- The Washington Times - Monday, February 25, 2013

Newly minted Secretary of State John Kerry is sweeping through Europe and the Middle East on a nine-nation tour, meeting with top global heads to forge diplomatic relations — and, apparently, even creating new countries.

Mr. Kerry was trying to praise diplomats who were working on behalf of the United States in the Central Asian region, but in doing so, he created a new country. He thanked the diplomats for their work in “Kyrzakhstan,” according to various media reports, and credited their efforts in “support [of] democratic institutions in Kyrzakhstan and Georgia.”

The National Review suggests Mr. Kerry could have confused America’s major ally in the war on terrorism, Kyrgyzstan, with its neighbor to the north, Kazakhstan.

Call it the flub heard ‘round the world. The British daily The Telegraph kindly pointed out that Mr. Kerry is not the first high-ranking U.S. official to mix up the proper names of all the “-stan” countries that came on the heels of the Soviet Union’s collapse.

At least Mr. Kerry’s faux pas will likely be short-lived.

The State Department has scrubbed his error from official agency transcripts of his speech, The Telegraph reports.

SEE ALSO: State Secretary John Kerry, British P.M. David Cameron: ‘Nuclear-armed Iran’ a no-go

Stateside, Mr. Kerry has taken flak for creating a new Major League Baseball icon in “Manny Ortez” - a mash of Red Sox heroes David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.

He also gave the famed Green Bay Packers a new home, “Lambert Field,” apparently in reference to storied Lambeau Field.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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