November 8, 2010

"... Gibbs had his foot lodged in the door to the meeting as Indian security officials pushed hard to shut it."

"In an angry shouting match, Gibbs asked the officials if they were going to break his foot as he repeated his threat to pull Obama [out of his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh]."

The imagery coming out of the Indian trip isn't as pretty as I thought they'd make it. 

117 comments:

kent said...

"In an angry shouting match, Gibbs asked the officials if they were going to break his foot as he repeated his threat to pull Obama [out of his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh]."

Smart diplomacy.

Clyde said...

That's our Baghdad Bob Gibbs!

TRO said...

My God, they are such rank amateurs.

Would love to see Gibby limping though . . .

Clyde said...

Maybe they could loan him Gandhi's walking stick...

edutcher said...

My God, how incompetent are these people?

That they imitate Louis XVI's court at Versailles is bad enough, but now they have to prove they're the real Althouse Hillbillies, making sure the world knows the Ugly American is still alive.

Smart diplomacy.

Right!

PS Alpha and Montaigne will be so proud.

SteveR said...

Although it cost way less than $200million a day, I bet some preplanning could have been included.

Is Michelle's BFF doing diplomacy events having excelled at social ones.

kent said...

That they imitate Louis XVI's court at Versailles is bad enough, but now they have to prove they're the real Althouse Hillbillies, making sure the world knows the Ugly American is still alive.

Ritmo, Alpha and/or garage will find some way of blaming either FOX or Bush, never fear.

traditionalguy said...

But Gibbs was fighting for more press access. What makes that the wrong thing to do? Gibbs acts rational more often than the usual Walt Disney World staff that surrounds Obama.

Big Mike said...

Ritmo, Alpha and/or garage will find some way of blaming either FOX or Bush, never fear.

Naw, they'll blame it on them damned Sikhs -- just you wait.

MayBee said...

Were the reporters all allowed to ask questions of Singh and Obama? If not, what's the big deal.

Clyde said...

Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.

Take up the White Man's burden--
No tawdry rule of kings,
But toil of serf and sweeper--
The tale of common things.
The ports ye shall not enter,
The roads ye shall not tread,
Go mark them with your living,
And mark them with your dead.

Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.

Take up the White Man's burden--
Have done with childish days--
The lightly proferred laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years
Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!

Rudyard Kipling, 1899, on the conquest of the Phillipines by the United States after the Spanish-American War

rick said...

Ol' Fibbsy normally has his foot "lodged" in different location ....closer to his tonsils.

Big Mike said...

... prompting press secretary Robert Gibbs to threaten to pull President Obama out of his bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

OMG, Gibbs really did say that!

Who reports to whom in the Obama White House?

kent said...

Who reports to whom in the Obama White House?

Gibbs < Valerie Jarrett < President Bozo < George Soros.

Mark said...

Who reports to whom in the Obama White House?

Damned good question. One really does get the impression that the whole operation consists of long-in-the-tooth kids (who think they're smarter than they are) just winging it after failing to prepare for the test.

MayBee said...

I mean, fight like that for questions from the press in China, and I'll be impressed.

Howard said...

I like all the criticism about a man standing up for himself and his people. He should of just bent over and spread his cheeks like a good obedient republican.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

I stated some years ago that George Bush’s effective courting of India into the Anglosphere would be his greatest legacy.

Though I largely detest Mr. Obama’s ideology, when he gets it correct —as in this case of continuing Bush’s policies— I will give him the credit he deserves. His advisors must have made a great job of convincing him, as he’s definitely got it right.

Now, if he would only transfer the recently-decommissioned USS Kitty Hawk (the last conventionally powered aircraft carrier) to the Indian Navy, he could help them become (by 2015) a four-carrier blue-water force dominating regional waters in a generally nasty part of the world.

It would also assist India in countering China’s development of a deepwater Navy base in Gwadar, Pakistan.

dbp said...

Gibbs was right to stand-up for the agreed-upon conditions.

It was all planned-out in advance after all, so maybe the Indians and just messing with the Obama crew for some reason. Maybe the Indians just don't like them for some reason.

MrBuddwing said...

As someone nominally involved in the news biz, I actually think that Gibbs did the right thing here. Although if it were me, instead of getting into a verbal brawl with the Indian hosts, I'd take it up with the President, have the President take it up with the Indian Prime Minister, and resolve it that way.

Word verification: ingstse.

The Crack Emcee said...

I thought you weren't supposed to talk about Fight Club,...?

