Style question or problem in the making?

When Bush was elected Pres, the first name bandied about was Colin Powell. Pretty much everybody on both sides saw him as a good choice for anything.

So, now, some 2 months later, I find one news story. One. now, I read wire services from MSNBC, CNN, ABC and CBS daily, in addition to reading the news and catching it on TV. I’ve seen this one story on Powell’s verbal missteps that could have had international implications. These missteps did not occur in a casual ‘on the way to an airplane’ basis, but during recorded testimony before Congress.

As Secretary of State, the person will often be in the position of testifying in front of Congress, giving news releases, talking with the press, both domestic and foreign.

I never knew that Ms.Albright relied on notes. Sounds like a good plan to me, since there’s so much one needs to be able to keep track of (like if we recognize a country or not). Now, I’m sure that in Powell’s previous positions, there were times that he needed to be very cautious about what he said and how he said it. I would think that’s more true now than ever.

What say ye?

Powell apparently mispoke when he said the capital of “Israel” was Jerusalem, when it is claimed by both sides. The State Department said that his statement is not US policy.

The mistake, however, provoked strong reaction in the Arab world, and several Arab nations denounced Powell, accusing the United States of being biased in favor of Israel.

So, Powell hasn’t learned to hide our national biases very well through obfuscation and lies. Pity.

Brian is right.

Jerusalem IS the capital of Isreal.

Taiwan IS an independant country, the Republic of China.
Any argument there? No.

Secretary Powell seems to be a straight shooter. I don’t think lies make for good diplomacy, no matter what the newspapers think.

Since his poistion is such that his words can be and would often be looked at as hints to the position of our government, word choice should be very important.

While one might casually think of or refer to Jerulselam as the capital of Isarael the SoState should be very cautious in his public speeches about the reference, since it has international implications. This is not a matter of ‘obfuscation and lies’ - its a difference between casual speech and formal speech.

I’m not necessarily disagreeing with what you said, I just think that Americans are playing Arabs for fools and they are selling us oil. My hardly “pro-Arab” comments have been referred to as “anti-Semitism” on this very board (Note: Arabs are Semitic). I’m not in good favor of Israel even existing at our daily huge cash expense, including high oil prices (and I am willing to have them all move to Utah if it can help matters), and I despise the concept of Armageddon and think Israel is seen as a divine patsy for millenarianism by everyone in my neck of the woods.

Furthermore, related to our discussion, I think that the Jewish lobby helps control all public opinions on this matter, conveniently ignoring the specter of possibly relocating millions of sick and dying atomic bomb refugees to America and nuking our own oil supply (Some say it can’t happen because God won’t let it).

Another thing really disturbs me here. Below is a link of an article by a semi-famous middle-east journalist suggesting that the Jewish lobby sees themselves as having controlling interest in American politics. It is only found on a racist website. What is up with that?’In%20Our%20Hands’.html

So, let me get this straight. He’s supposed to say things like,

Maybe we should make Bill Clinton secretary of state?


he IS supposed to weigh his words carefully. When was the last time you heard our SoState make a comment during a Congressional hearing that went against current US policy? You don’t consider this to be a problem?

Look – we are a nation of laws. If we don’t have a law that says Jerusalem is really Israeli or a law that says Red China and Taiwan is Two-in-one, no one should have to foolishly dance around the obvious. Our friends and allies know darned well what our policies are and should quit their bitching.

“we’re a nation of rules”. of course we are.
however, we also live in a global community and need to be able to get along nicely with others. This includes not having heads of state say things in public testimony that potentially cause diplomatic problems for us.

Have you considered he did these things on purpose?

Perhaps he was testing the waters, or giving a nod and a wink to the other camps the he knows which way the wind is blowing.

(And why are we selling arms to a country which we don’t think exists? Do we have a third party cash the checks? If the sales are invalid, can we have the USS Mullany back? Great-great-great-grandpa is rolling over in his grave.)

your suggesting that he intentionally tossed these out?

We’re openly attempting to negotiate a peace between Palestine and Israel. One of the main sticking points is how to deal with the city of Jerusalem, which both sides consider to be holy. And, instead of saying “we intend to move the Embassy to Jerusalem”, he specifically says “we intend to move the Embassy to the capital of Israel, which is Jerusalem” ???

