First, Barack Obama gives a classy gift of 25 DVDs to Prime Minister Brown, as Brown gave Obama an "ornamental desk pen holder made from the oak timbers of Victorian anti-slaver HMS Gannet, once named HMS President ... the framed commission for HMS Resolute, a vessel that came to symbolise Anglo-US peace when it was saved from ice packs by Americans and given to Queen Victoria ... [and] a first edition set of the seven-volume classic biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert"--you know, just a few knik-knaks he must have picked up at Heathrow's gift shop. (In Obama's defense, Jim Treacher notes that "The Slap Chop and the Snuggie didn’t ship in time to give to Gordon, so Michelle printed the receipt and put it inside one of the DVD cases.")
Now the AP reports on Hillary Clinton's latest diplomatic coup with Russia:
Clinton handed [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov a green box tied with a green bow. He opened it to reveal a "reset button," a reminder of Vice President Joe Biden's recent remark that the Obama administration hopes to reset U.S. relations with Moscow.
Trouble was, the Russian-language label the Americans put on the button had the wrong word. Before she realized the mistake, Clinton assured Lavrov, "We worked hard to get it right."
"You got it wrong," Lavrov responded with a smile. He said the word the Americans chose — "peregruzka" — meant "overloaded" or "overcharged" rather than "reset."
Can you imagine if this had happened in the Bush administration? I believe were restoring a favorable image for the rest of the world.