Saturday, November 18, 2006

Not Very Curious George

According to the New York Times, President Bush didn't mingle much while in Vietnam this weekend. But at least he waved and smiled from his motorcade:

On Saturday, Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, conceded that the president had not come into direct contact with ordinary Vietnamese, but said that they connected anyway.

If you'd been part of the president's motorcade as we've shuttled back and forth," he said, reporters would have seen that "the president has been doing a lot of waving and getting a lot of waving and smiles."

He continued: "I think he's gotten a real sense of the warmth of the Vietnamese people and their willingness to put a very difficult period for both the United States and Vietnam behind them."

Perhaps, but the Vietnamese have barely seen or heard from Mr. Bush.

David Sanger and Helene Cooper suggest in the story that the President's failure to connect with people in Asia may explain "why America's 'public diplomacy' seems unable to shift into gear."

There are, of course, additional reasons for that.