MayBee said...

I like all the criticism about a man standing up for himself and his people. He should of just bent

Why do so many people actually write "should of"?

I'm fine with him standing up to the Indian security, but for heaven's sake. This is the same White House that tried to get Fox frozen out of a press availability on American soil.
The same administration that bad mouths cable news all the time.
And this was only to produce pool reports- not to have more questioners on hand.

India has a pretty free press. So this wasn't some huge bold move or anything. It was nice, considering the press pays a lot to go along on these trips.

Robert Holmgren said...

The boot on BPs neck is now an Indian door stop. The times they are a changin'.

Lockestep said...

The State Department career diplomats must be spending all their time whispering "just two more years, hang in there".

Trav, (Corpse on the Right, COTR) said...

Give Gibbs a break, he's fighting for the rights of their true constituency...the press, in fact, it's pretty much the only constituency they have left.

rasqual said...

OK, so he wants more press coverage. Well . . . he got it. Personally. Down to details about his foot.

It's just exquisite that in a heated dispute over press coverage that gets such good press coverage, it's the press guy who's making the news.

Good grief.

Juba Doobai! said...

"Why do so many people actually write "should of"?"

Simple. Lots of folks don't know English grammar when they hear it. They hear "should've"—contraction for "should have"—and, ignorant of grammar, think it is "should of" because that's what it sounds like. If they also understood what "of" means, they wouldn't use "should of."

Turtledove said...

This administration has no idea of diplomatic protocol. They really don't know what they are doing. It is embarrassing. It is going to be a long 2 years.

Orinoco said...

The well oiled White House Press Secretariat operates with the precision of a machine. You're doing a hell of a job, Gibbsy!

John said...

"In an angry shouting match, Gibbs asked the officials if they were going to break his foot as he repeated his threat to pull Obama [out of his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh]."

This is what tazers are for. The Indian security people were asleep at the switch.

Squid said...

I'm with Mr. Buddwing -- a valiant effort at getting the Indians to stick to the agreed-upon terms, but a lousy way to go about it.

But then, I suppose when you've lived your whole life believing the ends justify the means, it's only to be expected.

kent said...

This administration has no idea of diplomatic protocol. They really don't know what they are doing. It is embarrassing. It is going to be a long 2 years.

Maybe they could try apologizing to the Indian government with a nice iPod collection of Obama's favorite campaign speeches.

Tully said...

They wanted to exclude the three extra reporters because they needed the room for TPOTUS.

Jim said...

It was all planned-out in advance after all, so maybe the Indians and just messing with the Obama crew for some reason. Maybe the Indians just don't like them for some reason.

Here's the rub: Obama's team is engendering ZERO respect with their hosts. Does anyone really believe that this was some "lone wolf" operation by an overzealous security team? Hardly.

Given what we've seen of the INDIAN press he's receiving on his tour, it's clear that Obama's perceived as a weak horse who can be pushed around.

Brian John Murphy (Capt. Irony) said...

Thank goodness our country is no longer the arrogant bully it was before Obama.

Joe said...

I don't understand the criticism. An agreement had been reached, the Indian Officials attempted to contravene that agreement and Gibbs called them on it. There are times you have to tell someone to fuck off and Gibbs did.

I'm pretty damn sure that's how things are done in India.

Diplomacy isn't caving to every whim of your host. Quite the opposite. For once Obama, or at least his people, show some backbone. May be too little, too late, but it's something.

Jum said...

When it comes to President Neo and Seneschal Gibbs, never let it be said that I don't enjoy every last scrumptious bit of well-earned schadenfreude I can muster. I have greatly enjoyed snarking about the First Couple's telling love of the imperial style in travel, leisure and now statecraft. And it remains despicable for Obama to have taken along 200 of his closest and dearest business campaign contributors.

But this incident I think shows that it was the Secret Service, not Obama, who insisted that he travel with such a huge US security detail. Because the US Secret Service probably already knew what we are just finding out: the Indians are hopeless amateurs.

The very idea that an incident like this could occur is evidence that no single person in India was in charge of the Indian security for Obama. To change meeting details and number of attendees like this is simply preposterous, and demonstrates how hopelessly incompetent the Indians were, and how woefully unprepared for this kind of state visit.

So I think I'm going to back off some about the costs of this trip. If Indian security can't get straight how many people are supposed to be in a state meeting, how could they hope to provide security for the President of the United States?

Fred4Pres said...

The pendulum has started to swing the other way.

Ouch.

Ofc. Krupke said...

