March 7, 2009

So Hillary Clinton gave Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a large plastic button with the word "overcharge" on it.

Oops.

Got to give her credit though. She was drastically ill served by her people. What? Did they Google for a translation (of "reset")? Yet she handled the screwup gracefully:



I'd love to see her behind the scenes afterwards with whoever came up with that stupid button.

And then there are those screwups she can't blame on anyone else. "High Reprensentative Solano" and so forth....



AND: Don't touch it! It's the history eraser button!



IN THE COMMENTS: Peter V. Bella said:
Hillary's people screwed up? She gives the guy a stupid button like some college kid would do? She screwed up and big time.It is her fault. She is way out of her league. This is more serious than serving tea, being Bill's doormat, and being a junior Senator.

This is some administration. The Prime Minister of England gets some cheap DVS and the Russians get a stupid toy button. I wonder what Oprah got from her visit?
You're right. The button is incredibly stupid. I wrote this post in the middle of the night, between sleeps, and I was impressed that she weathered the incident at all. But in the cold light of morning the stupidity of it all is glaring.

AND: They should have asked Volokh:
Unless I'm unfamiliar with some alternative meaning — and one that the Russian foreign minister was unfamiliar with, too — "peregruzka" doesn't remotely mean "reset." "Gruz" means "load," and "pere-" means "over-"; "peregruzka" means "overload." (I take it that "overcharge" is used in the story to mean an excess of an electric charge, which is to say an electrical overload, not "overcharge" in the more common English sense of charging too much money.) Doesn't the State Department have fluent translators to do such things?
We see this one mistranslation. How many unseen mistranslations are there? Is it the same as the ratio for vermin sighting to vermin population? Or is it much, much worse? And also, why hasn't nuclear war killed us all yet?

125 comments:

Revenant said...

Don't touch it! Its the history eraser button you fool!

Ann Althouse said...

Ha ha. I was looking for that while you were writing it. I mean, actually, Chris was finding it for me.

Glad you're up and of one mind with me in the middle of the night, Revenant.

Revenant said...

The history eraser button was my first thought when I read this story. I've been looking for an excuse to mention it all day. :)

Penny said...

Po Post Huff-'n-Stuff is STILL after Hillary's ass.

I wonder why?

Nice to see you still up this hour of the night, Ann. You too, Rev!

blake said...

So...got any dip?

Sorry, for some reason I was thinking of the old SNL sketch, "The Guest That Wouldn't Leave".

Chip Ahoy said...

How generous of you. Now an outburst trademarked cackle is a graceful handling of a broadly publicized screwup. "Well, we're not going to let you do that to us." As if we could stop them, and after handing them an easy button that says just that. Man, this irony sure can be ironic.

Penny said...

Dip, blake?

I happen to have some guacamole AND some Lipton's sour cream onion on hand.

If none of those suit you? Well I can always hold the small of your back and DIP you over.

We might even pretend I led you in the tango.

Penny said...

Chips, anyone?

Ron said...

"You bloated EEEEEEDDDDIIIIOTTTT!!!"

Hillary & Barack, our new Ren & Stempy?

Somewhere Peter Lorre laughs...

Michael Hasenstab said...

It was a readily explainable error. The buttons were left over from a post-conference party of DC lobbyists. No biggie.

_________________

I had hoped that perhaps HRC was one of the few adults in the administration who had a clue about things. Tossing $800 million to Hamas, and now button gaffe have ended that bit of optimism.

Mark Percich said...

Genius - smart diplomacy. It makes you nostalgic for the George W.Bush administration.

Peter V. Bella said...

Hillary's people screwed up? She gives the guy a stupid button like some college kid would do? She screwed up and big time.It is her fault. She is way out of her league. This is more serious than serving tea, being Bill's doormat, and being a junior Senator.

This is some admnistration. The Prime Minister of England gets some cheap DVS and the Russians get a stupid toy button. I wonder ewhat Oprah got from her visit?

AllenS said...

Peter beat me to it. I was going to say:

She should have given him the standard 25 most popular dvd collection. How could she have gone wrong with that?

We are totally screwed.

jayne_cobb said...

Ren and Stimpy, there's never been a cartoon more able to make me want to laugh and vomit at the same time.

Incidentally did you know that John Kricfalusi hates Family Guy.

Curtiss said...

So are these kinds of screw-ups now acceptable as long as they are gracefully handled?

That's a good gig if you can get it.

Darcy said...

Curtiss: Yes! Because of course she was "tired" and she is a "breath of fresh air", afterall.

Yeah, we're screwed, as AllenS says. We're lovable idiots now, isn't it pretty?

Kev said...

(the other kev)

Incidentally did you know that John Kricfalusi hates Family Guy.

I knew the man was a genius.

DADvocate said...

She gives the guy a stupid button like some college kid would do?

What an insult to college kids everywhere! My daughter in middle school wouldn't give a gift like this, or the DVDs. I really wonder where this administration's heads are at.

rdkraus said...

What would the commentary be if, say, Sarah Palin had done this?

Hmmmm.


Hey, "between sleeps" ????

What up wit dat? First you're sound asleep, then you wake up with a brilliant Blog post and run to the computer? At 3 AM I can't even find the computer. I consider it a "win" if I don't walk into the wall on the way to the bathroom.

