Saturday, March 07, 2009

Mrs. Clinton's Miscues

I have done a lot of international travel and training. This means I have made many mistakes over the years when I tried to say or do something in the language and traditions of my host. It is embarrassing to flub a term or do something that is vulgar or offensive and you only find out later what you did.

Mrs. Clinton, the new Secretary of State under President Obama, has already flubbed her lines on several occasions and she has not been in office that long. In some ways I am glad she and other top officials often open mouth and insert foot. It makes my mistakes seem petty in comparison.

Recently Mrs. Clinton visited Russia and gave the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a made up copy of the famous RED BUTTON only used by Russian and US Presidents when nuclear war is threatened. Here is the rub, the State Department misspelled the key word for "reset" that Madam Secretary Clinton was using to make the point that the old regime is gone and a new day has arrived.

Instead of the Russian word for "reset" (perezagruzka) the button featured a slightly different word meaning "overload" or "overcharged" (peregruzka). The Russian media made light of the slight and Mrs. Clinton recovered nicely. However, it is getting off on the wrong foot when the State Department does not have anyone who knows Russian well enough to see the mistake.

I am off to Norway and Denmark Sunday and will not return until March 19. I am hoping and praying that in my fortieth or so visit to these nations that I will be more successful than Mrs. Clinton.

Please pray for my trips and my teachings. I will be teaching several times over the ten days and meet with old friends and Christian leaders. My friends in Scandinavia have taken our model and skills and implemented them wonderfully in a variety of settings. I am excited to reconnect with them and see what God is up to now.

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