I find that even scarier. This statement provoked (according to the link) an outcry among the Arab nations who saw this as evidence of a pro Israel bias in the negotiations. Their point is well taken IMHO.

the other mistake was re-naming Taiwan, “The Republic of China”.

you’re suggesting, seriously that these may have been intentional mistakes? to what purpose? oh, yea, let’s stir up folks in the Middle East, it’s been way too calm there.

And, while we’re at it, let’s throw a wrench into the whole Taiwan/China gig - that will certainly be a pot we’d like to brew something into.

Unlike say Bush’s comment on North Korea?

Hey the guy was speaking the plain old truth. You want to place blame, put it on our totally divorced from reality policies. My particular favorite is the “One China” policy where we say yeah it’s one country yet send off a battle group “to observe” when the PRC starts lobbing shells towards the ROC.

On preview I notice these"

Without the statement it’s still true.

That is the name see.

The nation formerly known as “THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA”, and the city formerly known as “Jerusalem”!
That ought to satisy everybody!!

which (a) Bush, (b) comment? but if it was a ‘misspeak’ that had to be followed by an ‘official’ explanation/apology, then yea, and I’d consider both to be a problem.

And, the problem is that the speech is in direct contrast to the official policy. Now, when you say

you seem to be saying that the policies are wrong.

That’s not my debate here. My concern is that we seem to have a high level of statesman making statements that are contrary to our own foreign affairs policy. This would be less troubling if the department was, oh, say, the Department of the Interior, but it’s the State Department. His job is directly related to our foreign policy.

and the comments about “Tawain” vs. Republic of China", certainly you understand that there are two countries that claim to be the Republic of China, right?
Peoples Republic of China

hence the source of the problem???,

You might say mispoke, I on the other hand am a little unforgiving of him. From my morning SF Chronicle: (sorry Ican’t link the article, but a few key quotes:

Now on to…

No I’m saying our policy statements are in fact in direct conflict with our actual actions.

Actually mainland China is the People’s Republic of China, “People” I guess being a reference to communism.

Taiwan is the Republic Of China and is in fact a democratic country.

Excellent idea, egkelly – we can give them symbols. Jerusalem can be a horseman with a sword. Taiwan can be a horseman with a scale. :eek:

Of course, we certaintly have various secret agreements with North Korea, and that is probably what G. W. was refering to. I am sure we have various “understandings” as well. Still, a slip up.

Anyway, wring – we are biased in favor of Israel, and we’d probably go to war if China invaded Taiwan.

I would hope we wouldn’t get ourselves in these messes, and I don’t pretend to know if Powell had an alterior motive – but since neither of us known the ins and outs of brinkmanship in the closed rooms of the world, I do maintain it is possible – but what bugs me the most is we can’t even have a public dialogue about our policies on Taiwan and Jerusalem if our leaders must pretend for the sake of not hurting the feelings of our friends and allies that these problems do not exist.

ok , found what you were referring to.
where’s Tony Karon makes the comment that this sort of “speaking” can be

Which is the point I’m trying to make here. If you want to debate the foreign policies themselves, that’s not my current rant. I think we’re on the same side here. I am upset that these leaders are making public statements that are in direct conflict with US policies and actions. that since they are leaders of our country (President & Secretary of State) their gaffes are more troublesome, than say if Charleton Heston misspoke about US policy.
and jmullaney, discussion is most fruitfull if one makes a concerned effort to not antagonize the other parties involved, wouldn’t you agree? And, while we may indeed have a bias towards Taiwan and Israel, it is also in our best interest to at the very least attempt to be nuetral in our attempts to help negotiate settlements in these troubled areas. To appear more biased would undermine our attempts at peace negotiations.

Yeah…sure he was :wink:

Well, maybe – maybe not. I mean, in the case of Israel/Palestine, why are they using us? Why not Norway or Chile or Mongolia if they just want someone to hold there hands?

To paraphrase the Koran, sometimes you want to wink at one side, then tell the other side you are only kidding. Then no one (but Allah) knows what you are up to. It’s a part of the process.

and what do you and the Koran say is the point of pissing off these other countries, when they have strategic or other strong relevance for us??? hmmmm???