BREAKING NEWS: Better Diplomacy Has Graduated

May 2, 2008

Hello readers. Better Diplomacy has indeed grown up and joined forces with a new partner, Eat My Press. So please continue to read and join us at our new home:

We’re still all about interpreting current events, politics, and culture, and hope to now bring you multiple posts per day. But if there’s one thing The Diplomat cherishes, nay, clings to, it’s a little independence. No worries, he’ll still be chiming in with what he loves, loathes, and of course with answers to your questions from our growing mail bag.

Now, some may say “isn’t Eat My Press like BD’s evil twin?” The truth is, The Diplomat got extremely frustrated with all the taken urls and just decided, for once, to go with his anger and make a site out of it. And you know what? It felt good. Plus, like the Island of Lesbos has taught us, what’s really in a name anyway?

Please keep in mind that the site is a work in progress. Enjoy!

– Formerly Better Diplomacy, now EAT MY PRESS.


Hmmm … What Do You Think?

May 1, 2008

Check out this recent article on the BBC: “Lesbos islanders dispute gay name.” Best quote:

The issue boils down to who has the right to call themselves Lesbians. Is it gay women, or the 100,000 people living on Greece’s third biggest island – plus another 250,000 expatriates who originate from Lesbos?

Wow. Tough one.

Even William Kristol Agrees: Hillary Gets No Respect

April 29, 2008

The NYTimes’ Op-ed is running an interesting piece by Mr. Kristol, a Republican mind you, which speaks to the lack of respect Hillary Clinton has gotten as the formidable candidate she’s proved herself to be. He’s correct to point out two things: not only did the media take her through the ringer again for winning Pennsylvania by a healthy margin, but Mr. Obama has now refused to hold a debate with her before next Tuesday’s primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. Puzzling. I’ll end with his ending:

“Over to you, anguished liberals.” Now that’s diplomatic. Or is it?

Breaking News: The Democratic Party’s First Ad Against McCain

April 25, 2008

Well, well. It seems the Democratic Party has remembered its true competition and have released its very first ad, airing on CNN and ABC, targeting John McCain’s less than stellar knowledge on economic issues. Do you feel better off?

Ask the Diplomat: Former Malawian President Bakili Muluzi

April 25, 2008
Hello Diplomat,
I would like to ask if you could do a piece on the very undiplomatic Malawian ex-president Bakili Muluzi who has tried everything in the trick books to stay in power. His latest being running for president in 2009 after failing to get a third term in 2004.
Multi-Cultural Guru, Lilongwe, Malawi
Thanks for your question, Multi-Cultural Guru. I assume the “tricks” you’re referring to are related to his maize scandal which briefly landed him in jail in 2006. According to the BBC, Muluzi was arrested and questioned on corruption and fraud charges stemming from financial transactions during his presidency. Apparently, Muluzi sold his country’s maize reserves to other African countries shortly before Malawi entered a drought and pocketed some of the proceeds while his people starved. And even though his 10-year presidency ended 3 decades of dictatorship, (Banda), the country is in even worse shape with foreign economic aid reaching almost $600 million in 2007.
So it’s sad that the BBC is also now reporting that Muluzi has just won his party’s nomination by a landslide and will be the United Democratic Front’s presidential nominee. However, it’s still up in the air whether or not his third run for president is actually legal. With this many red flags so far, The Diplomat gives Bakili a failing grade.

Hmmm … Tempting to Say Diplomatic: Pie in Thomas Friedman’s Face

April 24, 2008

Recently at Brown University, Thomas Friedman took the stage to give a speech on the environment for Earth Day. A few seconds into its beginning, two people from Greenwash Guerrillas stormed the stage and threw pies at him. The source of the group’s disgruntlement was written on a flyer:

“Thomas Friedman deserves a pie in the face because of his sickeningly cheery applaud for free market capitalism’s conquest of the planet, for telling the world that the free market and techno fixes can save us from climate change. From carbon trading to biofuels, these distractions are dangerous in and of themselves, while encouraging inaction with respect to the true problems at hand…”

For a guy who’s baffling famous for a nonsensical metaphor (The World is Flat), he actually recovered pretty quickly.

Diplomats Love (#4): Manners

April 24, 2008

Sociologically speaking, manners are the unenforced codes of conduct that show a person to be cultured, refined, kind, and polite. They are much like laws, but, and this is a very unfortunate but for The Diplomat, they can actually be ignored, transgressed, violated even, without recompense. Gasp, I know. But it’s a cruel world out there folks. The following are a list of common manner misdemeanors that irk us to no end:

  • Talking whilst eating. Listen to me: no one wants to hear a word come out of your mouth, much less see food particles fall from it, while you are eating your lunch. What’s even more tacky is when people tuck what they’re chewing away in their cheek in order to say something. That is just gross. Chew your food with your mouth closed, then speak. It’s also advisable to check your teeth/floss post meal but it is never advisable to remove food from your teeth with your tongue. Nothing more diplomatic than a clean smile.
  • Adjusting privates in public. I had a boss once whose husband’s nervous tick was apparently the constant rearranging of his junk whilst talking to you. Yes … I had a boss once whose husband’s nervous tick was apparently the constant rearranging of his junk whilst talking to you.
  • Nextel-walkie-talkies-push-to-talk option on cell phones. Please just call the person you are talking to. No one wants to hear your private conversations on the street, trust me. You’ve already revealed the fact that you’re cheap. Plus, it makes my dog bark, a very undiplomatic thing at 3am.

That’s all for now, but more to come. In the meantime, what irks you?

Happy Earth Day

April 22, 2008

Although environmentalism and the green movement have become extremely trendy these days, they have always been the most diplomatic way to live and use our resources. Therefore, The Diplomat presents to you the Ecology Flag:

Created in 1969 by a cartoonist, the flag’s colors symbolize pure air and green land, while the Greek letter “theta”, seen by some as an “e” and “o” combined representing “environment” and “organism”, actually harks back to the original Greek word “thanatos” meaning death, thereby implying humanity’s threat to the environment. But hey, The Diplomat loves a good double entendre.

If the international community decides not to boycott the Beijing Olympics, perhaps at the very least they will wave the Ecology Flag in tandem with their own as a subtle hint to the Chinese government to clean up its act. Of course they could also just show up with some Sudanese refugees and Shi Tao.

Word(/Term) of the Day: Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS)

April 21, 2008

Taking a break from the beautiful outdoors this weekend, I found myself in an old bookstore. Something The Diplomat likes to do from time to time is check out what folks are saying on the other end of the intellectual spectrum. So for a little Saturday comedy, I opened 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (not really worthy of a jump link … really) and instantly landed on a term I had not yet heard of:

Bush Derangement Syndrome: The term BDS refers to an utterly foolish or unreasonable state-of-mind, that affects some liberals. They blame President George W. Bush for virtually every ill in the world. They also oppose any position advocated by the President just because he supports it, regardless of the position’s merits.

Bush Derangement Syndrome in a sentence:

No Child Left Behind Act, $3+ trillion spent on war in Iraq, reputation of The United States of America generally dragged through the mud, and other facts, disprove Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Agreed. A totally baseless, unfounded, and deranged concept.

(For the record, no matter how much The Diplomat may not like one’s policies and outlook on life, he does not support collective, sweeping ideas such as said term and therefore finds true adherents to such knee-jerk liberalism ultimately undiplomatic).