Remember when Pres. Bush pulled his Secret Service agent through the blockade in Chile? I remember some members of the international press tut-tutting over that one.

kent said...

Remember when Pres. Bush pulled his Secret Service agent through the blockade in Chile? I remember some members of the international press tut-tutting over that one.

Yes, but IOKIYALW ("It's Okay If You're A LightWorker").

MayBee said...

To change meeting details and number of attendees like this is simply preposterous, and demonstrates how hopelessly incompetent the Indians were, and how woefully unprepared for this kind of state visit.

So I think I'm going to back off some about the costs of this trip. If Indian security can't get straight how many people are supposed to be in a state meeting, how could they hope to provide security for the President of the United States?


Please recall it was the US Secret Service at the White House that allowed at least 3 uninvited/unscreened guests into the State Dinner to mingle with our President and Prime Minister Singh.

RebeccaH said...

I regard Robert Gibbs as a sleazy weasel just based on his press conferences, but I have to respect him for this. His cannot be the easiest job in the world (who knows what he really thinks about his boss?). If anything, the confrontation was initiated by Indian security, who apparently keep changing the rules without warning, and Gibbs was right not to let them get away with it.

William said...

Gibbs was in the right. Actually Obama has looked pretty good so far on this trip. Standing next to Prime Minister Singh, Obama looks much more western than he does standing next to Angela Merkel.....I saw part of his speech to the Indian Parliament. The applause was tepid and only for the parts where he praised India. The Indian guards wore some kind of bizarre, paper airplane hats. It was very foreign, and Obama looked like one of us. I suppose that was part of the strategy.

Jim said...

If anything, the confrontation was initiated by Indian security, who apparently keep changing the rules without warning, and Gibbs was right not to let them get away with it.

I don't fault Gibbs for his immediate reaction. However, the LARGER question is: why did they feel like they could get away with it in the first place? You think they would have pulled a stunt like this for press corps travelling with a leader they actually respected?

Let's be honest: there's no way that they thought a press corps which had just travelled with Obama on Air Force One across the world was an ACTUAL security threat. This was a clear attempt to poke this White House in the eye and should be interpreted through that lens.

Trooper York said...

Ask yourself this question: Would W or his people do something like this?

But not his dad of course. He would have thrown up on the guy.

Trooper York said...

The cow walking through the press conferance was a nice touch.

Leah said...

I wish someone would repost the story with the picture of Pres. Bush reaching across a circle of shouting press and security to pull his guy with him and everyone backed down and let him do it! Talk about Presidential!

Trooper York said...

Well we have to be fair. W would be busy asking his hosts "What's sex like when you smell so bad?"

Just sayn'

Hagar said...

edutcher et al.,

The Ugly American and his equally homely wife were the heroes of that book.

Louis XIV never would travel to someone elses court; they came to him. The American presidents travel seem to travel in a modern variation of the style of the more egregious Roman emperors. I hope we eventually will get a president with the good sense and cojones to tell the Secret Service who is the President and make it stick.

Rialby said...

Back in Chile, Bush was reaching for his protector. Obama, by extension, was reaching for his.

Scott M said...

Back in Chile, Bush was reaching for his protector. Obama, by extension, was reaching for his

That comment has to be up for the elegance award, if not the outright thread win.

Fred said...

Amazing he could get that foot out of his mouth.

Sure it was his?

Kelly said...

I would be more sympathetic to Gibbs if this White House didn't have such a bad reputation where the press and transparency are concerned...

Cosmo said...

I'm just curious what Gibbs' foot was doing out of his mouth?

Roger J. said...

I was not aware that Mr Gibbs had a portfolio.

Lets see how this plays out in the India before we make final judgments. At this point I would suggest we need India on our side as much as the Indians need the US.

And they should have broken his foot--the case should be on Gibbs mouth but some kind of cast somewhere is better than nothing.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Apparently they didn't get rid of all the coconuts.

madawaskan said...

Well I've been watching some Indian tv news. What was reported over and over again-but not in the US for some reason- is in Mumbai the US embassy asked some of the major MP's of the region-Maharashtra for their PAN numbers to attend a reception that was being held at the Taj hotel. Some of the MP's protested and threatened to not attend.

The conclusion was some Indians were very upset and some of the Indian media told them to get over themselves because Obama was under very heavy terrorist threat to come to Mumbai.

The American embassy apologized for asking for the PAN numbers-said it was in error and some of the MP's from Maharashtra went ahead and attended the reception.

