President Obama didn’t disappoint. He’s on an overseas Asian trip (why?) and found time for some blunders. White House dossier was on top of this one:
During his stop in Burma earlier today, President Obama repeatedly mispronounced the name of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate and former political prisoner who has led the struggle for a free and democratic Burma.
From the Associated Press:
“As Obama stood next to the world’s most recognized democracy icon, he mispronounced her name repeatedly.
“Ever gracious, Suu Kyi did not correct her American guest for calling her Aung YAN Suu Kyi multiple times during his statement to reporters after their meeting.
Proper pronunciation for the Nobel laureate’s name is Ahng Sahn Soo Chee.”
What’s more, Obama also botched the name of his official host, Burma’s reformist new president, Thein Sein.
“As the two addressed the media, Obama called his counterpart “President Sein,” an awkward, slightly affectionate reference that would make most Burmese cringe.”
Note to presidential advisers: For future rounds of diplomacy, the president of Myanmar is President Thein Sein – on first and second reference.
Such diplomatic faux pas by George W. Bush would no doubt have sparked peals of outrage and ridicule back home.
Yes, by now someone would be writing a book about it and SNL would have their next skit written.
But that wasn’t all. From Cambodia, the AP found another outrage:
President Barack Obama arrived in Cambodia on Monday having just won four more years in office, but that is nothing compared to his host, Hun Sen. The 60-year-old Cambodian prime minister has held power since Ronald Reagan was in the White House, and says he’s not stepping down until he is 90.
Hun Sen is known as one of Asia’s most Machiavellian politicians, with a knack for making sure his rivals end up in jail or in exile. A laudatory biography is subtitled “Strongman of Cambodia,” and some would say that’s putting it mildly.
On the plus side, it doesn’t look like he bowed.