Pundit Wire

PULLING OUR PUNCHES IN PARIS AND BEYOND

images-6The circulation numbers for the first issue of Charlie Hebdo since the Paris massacre have reached 7 million, according to news reports — which means the next group of jihadists will have to buy a helluva lot more ski masks.

I wouldn’t put it past them, though. Jihadists hate leaving a job unfinished, as we learned in 2001. And now that 7 million people have a cartoon image of the prophet Mohammed resting on their coffee tables and toilet tanks, they have a lot more work to do.

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DIPLOMACY: IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU

John Kerry - Lassana BathilyThe planet gawps at the spectacle of US Secretary of State John Kerry descending on hapless French President Hollande (who has enough to worry about these days without weird foreigners embarrassing him in public) and hug-kissing him in no little profusion.

As if this were not enough, John Kerry brought with him to Paris James Taylor to play “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”. But this highest-profile gesture of American solidarité after the Paris terrorist attacks was bungled: the organisers made the rookie error of not checking and re-checking before the performance started that the practical sound arrangements were working. Watch the whole ghastly spectacle unfold here. Poor James Taylor is perched high on a stool but hunched awkwardly over a useless microphone so that you can’t see his face. John Kerry stands there in ill-suppressed tension. As diplomatic self-mutilations go, this is right up there.

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Also posted in Political Rhetoric, U.S. | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Woman in the Dunes

Imperial_sand_dunesTony Hervas, a colossus of a man, was chief U.S. interpreter (Spanish/English) during the lengthy negotiations reverting the Panama Canal “back” to Panama, under President Carter.

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Ward Just and American Romantic

US_embassy_Prague_2847With a certain urgency, I write on Ward Just’s eighteenth novel, American Romantic.  It’s about the stay anyone in the Foreign Service would want to write, but Just has done it for us.  Gail Godwin in The New York Times of June 6 called it “one of his best.”

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Supporting Freedom in Cuba

ministerio del ineriorIf they succeed in breaking the back of the communist system, how might a new democratically elected government start to put things right?

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The Christmas Truce at 100

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 2.43.26 PMThe story has been told many times. (photo: Sainsbury)

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President Putin Addresses the Nation

putinOn 4 December Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his ‘state of the nation’ address to the Federal Assembly and an audience of over 1000 people. So, how was it as a speech?

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E-BOO!-la

ebola_patientHello, my name is Dr. Francis Collins, and I am the director of the National Institutes of Health. Thank you for joining us for this live-blogging session. I am here to answer all your questions about Ebola or any other health issue. Let’s get started.

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