On the Plane
Posted at 8:11 AM ET, 06/15/2010

This blog is no longer active

Please visit our directory to see all of our current blogs.

Posted by Emily Ingram | Permalink | Comments (0)
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in Del.icio.us | Digg This | FAQ: What Are These Links?

Posted at 4:33 PM ET, 08/ 6/2009

Straight Talk in Nairobi

By Mary Beth Sheridan
NAIROBI, Aug. 6 -- At a town hall meeting on Thursday, an interviewer remarked on the "surprisingly frank" language that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had used in addressing Kenya's democratic failings.

Clinton acknowledged her blunt style -- and went on to display it anew.

Problems in the Democratic Republic of Congo are so acute because "much of the country is ungoverned," she said.

She noted that Nigeria imports petroleum products, even though it's the fifth largest oil producer in the world. "That's bad governance!" she exclaimed.

In Nairobi, she said, she had heard a common refrain: "If you have a problem in Kenya, why hire a lawyer if you can buy a judge?"

The crowd at the University of Nairobi laughed and applauded her comments.

For her part, Clinton said her language in Kenya was well-intentioned.

"It's tough, but it's also lovingly presented," she said.

Posted by Liz Ward | Permalink | Comments (2)
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in Del.icio.us | Digg This | FAQ: What Are These Links?

Posted at 12:56 PM ET, 08/ 5/2009

Clinton Shows Off Her New Kenyan Hairdo

By Mary Beth Sheridan
NAIROBI -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton often injects a personal note into her speeches to create a bond with her audience -- mentioning her daughter, the artwork she's bought overseas, the people she's met in her many trips.

On Wednesday, she brought up her hair.

"I had a chance to meet two women here in Nairobi, because I had to get my hair done," she told hundreds of delegates to a U.S.-Africa trade conference.

"My hairdos are the subject of PhD theses," she said with a wry grin. "I want everyone to know I got a good one in Nairobi."

Then she got to her point: She had asked the women what it was like to live in Nairobi. "They said, it's a wonderful place, and a great place to raise children. I want to hear that everywhere, from every family, from every mother and father who can say truthfully, it's a great place to raise children."

Posted by Kendra Nichols | Permalink | Comments (0)
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in Del.icio.us | Digg This | FAQ: What Are These Links?

Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 07/23/2009

With Clinton, Parsing Each Statement

By Glenn Kessler

PHUKET, Thailand--Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's words made the reporters traveling with her sit up in their seats, newly attentive as the chief U.S. diplomat stopped dishing about her relationship with President Obama and her failed White House run.

Suddenly, Clinton was talking about Iran's leaders, imagining how the United States and its Middle East allies might respond "once they have a nuclear weapon."

"So we will still hold the door open, but we also have made it clear that we'll take actions, as I've said time and time again, crippling actions, working to upgrade the defense of our partners in the region," Clinton said during the interview with two chatty Thai television hosts Thursday morning.

"We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment, that if the United States extends a defense umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it's unlikely that Iran will be any stronger or safer, because they won't be able to intimidate and dominate, as they apparently believe they can, once they have a nuclear weapon."

The press corps wondered: What did "defense umbrella" mean? That kind of sounded like Clinton was extending the nuclear umbrella, now available to European and Arab allies, to the Middle East. And why didn't she add the standard language that a nuclear bomb was unacceptable and that Iran would never get it? That sounded like she had essentially accepted as reality that Iran would get the bomb, and now they were getting ready for Plan B.

Continue reading this post »

Posted by Washington Post Editor | Permalink | Comments (0)
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in Del.icio.us | Digg This | FAQ: What Are These Links?

Posted at 5:46 AM ET, 07/22/2009

Clinton Hailed For Just Showing Up

By Glenn Kessler
PHUKET, Thailand--In academic foreign-policy circles, there is the "realist" school and "moralist" school. Now add to that the Woody Allen school of foreign policy.

As the filmmaker and comedian once said, "80 percent of success is showing up."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is taking that sage philosophy to heart. Judging from the local media accounts of her trip to Thailand, she is getting enormous credit within Southeast Asia for simply attending the annual regional security forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Many of her predecessors, including Colin L. Powell in George W. Bush's first term, also dutifully attended the meeting. But not Condoleezza Rice, Bush's second-term secretary of state.

Rice was never a fan of alphabet-soup talkfests like the ASEAN Regional Forum--which brings together the foreign ministers of more than 20 countries. She often found a reason to skip the annual two-day gathering, such as a trip to the Middle East to prod peace talks, and dispatched her deputy in her place.

(Rice was also not inclined to participate in the self-effacing song-and-dance routines that foreign ministers are expected to perform at the meeting's official dinner. But Clinton lucked out--the skits have been canceled this year.)

Continue reading this post »

Posted by Washington Post Editor | Permalink | Comments (4)
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in Del.icio.us | Digg This | FAQ: What Are These Links?

Posted at 9:27 AM ET, 07/21/2009

At State, Slow to Articulate the Message

By Glenn Kessler
BANGKOK--Diplomacy is often about the message. Six months into Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's tenure, the State Department sometimes still has trouble getting her message out.

Reporters traveling with Clinton had been led to believe that the highlight of Clinton's last day in India--Monday--would be the signing of an "end-use monitoring" agreement permitting U.S. firms to compete for $10 billion in military aircraft purchases by India.