Peter V. Bella said...

This is the cartoon administration. Maybe they truly believe that the way to mend our relations with the world- what ever the hell that means- is through juvenile, purile humor.

Instead of the world being mad at us (if they ever were) they could laugh at us. Oh, wait, they have been doing that fgor over forty years. The more things "change"- love that word- the more they stay the same.

AllenS said...

"I really wonder where this administration's heads are at."

Answer: somewhere where the sun doesn't shine.

Curtiss said...

Peter V. Bella: This is the cartoon administration.

Brilliant!

But, (props to Darcy) it's the "pretty" cartoon administration.

Meade said...

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

In my blue collar world we have a saying: work smarter, not harder.

Peter V. Bella said...

Allen S,

How about- you never have to smell their breath to know the administration's head is up their collective poop shot?

AllenS said...

Thank God this came out after the market had closed. Hopefully, the DOW will have forgotten by Monday. These people can't do taxes or funny.

Jim said...

I think she got it from Bill. Her staff got rid of "Easy" and replaced it with the Russian word for dumbass.

Darcy said...

And by the way, yes, let's "reset" our relationship with Russia, shall we? I love the symbolism of giving them a button to push! Whoops. :)

AllenS said...

But, wait! We should be getting closer to having a new senator from MN, Al Franken. A real comic genius. That should make the DOW drop 500 within 2 days.

The Hegemonist said...

It's really hard to believe that this happened on the same day as Obama's gift faux pas. I blogged about it at http://www.thehegemonist.com/2009/03/diplomatic-gifting.html

fcai said...

Well, Ann, you voted for these ass clowns. How do you like them now?

Michael Hasenstab said...

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

We? The entire fucking State Department can't get one Russian word right? Seriously? Do you want us to believe that, Hillary?

I always believed the non-appointees in the State Department were smart people, many with advanced degrees, who were fluent in every language in the world. And HRC says they couldn't get one word of Russian right? And they worked "hard" and still got it wrong?

Nice going Hillary. Forty days in and you just threw your entire department under the bus. Way to build team loyalty.

Here's a tip: At your next team-building outing, don't do that thing where your fall backwards and the team catches you.

Miss Hamilton said...

The Onion is screwed.

Big Mike said...

If you go to http://www.freedict.com/onldict/rus.html, which is the first entry that comes up when you Google "Russian English dictionary," and enter "reset" you get (and I'm loosely transliterating the Cyrillic here) "vnovy ustanovlyvat" while if you enter "overcharge" you get "perezaryad." My old (and cheap) Russian-English dictionary doesn't have "peregruzka."

BTW, for those of you who know Cyrillic better than I, no fair picking on my transliteration. My college Russian classes are a long time in the rear view mirror.

Bottom line is that Hillary could have done better with 5 minutes and Google. So much for "working hard." So far nobody in this administration has shown me that they understand the basic concept of "hard work."

By the way, Glenn Reynolds said it first, but it's useful to repeat. I thought the idea was to keep the Russian fingers off the button.

TitusIsReadyForTheDayLetsBegin said...

Maybe she can give him a massage and make it up to him.

Michael Hasenstab said...

A button? A BUTTON?? A freaking button?

The Smartest Woman In America gave the Russian prime minister a button that said Reset/Overcharge.

What the hell kind of foreign policy is that? Is the overarching theme of American foreign policy now "We blame Bush, and know that you do too, so here's a button"?

Well, if it is, we should look forward to many more button gifts.

Here's one for the Israeli prime minister that will clear up the missile launches from Gaza in no time flat.

Peter V. Bella said...

Where is Condi when we need her?

Michael Hasenstab said...

I gotcher button, right here. Wear it proud! Say it out loud!

Darcy said...

Michael H: Well, it's definitely saying that, which fits in with their selfish smugness, but I think it could also be saying "Push our buttons again, please, and we promise to be nicer in response!Peace."...or "We'd like to be under your thumb."

Whatever they were trying to say, the Russians are laughing. Perfect.

TitusIsReadyForTheDayLetsBegin said...

Liberals and democrats suck.

I have never been so embarassed to be an Amercan. I can barely get a hard on.

What shoe is going to fall next?

We are doomed. This is an outrage. I am furious. I will try to continue to type to express my disgust.

Palin/Romney 2012-Who Let The Dogs Out Woof Woof!!!!

TitusIsReadyForTheDayLetsBegin said...

My loaves are even depressed. I never thought it would get that bad. Normally my loaves were happy. Not anymore. Just depressing loaves that don't even want to come out in the world because life is so awful because of democrats and liberals.

Icepick said...

Thank God this came out after the market had closed. Hopefully, the DOW will have forgotten by Monday.

Dude, that is so unfair. Hillary is doing a MUCH better job than Geithner. (TIMMAY!)

AJ Lynch said...

Darcy said:
"And by the way, yes, let's "reset" our relationship with Russia, shall we? I love the symbolism of giving them a button to push! Whoops. :)"

Yeah Darcy I wondered about that too. What were they thinking ? A red button packed in a black box!! Why not just give them a replica of the "football" the president carries around?


Rev:
Thanks for the link that was hilarious.

Peter V. Bella said...

The media named Bush Doctrine was pre-emption. The Obama Doctrine is uh, eh, um, ah, em, er...