Under those conditions-you would think that Gibbs would be more understanding of the Indians saying -whoops! we can only let five reporters in not eight.

Now it's weird isn't it that in the US we are only hearing about the supposed Indian slight not the PAN number incident.

I haven't seen that reported stateside anywhere.

As an aside-Bart in Kansas his statement is interesting. The Indians are very concerned with China in Pakistan. What is a complete mess is that you have some idiots from the Brookings Institute saying one thing on Indian TV ( while stating their bonafides as an Obama insider) about our policies concerning Pakistan and Afghanistan and not ten minutes later Obama's old campaign manager-an "offical" member of he entourage comes on and says the complete opposite.

Lincolntf said...

What a bunch of clods. Thank God we only have to suffer this national embarrassment for two more years.

Ankur said...

That is so odd that the PAN number thing became a big deal. You need to provide your PAN number even to deposit money in your bank, if its more than Rs.70,000. For reference, that is about $1500. Basically, the point is, in India you are asked your PAN number for all sorts of things.

So, having said that, and given that India doesn't (yet) have a national identification system, what was so bad about asking the PAN numbers to make sure the people were who they claimed they were?

You can get an ID (a driver's licence) by bribing corrupt municipal employees. Thus, the only reliable forms of photo identification in India that one cannot get by bribing (or maybe they can, but its MUCH harder) is a PAN card and a Passport. Given the fact that a lot of Indians don't have passports, I don't think asking for PAN cards is such an outrageous thing.

Indian media has a tendency to dramatize things way beyond reason. They focus on the drama instead of the substance.

lemondog said...

I wish someone would repost the story with the picture of Pres. Bush reaching across a circle of shouting press and security to pull his guy with him and everyone backed down and let him do it!

Video President Bush Scuffles with Guards in Santiago, Chile

Scott M said...

Indian media has a tendency to dramatize things way beyond reason.

Unlike ours? More so? I find that hard to wrap my head around.

The Ghost said...

so because 3 of Gibbs BFF's may not get to attend he THREATENS to have the President walk out of the meeting ? Really ? Gibbs has that sort of power ? Talk about a bluff ...

Ankur said...

Well..it is context dependent. Obama's visit is a big deal for India - symbolically, because he stayed at the Taj and economically because a significant number of trade deals have been struck. On the other hand, Michelle has been conducting a very well received charm offensive.

This sort of stuff works VERY well in India - it would almost have been rude if they had stuck to all business all the time. When you are a guest in India, you do what you can to indulge in soft diplomacy. So, symbolic gestures, dancing with school kids, all that stuff is the grease which helps the wheels turn.

Unfortunately, the media focuses on the grease rather than the turning wheels - simply because to a country used to bollywood movies, with people dancing around trees and romancing each other, the grease is more fun to talk about.

For the more serious stuff, the television media figures, one could just read The Hindu, or the Economic Times.

Youngblood said...

Oh, c'mon, people.

Look, if the Indians agreed on eight reporters and then changed their minds at the last minute, then Gibbs was right to do what he did. If he sat back and took it, what kind of message would that have sent?

Ankur said...

The Ghost, yes - that is EXACTLY the sort of bluff that you sometimes HAVE to indulge in, to make things move in India.

I think it is creditable that he stuck to his guns, and the agreed upon plan rather than allowing some bureaucrat to flip things around. Random whackjobbery is a salient feature of indian bureaucracy.

Now, don't get me wrong - I love my country. But we aren't a smoothly operating, error free machine.

hombre said...

... prompting press secretary Robert Gibbs to threaten to pull President Obama out of his bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

It's all show biz, folks. Never mind any pretext of substance.

Turtledove said...

wereati"Oh, c'mon, people.

Look, if the Indians agreed on eight reporters and then changed their minds at the last minute, then Gibbs was right to do what he did. If he sat back and took it, what kind of message would that have sent?"

It should have been done AWAY from the cameras. This makes everyone look bad. And something like this happens every time Obama goes overseas. He's bringing stupid gifts after returning the Churchill bust to the Brits, Michelle dresses like a transvestite nun when visiting the Pope, he bows to despots, he gives stupid speeches about how awful America was before he came along. They don't know what they are doing!

Trooper York said...

What do expect when you are taking your lead from Ted Mack?

Ankur said...

The only side that looks bad here is the indian bureaucracy - because they screwed up AGAIN.

Despite all the growth we have seen, the inefficacy of the government 'babus' is worse than ever. The fiasco at the beginning of the commonwealth games was just another example.

