Stephen Hadley is the National Security Advisor to the President of the United States. By all accounts he’s an intelligent man who should know the difference between Nepal and Tibet. So why did he, while talking to Stephanopoulos last Sunday about whether Bush would attend the Olympic opening ceremony, say Nepal every single time he meant to say Tibet? [via Saja]
That’s seven times that he gets the basic geographic issue at hand completely wrong. Here are just a few examples from a transcript:
“The way to deal with the issue of Nepal is not by some — a statement that you’re not going to the opening ceremonies and say, therefore, I checked the Nepal box… What he’s doing on Nepal is what we think the international community ought to be doing, which is approaching the Chinese privately through diplomatic channels and sending a very firm message of concern for human rights, a concern for what’s happening in Nepal, urging the Chinese government to understand that it is in their interest to reach out to representatives of the Dalai Lama, and to show, while the whole world is watching China, that they are determined to treat their citizens with dignity and respect. There is an opportunity here.” [Link]
Meanwhile, Stephanopoulos, who showed himself so adept at playing gotcha politics on Wednesday night didn’t correct even Hadley once.
Yes, Hadley is clearly referring to Tibet in context, and the two countries are in the same region. But if the national security advisor was to confuse Saudi Arabia with Iran, that would be news worthy, wouldn’t it? How about China and North Korea?
However, when he confuses Nepal (an independent country emerging from a dictatorship by a Hindu ruler) with Tibet (a conquered country under a communist dictatorship), the NYT buries the mistake at the very end of their article, mentioning in passing that the White House has confirmed that Hadley “misspoke”.