The International Round-Up: Brits, Australia, Indonesia, China and Norway


globe 2.jpgChina
America is going to experiment with a tougher line with China.
Helene Cooper has a very insightful piece in today’s New York Times (which is great despite quoting this writer) that notes that the Clinton and GW Bush administrations started off badly with China and then moved into a smoother course. Obama started out smoothly and is now moving into rapids.
Norway’s Embassy in Washington has just announced its Facebook and Twitter pages.
In fact, Norway has a whopping three twitter pages. A year from now, I’ll have to see which are most active. On Norway-US politics, Norway-US culture, and a hybrid of stuff.
United Kingdom
UK Ambassador to the US Sir Nigel Sheinwald and his wife, Lady/Dr. Julia Dunne throw some of DC’s best parties — small dinner parties on the patio; slightly larger nice deals with 30-35 around a very intimidating formal table, garden gatherings, huge boisterous affairs with everyone from this blogger to Colin Powell to Hillary Clinton to Wolf Blitzer to Elise Labott and Chuck Hagel in the room — and they are all really fantastic. Yes, I like to go.
And the Embassy is looking for a new “head chef” who not only enhances the Sheinwalds’ shine at all of these gatherings but whose responsibilities would no doubt include overseeing a large daily operation for the very big Embassy.
I know who the Sheinwalds & Co. should hire. I actually really do — but won’t write the individual’s name here.
This spot calls for not just someone who can cook well, but someone who can cook brilliantly and keep a daily operation feeding hundreds and hundreds going with a smile — and someone who is part of that British food pivot trend where all of a sudden British food is prepared in memorable, somewhat unexpectedly un-American and un-French creations.
The Ambassador and his team should have some fun with this and select the “head chef” via some sort of star search process — like in Iron Chef. (Let me be a judge!)
The Brits are on Twitter too — and Facebook. And here is Ambassador Sheinwald’s blog.
Australia & Indonesia
Barack Obama is going to both in March — to Indonesia to remind Americans what a diverse and eclectic cat he is, and to Australia to check in with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who is more and more vital to the US in dealing with China, climate change, and a mountain of other issues in which Obama needs someone who can straddle our world — and theirs.
— Steve Clemons


20 comments on “The International Round-Up: Brits, Australia, Indonesia, China and Norway

  1. Paul Norheim says:

    As for US-China relations and selling arms to Taiwan, what does this tell us about
    Obama’s Iran strategy? Does he still work for multilateral sanctions including a
    Chinese vote in the UN?


  2. Paul Norheim says:

    Steve, this may interest you:
    “Military scaling back ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’
    “President Obama’s top defense officials will tell the Senate on Tuesday that the military
    will no longer aggressively pursue disciplinary action against gay service members whose
    orientation is revealed against their will by third parties, sources say.
    “In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Robert M.
    Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen also are expected to announce the
    creation of a group to assess how to carry out a full repeal of the decades-old “don’t
    ask, don’t tell” policy, which requires gay soldiers to keep their sexual orientation
    “But Gates and Mullen are also expected to tell senators that it could take years to
    integrate gay men and lesbians fully into the military, defense officials said. Two
    appointees will be named to oversee a group that will draw up plans for integrating the
    armed forces, according to sources familiar with the Pentagon’s deliberations on the
    subject. The planning effort is expected to take up to a year.”
    More here:


  3. David says:

    Surely not the salmon, Paul. Have we really abandoned our last shred of decency. I understand taking the women, of course, and I thought all the oil everywhere was put there by God for the benefit of Pat Robertson’s Christo-America. But I can’t support taking your salmon, or the things you do to salmon.
    I don’t understand why you are anti-semi. How else are you going to move goods in quantity not amenable to rail or water transport? Seems pretty self-defeating to me.


  4. Tony Foresta says:

    I like Obama’s muscular stance against China. Sure they own trillions of dollars in US Treasuries and other assets, but they cannot act recklessly against the dollar, or those investments, or China’s economy tanks. Obama is flexing muscles, and China will have to back to back down.
    That said, – longterm – China is ascending, while America declines. Only our hypersuperior military, weapons, and the FED prevent a real horrorshow final crushing of Pax Americana. But the writing is on the wall. We either change our wayward ways, and reign in the predatorclass abuses and criminality, – or a decade from now, unable to fund our military adequately, – China, and the rest of the world, will call our bluff, and force a real horrorshow conflict, and real crushing change on Amerika.
    Norway is all about the oil!!!
    I cook, and am brushing up on my haggas recipe. Count me in!!


  5. Carroll says:

    Oh gawd,gawd,gawd!
    So now we are going to poke China huh?
    Over the posion products they send us or trade issues?
    Nope over climate change and Iran as a..drum roll…SECURITY THREAT to the US.
    We are all going to die if Iran gets the bomb cause China won’t go along with more sanctions!
    Plezze, plezze…beam me up Scotty.
    What is it they say about the difference between your average nutcase and the certified insane…your average nut builds a imaginary house in his mind …but the real lunatics actually move in and live in their imaginary houses.
    That’s what the US done with Iran.