MayBee said...

Now, don't get me wrong - I love my country. But we aren't a smoothly operating, error free machine.

Yeah, well what country is?

Again, I must remind you of our crashers at the White House State Dinner for Singh.

That was infinitely worse than not having the right count for a 6-second, silent photo op.

And at least India didn't make Obama exit via the back door by the trash bags.

madawaskan said...

Ankur

Please excuse my writing-I am sick as a dog and staying up late watching Indian news. I settled on NDTV.

The editor for I think India Express who I ended up liking a lot did tell them to get over themselves.

I did think it caused the reception at Mumbai airport to look rather odd as it seemed that Obama spent more time with his own embassy entourage, while giving the cold shoulder to the MP who was making all the fuss. The cold shoulder act was probably mutual.

He was probably right to do it-put it still ended up looking odd.

The other thing I thought was interesting is an old National Security member of your government said that she has been very offended by that in the past-oh! and she also mentioned that PM Manmohan Singh was slighted by not being received on Christmas Day and that India has received dignitaries on Bali Day...

Anyways I love how Bob Woodward's book seemed to dominate and that comment from Chuck Schumer about Infosys being a "chop shop".

Also the comment from Woodward that America was full of closet Paki lovers....

What I find funny is that Obama gets no credit on Indian television for bombing terrorists in Pakistan by UAV and they -The Obama Administration-never bring it up.

Anyways thanks for the info-Indian news is very interesting I love it.

Youngblood said...

Turtledove,

Look, I'm more than happy when people point out legitimate gaffes (see the administration's entire relationship with Great Britain).

The situation in India was unexpected, and time very much was of the essence. I mean, I suppose that we could have lodged some sort of formal complaint with somebody about it, but the time and place to handle it was really then and there.

I cannot stand Gibbs. I really can't. He annoys the fuck out of me whenever he opens his mouth.

However, random Indian bureaucrats don't get to dictate to the representatives of my administration. (I may have voted against Obama in 2008, but he's still my president.)

And, you know what? You know that all of the people who are criticizing Gibbs over this would be singing his praises if he were a Republican.

MayBee said...

A quick reminder-
the reporters were not allowed at the meeting. They were allowed to take 60 seconds worth of photos of the two world leaders as they sat silently.

I wonder if Gibbs really would have pulled Obama from the meeting if the press wasn't allowed to view the silent leaders, pre-meeting.

Turtledove said...

"And, you know what? You know that all of the people who are criticizing Gibbs over this would be singing his praises if he were a Republican."

A Republican WH would have a protocol department who knew what they were doing, so it would never have happened. Why couldn't Gibbs have just taken his foot out of the door and closed it and spoken to the official in private. He could have then been as obnoxious as he liked and resolved the matter with some dignity.

I'm a Republican but I think the Bush incident with the secret service guy was ALSO handled badly. Thankfully these kinds of incidents were rare then. They happen all the time with these idiots.

Ankur said...

Having dealt with Indian bureaucrats for a very long time, I must say - I got a thrill-up-my-leg™ when I saw that picture of Gibbs telling off that guy.

former law student said...

So the Indian officials went back on their word regarding how many US journalists would allowed to be where?

Bravo to Gibbs for standing up for the rights of US journalists.

former law student said...

I stated some years ago that George Bush’s effective courting of India into the Anglosphere would be his greatest legacy.


Are legacies always positive? I ask because Bush's greatest accomplishment regarding India was to supply India with nuclear fuel and technology.

former law student said...

And it remains despicable for Obama to have taken along 200 of his closest and dearest business campaign contributors.

Business people are out of place at a business summit?

madawaskan said...

Basically it was a bluff, we all know he was lying.

So you're proud of him for lying?

madawaskan said...

Hardly worth it over three reporters who have lost credibility with the American public.

Again, the theme is lying.

former law student said...

W would be busy asking his hosts "What's sex like when you smell so bad?"

Funny that troop should mention that. Not for younger or more sensitive readers:

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/buster
/west-virginia/woman-utters-line-
never-previously-recorded-police-report

iqvoice said...

Gibbs doesn't understand India. The doormen wanted the customary bribe. A few rupees changing hands and this whole thing wouldn't have happened.

Ankur said...

Bluffing has an exalted position in diplomacy. Lets not get our panties in a twist.

Again - this is India. Sometimes, there is no way other than bluffing or bribing, and letting the bureaucrats changing the plans willy nilly, at the last minute, without consulting anyone on the american side - would have sent a terrible message.

