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17 April 2012

Obama: You Say PotaTOE, I Say PotaTAH. You Call Them The Malvinas, I Call Them The Maldives.

Music to read by:

'Cuz you're the joke of the neighbourhood
Why should you care if you're feeling good?
Take the long way home
Take the long way home

 "Probably the strongest experience I have in foreign relations is the fact that I spent four years living overseas when I was a child in southeast Asia.  If I go to Jakarta and address the largest Muslim country on earth, I can say, ‘Apa kabar,’ — you know, ‘How are you doing?’ — and they can recognize that I understand their common humanity.  That is a strength and it allows me to say things to them that other presidents might not be able to say. And that’s part of what’s promising, I think, about this presidency."

- Senator Barack Obama, 20 November 2007

On Sunday, Sarah Palin addressed the Summit of the Americas in Colombia and spoke about the conflict between Great Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands.  As she has in the past, Mrs Palin appeared to be favouring the Argentine claim to the Islands by calling them the "Malvinas" rather than the "Falklands," which Argentina insists is their proper name. 

In keeping with her typically airheaded nature, Mrs Palin actually called the Malvinas the Maldives -- an entirely different group of islands...thousands of miles the Indian Ocean.  One wonders if she can she the Maldives or the Malvinas from her house?

Oops!  What's that you said?  Mrs Palin wasn't a speaker at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia?  Which dummkopf made such a boneheaded statement?  Was Congressman Hank Johnson a speaker?  He has a thing about islands.  No?  It was the smartest man in the world, Barack Obama, not Sarah Palin, not Hank Johnson.


"Our system doesn’t allow those people to become President.  Those people meaning people that smart and that capable.  He’s probably the smartest guy ever to become President.  This is a guy, whose IQ is off the charts."

- Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss on Barack Obama


From Toby Harnden of the Daily Mail:

As British troops fight and die alongside Americans in Afghanistan, our closest ally remains 'neutral' over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands (or should that be 'Maldives'?)

You might think that it was the 11 Secret Service agents and some military colleagues who partied in a brothel and then brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms who made the biggest mistake of the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.

But President Barack Obama's answer during a joint press conference with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia must go down as one of the most inept and misguided utterances of his presidency.

The question, from a Colombian reporter with RCN TV, cannot have been unexpected. Why was it, he asked that 'Cuba and the Malvinas issue weren't taken up as they should have' been in the final communique.

After giving a long-winded, boilerplate answer on Cuba, Obama then said: 'And in terms of the Maldives or the Falklands, whatever your preferred term, our position on this is that we are going to remain neutral. We have good relations with both Argentina and Great Britain, and we are looking forward to them being able to continue to dialogue on this issue. But this is not something that we typically intervene in'.

OK, so the Maldives is a group of 26 atolls off the South coast of India and the Malvinas is the Spanish name for the Falklands Islands (there are 778 of them) to the east of South America, some 8,123 miles away from the Maldives. To mix them up is laughable - the kind of error for which President George W. Bush or Governor Sarah Palin would have been mocked mercilessly.

But the bigger issue is that the Falkland Islands are a British Overseas Territory. This time 30 years ago, a British task force was en route to retake the islands after they had been invaded by Argentina. The death toll of that war included 255 British troops.