Hashtag Diplomacy

by Pat Austin | May 11th, 2014

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Hashtag Diplomacy

By Pat Austin

SHREVE­PORT: Let me join the #hash­tag cho­rus for a just a few min­utes and let’s look back at one of the weird­est weeks in #for­eign­pol­icy in recent mem­ory (and that’s say­ing something.)

I’m #baf­fled, really, by this #hash­tag #diplo­macy. What in the heck is going on here?!

Fausta posted ear­lier in the week on #hash­tagdiplo­macy in response to Michelle Obama’s now infa­mous tweet in which she held up a sign say­ing #bring­back­our­girls. It is beyond bizarre to me that the First Lady would do this. Not that she’s done any­thing wrong, mind you, just that it’s weird. When I first saw the photo my first response was “Is this what we’ve come to?” Really?

I wasn’t alone in that thought. Cut to Mark Steyn:

It is hard not to have total con­tempt for a polit­i­cal cul­ture that thinks the pic­ture at right is a use­ful con­tri­bu­tion to res­cu­ing 276 school­girls kid­napped by jihadist sav­ages in Nige­ria. Yet some pajama boy at the White House evi­dently felt get­ting the First Lady to pose with this week’s Hash­tag of West­ern Impo­tence would reflect well upon the Admin­is­tra­tion. The hor­ri­ble thing is they may be right: Michelle showed she cared — on social media! — and that’s all that mat­ters, isn’t it?

The key word in that, at least to me, is “West­ern Impotence.”

What in the world is a #hash­tag going to do? Doesn’t the world already feel ter­ri­ble about the kid­nap­ping of 276 Niger­ian school girls who will be (have been already?) sold in to slav­ery? A #hash­tag is going to make us more aware? #seriously?

Steyn again:

There’s some­thing slightly weird about tak­ing a hash­tag — which on the Inter­net at least has a func­tional pur­pose — and get­ting a big black felt marker and writ­ing it on a piece of card­board and hold­ing it up, as if some­how the com­fort­ing props of social media can be extended beyond the com­puter and out into the real world.

Absolutely weird.

It’s #pan­der­ing is what it is. MO is tak­ing a ter­ri­ble event and pan­der­ing to her social media fan base; look at the gloomy, sad face she has adopted for the photo shoot. Was she just sit­ting around in the White House with this poster board in her lap when the White House pho­tog­ra­pher stum­bled upon her? I think not. It’s #pandering.

That being said, I now can’t help but won­der why Rea­gan didn’t deal with Gor­bachev by just pulling out a poster and marker: #teardownthiswall.

For that mat­ter, Patrick Henry could have used the old hash­tag trick: #giveme­lib­er­ty­or­givemedeath. It would have saved us a lot of trouble.

The #hash­tag the­ory of for­eign pol­icy would have served Roo­sevelt well: #daythatwillliveininfamy.

The point, of course, is that Michelle’s staged photo sim­ply illus­trates the feck­less for­eign pol­icy of this administration.

Rush Lim­baugh, Fri­day:

I was aghast. I mean, it’s embar­rass­ing that a Twit­ter hash­tag is all we’ve got. And, in fact, I was fur­ther embar­rassed that a Twit­ter hash­tag is assumed to be enough because all we have to do is show that we’re con­cerned. All we have to do is exhibit our proper inten­tions, and that cov­ers it We don’t have to actu­ally do any­thing. It’s per­fect lib­er­al­ism. You don’t solve any­thing. You don’t do any­thing. You just show that you care and you have good intentions.

We are impo­tent. We arm Mex­i­can drug car­tels, we bow to for­eign lead­ers, we alien­ate our allies, we appease dic­ta­tors, we leave our peo­ple behind in for­eign coun­tries after a mas­sacre and never seek jus­tice. #embarrassing.

What coun­try is this?

Which leads us to Hillary Clin­ton who refused to use her power as Sec­re­tary of State to des­ig­nate Boko Haram a ter­ror­ist organization:

What Clin­ton didn’t men­tion was that her own State Depart­ment refused to place Boko Haram on the list of for­eign ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions in 2011, after the group bombed the U.N. head­quar­ters in Abuja. The refusal came despite the urg­ing of the Jus­tice Depart­ment, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen sen­a­tors and congressmen.