As it stands - we probably now have one Indian bureaucrat, who has had his pictures splashed across the newspapers, who will think twice before trying to massage his own sense of self importance.

A good result, I'd say.

Ankur said...

Former Law Student - The NPT is a highly discriminatory treaty. The status quo of nuclear have's versus havenots are maintained indefinitely.

It is to bush's credit that he recognized the difference between a fairly stable democracy (India) vis-a-vis a theocratic time bomb (Iran). It makes no sense in any realistic terms to treat the two countries in the same way, when it comes to nuclear technology. Sometimes, pragmatism must win over idealism.

Anyhow, bush's greatest legacy as far as India was concerned was that he made the right moves and the right noises which enabled India to further trust America. In that sense, he carried on what Clinton had started.

From a geopolitical and ideological point of view, an Indo-American alliance in the economy as well as other realms makes sense.

Ankur said...

Just as a snarky aside - In India, when the CPI and the CPI(M) criticize anything vociferously, you can be sure it was the right thing to do.

Scott M said...

Sometimes, pragmatism must win over idealism.

Most of the time, it seems, in the real world.

former law student said...

he recognized the difference between a fairly stable democracy (India) vis-a-vis a theocratic time bomb (Iran)

So in India the various religious groups hold each other at bay? Perhaps one could spare a thought for the many Catholic churches vandalized in the past decade.

former law student said...

The status quo of nuclear have's versus havenots are maintained indefinitely.

Yes, that was the goal.

madawaskan said...

Ankur-

I spent three days straight getting bashed over the head till I got the fact that bluffing is not good policy.

Why?

Bluffs get called and then what do you end up with-diminished credibility for when you may really need to be believed.

And in this case his bluff looks like it did get called.


From Maybee's last post:

A quick reminder-
the reporters were not allowed at the meeting. They were allowed to take 60 seconds worth of photos of the two world leaders as they sat silently.


It looks like they called Gibb's bluff, and now he has the reputation as the White House spokesman as that guy, he'll say anything. He ends up reflecting badly on everyone. He acted rashly and disproportionately.

madawaskan said...

It's funny how India remembers the bad relations from the days of the Cold War when India was seen as a Soviet satellite when in America that isn't remembered much at all.

Big Mike said...

It's funny how India remembers the bad relations from the days of the Cold War when India was seen as a Soviet satellite when in America that isn't remembered much at all.

FWIW, the Indian Air Force still flies MiGs.

Ankur said...

FLS, I normally enjoy your posts and respect your opinions - but in this case, I have to beg to differ.

India has its flaws - religious clashes occur sometimes, there's Kashmir, there's corruption.

Yet, it is not even close to the brink-of-disaster-military-rule-round-the-corner status of Pakistan, the lack of freedom in China, the military dictatorship in Burma, the maoist insurgency in Nepal, etc.

Also, it is not even close to the theocracy of the middle east.

Elections happen like clockwork every five years. Power changes hands when people are unhappy - and race/religion related violence also happens when one group believes another group is abusing its privileges.

None of that makes the violence right...but..does it sound familiar?

Buddy Larsen said...

i hope someone in the Indian press will ask why, if 600 billion in QE2 is so helpful, why not make it 600 trillion and we can all just go fishin'?

Ankur said...

Madawaskan, part of that long memory has to do with the India-Pakistan dynamic. When you are next door to a country that has attacked you (and been beaten back) four times between 1948 and 1999 - and each time, the overall meme was "Pakistan can only do this because America allows them, ignores the terrorist camps, and provides them weapons" - it takes a while to get over that.

I am not saying that meme was correct. I am just saying - rightly or wrongly, India used to believe that America could prevent Pakistan from attacking India, but never chose to.

madawaskan said...

Ankur

Madawaskan, part of that long memory has to do with the India-Pakistan dynamic. When you are next door to a country that has attacked you (and been beaten back) four times between 1948 and 1999 - and each time, the overall meme was "Pakistan can only do this because America allows them, ignores the terrorist camps, and provides them weapons" - it takes a while to get over that.

Very good point I just hope that India does not think we have any bad memory of that. Not at all. No one I know thinks of India from that perspective much at all.

*************************************

Back to the first point.

During this visit to India we have sent the message rightly or wrongly that we do not trust Indian security-from the PAN numbers incident to the US securing the Taj hotel themselves rather than letting Indian security host the event at a public building and secure a building of theirs.

