President “Smart Power” at work. Oops:
As Obama stood next to the world’s most recognized democracy icon, he mispronounced her name repeatedly. Ever gracious, Suu Kyi did not correct her American guest for calling her Aung YAN Suu Kyi multiple times during his statement to reporters after their meeting. Proper pronunciation for the Nobel laureate’s name is Ahng Sahn Soo Chee. The meeting came after Obama met with Myanmar’s reformist new President Thein Sein – a name he also botched. As the two addressed the media, Obama called his counterpart “President Sein,” an awkward, slightly affectionate reference that would make most Burmese cringe. Note to presidential advisers: For future rounds of diplomacy, the president of Myanmar is President Thein Sein – on first and second reference.