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Question of the Day
KENNY KERFUFFLE CONTINUES
Philippines President Benigno Aquino III this week criticized former U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney for relying on poor intelligence in her assessment of him as a weak and bashful politician.
"Maybe they should assess their capabilities to assess and gather the necessary information so they will get the right information on which to base their decisions," Mr. Aquino told reporters in Manila on Monday.
He was reacting to a diplomatic cable Ms. Kenney sent to the State Department in January 2010, when Mr. Aquino, then a member of the Philippines Senate, was running for president.
She called him a "diffident and unassertive man" who appeared to be reluctantly carrying out the political legacy left to him by his mother, Corazon Aquino, who led a People Power revolution that overthrew dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the 1980s.
Ms. Kenney also angered the country's leaders by criticizing Corazon Aquino, widely considered a symbol of democracy in the Philippines.
Ms. Kenney, now ambassador to Thailand, said she blemished her democratic credentials by siding with a disgraced former president, Joseph Estrada, in a political dispute for another former president, Gloria Arroyo, who served from 2001 to 2010.
Her cable was released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks as part of a massive document dump to foreign news outlets in August.
U.S. PRESSED PAKISTAN
The United States demanded that Pakistan shut down the terrorist network responsible for a deadly attack in India when the U.S. ambassador in New Delhi first met a new Pakistani envoy in August 2009.
Timothy J. Roemer, U.S. ambassador to India from 2009 until June, told Ambassador Shahid Malik that Pakistan must act on the evidence that India had gathered on the brazen attack on Mumbai and arrest members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist network.
Pakistani terrorists killed 166 people, including six Americans, in 10 coordinated attacks over three days in November 2008. They wounded another 308 people.
"Recalling that the scores of victims of the Mumbai attacks included six Americans, [Mr. Roemer] underscored that bringing the perpetrators to justice was a priority not just in Delhi but also in Washington," according to a U.S. Embassy cable that reported on the meeting.
"The ambassador stressed the importance of dismantling LeT and preventing another Mumbai-styled attack from taking place."
Mr. Malik responded that his government's main priority was resumption of talks between Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the cable says.
The diplomatic dispatch, first reported by the India Times on Tuesday, was among the thousands of cable released recently by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.
IS JONATHAN BAD LUCK?
The former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria warned that the current president, Goodluck Jonathan, was a corrupt and ambitious politician waiting for his predecessor to die before assuming power last year.
Mr. Jonathan has a "chequered past as a corrupt and ineffective" governor of the Nigerian state of Bayelsa, U.S. Ambassador Robin Renee Sanders says in a December 2009 cable to Washington.
Mr. Jonathan was governor from 2005 to 2007 and served as vice president until the death of Umaru Yar'adua on March 5, 2010.
Ms. Sanders reported on Mr. Jonathan's growing influence as he served as acting president while Mr. Yar'adua was hospitalized in Saudi Arabia with a terminal illness.
She said the "country is in a real mess, as Yar'adua has been in and out of a comatose state since his arrival in Saudi."
The cable was among those released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks and was first reported Tuesday by AllAfrica.com.
• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The column is published on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
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About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
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