Curtiss said...

The Russians are very busy this weekend.

They're dusting off their old plans for dominating Eastern Europe and adding some new ideas on how to get the US State Department to finance the whole thing.

Curtiss said...

The Obama Doctrine is: "Reset".

Or is it "Overcharge".

Take your pick.

Darcy said...

You know what is funny, AJ? This flew right over the heads of the MSM types. Imagine that! ;-)

Pogo said...

P. J. O'Rourke once said that "Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."

But that's the most we can expect.

The current administration is more like we turned the reigns over to some sixth grade social justice class and said, "Let 'er rip, kids, whatever you want", and the bills for free ice cream and No School and free iPods and Free Health Care for Everyone and Equality for the Minorities and stuff and oh yeah Peace in the World Forever (and plus you mean we can take some of this for ourselves...kewl!) came flying off their desks.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov must have instantly knew he was dealing with total incompetents, and that they were now able to do anything they goddamned pleased, anything at all. That conclusion was also obvious to every leader of every other government worldwide.

I wonder what happened in the world the last time there was a depression, fear of another war, and capitulation was sensed by agressive nations?

T said...

I remember when Clinton left office, there was talk of relief that adults were taking charge again. And they were. But the adults have left the building again.

AJ Lynch said...

The Phila Inquirer has a front page story about this today. It is from the Associated Press, is 667 words, and includes a front page picture with this caption:

"A reset buton to mark a new era ......is given by Hillary Clinton to Sergey Lavroy".

The AP story does NOT mention the "overcharge" snafu.

I am of course NOT shocked.

Ann Althouse said...

@Titus LOL

Ann Althouse said...

"What up wit dat? First you're sound asleep, then you wake up with a brilliant Blog post and run to the computer? At 3 AM I can't even find the computer. I consider it a "win" if I don't walk into the wall on the way to the bathroom."

No running or walking was required. I sleep with my computer. I just roll over and tap it on the shoulder and it's ready to go.

yashu said...

Sure, this is laughable. But this administration is seriously starting to scare me. The mistranslation blunder itself is minor-- given the larger picture. Here we have our Secretary of State-- the highest diplomatic official of the United States of America-- employing a cringeworthy, cutesy, corny, simpering gesture; and the message itself-- basically, pandering to Russia (*Russia*!)--- is saying: aw sorry Russia, we know all the troubles & misunderstandings between us have been our fault, we've been bad, but we've changed, we're a new man (literally), we promise, it'll all be better now. We're so cute (as opposed to that ogre/buffoon Bush), how can you not like us? (And if we promise that we're sorry & will be good from now on, maybe you can do us a favor re Iran? Pretty please with sugar on top?) It's like a parody, a caricature of a Democratic administration, as painted by the most contemptuous of Republican satirists-- I can hardly believe this is for real.

Actually, scratch that, it's much worse: there's no sense of "we" here represented by Hillary, i.e. sense of our historical continuity qua USA (from one administration to another). Rather, Hillary-- again, the highest diplomatic official of the United States of America-- is saying: hey guys [accompanied by a cutesy gesture], you're dealing now with the ***Obama administration***, not Bush's USA (hiss)-- and hey, we think Bush/ USA has been just as terrible as y'all do... what a nightmare that was, huh? For real! We're so sorry for everything *they* did (we hate Bush as much as you). Let's start from scratch!

Jesus H. Christ, even if you believed that was actually true (of Bush), how can this grovelling, this dissing of your own country & ostentatious show of weakness/ unseriousness, be in any way helpful or advantageous to us? For Hillary, like Obama, governing our nation is just a matter of continuing the presidential campaign-- continuing to campaign for themselves. It doesn't matter what irreparable damage they may be doing to *us* (you know, the USA)-- now & for perhaps decades to come. Via Powerline, here are some snippets of Hillary's "apology tour" (which just make me want to vomit, from anger as much as anxiety for the future-- and surprised me, because I actually had hope for Hillary... at least, more than I did for Obama):
Clinton's Apology Tour

John Burgess said...

Michael Hasenstab: Having worked at State and peripherally with State's Department of Language Services, I can assure you that 'the entire State Dept.' had nothing to do with this fiasco.

State's translators are fully professional and mostly native speakers of their various languages. Their problem is that they are slow. They take weeks, if not months, to produce translations so fixed on perfection as they are.

This event reeks of a Clinton staffer's 'bright idea', conceived and executed while in Russia, at the last minute. Said staffer, with some language competence, but not a native speaker, likely ran the idea past a higher level staffer, got a green light, and had the button run up. 'Cute ideas' seem to be popular these days.

As a Russian-competent commenter at Volokh Conspiracy notes, the error here was in proofreading at the words for 'overcharge' and 'reset' differ only in a consonant in the middle of the words.

fcai said...

The smartest woman in the world, right? Women sure are stupid.

yashu said...

"Women"? The idiocy of a Biden, for example, has nothing to do with gender.

I really miss Condoleezza.

fcai said...

Or sex.

Freeman Hunt said...

Apart from the profound stupidity of this gift, what is with the idea that we want to "reset" our relations with Russia anyway? Is this pretend world where we pretend that nothing that happened before has happened or that countries with ill intentions are our friends?

"Here are you stupid DVDs, greatest ally," turns, "Hey Russia, will you pretty pretty please be our friend. Look, I made you this..."

