Tales from the Trail

Just the right tavern to celebrate 200 years of U.S.-French military ties

February 10, 2011

Not every U.S. ally who visits the Pentagon needs to be treated to a dinner that evokes more than 200 years of peaceful military relations.

Lady Gaga, WikiLeaks and :'(

November 30, 2010

WIKILEAKSWashington has been buzzing for days about Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old U.S. Army intelligence analyst at the heart of the investigation into the leak of a quarter-million State Department diplomatic cables by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

State Department revs up NASCAR Diplomacy

November 12, 2010


Foggy Bottom, rev your engines.

The U.S. State Department, for the first time ever, is turning to NASCAR to help get America’s message across.

Happy Birthday, Mr President? Palin takes on State Dept in Twitterburst

October 29, 2010


Sarah Palin has a beef — and a tweet or two — for the U.S.  State Department.

Clinton sees diplomats of the future in cargo pants as well as pinstripes

October 26, 2010


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged Congress to finance a major new U.S. push on overseas development aid, arguing that only by building up a global middle class will the United States increase its own national security.

Special Relationship? How quickly they forget….

September 29, 2010

So much for “Hilly-Milly”.

Just last year U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gushed to Vogue magazine about  former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband,  calling the young diplomat a dashing addition to the international scene. AFGHANISTAN/

Hillary’s mango diplomacy in Pakistan

July 19, 2010

Hillary Clinton has lots to worry about in Pakistan, but she has found one thing she can wholeheartedly embrace: Pakistani mangos.

Time-traveling Larry Summers envisions “Mumbai Consensus”

June 2, 2010

larry2White House economic adviser Larry Summers took a break from his busy schedule on Wednesday to engage in a bit of time travel — visiting the year 2040 when much of the world is run according to a new “Mumbai Consensus”.

German, U.S. ties strong, never you mind the wild speculation

June 6, 2009

DRESDEN, Germany – Were you under the impression that relations between the United States and Germany have been a bit frosty since President Barack Obama took office?
That Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn’t trust Obama because he went to Germany during his election OBAMA/GERMANYcampaign and cozied up to her opposition?
Or that Obama was offended by her refusal to let him deliver his big Berlin speech last year at the Brandenburg Gate, so he returned the snub by refusing to go to Berlin on this trip?
Well pish, posh. You’ve clearly been reading wildly speculative media reports.
“They are very wild and based on no facts,” Obama told a news conference Friday standing next to Merkel.
“The truth of the matter … is that the relationship, not only between our two countries but our two governments, is outstanding,” he added.
And Merkel’s assessment? Working with Obama is fun, in an analytical sort of way.
“Allow me, if I may, to … say that it’s fun to work together with the American president because very serious, very thorough analytical discussions very often lead us to draw the same conclusions,” she said.
Since they get along so well, why did Obama not travel to Berlin on this visit?
Simple matter of logistics. He was going to Dresden, going to Buchenwald, traveling to a U.S. air base and had to be in Normandy the following day for D-Day celebrations.
“There are only 24 hours in the day. And so there’s nothing to any of that speculation beyond us just trying to fit in what we could do on such a short trip. That’s all that there was,” Obama said.
A day after he spoke boldly to the Muslim world in a speech from Cairo, the U.S. president found himself boldly speaking again — this time to journalist speculators.
“So stop it. All of you,” he said, drawing titters from the assembled reporters. “I know you have to find something to report on, but we have more than enough problems out there without manufacturing problems.”
Speaking of those problems, what about those Guantanamo prisoners Germany had said it would take?
“Chancellor Merkel has been very open to discussions with us,” Obama said. “We have not asked her for hard commitments, and she has not given us any hard commitments beyond having a serious discussion about are there ways that we can solve this problem.”
Washington submitted a formal request in early May for Germany to take some Guantanamo prisoners.
“There are talks going on,” Merkel told the news conference, “and at the very end I am absolutely confident that we will find a common solution.”
For more Reuters political news click here.
Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Merkel listens to Obama during news conference; Merkel, Obama tour Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady) in Dresden)

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Obama and his South Asian envoy

January 12, 2009

There's much talk about President-elect Barack Obama possibly appointing Richard Holbrooke as a special envoy to South Asia. The New York Times says it's likely; while the Washington Independent says it may be a bit premature to expect final decisions, even before Obama takes office on Jan. 20.