Smart Diplomacy

The impression is growing that President Obama’s White House staffers are not exactly sticklers for detail. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the President of Brazil, the world’s fifth-largest country and one of its most dynamic economies, is coming to America:

His meet and greet with the U.S. president was bumped to Saturday, and when the White House announced his official visit, they misspelled his name.

But when Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva becomes the first Latin American leader to sit down with President Barack Obama this weekend, he brings undisputed clout. …

[T]he White House made several moves interpreted as snubs by the Brazilian media.

Silva aides said the trip was pushed forward from Tuesday because of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday — making Latin America once again look like an afterthought. Then, the White House announcement misspelled his name as “Luis Ignacio” and put “Lula” — a nickname that decades ago became a legal part of the Brazilian leader’s name — in quotes.

Someone needs to explain to President Obama that the first rule of entertaining foreign heads of state is not to insult the guest.


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