I guess it's already pretend world as far as the Monopoly money type spending goes. Half a trillion here, half a trillion there, a whole trillion this way, another half trillion... WTF?

If foreign policy is supposed to look like a child's school play, the Obama administration is doing an excellent job.

It's only March. How are we going to weather this trajectory of epic fail for four more years?

TitusIsReadyForTheDayLetsBegin said...

Hilary Clinton is not smart. She is a liberal and therefore a complete and totally idiot. She killed Vince Foster too. She is a murderer.

I am mad today.

yashu said...

Or sex, if you like. (I'm not trying to make a Judith-Butlerian distinction, here.)

TitusIsReadyForTheDayLetsBegin said...

OK, just joking with you all.

Off to the gym. My chakras need some realignment.

It going to be in the 60's here today.

Get out, enjoy the day. Smell the flowers. Look at the colors. Say hello to a stranger. Open your windows. Let the sunshine in!!!!!

AllenS said...

TitusWithShitOnFace says...

"My loaves are even depressed"

Althouse says...

"@Titus LOL"

How many sane people are left, I ask.

TitusIsReadyForTheDayLetsBegin said...

Have some good food today too.

Go for a walk.

Dance.

Stretch.

Go for a drive.

Meet a friend.

Have a fruit smoothie with yummy stuff in it.

Listen to some great tunes.

Clean your bathroom.

Pop a Load!!!!!

Live.

garage mahal said...

So now the hate America crowd is siding with a brutal dictator who happens to be an arch enemy. I'm sure the anti-America anti-establishment flaming Right will be getting jiggy with the next Bin Laden video and dancing in the streets.

Cedarford said...

DADvocate - What an insult to college kids everywhere! My daughter in middle school wouldn't give a gift like this, or the DVDs. I really wonder where this administration's heads are at.

Where exactly did this practice of nations taxpayers subsidizing lavish gifts for Ruling Elites to give to other nation's Ruling Elites start?
Most advanced nations have strong bribery and graft laws that limit the size of a gift to very modest proportions. UK and US follow that. And anything above that is apparantly given to the government and stored at taxpayer expense forever as cherished historical items as if we will one day thrill and awe to look at the 770,000 dollar diamond-studded necklace given to Barabara Bush by the Emir of Kuwait..or Tony Blairs half-million pound Ibo antique bronze chicken given to him on a Nigeria state visit.

I think modest gifts, given America's new modest circumstances, are entirely appropriate.

The exception would be if we thought we could advance our interests by fostering corruption of foreign officials with lavish gifts. Ship 100 lbs of lobster to Moreno of Bolivia every month as long as he stops nationalizing private firms? Yeah, that's worth it.

But the days of lavish entertainment of "distinguished foreign guests" and filling their whole visting party up with bundles of "swag bags" paid for by taxpayers or US Corporatists?

Hopefully that all is in the rear view mirror.

If the policies between nations are in agreement and consonant on common objectives...a DVD set ought to be fine. If not, no amount of swag will make an ethical foreign leader "love us".

And for corrupt 3rd Worlders, yes, by all means, give the dictator and his sleazy family a fleet of 5 military helicopters costing 70 million to squire them around their in-country holdings. Disguise the gift as foreign aid for the needy people of Las Shitholia. As long as we get more than 70 million in gain in economic or security we have to think if advantage from gift giving corruption outweighs the ethical considerations.

I mean really, the present Russian leadership came into power in part as a popular Russian reaction against the West looting Russia's resources because we bribed the shit out of Yeltsin with lavish gifts and cash. And Gordon Brown's policies are not conditioned on some State Dept functionary or private banker with bailout money pouring in showing up at Cartiers of DC with a credit card and a 100K gift limit for the "distinguished PM Brown Party".

sonicfrog said...

Hey, come on guys. Hill and Co. just made a simple mistake. They grabbed the box that contained the button that was to present to the American people, signaling the Obama administration's fiscal policy.

yashu said...

I don't think the issue is cost, here, but degree of thoughtfulness.

TitusIsReadyForTheDayLetsBegin said...

Lastly I went out to dindin last night and we had dessert. Along with our dessert they gave us cotton candy in some fancy "fugue". Give me a break. Was that really supposed to be impressive?

Meade said...

It's 3 am and your children are safe and asleep. Somewhere in the White House, the phone is ringing. Someone is calling but he doesn't speak English. Chinese carryout? Psychic hotline? Safeco insurance rep?

Whew! Thank heavens it was just a wrong number. Go back to sleep.

TitusIsReadyForTheDayLetsBegin said...

OK, Pendarvis is heading out to work the runway. The city is alive with color, what color are you? Rare clumbers are going to daycare for the day.

Ciao.

Special Hugs,

Love you all to death,

My Mint Juleps,

Pogo said...

Enjoy your frivolity while you can, Dr. Strangeloaf (yes, all the best jokes are stolen, Titus).

yashu said...

(And to the extent that it was "thoughtful"-- i.e. a carefully considered, meaningful diplomatic gesture-- it's all the more disturbing.)

T said...

I'm all for modest gifts. But let's get the spelling right. And stupid isn't a good substitute for modest. A toy button with a misspelled word for Russia? DVD's for England (and a couple of toy helicopters for the kids)? Solano/Solana tomato/tomata...