But no U.S. official attempted to explain what that meant beforehand. In addition, up until a final news conference, there was virtually no information provided on a series of other agreements the two governments had been negotiating for the weeks leading up to Clinton's visit.

So when Clinton and her Indian counterpart signed something else--a technology joint venture to spur research--confusion ensued among reporters. Did the "end-use" deal collapse? Was Clinton playing semantic games by saying the "end-use" deal had been "finalized"? No one seemed to know for sure.

Continue reading this post »

Posted by Washington Post Editor | Permalink | Comments (4)
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in Del.icio.us | Digg This | FAQ: What Are These Links?

Posted at 5:49 AM ET, 07/20/2009

At Top Delhi Restaurant, the 'Hillary Platter'

By Glenn Kessler
NEW DELHI--The restaurant Bukhara here is widely regarded as the finest in India, if not one of the best in Asia. The atmospheric and casual spot in the ITC Maurya hotel is known for its mouth-watering kabobs, perrfectly cooked over spits in view of the patrons.

It also happens to be a Clinton hangout. After then-President Clinton ate at Bukhara in 2000, the restaurant created a special Bill Clinton "presidential" platter in honor of his visit.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is also a Bukhara fan, and she made sure to have dinner there Sunday night with seven of her staff members. The chef prepared a special selection of eight dishes, plus naan bread and a desert of kulfi, a tasty Indian ice cream.

Sure enough, the restaurant announced that the meal prepared for the Secretary would henceforth be on the menu as the "Hillary platter."

Speaking to students at Delhi University Monday, Clinton said she is such a fan of Indian food that she eats too much of it whenever she visits the subcontinent. "I have to go on a diet when I get back home," she said to laughter. "Back to carrots and celery."

Quote of the day:


"People watching a Bollywood movie in some other part of Asia think everyone in India is beautiful, and they have dramatic lives and have happy endings. And if you were to watch American TV and our movies you'd think that we don't wear clothes and we spend a lot of time fighting with each other."
--Clinton, on stereotypes portrayed in popular culture.

Posted by Washington Post Editor | Permalink | Comments (8)
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in Del.icio.us | Digg This | FAQ: What Are These Links?

Posted at 8:40 AM ET, 07/19/2009

Behind the Scenes With Clinton in India

By Glenn Kessler
MUMBAI, India--Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton began her three-day trip to India on Saturday with a burst of public diplomacy, but her meeting with a group of poor women left some residents here cold.

Indian newspapers described how local police gave no advance notice before barring residents of an upscale neighborhood from returning to their homes during Clinton's 90-minute visit to a shop maintained by the Self-Employed Women Association (SEWA). Traffic also was blocked at a normally busy intersection, and parked cars were towed to make room for a 20-foot-wide red carpet.

The Sunday Mumbai Mirror recounted how one man, Vishal Shah, had a bitter argument with police because he could not return home to his 6-year-old daughter, who he had left alone while he went out to do a brief errand. Shah was supposed to take his daughter to school but could not get any sympathy from the police.

Continue reading this post »

Posted by Washington Post Editor | Permalink | Comments (1)
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in Del.icio.us | Digg This | FAQ: What Are These Links?

Posted at 3:27 PM ET, 04/26/2009

Clinton Keeps Up an Active Pace Overseas

By Mary Beth Sheridan
Secretaries of state tend to be a hardy lot, with long days of negotiations, meetings and receptions.

But Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton may be in a category of her own.

On her latest Middle East trip, the secretary, her staff and reporters boarded a 7:30 am plane from Kuwait to Iraq on Saturday. In a 12-hour visit, she met with US military brass, several Iraqi officials, U.N. envoys, war widows, U.S. diplomats -- and held a campaign-style town hall meeting.

Clinton arrived back in Kuwait shortly before midnight -- just in time to preside at a lavish dinner for her staff and guests, plus the rather bedraggled reporters.

No sign how she kept up the pace, although she did gulp a tiny cup of thick Arabic coffee as the evening ended, about six hours before she was due to head for her next stop, Beirut.

Posted by washingtonpost.com | Permalink | Comments (0)
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in Del.icio.us | Digg This | FAQ: What Are These Links?

Posted at 8:33 AM ET, 04/25/2009

Clinton's 'Red Carpet Treatment' En Route to Iraq

By Mary Beth Sheridan
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton flew into Kuwait on Friday on Air Force 2, a top-of-the-line jet featuring leather seats, TV monitors and dinner served on china with silverware and cloth napkins.

For her hour-long hop to Baghdad on Saturday, however, the frills were gone.

Clinton, her State Department staff and a dozen journalists boarded an Air Force C-17 cargo jet, a hulking windowless gray workhorse, whose interior resembled a giant garage. Several rows of seats were plopped down in the middle of the cargo area.

Passengers stuffed in ear plugs because of the roar of the engines.

Once on board, staff and reporters grabbed sweaty body armor from a mound in the back of the aircraft, and practiced strapping on helmets.

It looked like the kind of wartime scenario that Clinton evoked during her campaign when she described landing amid sniper fire in Bosnia--a story she subsequently acknowledged was exaggerated.

But the Baghdad landing turned out to be quiet. Clinton got red-carpet treatment as she descended from the plane, with greetings from U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Adm. Mike Mullen, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And her motorcade zipped into the city on roads cleared of their normally chock-a-block traffic.

Posted by washingtonpost.com | Permalink | Comments (79)
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in Del.icio.us | Digg This | FAQ: What Are These Links?

 

© 2010 The Washington Post Company