I almost never understand the media. For instance, at a time when the US is engaged in an excruciating and incredibly long war and is involved in military action in a number of countries I fail to grasp why many in the media would make more out of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's stumble as she boarded her plane in Yemen than they would the actual visit to Yemen.
There has been some fallout to the secretary's visit. Namely, Yemenis entering foreign missions will now have to be pre-screened. Not the echo the US wants to hear after its Secretary of State paid the first visit to the country in 20 years.
Also, I linked to and discussed Mark Landler's article in the New York Times a number of times the other day, but does anyone else notice the problem with this sentence in today's piece?
They also came at the end of a four-day swing through the Persian Gulf that took Mrs. Clinton from the autocratic capital of Yemen to the more open sultanate of Oman.
Yemen, the only republic on the Arabian Peninsula is being described as autocratic, while Oman, a sultanate, which has one of the only two Arab rulers to have led longer than President Salih is contrasted with it at the other end of the spectrum. I'm not faulting Landler, I'm just saying something is off when you can write a sentence like that.
Finally, I often criticize both the US and Yemeni governments and their policies and decision-making in Yemen, but there are times when I'm impressed with what they do and say.
In that spirit, I thought Secretary of State Clinton gave an absolutely excellent answer - and one I don't hear often enough - to a question posed by CNN.
Here is the exchange:
QUESTION: And do you believe that that (Yemen) could be a more dangerous place than Pakistan in terms of (inaudible)?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I think it’s hard to make those kinds of comparisons. I think that each in their own way pose threats. I mean, the epicenter of the al-Qaida affiliation network that exists is still in the frontier areas and the north of Pakistan, but there are threats emanating to the United States from Yemen as well.