The most competent actions of this administration so far are in the national security realm, where there has been no deviation at all from what a 3rd Bush term would do.

Adults are not in charge.

yashu said...

(Is it true that Obama returned the Churchill bust gifted to Bush? I read this somewhere in passing... is it true? Was Brown's gifting of Churchill texts to Obama significant? At this level, even this trivial stuff has, I think, its own... if limited... significance.)

Cedarford said...

Freeman Hunt said...
Apart from the profound stupidity of this gift, what is with the idea that we want to "reset" our relations with Russia anyway?


It has to do with US overreach and blatant meddling in "Russia's sphere" against their interests. As a reaction, Russia has found effective deterrance, combined with rotten US luck...to end the days of Neocons rubbing Russia's nose in it.

1. The US is watching it's logistic path into Afghanistan crumble on the Pakistan side. The alternative is Russia, where whe were slapping up air defense radars on their borders (capable of hitting any air traffic where 80% of Russians live, not just "Evildoer missiles from rogue nations".

2. To end the Iranian threat, we absolutely need Russia on our side, but the Russians have been screaming for years about the trouble the US has made with encroachments into Georgia, Ukraine, the Balkans. Now they are finished protesting and are doing things that damage our interests as much as the Neocons tried damaging theirs with mischief on several fronts. So instead of "hands off" - after "Freedom Lovers" into NATO, now!! - they are taking a pound of US flesh in retaliation...happily helping Latin American anti-US movements, moving more and more high tech military gear to China, and definitely Iran. Not because it helps their interests so much as it really vexes us.

3. They caught us trying to end a Russian role in 4 former Soviet Autonomous Regions - now Central Asian Gov'ts. They then formed the Shanghai cooperative and largely succeeded in booting us out or setting terms that the US will only be tolerated cutting deals that do not harm Russia..otherwise Russian has regained the power and clout to stop us. And add Azerbaijan to that, too.
This is something the Realist warned us for years would be the eventual blowback from Neocon machinations.

So yes, it is America's vital interest to stop trying to make Russia a serious enemy of ours again - and reset our relations. Russia is critical to our European relations, the Global economy, global oil prices and stability and reserve expansion, stopping WMD proliferation, checking China, and various small to medium 3rd World crises (including Iran) that collectively add up to a big deal.

Mark said...

yashu wrote: "It's like a parody, a caricature of a Democratic administration..."

Man, did you hit the nail on the head. That's exactly what it is.

I really resent this tone that the Obama administration, via Hillary, is taking: "yeah, we agree foreign countries, Bush really sucked, he really screwed everything up, but that's not us, we're not like that, please like us! Please don't confuse us with rotten old Bush! Look, we've made a prop button for us to push together to symbolize discarding everything about that sucky stupid old Bush! Please please pleaaaaaaaase like us, love us, approve of us! We promise not to take any 'unilateral' actions you don't approve of, and we'll give you lots and lots of money and we'll choke off our industry with green regulations so we're less competitive, and we'll do it all first as a show of good faith because we're so white and evil and there was slavery and arrogance and warmongering and please please please like us! We can be 'European' too, not at all like those stupid cowboys who were ruining things with all their arrogance and missile defense systems and other really uncaring mean stuff!"

AJ Lynch said...

Dr. Strangeloaf. LOL. Titus now has a more appropriate name.

Speaking of Ian Fleming and James Bond, this "red button" could be a prop from one of those James Bond movies.

AllenS said...

I worked as a pressman on a 4 color web offset press. The red buttons, which were all over the press, were for Emergency Stop. I hope there is someone that can push the National Emergency Stop Button. But I'm beginning to doubt it. Seems like even our most well educated are not that smart.

Maguro said...

2. To end the Iranian threat, we absolutely need Russia on our side, but the Russians have been screaming for years about the trouble the US has made with encroachments into Georgia, Ukraine, the Balkans.

Don't be absurd, it's not possible to get Russia "on our side". They are on their own side, always have been and always will be. Blaming the mean old Bush administration for Russian aggression won't get Obama anywhere and silly gestures of "friendship" like Hillary's "Reset/Overload" button will only make the Russians view us as suckers.

Bad things happen when the Russians think we're suckers...the Cuban missile crisis comes to mind. I hope the Obama administration gets serious about foreign policy in a hurry, but I'm not optimistic.

peter hoh said...

At least she didn't refer to the war on terror as a crusade.

Darcy said...

Maguro: Yep.

"Shall we play a game?"

Better not. We don't have anybody good at it in charge. Worse yet, they don't have any concept of the seriousness of the game. Apparently. But they can make beautifully embarrassing buttons.

Michael Hasenstab said...

@John Burgess: My post intended to be critical of HRC for using 'we', when explaining the button, which could be understood as including the State Dept, and not critical of the State Dept workers.

Freeman Hunt said...

Cedarford, on what basis would we form a strong alliance with Russia? Lack of common values, conflicting interests, lack of vested interest in each other's economies...? I don't see it. I don't see any basis for trust there, and I don't see any reason that we'd think Russia trustworthy, as it's currently led, in the first place.

Lari said...

These moron-traitors are STILL running against George Bush and taking their campaign offshore.

They've thoroughly internalized the CPUSA meme "there are no external enemies, only internal ones".

