John Kerry invents country of Kyrzakhstan
By Jonathan Earle, Moscow
11:36AM GMT 25 Feb 2013
In an embarrassing slip of the tongue, Mr Kerry last week praised US diplomats working to secure “democratic institutions” in the Central Asian country, which does not exist.
The newly minted diplomat was referring to Kyrgyzstan, a poor, landlocked nation of 5.5 million, which he appeared to confuse with its resource-rich neighbour to the north, Kazakhstan.
The State Department kindly omitted the error in the official transcript of Wednesday’s speech, which Mr Kerry delivered on the eve of his first foreign trip as secretary of state.
Mr Kerry’s flub was all the more awkward, because Kyrgyzstan is a key ally in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan and a major recipient of US aid, which totalled $41 million (£27 million) in 2011.
They say duct tape can fix almost anything, but I doubt it can fill this empty suit. Rule #2 for political travel must be, “Know where you are,” (Rule #1 being, “Put your pants on.”)!