Friday, March 06, 2009

Embarrassing State Department Screw Up

This is just bad.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened her first extended talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by giving him a present meant to symbolize the Obama administration’s vow to “press the reset button” on U.S.-Russia relations.

She handed a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow. Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift: a red button on a black base with a Russian word peregruzka printed on top.

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

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said.

Instead of "reset," Lavrov said the word on the box meant “overcharge.”

No one at the State Department speaks Russian? I'll bet I have 2 or 3 students who could have provided the correct word.

Is there anyone in this administration who isn't coming off looking like an amateur?

Update: More here, regarding the Secretary of State's visit to Europe.


David said...

Even had they gotten the word right, there is a deeper issue, and that is the whole concept of a "reset."

The Obama team seems not to realize that they are *employees* of a company that has been in business a long time and hopefully will be around for a long future. The world did not begin again when they took office, and it is irresponsible in the extreme for them to position things as if all the actions and negotiations conducted by prior administrations had no value.

DADvocate said...

Not only did they get the word wrong but using a gimmick from a office supply store commercial is questionable. Considering this and the very questionable gift Obama gave Gordon Brown (25 DVDs of movies), Obama and the rest seem to have no clue about international etiquette or international politics.

Neko said...

I couldn't help but notice that MSM failed to mention that the button had the wrong word on it.

Law and Order Teacher said...

This administration is a joke. They are children hoping that their fawning will cause the grownups to move them from the children's table. Twenty-five dvds? Where they get that at Wal-Mart?

Ellen K said...

I read this yesterday. This the second big screw up on the part of the State Department protocol office. First, President Obama fails to have the traditional one on one and press conference with the UK's Prime Minister and gives him Blockbuster DVD's. One hopes they are not used ones or that Brown doesn't have to return them for a late charge. Now we have a translation for what amounts to a gag gift that is not only wrong, but could be considered offensive to someone who is thin skinned. Who is RUNNING the protocol office? Do these people get it that they aren't buying votes anymore, but instead are dealing with heads of state? What a bunch of amateurs. Say what you will about the Bush Administration, you didn't hear about any such stupid antics on his watch.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Jeez, aren't there any lefty excuse-purveyors with evidence that it was all Dubya's fault?

How about any excuse at all?

The silence speaks volumes.