We'll be lucky if this doesn't all end in massive bloodshed.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I wonder what happened in the world the last time there was a depression, fear of another war, and capitulation was sensed by agressive nations?

Hmmmm? I wonder too. We have no historical references or guidleines for just such a situation . If only we had a clue(snark).

Seriously. Did we fire every diplomat and protocol expert when the Obama administration took over? Where are the people whose careers are to help the idiots we elect avoid these diplomatic disasters?

The rest of the world is laughing at our incompetence....well except those that used to depend on us as allies.....they are shaking in their boots and looking for some new friends.

Freeman Hunt said...

Maybe people my age aren't just writing Obama's speeches. Sounds like they're also selecting the gifts. If so, I fear for us all.

Jennifer said...

It's official. Hillary is Tracy Flick.

memomachine said...

Hmmm.

"1. The US is watching it's logistic path into Afghanistan crumble on the Pakistan side. The alternative is Russia, where whe were slapping up air defense radars on their borders (capable of hitting any air traffic where 80% of Russians live, not just "Evildoer missiles from rogue nations"."

A. Obama spent months talking about how he was going to bomb inside Pakistan. So how has Obama worked to improve relations with Pakistan? Not at all.

B. An anti-ballistic missile is -not- a anti-aircraft missile. Conflating the two is idiotic.

Joe said...

The events of this past week (add in the faux pas of the arrest warrant for Bashir) have shown that the Obama administration is no more serious about foreign policy than they are about domestic policy. The consequences of this are very serious. The amateurishness won't be lost on Iran or North Korea either. They will respond. Israel should be scared shitless right now (expect them to remind their neighbors that they have nukes and will use them if need be.)

Cedarford said...

memomachine - An anti-ballistic missile is -not- a anti-aircraft missile. Conflating the two is idiotic.

You don't understand military equipment.

The "antimissile" system propsed for E Europe relies on a powerful phased array radar system that utilizes integrated fire control on any airborne threat. With several banks of missiles for close in, intermediate distance threats(warplanes) threats and long-range anti-missile missiles for SRBMS. MRBMs.

You confuse the missile with the System.

We rejected a Russian offer to place the phased array radar and fire control sytem in Azerbaijan, looking right into Iran but looking away from the section of Russia where 80% of their population and military is. We instead pushed a location we swore was not intended to track anything moving in Russian sky though it did - but instead tried to claim a system parked right on the Russian border was only to "look for any missiles or planes crossing Russia (which we swear we have no intent to defend against militarily!!)from Iran to attack "Our NATO allies".

It would be like Russia claiming it was scared witless about the N Korean missile and nuke threat to their noble Cuban and Venezuelan friends. Then deciding to build a Base and anti-air, anti missile complex - not in Kamchatka, but in Cuba, where they would scan everything that moves through the air in America or it launched into orbit - along with missiles depending on loading - that could hit our all stuff. But wouldn't of course, since the Russians were only interested in "the N Korean threat".

The Russians have very good air/anti-cruise missile, missile defenses (better than our Patriot III), and an anti-missile system that does have the ability to intercept missiles (just not as good as ours)

You would want a similar "super-Aegis radar and fire control system" plus any missiles they could site operationally in days after the system is built - in Cuba - as much as the Russians want a similar system sited in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Seneca the Younger said...

We see this one mistranslation. How many unseen mistranslations are there?

Plenty. State seems to have real difficulty with this whole translation business. Remember when Jimmy Carter told a Polish audience that he lusted for them?

Revenant said...

where whe were slapping up air defense radars on their borders (capable of hitting any air traffic where 80% of Russians live

Yes, but why would we want to? You'd have to be either deeply stupid or highly delusional to think the United States has some evil plan to shoot down Russian air traffic.

Peter V. Bella said...

Reports out of Washington indicate that Hillary Clinton has ordered her subordinates to order all the cheap plastic watches they can find and old VCR tapes. These will now be the new State gifts to National leaders and other dignitaries. It will avoid the insult of poor translations.

sonicfrog said...

I hear that after this incident, Hillary's next stop was Germany, where she told Angela Merkel "Ich auch bin ein Berliner!".

Lari said...

"You'd have to be either deeply stupid or highly delusional to think the United States has some evil plan to shoot down Russian air traffic."

Or a closeted gay evil Jooo hating crypto-nazi with terminal BDS.

Peter V. Bella said...

I hear that after this incident, Hillary's next stop was Germany...

Where she is going to give merkel a signed copy of Mein Kampf.

Cedarford said...

Revenant said...
where whe were slapping up air defense radars on their borders (capable of hitting any air traffic where 80% of Russians live

Yes, but why would we want to? You'd have to be either deeply stupid or highly delusional to think the United States has some evil plan to shoot down Russian air traffic.


Right. Just like we would be deeply stupid or highly delusional if we objected to a 2nd Russian effort to place nuke missiles in Cuba - given there is no present Russian plan to use them against us.

Or similarly, no problem with a super radar site in Cuba that could link to Russian missile boats and cruisers along the Coast and in the Gulf - giving them data on any relevant air target or missile launch up to Philadephia and out to Denver. Russia has no plans we know of to shoot down US air traffic or do a decapitation strike....so no problem.