That perceived message had been reflected back by Indian media for near two days.

Now the Indian security tries to assert itself and demonstrate that they are stringent, that they take security seriously and instead of allowing them a "save face" moment Gibbs escalates the situation. He not only makes the situation worse, but his bluff gets called and as White House spokesman he has cheapened his credibility for very little gain.

A bad and rash move all around, in my opinion.

madawaskan said...

Big Mike

FWIW, the Indian Air Force still flies MiGs.

Oh crap-what the hell was that exercise where some of our guys beat our own guys in MIGs-I've had a fever off and on so maybe I'm imagining that....

What was that?

Maybe it was the Israelis...

madawaskan said...

Hey look what I found at China Daily:

Underlying the visit will be lobbying for billions of dollars in contracts to overhaul India's mostly Russian-supplied military, a relic of their Cold War era partnership.
Those orders include a $11 billion deal for 126 fighter jets that could benefit US' Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp France's Dassault, Russia's MiG-35, Sweden's Saab and the Eurofighter Typhoon are also competing.

But Washington faces a host of hurdles, including Indian worries that signing defense pacts which are necessary for the US arms sales to go through may land New Delhi into a wider entanglement with the US military.

While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has reached out to Washington over his last six years in powers, many within his own Congress party as well as his parliamentary allies are reluctant to embrace these pacts, pending over three years.


China Daily

Scott M said...

Oh crap-what the hell was that exercise where some of our guys beat our own guys in MIGs-I've had a fever off and on so maybe I'm imagining that....

What was that?


I don't know if this is what you're referring to, but Red Flag is every year outside Vegas.

Ankur said...

..and, as much as Obama doesn't mention the UAV attacks on terrorist camps, and neither does the Indian government - please know that the Indian people are very well aware and grateful.

Since 1981, about 67000 Indians have been killed by Islamic terrorism. In response, India has often been heavy handed - and has been accused (fairly at times, and unfairly in others) of human rights violations. Now that winter is approaching, another wave of terrorists will certainly attempt to cross over into India, because it is much harder to guard the border under heavy himalayan snows. So, anything that pushes the terrorists back is a good thing, as far as I am concerned.

madawaskan said...

Scott M-
I thought it was an exercise with the Israeli's who kiboshed us while flying MIGs- I went off to google that but because I'm a sick lazy nincompoop I got distracted by the China Daily pot stirrers.

***************************

Ankur-

Hey what is it about winter? I know India is huge geographically, and therefore more complex but in McChrystal's report on Afghanistan he was very worried about the onset of winter-something about the terrorists do a lessons learned meeting and then come up with *new stuff* for the winter that follows.

Do you know why it is specifically worse for India in winter time?

AllenS said...

When Obama uses his teleprompter, and he does this constantly, it's becoming like a bad commercial advertisement. Nobody is going to buy the product.

madawaskan said...

Indian Air Force pilots with their Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters continues to grow their reputation on international exercises. They have beaten the US F-15 and F-16 pilots many times in recent years Cope India exercises. Now Indian pilots beat RAF Tornado pilots.

Royal Air Force and Indian Air Force had their first air combat exercise since 1959 after 47 years. One main goal on the exercise was the preparing to get three E-3D AWACS planes into service with the Indian Air Force during the next year.

The exercise Indra-Dhanush held by Britons and Indians included BVR and WVR engagements. The RAF brought Tornado F.3s and India Su-30MKI, MiG-21, MiG-27 and Mirage 2000 aircraft into the exercise. Indian Air force officials said that the Tornado F.3 was no match for the Su-30MKI. The Sukhoi was unbeatable even in the BVR tests. In the close-in fights and dogfights the Tornado had no change to do anything.


Patrick's Aviation

It was four years ago so there's that/. Although I don't think we've done any significant upgrades since.

Scott M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ankur said...

madawaskan - as far as I am aware, the reason is simply this: The terrorists are mostly on foot, whereas the Army/Border Security are on vehicles. During winter, that advantage is diminished because of heavy snows along the passes of the northwest himalayas. Most infiltration happens in that area anyway.

It is almost impossible to actually guard a border that is snowed in, under really heavy weather conditions - and when wireless communication technology has problems because of the incessant bad weather.

Google Siachen Glacier for an insight into how much harder the problem becomes in the winter. (And sure, its harder for the terrorists as well, but they are by definition, more agile, less dependant on technology/vehicles)

madawaskan said...

Ankur

Thanks for the info, will also check out the news sites you mentioned.

Damned terrorists.

