Hillary Clinton’s failed symbolic gesture to Russia’s foreign minister happened all of two weeks ago, but the fallout is still reverberating inside the State Department. If you recall, in what turned out to be the most embarrassing/awesome part of her tour of the Middle East and Europe, Hillary hoped to represent our desired renewal of Russo-American friendship (whenever that was) with a giant red button inscribed with the word “reset” in both English and Russian. Never mind the fact that it reminded everyone of either the Staples “Easy” button or a nuclear launch button, because they didn’t even get the translation right. Wait, you mean the State Department couldn’t even translate a single word correctly? Doesn’t that symbolize something else entirely, like our cultural ineptness? Yes, it does.
So after this happened, fingers had to be pointed at someone, and, for the most part they were conveniently targeted at a guy everyone hated already anyway, Hillary’s senior adviser Phillippe Reines, who was nearly fired during the presidential campaign for making a tactless comment about John McCain’s torture experience. He’s also been agitating some in the State Department press corps by restricting their access.
Apparently, Reines decided that instead of bringing the button to “State’s cadre of Russian speakers and professional translators,” he just showed it to a few people who were kind of familiar with Russian. Obviously this wasn’t sufficient, and the gaffe diminished our leverage in all future dealings with the Soviets, which is why their foreign minister was laughing so hard. But Reines is okay with it. While insiders contend that he initially tried to blame it all on someone else, he’s now accepting responsibility for making a mockery of our top diplomat, in as glib a way as you might expect. “Ultimotely [sic], this was my soul [sic] risponsibility [sic], nobody else’s in or out of the building,” he wrote to Politico. Ha, what a character.
Reines storm: Clinton conflict brews [Politico]