__________________

Trust me, we would have big problems with Russia doing this in our backyard. Military and strategists always thing in terms of logistics and capacities rather than do Ouija Board readings of present motivations and intents.
__________________
Lari - Or a closeted gay evil Jooo hating crypto-nazi with terminal BDS.

Run along dearie. Revenent and I were discussing a matter of US security of no consequence to an Israel-Firster such as yourself.

Freeman Hunt said...

Israel-Firster

Israel first as in Israel before all those fundamentalist countries around it that want to defeat the West and establish worldwide sharia? Well, yeah.

Maguro said...

Cedarford, the issue of whether Russian fears of encirclement are justified or not is kind of beside the point here. I think it is dangerously naive for the new administration to start its relations with Russia by making what will certainly be viewed by the Russians as a gesture of supplication and weakness.

You can't convince the Russians of our goodwill with apologies and admissions of American wrongdoing. It will only invite their contempt.

JAL said...

Betting pool on how long it takes for Georgia to disappear as a country?

Lari said...

"Run along dearie. Revenent and I were discussing a matter of US security of no consequence to an Israel-Firster such as yourself."

You know here in SF there's a club called the Manhole where you could get all gussied up in your SS fetish and chastisement gear and get your freak on in the men's room, and just maybe get it out of your system. Then perhaps you wouldn't be so neurotically compelled to take up so much bandwidth on this blog (that folks have to scroll on by) in an effort to try and show everyone how smart you think you are.

Paco Wové said...

As someone who probably would have voted for Hillary! had she been the Democratic nominee, this is profoundly disappointing. I was hoping for a dastardly, conniving, Machiavellian bitch, and we get a pathetic bumbling schoolgirl.

"I hope there is someone that can push the National Emergency Stop Button."

I like it. Maybe somebody can send one to Obama.

Maguro said...

I was hoping for a dastardly, conniving, Machiavellian bitch, and we get a pathetic bumbling schoolgirl.

She only adopts her Machiavellian bitch persona when dealing with her husband's girlfriends.

Maguro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Hasenstab said...

Things just get better as Hillary! continues her European trip. The Gaffe-O-Meter has been set at 11.

A few quotes from the Reuters story:

"Hillary Clinton raised eyebrows on her first visit to Europe as secretary of state when she mispronounced her EU counterparts' names and claimed U.S. democracy was older than Europe's."

"A veteran politician, Clinton compared the complex European political environment to that of the two-party U.S. system, before adding:

"I have never understood multiparty democracy.

"It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy."

"One working lunch later with EU leaders, Clinton raised more eyebrows when she referred to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who stood beside her, as "High Representative Solano."

She also dubbed European Commission External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner as "Benito.""

We are in deep shit.

Methadras said...

What a mockery the Mr. Barely administration is making of all of us. I'd rather have been hated by the globe instead of being laughed at like this was a Benny Hill comedy hour. Is this what was meant by projecting smart power? Because if it is then we are in big, big trouble. Yeah, it's a major gaffe, but it was something that should never have been made. You don't use props and gimmicks when engaged in the duplicitous language of international diplomacy. It makes you look stupid, weak, and banal. The fact that you can't even get the language right would be offensive to me, if I were Russian, not to mention that delicious irony of the word that was used in the screw up basically sums up the entire fiasco of what is going to happen to us and the globe when these buffoons are done with it.

Hope and change sure is glorious isn't it? Anyone have a button for that? Better off to use a staples easy button instead. At least that would give the impression that it means something. What a joke.

Big Mike said...

@John Burgess, I realize that this is late in the thread, but thanks for the link to Volokh. Ms "Tatyana" certainly figured out how they -- meaning whomever Hillary used as her expert translator -- screwed up.

But, John, I'm going to dispute your comment at 9:21. Regardless of how "slow" the translators are, they can certainly get a single word right with only one minute's chin stroking. I think that the problem is that Hillary basically doesn't trust anyone in her organization unless they've demonstrated loyalty to her, personally. This is the shortcoming that screwed up her attempt at healthcare "reform" and ultimately derailed her efforts to win the nomination. I've worked for managers like that, and they don't get much accomplished because the circle of people they trust is limited to people whose overall skills are weak, but whose loyalty is absolute and unwavering.

It's not a male/female thing. This kind of attitude is also a nice fit for Dick Nixon. Except Nixon's circle included Henry Kissinger.

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

Right. Just like we would be deeply stupid or highly delusional if we objected to a 2nd Russian effort to place nuke missiles in Cuba - given there is no present Russian plan to use them against us.

I'm sorry, I forgot who I was talking to. Sane people would recognize that an expansionist totalitarian state poses more of a threat to its neighbors than a democracy. Carry on with your ranting.

I wonder if there's an oppressive regime Cedarford doesn't prefer over the United States? We've checked Nazi Germany and the USSR off the list -- anyone know how he feels about North Korea?

Bob W. said...

I totally sympathize with Secretary Clinton; I made a similar mistake due to language and cultural barriers with a new neighbor last summer. . .

Peter V. Bella said...

The only reason Obama appointed Hillary was so he could fire her for being incompetent and inexperienced. That would effectively end her political career and a run against him if he fails in four years. Looks like she may get the ax sooner than expected.

madawaskan said...

Hillary needs better props for the Democratic base-where did she get this from the-

Acme Corporation?

