Monday, March 02, 2009


This post is kind of a follow-up to a post I wrote back in April entitled "Duuuuuuude!". So I'm reading the morning news and come across this quote in an article about Mrs. Clinton's exploits in the Middle East:

"U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed doubt Monday that Iran would respond to the Obama administration's diplomatic initiatives toward Tehran on nuclear and other issues, a senior State Department official said.

Clinton made the statement in a private meeting with the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who had expressed to Clinton a concern among Persian Gulf nations that Obama might make a deal with Iran without full consultation with U.S. allies. The official who described the exchange spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private."

And we wonder why Iran doesn't trust us. Aside from the thought that Mrs. Clinton may have wanted this information leaked, although such reasons I cannot fathom at this point, I think there are two interesting things to learn here.

Point one, don't be a talebearer (Prov. 11:13). I think that's obvious. Why such an individual would want to reveal issues of national security on such a delicate issue is beyond me. Perhaps this individual felt this point was so obvious, so it would not infringe on future talks. However, we're dealing with a new President and cabinet and his opinions and methods may differ from those of his predecessor. Keeping this kind of information close to the vest, especially with allies who could possibly make a difference in smoothing out issues with a nation we have such a volatile relationship with, seems to be the wisest course of action here. We may have our inclinations of what another nation, or individual, may do, but we don't know for sure, so it's probably not worth spilling the beans until they've had a fair opportunity to prove otherwise.

Which leads me to point two: Why did this even get said in the first place - even in private? As someone who has regularly shared and overshared my thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics and issues, including on my closest relationships, I can relate with Mrs. Clinton in her dealings with Iran. Iran is seemingly a weird nation with a weird culture to her and it's making weird, seemingly chaotic and self-destructive decisions, so she's simply expressing her disbelief to a confidant. However, as I have more recently learned, if something is said in confidence, you better hope the individual you said something about won't mind, because they could easily hear about it later. So measure your words carefully. Not everybody, as we have seen, has learned point number one above, so it's very possible to have something spoken in secret blabbed to everybody, including the subject of the secret. Matthew 10:26 states that God will one day make known the thoughts and actions that we try to hide. Which, when I think about it, SUCKS!

Of course, Mrs. Clinton didn't need to act completely naive towards this situation with Iran as though she were some sort of Pollyanna, but she could have at least displayed some hope in reconciliation with them. After all, isn't Hope and Change the key buzzwords of this current administration? And similarly, I think it is worthwhile to have more hope in our friends and relatives around us - to give them the benefit of the doubt and allowing them to change should they be doing so. After all, one definitely difficult lesson I've had to learn recently was the difference between my theory of what someone is thinking and doing and actually knowing what someone is thinking and doing. Keep the theory to yourself and that person may surprise you! And hey, I like pleasant surprises. Just insinuating that they're going to screw it up like they always do will just turn an opportunity for expressing confidence in someone to grow and change into a self-fulfilling prophesy of repeated failure.

Hopefully, Mrs. Clinton's words, carelessly repeated by a talebearing "official", do not ruin an opportunity, regardless of it's likelihood, to reconcile our relationship with Iran.

[Follow-up: Having more carefully read the article, it's the Associated Press journalist that seems to have put the negative spin on Mrs. Clinton's words. Her words are carefully chosen as diplomats usually do (my favorite, Mr. Clore's description of Pres. Obama's ideology: "He has a compelling narrative." Brilliantly worded to reveal exactly what it is rather than how he feels about it). The quote: "We have no illusions, Mr. Chairman, that even with a new administration, looking to try to engage Iran in a way that might influence its behavior, that we can predict the results... Our eyes are wide open on Iran." So perhaps, shame on the media, too, for being reckless with word choice on what our Secretary of State actually said rather than just reporting how it made them feel.]

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