Public Nuisance

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The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Tuesday, October 22, 2002
 
Foreign Affairs

Being Secretary of State isn't all limo rides and state dinners. Here's former Secretary Madeleine Albright in an interview on "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me" discussing one of the lesser known hazards of the job:
I have a whole new thing that I can give lectures on, which is the art of diplomatic kissing.... I travelled and every country had a different custom. In Latin America, they give a kiss on one or the other cheek, but I could never figure out which counties did on the right and which on the left, and so there were a lot of bumped noses. And then, in Europe the French kiss on both cheeks, and the Dutch and the Belgians kiss three times. And then the Botswanans kiss four times.


And then Arafat, just the thought, right? And he is kind of, you know, an aggressive and unpredictable kisser, kissing on both cheeks and sometimes the forehead.

Q: Really. So how did you approach Chairman Arafat?

Well, you tried to figure out, you know, what was gonna happen and duck.


This may well explain why Colin Powell has so far insisted on handing over the task of meeting Arafat to subordinates.



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