So this is what mature diplomacy means. Working with a corrupt government to further another bromance? So sweet and so revealing:
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates called it “extraordinarily embarrassing,” which might also describe the sentiments beneath the decorous tableau on Wednesday night in the palace of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.
A little more than a week after the disclosure of a cache of secret American diplomatic cables that quoted Karl W. Eikenberry, the United States ambassador to Afghanistan, describing Mr. Karzai’s “inability to grasp the most rudimentary principles of state-building,” among other criticisms, Mr. Karzai, Mr. Eikenberry and Mr. Gates shared their first public forum together since the cables were leaked.
Not that anyone would have known that something was amiss. Mr. Eikenberry sat genially in the front row of American spectators, busily taking notes, as Mr. Gates stood alongside Mr. Karzai, smiling broadly. Asked about the cables obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to a number of news organizations, Mr. Gates first acknowledged that they were “extraordinarily embarrassing for the United States.” Then he tried to limit the damage.
“At the end of the day, nations and leaders make decisions based on their interests,” Mr. Gates said. “And I would say that America’s best partners and friends, and I include among them President Karzai, have responded to this in my view in an extraordinarily statesmanlike way.”
Mr. Gates shifted to a higher gear: “And I’m deeply grateful, and frankly I think the American government will not forget this statesmanlike response. I think I also could say with great confidence, President Karzai and I have been meeting together privately now for four years. I don’t think either of us would be embarrassed to have a single thing we said to each other made public.”