Tales from the Trail

WikiLeaks spill reveals diplomats’ water cooler gossip

Some of the tidbits from the secret U.S. diplomatic cables unleashed by WikiLeaks show that diplomatic analysis can sometimes sound a whole lot like gossip. 

And just as when any private conversation goes public, it can be embarrassing for all involved. USA-CLINTON/

In the Case of the Compromised Cables, the unflattering descriptions of some of the world leaders will require all the diplomatic skill that U.S. officials can muster to soothe some of the world’s healthiest egos.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided a bit of self-deprecating humor might be the way to go.

“I can tell you that in my conversations, at least one of my counterparts said to me, ‘well don’t worry about it, you should see what we say about you’,” Clinton said in front of  TV cameras before leaving on a trip to Central Asia and the Middle East.

White House to Kremlin: how r u? OMG…

President Barack Obama suggested to visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that it might be time to toss out the red phone from Cold War days and open new lines of communication between the United States and Russia — Twitter.

(Although Obama may want to get the terminology down first, it’s Twitter not Twitters). USA-RUSSIA/

Obama cracked the joke at a news conference at the White House with Medvedev, who earlier this week visited technology firms in California and stopped at Twitter offices where he sent his first tweet.

Senate Republicans keeping powder dry on START treaty

There appears to be no rush among Senate Republicans to finish what President Barack Obama STARTed when he signed the new arms reduction treaty recently with Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev.

NUCLEAR-SUMMIT/At a closed-door meeting Wednesday on Capitol Hill, Senate Republicans listened to arms experts and leaders in their caucus discuss the deal, a follow-on to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

But the general feeling in the room was that it was way too early to decide whether the new START merited a thumbs-up or thumbs-down from the Senate, some participants said.

Obama ready to lend Rahm to Russia

OBAMA/President Barack Obama has a potent weapon in his arsenal if his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev has any concerns about selling a new nuclear arms reduction treaty to the parliament in Moscow — his famously assertive White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

“Just as we have to go to our Congress, President Medvedev has to go to the Duma. And I think President Obama has said that he would send Rahm Emanuel to Moscow,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unexpectedly informed reporters during a White House briefing on the new treaty.

Emanuel’s muscular powers of persuasion are credited with holding U.S. lawmakers in line for the recent approval of the president’s historic healthcare reform, and he was also recently accused by a former colleague of picking an argument while stark-naked in a congressional shower.