Friday, March 06, 2009

Smart Diplomacy

Whew! I'm glad big-brained diplomacy is back! Secretary Clinton shows the amateurs how to do it (tip to Instapundit):

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.”

I'm sure Lavrov simply lacked the proper nuanced understanding of his language. Whoever it was in the State Department who mislabeled that button is not having a good weekend, I dare say, waiting for the secretary to return.

Still, as someone who well remembers the Cold War era, this imagery was a little disturbing:

Lavrov said he would put the button on his desk and he and Clinton pushed the button together, before sitting down for their meeting.

I'm just glad the red button wasn't mislabeled "launch" in Russian.