Here we are, crossing the 600 mark. This means, with this post, I have managed to equal the three-year output of the Beyond Branding Blog in 14 months. I had hoped, originally, to do it in a year, and my closest friends know that certain personal reasons meant I had to take December off.
The topic this time is that of the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, and her meeting with President George W. Bush. Didn’t go too well. Photographs show the “hard woman” of New Zealand politics very much at unease in the White House. It doesn’t surprise those of us who have met the PM: she is actually quite a gentle soul, and being in the presence of Dubya meant she couldn’t control her tough-gal image that she portrays on her own turf anywhere nearly as well.
It was a photo opportunity gone sour because the PM didn’t carry on her personal brand anywhere nearly as well. And the fact that we saw a small smirk from Dubya when the PM mentioned, half-heartedly, as she was always going to do, a free-trade agreement with the United States.
Of course the United States is not going to smile readily on a nation not willing to join the Willing in the Coalition of the Willing. We had defence ties with the US once upon a time, and we would probably plead for help from the US if the Indonesians invade us in 2020, so right now, Dubya is probably thinking that any relationship with New Zealand is going to be rather one-sided. A visit to Arlington by the PM, which was meaningless back home, did little to sway the President. Sitting in the old Cadillac that President Clinton used, complete with Old Glory ﬂying from the front staff didn’t signal anything, other than a leader not too conﬁdent about showing her own ﬂag.
PM Clark would have found it easier to talk to Nancy Pelosi, so she headed there before seeing George W. Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry would have loved her, but she didn’t hang out with the senators.
I suppose you could say, ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained,’ but you could also say, ‘Too little, too late.’
When in need, when the economy is looking dodgy and Michael Cullen’s BS doesn’t go as far, it didn’t surprise me that New Zealand would turn to the United States, once again. The difference is that this administration has a memory, just as I remember that the President and I have similar tastes in footwear. Posted by Jack Yan, 09:57
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