Top Bush aide confuses Tibet with Nepal

Freddie Lee/FOX News Sunday/Getty Images As McClatchy’s Tim Johnson notes, U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley confused Tibet with Nepal five times yesterday on ABC’s This Week. Whoops. (To be fair, host George Stephanopoulos didn’t correct him, either.) Perhaps, as Johnson suggests, Hadley had just been briefed on the Maoists’ great victory in Nepal and ...

595482_080414_hadley2.jpg
595482_080414_hadley2.jpg

Freddie Lee/FOX News Sunday/Getty Images

As McClatchy's Tim Johnson notes, U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley confused Tibet with Nepal five times yesterday on ABC's This Week. Whoops. (To be fair, host George Stephanopoulos didn't correct him, either.)

Perhaps, as Johnson suggests, Hadley had just been briefed on the Maoists' great victory in Nepal and got mixed up. But perhaps he was so focused on not giving any hint as to whether President Bush will attend the opening ceremonies in Beijing that he lost focus. Stephanopolous tried repeatedly to get Hadley to commit Bush one way or the other, but he wouldn't budge from his talking points.

Freddie Lee/FOX News Sunday/Getty Images

As McClatchy’s Tim Johnson notes, U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley confused Tibet with Nepal five times yesterday on ABC’s This Week. Whoops. (To be fair, host George Stephanopoulos didn’t correct him, either.)

Perhaps, as Johnson suggests, Hadley had just been briefed on the Maoists’ great victory in Nepal and got mixed up. But perhaps he was so focused on not giving any hint as to whether President Bush will attend the opening ceremonies in Beijing that he lost focus. Stephanopolous tried repeatedly to get Hadley to commit Bush one way or the other, but he wouldn’t budge from his talking points.

So, why hasn’t Bush announced his plans? If you think about it logically, it’s actually a wise move on his part. His administration has no wish to antagonize the Chinese government and people by boycotting (just look at what has already happened to the French). But if Bush commits to attending and there is some kind of major, Tiananmen-style atrocity, he’ll come under tremendous domestic pressure not to go. Even without such an event, such pressure could steadily build and he’ll have to skip the opening ceremonies, at a minimum. Better to preserve ambiguity for now and potentially save the Chinese a huge embarrassment down the road.

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.