US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made use of her recent visit to the ASEAN conference (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in Phuket, Thailand, to put further pressure on North Korea by basically subjecting them to a bit of ridicule from the podium there. She claimed that “[t]hey have no friends left,” and compared them to an unruly child misbehaving just to attract attention.
Some bloggers dismissed Clinton’s remarks as basically just more “ugly American-ism,” but North Korea came right back with a ridiculing statement of its own. The New York Times has a good account of the exchange, in which that North Korean reply included the rather undiplomatic wisecrack “We cannot but regard Mrs .Clinton as a funny lady as she likes to utter such rhetoric, unaware of the elementary etiquette in the international community. Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping.”
Oooooh – those Korean Commies hit back low! But there’s more, picked up (oddly enough) by the Danish Christian newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad (but sourced to the Danish news agency Ritzau). According to this report, a North Korean spokesman accused Clinton of supplying “a wave of vulgar remarks that are unbecoming for a person in her position . . . her words suggest that she is in no way intelligent.”
Take that, Hillary! I’m sure she can handle it, though; she’s been called worse (including a murderer, back in the previous decade, you might recall). The fact is, this is probably not unbecoming Secretary Clinton, or anyone else serving in her position, because the situation with North Korea unfortunately calls now for getting nasty with that country, without going so far as war. In such situations, the truly skilled diplomat knows how to get properly un-diplomatic. This is by no means ugly-American-type condescension at all.