  6. Paul Norheim says:

    regard the Nobel as a shrewd tactical move, to avoid 5 party crisis talks involving
    Finnish, Swedish, Icelandic, Russian, and American diplomats – with the aim of
    toppling our communist government, installing John Bolton as head of a Coalition
    Provisional Authority, and stealing our oil, our salmon, and our women. It was
    simply a matter of national security.
    And I can assure you, Dan, that there will be no War Prize to the Israelis, as we
    have decided to offer Bibi & Lieberman the 2010 Peace Prize in December, for roughly
    the same reasons as mentioned above. Last year these two gentlemen frequently
    accused Norway of being anti-Semitic, and as we know, they regard anti-Semites as
    existential threats. Time to give them the Nobel.


  7. Ross Sharp (Brisbane, Australia) says:

    Don, our equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize is known as the Great Australian Floater.
    It’s a bronzed meat pie with mashed peas on top. Also, he gets a free double pass to the state zoo (where we keep the dropbears).
    Barack’s definitely in the race for this year’s award, I can tell you. Last year, we gave it to Elvis (he works in the fish and chip shop across the street from me. Lovely bloke, but my, he has let himself go the last several years. That cape has definitely got to go, it’s so very ’70’s).


  8. Dan Kervick says:

    Serves you right then, Paul. I pray thanks every day to God – that is the real, American one – that we have the good sense to pay our health industry CEOs $10 million a year to keep deductibles high on crazy atheist daredevils like you, Paul.
    Given the inverse impact of that Peace Prize drive on Obama, maybe we will get peace in the Middle East if the Scandinavians give Netanyahu a War Prize?


  9. Don Bacon says:

    Perhaps the Aussies will give Obama a peace price or something. The Norwegians did when he went there, the second time.


  10. Paul Norheim says:

    A Følsenkråpp GXL Turbo.
    There is a video of it here, driving through Oslo – approximately the same route as Obama
    took when he received the Nobel Prize:


  11. Dan Kervick says:

    “… I broke an arm and a shoulder in a traffic accident in December.”
    No doubt while driving one of those famed Norwegian sporting roadsters. What was it, a Børsche or a Lutefiskenghini?


  12. JohnH says:

    Must be a Norwegian government plot to restore the hegemony of the Normans. And we thought Al-Qaeda was scary!


  13. Paul Norheim says:

    Don’t mention it, Ross. I broke an arm and a shoulder in a traffic accident in
    December, and have witnessed the infamous death camps on the Scandinavian peninsula
    first hand. I think I’ve paid ca 50 US$ in total for medicines and visits to a doctor
    – but they charged me nothing for staying in one of these Gulags they call hospitals.
    Worst of all: I just discovered that these nuts transfer money to my bank account
    every month while I’m recovering. Creepy.


  14. Don Bacon says:

    I’m afraid I encouraged him — sorry.


  15. Ross Sharp (Brisbane, Australia) says:

    Damn those devious Norwegians and their icy plot to infect our precious bodily fluids with pickled socialist herrings!
    Paul, no matter how hard I protested, when my father had a stroke last year, our government insisted on providing his medical treatment for a whole month at absolutely no charge. He’s perfectly fine now as a result (though he still needs oxygen at times, and the machine was, disgustingly, provided for zilch. Honestly, I don’t know why we pay taxes if the government’s going to waste them all on such ghastly frippery as that).
    I kept demanding that it was his democratic right to get sick and die in agonising pain from neglect, but I was utterly ignored. Totalitarian health care system?
    My God, it’s positively evil.


  16. JohnH says:

    It’s not just Stalinism…it’s OIL stalinism!!! What kind of country uses part of its oil wealth to provide health care to its people? It’s not just shocking! It’s totally un-American. (I can’t think of any worse epithets.)


  17. Don Bacon says:

    Never believe an Ozzie. They brag terribly. I recently spent over a month there, from Sydney to Adelaide, and then across the country/continent to Darwin (by land), and then to Cairns and around. Big place.
    I did see some very friendly kangaroos of various sizes (Aussies have different names for them) and lots of very colorful birds, but never once did I see anybody in jackboots. In fact I can’t remember seeing one policeman in the whole time. Not one! No Americans, either. Is there a connection, ya’ think?
    No worries, mate. You have a wonderful country, despite your wild claims to the contrary. Cheers.


  18. Paul Norheim says:

    So now the Norwegian extremist government will propagate for the Scandinavian branch of
    Stalinism in Washington, via Twitter and Facebook? I have no doubt, however, that the
    freedom lovers in Washington DC will forever resist the communist lies coming from rogue
    states like Norway, North Korea, Cuba and Canada.
    A scary thought: If not for the American Revolution, the US would probably still be a
    member of the Commonwealth, and suffer under the same totalitarian health care system as
    Canada and Australia – described so eloquently by Ross Sharp in the comment above.


  19. Ross Sharp (Brisbane, Australia) says:

    The President is more than welcome here and I look forward to his visit.
    He’ll be able to observe first-hand how Australia’s government-run, national health care scheme has, over the last 30 years, transformed the nation into an oppressive, totalitarian, communist dictatorship where babies and old-folk are routinely shovelled into death-camps by panels of socialists wearing swastikas on their tastefully fashionable Gucci black shirts.
    We’ll do our best to keep the billions of feral kangaroos out of the way of the presidential motorcade, too. That’s why we all wear jackboots and steel helmets down here. Honestly, you have no idea how hard it is to get to work some days without being attacked by these bloody things.
    (BTW, very much enjoy your commentary on our ABC radio, Steve. Cheers.)


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