Michael Hasenstab said...

On the positive side, Hillary did bring gifts.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana was given a bottle of OxyClean, a box of salt water taffy and a Barnes & Noble gift card.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think it is dangerously naive for the new administration to start its relations with Russia by making what will certainly be viewed by the Russians as a gesture of supplication and weakness.

There may be countries that can be impressed with our civility and being nice to them. I am thinking maybe parts of Scandinavia. But Russia isn't one of them. Russians have always respected strength, and that is one thing that the Obama Administration is not showing right now.

Bruce Hayden said...

The only reason Obama appointed Hillary was so he could fire her for being incompetent and inexperienced.

I am not sure who in the Obama Administration is coming across as being competent and experienced, except the SecDef, whom they kept from the hated Bush (43) Administration.

Treasury can't fill its top slots (does anyone on the left pay their taxes?) Justice just got reprimanded. Interior refused to relist the gray wolf as endangered. On and on. Amateur hour.

Cedarford said...

Maguro said...
Cedarford, the issue of whether Russian fears of encirclement are justified or not is kind of beside the point here.


No, they are driving Russian actions.

Nixon, Reagan, and Bush II did their utmost to keep their success against the Soviets and later the Russians from being a victory dance tromped across their face and driving them to new hostility.

Bush II and to a lesser extent Clinton with his Balkan meddling turned Russia revanchist. That and the Western-backed Oligarchs plundering of Russian wealth to London and Israel.

Carter, I agree, encouraged Soviet aggression from his sheer weakness, but even he snapped and actually started the military, and tech defense-related buildup later claimed as only Reagan's doing.

I think it is dangerously naive for the new administration to start its relations with Russia by making what will certainly be viewed by the Russians as a gesture of supplication and weakness.

No, it is a foreign policy break. See Eisenhower, LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I who managed significant policy breaks acceptable in the USSR. No accusation of "weakness" accompanied Ike's "open verification", Nixon's "detent", Reagan's glastnost and peristroika, and Bush I's "no rubbing Russian noses and pride in the breakup of USSR" policies.

You can't convince the Russians of our goodwill with apologies and admissions of American wrongdoing. It will only invite their contempt.

See Truman, Ike, LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I. No apologies necessary, but huge policy redirections happened.

Discard Carter and Bush II as idiots.

Methadras said...

If people were smart, they would consider an appointment into the Barely Adminstration the kiss of death. Want to keep your career and reputation intact, then stay away from these incompetent oafs.

downtownlad said...

Is Volokh still writing posts about how gay people are trying to recruit children into homosexuality?

downtownlad said...

http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2005_08_21-2005_08_27.shtml#1124731507

Peter V. Bella said...

DTL,
If he is then it is as nonsensical as all of the stuff you write. BTW freedom of expression does protect nonsense, even yours.

X said...

Oh Noes. Did Hillary get duped yet again?!?!?!?

why does this stuff keep happening to the Smartest Woman in America?

Will said...

If I had any Photoshop skills I would make that window behind them flash and a giant mushroom cloud appear when they press that button together!

RHSwan said...

Does DTL intentionally misread another blogger post ... I think so!!

rebellionbrewery.com said...

The Associated Press would like Americans to believe that our representatives have no clue what they are doing. Judging from comments on the various message forums Americans are gullibly buying the simplistic explanation that our State department supposedly doesn’t know how to translate the word “reset” into Russian. Nonsense! The Russian word peregruzka appears at the top of the button, spelled in latin letters. If this was meant to be a literal translation, why would the letters be in Latin? The english translation for this word is “overload” and anyone that knows how to type a few letters into an online translation website can easily figrue that much out. An english word appears below the button and that word is “reset”. These words do very much make sense together: when something is overloaded (like a circuit), you reset it.

Continued here:
rebellionbrewery.com/?p=312

John Burgess said...

Big Mike: The professional translators at State were never involved in this one, I'm willing to bet. This has the scent of a locally devised idea, locally implemented, and locally FUBARed.

I'm more than confident that an HRC staffer came up with a bright idea and after getting some sort of green light ran out and whipped up this confection, depending on his/her knowledge of Russian or, perhaps, asking someone in the Embassy for a quick translation without explaining the context.

I've seen it before. Time pressures and time zone differences militate against doing it right and it ends up messy. Mistakes happen, but it's bad when they happen so publicly.

A personal peeve of mine is that State in Washington works an 8-5 workday, Mon.-Fri. for the most part. Only a small Watch Office is staffed 24/7. This means that for many functions, being in a different time zone or working a different work week (as is the case with most of the Middle East), it can take hours or days before professional staff is available in any number of functional bureaus.

Nobody wants to pay for staffing and operating 24/7 bureaus.

Rose said...

Considering what 'have your finger on the button' means - it was risky to start with. I can kinda go along with the notion of 'Reset' - but I find it to be more of a slam on Bush, playing along with the uber-left-wing-whackaloons than anything else, and thus is sickens me. Self absorbed idiot Americans.

Then to get the translation wrong, someone's head will roll, but given the rumors of 'tension' from Obama's inner circle, you almost have to wonder if she wasn't set up. Grassy knoll and all. Nothing like spectacular failure in full view of the cameras on the world stage. Then Obama is justified to 86 her.