Remember that Conversations on Airplanes can be Overheard

Flying doesn’t lend itself to private conversations, even flying in first class, or even in an international first class ‘suite’.

That’s a lesson that someone needs to teach Under Secretary of State Robert Joseph.

The Washington Note reports that Joseph was not much of a diplomat on a recent Dulles-Oakland flight.

    Bob Joseph was on his way to meetings at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.


    He was having a loud conversation with someone he was sitting next to.


    (Of course, “loud” is a relative term — but let’s satisfy that with “loud enough to be heard by others in first class.”)


    The key point of conversation is that Joseph reportedly stated “I miss the Soviet Union, because they knew what the rules were, and now we are stuck with these ‘surrender monkeys’ in France and Germany.”

The French as surrender monkeys I’ll buy (gotta love the Simpsons), but the Germans?

Brad DeLong observes

    In World War II, governed by the logistically incompetent Nazi regime, the German armed forces took on powers that outnumbered them 7-1 in manpower and 9-1 in industrial capacity–and almost won. That’s not what “surrender monkeys” do. Not at all.


    Minimal acquaintance with military history should be a prerequisite for employment in the Department of State.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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