Saturday, July 26, 2008

Condi must have a big event coming up

Condoleezza Rice is on a long overseas trip. Just a day after complaining in Australia that her job as Secretary of State cuts into her shopping time, she used a speech in Auckland to make reference to what she been up to in New Zealand --

Now, as we work to increase bilateral investment and bilateral trade, you've got a lot going for you. I was just helping out myself a little bit with Australian fashion -- with New Zealand fashion. And I want you to know that you've got good dress makers out there.

In case anyone missed it, given the Australia botch, she wrapped up by mentioning "New Zealand's dress makers to show off their talent". Presumably the fine work of the Antipodean tailors will be unveiled soon.

Condi also tried to flatter her hosts with a discussion of the Tri-Nations rugby --

I am a huge sports fan, and I plan myself tonight to watch. I was in Australia, as you know, just yesterday. And Australia is a good friend and a good ally. And I know that they are passionate, too, about their rugby. So I am not going to create a diplomatic incident. I will just say this. The Wallabies have their hands full with the All Blacks. I wish you the best of luck in bringing the Bledisloe Cup back to New Zealand. And I have been fully informed of all the compelling controversies and drama that attend this game.

Australia won 34-19.

On a more serious note, Condi touted the free trade credentials of the US --

It is not always an easy proposition to defend these days. There are plenty of demagogues who would say that all of the economic problems before us are really because we trade freely. In fact, we all know that our economic problems would multiply if we did not trade freely, and that the global trading system needs to be as free and as open as possible.

It requires, also, fairness in trade. And that's why we work together, through the WTO and other organizations, to make sure that countries live up to their obligations. And in this regard, the challenge and the opportunity posed by China, as it becomes a truly significant influence and force in this region, to make certain that, if China is going to be the force that it is in the international economy, that it will do so on a level playing field, that it will take the structural reforms that are needed, that it will defend intellectual property rights, that it will open its markets for financial services and other elements, that it will indeed be a responsible player in a global trading system.

It was a bad example to pick given her audience, since New Zealand, uniquely among industrial countries already has a free trade deal with China. Now that's commitment to free trade!

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