The one thing she could have done, the one tool she had at her dis­posal, she didn’t use. And nobody can say she wasn’t urged to do it. It’s gross hypocrisy,” said a for­mer senior U.S. offi­cial who was involved in the debate. “The FBI, the CIA, and the Jus­tice Depart­ment really wanted Boko Haram des­ig­nated, they wanted the author­i­ties that would pro­vide to go after them, and they voiced that repeat­edly to elected officials.”

And she’s going to be our next pres­i­dent? #sayitaintso.

As I said, it’s been a most bizarre week in pol­i­tics, the least of which is our now most pow­er­ful weapon in for­eign pol­icy: the hashtag.

#wear­e­so­screwed.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreve­port.

By Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT:  Let me join the #hashtag chorus for a just a few minutes and let’s look back at one of the weirdest weeks in #foreignpolicy in recent memory (and that’s saying something.)

I’m #baffled, really, by this #hashtag #diplomacy.  What in the heck is going on here?!

Fausta posted earlier in the week on #hashtagdiplomacy in response to Michelle Obama’s now infamous tweet in which she held up a sign saying #bringbackourgirls.  It is beyond bizarre to me that the First Lady would do this.  Not that she’s done anything wrong, mind you, just that it’s weird.  When I first saw the photo my first response was “Is this what we’ve come to?”  Really?

I wasn’t alone in that thought.  Cut to Mark Steyn:

It is hard not to have total contempt for a political culture that thinks the picture at right is a useful contribution to rescuing 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by jihadist savages in Nigeria. Yet some pajama boy at the White House evidently felt getting the First Lady to pose with this week’s Hashtag of Western Impotence would reflect well upon the Administration. The horrible thing is they may be right: Michelle showed she cared – on social media! – and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

The key word in that, at least to me, is “Western Impotence.”

What in the world is a #hashtag going to do?  Doesn’t the world already feel terrible about the kidnapping of 276 Nigerian school girls who will be (have been already?) sold in to slavery?  A #hashtag is going to make us more aware?  #seriously?

Steyn again:

There’s something slightly weird about taking a hashtag – which on the Internet at least has a functional purpose – and getting a big black felt marker and writing it on a piece of cardboard and holding it up, as if somehow the comforting props of social media can be extended beyond the computer and out into the real world. 

Absolutely weird.

It’s #pandering is what it is.  MO is taking a terrible event and pandering to her social media fan base; look at the gloomy, sad face she has adopted for the photo shoot.  Was she just sitting around in the White House with this poster board in her lap when the White House photographer stumbled upon her?  I think not.  It’s #pandering.

That being said, I now can’t help but wonder why Reagan didn’t deal with Gorbachev by just pulling out a poster and marker:  #teardownthiswall.

For that matter, Patrick Henry could have used the old hashtag trick:  #givemelibertyorgivemedeath.  It would have saved us a lot of trouble.

The #hashtag theory of foreign policy would have served Roosevelt well:  #daythatwillliveininfamy.

The point, of course, is that Michelle’s staged photo simply illustrates the feckless foreign policy of this administration.

Rush Limbaugh, Friday:

I was aghast.  I mean, it’s embarrassing that a Twitter hashtag is all we’ve got.  And, in fact, I was further embarrassed that a Twitter hashtag is assumed to be enough because all we have to do is show that we’re concerned.  All we have to do is exhibit our proper intentions, and that covers it  We don’t have to actually do anything.  It’s perfect liberalism.  You don’t solve anything.  You don’t do anything.  You just show that you care and you have good intentions.

We are impotent.  We arm Mexican drug cartels, we bow to foreign leaders, we alienate our allies, we appease dictators, we leave our people behind in foreign countries after a massacre and never seek justice.  #embarrassing.

What country is this?

Which leads us to Hillary Clinton who refused to use her power as Secretary of State to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization:

What Clinton didn’t mention was that her own State Department refused to place Boko Haram on the list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2011, after the group bombed the U.N. headquarters in Abuja. The refusal came despite the urging of the Justice Department, the FBI, the CIA, and over a dozen senators and congressmen.

“The one thing she could have done, the one tool she had at her disposal, she didn’t use. And nobody can say she wasn’t urged to do it. It’s gross hypocrisy,” said a former senior U.S. official who was involved in the debate. “The FBI, the CIA, and the Justice Department really wanted Boko Haram designated, they wanted the authorities that would provide to go after them, and they voiced that repeatedly to elected officials.”

And she’s going to be our next president?  #sayitaintso.

As I said, it’s been a most bizarre week in politics, the least of which is our now most powerful weapon in foreign policy:  the hashtag.

#wearesoscrewed.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

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