Monday, December 22, 2008

On the Generosity of Arabs

Arabs lavish jewels on Secretary of State Rice and other administration officials, reports the Associated Press.

I can empathize, since I have also received lavish gifts from Arab states in the course of my official travels. The Saudis once gave me a nice Waterman pen, that I still use, and last year the Kuwaitis gave me a Cartier ball pen, which I found a tad feminine and re-gifted to my wife.

I found this part of the story significant:

Some gifts reflect the recipient's specialty. Gen. Peter Pace, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff received two machine guns — one mounted — worth $1,300 from his Colombian and Russian counterparts, while Defense Secretary Robert Gates got a $3,200 decorative Arab knife from a Bahraini official and a steel dagger valued at $345 from the Jordanian king.

Now it becomes clear why Arabs give me pens! What gift could better reflect my specialty as a pencil-pusher?

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