Green Room

Smart power: New Secretary of State hails nation of “Kyrzakhstan”

posted at 10:21 am on February 25, 2013 by

Just remember, this was the best choice in the pantheon of Democratic thinkers in foreign policy after Susan Rice flamed out over Benghazi.  In what appears to be a prepared speech, new Secretary of State and long-time chair/ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee praised the efforts of democracy activists in a Central Asian country that, er, doesn’t exist:

In an embarrassing slip of the tongue, Mr Kerry last week praised US diplomats working to secure “democratic institutions” in the Central Asian country, which does not exist.

The newly minted diplomat was referring to Kyrgyzstan, a poor, landlocked nation of 5.5 million, which he appeared to confuse with its resource-rich neighbour to the north, Kazakhstan.

The Telegraph in London points out just why this is so embarrassing:

Mr Kerry’s flub was all the more awkward, because Kyrgyzstan is a key ally in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan and a major recipient of US aid, which totalled $41 million (£27 million) in 2011.

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