Methadras said...

You are all missing the undercurrent of this incident and many others. This would never have occurred if Erkle was a real, strong president governing from the point of strength and confidence with a resolute and supporting nation behind his back. Instead, the indians are treating him like the smug, arrogant, conceited do-nothing, empty suit that he is. The teleprompter fiasco alone shattered any illusions that this moron has any bona fides around the world at all. That's what this fucking idiot of a man has done in 2 years to my country. His ideology has done this. His reprobate cadre have done this. It's on him. What an embarrassment he is to the US. And every on of you that voted for him should hang your fucking heads in shame. Absolute shame for what you foisted onto us.

Big Mike said...

Ah folks, my point about the IAL flying MiG and Sukhoi fighters is that the US had reason to be suspicious of which side of the USA-CCCP dividing line the Indians came down on back in the day.

I don't know whether the MiG and Sukhoi jets are better than the F-15, F-16, and FA-18 fighters we export. I have my suspicions the ours are better, but since our fighter pilots are some of the most highly trained in the world -- perhaps the most highly trained in the world (the Israelis may disagree), it would be hard to tell how much is due to the pilot and how much to the plane.

But I don't think India is going to do a heavy buy of American fighters when their ground personnel are trained on Russian jets.

madawaskan said...

You might have missed the context then, we were talking in present day terms.

As in Americans no longer thinks of India as a Soviet satellite.

BJM said...

@RebeccaH

Gibbs was right not to let them get away with it.

What, is Gibbs in middle school?

Gibbs should have found another way to resolve the issue, off camera. No doubt this was one of many irritations he's had to deal with, but that's his job. Gibbs' behavior in this instance was very unprofessional.

Chip Ahoy said...

I suddenly have newfound respect for Gibbs. My attitude toward him is changed.

The photo over there is priceless. Image adjusted to reveal detail lost in shadow. The expression on the Indian official's face is worth a 1,000 words.

gutless said...

The Indian officers were inadequately trained and prepared . They should have immediately employed Tasers, pepper spray and batons to subdue the rampaging, unruly, hyperkenetic press flack. Mr. Gibbs' behavior could have easily endangered the well being of both Mr. Obama and the other guy with that thing on his head. Can't remember his name but you know who I'm talking about. A shameful episode.

Buddy Larsen said...

dragging up an old memory, but i believe the air combat training missions under discussion included the US blinding certain of its own radar capabilities --the 'look-down' radar seems stuck in that memory --IOW the IAF training victory was 'under conditions'.

dick said...

In the India Times the editors interviewed a lot of locals about the Obama visit and really got an earful. Of all things Obama chose the biggest Indian holiday of the year to show up and his demands and security requirements kept a lot of people from being able to celebrate as they had planned and also ruined the bottom line for a lot of the shopowners who depended on the holiday buying for their income. They are all asking why Obama chose this particular time to come over and whether he had any idea of it being their annual holiday. Locals do not like him at all.

Now check your local fishwrap to see if they reported any of that.

dick said...

Ofc Krupke,

In that case it was the president himself. Why was it not Zero doing this and not Gibbs.

America's Politico said...

Take a look at this raw video, http://video.ap.org/?f=AP&pid=15hKuO6SiBxVlZ96xPmZCb4ug_Y5f2O9.

Gibbs was correct. The Indians messed it. They messed up the State dinner with Salahis here and then this there. What a joke?

Why not let the US tour get in? They are the GUESTS.

The world is very unfair to Obama-Biden Administration.

This will change in Nov. 2012. The GOP will lose badly.

former law student said...

Of all things Obama chose the biggest Indian holiday of the year to show up

When is it not a holiday in India? I just started doing my shopping for Guru Nanak's birthday.

Ankur said...

"When is it not a holiday in India? "

Bullseye. The number of Gods in the hindu pantheon > 900. The number of non hindu major religions > 10. The number of smaller religious traditions = 1000s.

It was great going to school in India, when I was a kid. We had at least one day of religious holidays every month. And Late October/Early november was a full on holiday fest because of Dusshera/Diwali. Then came Christmas/Winter vacations. Two varieties of Id. Guru Nanak's birthday. Buddha's birthday. Then Holi....and so on and on and on.

Anyway, Diwali is not a "holiday" in the sense that everything is closed. In fact, ALL the shops are open later than regular days, handing out sweets, playing music on the streets, saying hello to the neighbours. Banks, Post Offices, and other offices are closed, of course. But neighbourhood stores..not so much.