The Most Undiplomatic Behavior of the Year

Technically, we still have another month to go, but I don’t think anyone is going to surpass this entry for my 2015 Undiplomatic Behavior of the Year Award (if you can call it that)– which goes to a currently elected or appointed high level official who did something shamefully undiplomatic during the year. And the title goes to…..

President Barack Obama did not send any condolences to the Russian government and its people after the terrorist attack on the Metrojet in Sinai.

I’ve spent a lot of time around diplomats and government officials and have advanced training in diplomacy and protocol, but this situation didn’t require anything special, just common sense and human decency. Thankfully, Secretary of State John Kerry offered condolences on behalf of the American people. Nevertheless, Obama should have made a diplomatic gesture of condolences as the world mourned the loss of 224 innocent people (including 25 children). It was the worst plane disaster in Russian history.


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President Putin was the first international leader after the September 11th attacks to call the White House. He had also stated in a televised address, “I want to say to the American people — we are with you.” After the Boston bombing attacks, Putin called the White House to express his condolences and held a moment of silence at a  hockey championship game. However, when tragedy struck Russia, Obama didn’t express a word of condolence or sympathy to the Russian people.

Observer News writes:

Where Mr. Obama failed, other Western and world leaders expressed their condolences—British Prime-Minister David Cameron, Polish President Andzej Duda, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping among them.

On his Twitter page, Mr. Cameron wrote: “PM expresses condolences to President Putin over Sinai plane crash. Britain shares Russia’s pain and grief.”

Mr. Hollande wrote: “[A]fter the occurred tragedy [President] sends his condolences to President Putin and expresses his solidarity with the Russian people..”

Even Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko took to Twitter with the following: “I express my personal condolences to all the families of those perished in the catastrophe of the Russian passenger plane over Egypt.”

Not Mr. Obama.

Information Agency, Russia’s national news service, stated that Mr. Obama was “the only world leader that did not express his condolences [to Russia] on the air catastrophe A-321.”

What was Obama doing instead of being an American leader and a statesman? He was telling jokes at a Democratic Party fundraiser about how Republicans will not be able to handle Putin if they are unable to handle CNBC debate moderators.

It’s truly disgraceful and truly deserving of this year’s top spot for shameful, undiplomatic behavior. All Americans should be embarrassed and ashamed of this lack of etiquette and proper behavior from a President. It’s just basic human decency.

Note: This is not partisan: Republican vs. Democrat. I am a progressive who voted for Ralph Nader three times, and who has stood up for Obama in public when I’ve heard someone say something racist about him. I hate racism. But people shouldn’t hide behind race and partisanship to excuse the inexcusable.

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