When a close ally suffers a devastating natural disaster, the best public relations move — as well as the best policy — is to reassure them of our friendship and support, and offer to provide any assistance we can. Barack Obama did that well in the hours following the quake in Japan, and American assistance has been sent promptly in response to the catastrophe. But in describing our friendship in the wake of a 9.0 quake, perhaps the President and his team should have consulted a thesaurus:
Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the people of Japan, particularly those who have lost loved ones in the earthquake and tsunamis. The United States stands ready to help the Japanese people in this time of great trial. The friendship and alliance between our two nations is unshakeable, and only strengthens our resolve to stand with the people of Japan as they overcome this tragedy.
“Unshakeable”? Note that this was not an off-the-cuff remark, but was the official statement from the White House issued after the quake but before the tsunamis hit. Didn’t anyone think to check for something a little less, er, movement-related? Perhaps, say, steadfast, indomitable, resolute?
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