Thursday, September 9, 2010

If you give a diplomat a few drinks, do not/not give him a microphone ...

#048: JunImage by GogDog via FlickrWe've always suspected that drinks and microphones are a dangerous mix. Now we have the proof we need -- you can drink or have a microphone but you should never, ever have both. 

Of course, if you are the host, you should never serve both either, unless you want sparks fly as live entertainment.  Colum Lynch in Foreign Policy wrote about China's John Bolton, who forgot the danger in the mix and had both.   Excerpt:

Sha Zukang, the U.N. undersecretary general for Economic and Social Affairs and the organization's most senior Chinese official, offered U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a toast last week at a retreat in the Alpine resort town Alpbach that degenerated into an intoxicated rant against the United Nations, the United States, and his boss, Turtle Bay has learned.

"I know you never liked me Mr. Secretary-General -- well, I never liked you, either," Sha told Ban at a dinner attended by the U.N.'s top brass, according to a senior U.N. official who attended the event. "I didn't want to come to New York. It was the last thing I wanted to do. But I've come to love the U.N. and I'm coming to admire some things about you."

The blunt dinner remarks -- which came after Sha had a few drinks  -- prompted U.N. officials to approach Sha and try to coax him into putting down the microphone, according to a U.N. spokesman and several U.N. sources who were there. It didn't work. Sha continued a lengthy speech, in which he also expressed his antipathy toward the United States.
Sha's colleagues, including Catherine Bragg, a humanitarian relief official, tried to approach Sha to persuade him to calm down. But Shaw continued. At one stage, Sha singled out a senior U.N. official, Bob Orr of the United States, and said "I really don't like him: he's an American and I really don't like Americans," according to the senior official.
Sha has long had a reputation as a pugnacious diplomat, a Chinese nationalist with a high-pitched voice and a short temper. A diplomatic colleague, Wang Guangya, China's former U.N. ambassador, described Sha to me as the "John Bolton of the Chinese foreign ministry." In a 2006 interview with the BBC, Sha told the United States to "shut up" about China's military buildup.
Active links added above. Read the whole thing here.

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