Sunday, March 08, 2009

"That Was Easy ! ! ! ! "

Obama's Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was attempting to signal a new direction in relations between the US and Russia during her visit with her counterpart this week.

There was a bit of a problem, however.

Per Bloomberg:

Clinton’s ‘Reset’ Joke for Lavrov Lost in Translation

By Viola Gienger - March 6

(Bloomberg) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to use humor today to improve relations with Russia, only to inadvertently invite her Russian counterpart to get the better of her.

Presenting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a green- wrapped box decorated with a bow and containing a mock “reset” button, Clinton said with a laugh that her “little gift” represents what President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have been saying.

“We want to reset our relationship,” she said before she and Lavrov began closed-door talks in Geneva as the Obama administration seeks to thaw a relationship that had been at its iciest since the Cold War.

Yet a glitch in Clinton’s presentation might have symbolized the frequent disconnects. The word on the button was intended to say “reset” in Russian.

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

“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said as they both laughed. He said the word on the button actually means “overcharge.”

“We won’t let you do that to us,” Clinton said in response, before getting more serious. “We mean it and we look forward to it.”

Lavrov smiled.

“Thank you very much,” he said. “It’s very kind of you.”

Clinton’s staff promised to fix the error on the gift.

Wouldn't you think that out of the thousands of employees in the foreign service arm of "the most powerful nation on earth" a competent translator of the Russian language could have been found?

As Aretha Franklin (you remember her memorable haberdashery at the inauguration, right?) would say:

"All I'm askin' is for a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t. Just a little bit . . . . "

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