“Fuck the EU”

Victoria Nuland, meet Earl Butz.

Victoria Nuland, meet Earl Butz.

In today’s news, Victoria Nuland,  Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and the top American diplomat in Europe, is heard in a viral Youtube video saying “Fuck the EU,” meaning the European Union, meaning the United States’ allies in Europe, meaning the constituency it is her job to get along with,and not insult like a middle schooler.

A U.S. government competent in international diplomacy, serious about international affairs, and familiar with the concepts of damage control and accountability would sack the unfortunate Ms. Nuland immediately. Waiting until she becomes completely useless and the gaffe escalates into a serious international rift with substantive consequences would be incompetent, lazy and stupid. But this, remember, is the Barack Obama Amateur Diplomacy Era. Nuland has apologized for saying “Fuck the EU,” and that, for now, is the best the European Union will get, because the President Obama and his subordinates (fish-rots-head-down) doesn’t acknowledge the ethical principle of accountability, nor professionalism and competence, as far as I can see.

In its actions, if not its words, the administration has been saying “fuck the rest of the world” with some regularity.  Obama’s nominee for Ambassador of Argentina revealed in last week’s confirmation hearings that he has never been there, nor does he speak Spanish. Unlike the many other countries’ languages that our ambassadors assigned to them can’t understand, it really isn’t hard to find qualified diplomats who speak Spanish. Noah Bryson Mamet, however, wasn’t nominated to head the embassy in a major South American nation because he has a clue of how to do that job. He bundled $500,000 for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, you see, and no fewer than 23 such “bundlers” have received ambassador posts as their pay-off. Continue reading

Manny, Kanye, and the Farce of Self-Serving Apologies

Two habitual bad actors in the world of entertainment apologized this week, for similar reasons and with equivalent credibility.

First, baseball slugger Manny Ramirez issued an apology to his former team once removed, The Boston Red Sox, for forcing the team to trade him in the middle of the 2008 pennant race because Manny was faking injuries, refusing to hustle during game, assaulting employees, and poisoning team morale and discipline. “I think everything was my fault,” Ramirez said. “You’ve got to be a real man to realize when you do wrong. Hey, it was my fault, right? I’m already past that stage. I’m happy. I’m in a new team,” Manny told reporters. He was with a new team, all right: the Dodgers, his previous team, let him go to the Chicago White Sox for nothing because, well, he was faking injuries, dogging it in the field…same act, different stage. So what was the apology about?

Manny, or more likely his agent, realizes this most recent break with a team as the result of his habitually juvenile and unprofessional attitude might cost him a lot of money at contract time—Ramirez is a free agent after all. So contrition was called for—two full years after he laughed off any suggestions that he was at fault for the Boston debacle, and proved that he had been loafing on the field by playing in L.A. like he was on fire. This isn’t an apology; it’s damage control, and thus is a deceitful and dishonest apology that has nothing whatsoever to do with genuine regret. The big tip-off is that Ramirez felt he had to explain why his apology was so admirable. Yes, Manny, you have to be a real man to admit you’re wrong; a real jerk to fake an apology to fool a future employer into believing that you’ve turned over a new leaf, and real fool to believe anyone will fall for it.

Then there is rapper Kanye West. Continue reading