Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Obama and the Maldives, uh, Malvinas, er, Falklands
By Donald Sensing
By now the story is well known among readers of alternative media (buried, of course, by the legacy reporters), that:
President Obama erred during a speech at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, when attempting to call the disputed archipelago [the Falkland Islands - DS] by its Spanish name.
Instead of saying Malvinas, however, Mr Obama referred to the islands as the Maldives, a group of 26 atolls off that lie off the South coast of India.
The Falkland Islands are under British dominion, lying almost 300 statute miles east of Argentina, and were the site of a brief but very violent conflict between Britain and Argentina in 1982, when Argentina invaded them. Britain sent a military expedition that ejected the "Argies" from the islands.
Argentina, however, has never renounced its claim and the status of the islands is a continual concern to its government, insisting that the Malvinas are an integral part of its country and that British settlements and military forces there are colonial in nature. Britain has maintained since the war that if the Britons living on the island (almost no one else does) ever vote to unite with Argentina then it shall happen. Argentina says that any referendum in invalid on its face because its claims are matter of existing status and fact, not opinion, and therefore not subject to a ballot. And round and round it goes.
But back to our president's gaffe. As John Hinderaker points out,
So with one word, Obama both offended the British and made himself a laughingstock with the Latin Americans. Here in the U.S., we are used to such embarrassing errors by our president, but the international press hasn’t quite caught up.
He goes on to scoff at the Telegraph's sub-headline: "Barack Obama made an uncharacteristic error, more akin to those of his predecessor George W Bush, by referring to the Falkland Islands as the Maldives."
Except, of course, that such gaffes are extremely common by this president, dating at least all the way back to his candidacy days when he said that he had traveled to all 57 states. Telegraph commenter doctorisabella enlightens the blighted British paper and its readers:
"When I meet with world leaders, what's striking -- whether it's in Europe or here in Asia..." -mistakenly referring to Hawaii as Asia while holding a press conference outside Honolulu, Nov. 16, 2011
"We're the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad." —Cincinnati, OH, Sept. 22, 2011
"One such translator was an American of Haitian descent, representative of the extraordinary work that our men and women in uniform do all around the world -- Navy Corpse-Man Christian Brossard." –mispronouncing "Corpsman" (the "ps" is silent) during a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, Washington, D.C., Feb. 5, 2010 (The Corpsman's name is also Christopher, not Christian)
"The Middle East is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries." --Tampa, Fla., Jan. 28, 2010
"The reforms we seek would bring greater competition, choice, savings and inefficiencies to our health care system." --in remarks after a health care roundtable with physicians, nurses and health care providers, Washington, D.C., July 20, 2009
"It was also interesting to see that political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate. There's a lot of -- I don't know what the term is in Austrian, wheeling and dealing." --confusing German for "Austrian," a language which does not exist, Strasbourg, France, April 6, 2009
"No, no. I have been practicing...I bowled a 129. It's like -- it was like Special Olympics, or something." --making an off-hand joke during an appearance on "The Tonight Show", March 19, 2009 (Obama later called the head of the Special Olympics to apologize)
"What I was suggesting -- you're absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith..." --in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who jumped in to correct Obama by saying "your Christian faith," which Obama quickly clarified
"I'm here with the Girardo family here in St. Louis." --speaking via satellite to the Democratic National Convention, while in Kansas City, Missouri, Aug. 25, 2008
"Let me introduce to you the next President -- the next Vice President of the United States of America, Joe Biden." --slipping up while introducing Joe Biden at their first joint campaign rally, Springfield, Illinois, Aug. 23, 2008
"Just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee -- which is my committee -- a bill to call for divestment from Iran as way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon." --referring to a committee he is not on, Sderot, Israel, July 23, 2008
"Let me be absolutely clear. Israel is a strong friend of Israel's. It will be a strong friend of Israel's under a McCain...administration. It will be a strong friend of Israel's under an Obama administration. So that policy is not going to change." --Amman, Jordan, July 22, 2008
"How's it going, Sunshine?" --campaigning in Sunrise, Florida
"On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong."
"I've now been in 57 states -- I think one left to go." --at a campaign event in Beaverton, Oregon
"Why can't I just eat my waffle?" --after being asked a foreign policy question by a reporter while visiting a diner in Pennsylvania
"It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." --explaining his troubles winning over some working-class voters
"Come on! I just answered, like, eight questions." --exasperated by reporters after a news conference
In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died -- an entire town destroyed." --on a Kansas tornado that killed 12 people
But then, give the guy a break because, after all,
This trip wasn't about diplomacy, or taking a stand for democracy or encouraging American values. The president mouthed cautious, standard U.S. stances on Cuba, drugs and free trade, but did so with little conviction.
Instead, he was really focused on winning votes back home as campaign season kicks in. Acts that can only be justified in a campaign rather than diplomatic context formed a pretty long list at this summit.
So does this president really care that he riled the Brits and made the Latins laugh at him? Nah.