When two heads of state stand side-by-side in public, it’s all about reading into the words they choose and the body language.
In the case of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. President Barack Obama the word “frank” came up a number of times.
In Washington-speak when political leaders describe discussions as “frank” and “very frank” it usually means they didn’t quite see eye-to-eye. And given the recent tensions between Karzai’s government and the U.S. government that the visit sought to ease, the use of the word “frank” showed that not everything was agreeable.
“Obviously, there are going to be tensions in such a complicated, difficult environment and in a situation in which, on the ground, both — both Afghans and Americans are making enormous sacrifices,” Obama said at a joint news conference at the White House. “We’ve had very frank discussions.”
Obama went on to say, “Our job is to be a good friend and to be frank with President Karzai in saying, ‘Here’s where we think we’ve got to put more effort’.”