP letter writers claim it was all a joke, that they were just being “cheeky.” After all, what’s more fun than jeopardizing a critical nuclear weapons agreement?


See You in C-U-B-A!

December 17, 2014

See You In C-U-B-A!
“The United States and Cuba agreed on Wednesday to restore diplomatic ties that Washington severed more than 50 years ago, and President Barack Obama called for an end to the long economic embargo against its old Cold War enemy.”

— “U.S., Cuba restore ties after 50 years,” Daniel Trotta and Steve Holland, Reuters


Romney Charm, Offensive

July 27, 2012

Romney Charm, Offensive

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney sought to demonstrate his statesmanship with a trip to the Old World, but he seems to have an odd sense of diplomacy. As a guest in the United Kingdom he opined that London’s arrangements for the 2012 Olympics were “disconcerting” and “obviously is not something which is encouraging,” and “it’s hard to know just how well” the Games will succeed.

Having arranged snowball fights at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (population 190,000), Mr. Romney is well qualified to assess the 2012 Olympics in London (population 8,000,000). Certainly the organizer of London’s Games should have solved his logistical problems the way Mitt Romney did, by becoming a registered lobbyist and getting $1.3 Billion in earmarks from the national government. Ladies and gentlemen, that is superior business management.


@America in Indonesia

March 7, 2011

Indonesia is the globe’s most populous Muslim nation. It is also the second-largest Facebook market, the third-largest for Twitter.  Many of the country’s teens own mobile phones. So how does the U.S. Department of State seek to win the young hearts and minds of Indonesia? It gets digital with a new cultural center.