Diplomacy 101, or the use of strategic bathroom breaks

The Washington Post is reporting that the Canadian PM, Stephen Harper, is resorting to some unusual negotiating tactics in Brazil.  According to a Brazilian periodical Folha, the Brazilian president wanted the all of the “official speeches” to take place in the afternoon.  Harper demanded that they come before lunch and supposedly “locked himself in the private bathroom of the foreign affairs minister until he got his way.”  

That seems like a very unusual issue to take a stand on.  What kind of tactics does he use when the stakes are higher?  like where they are going to dinner?  and what is on the menu?

Both sides are denying this story but diplomats who were present assured Folha that it was true.  It’s almost too dumb to be made up.

The Post goes on to note that this is not even the first time Harper has taken a strategic bathroom break.  At the 2009 G20 photo of world leaders, Harper is not in the picture because he was in the bathroom.  Maybe he was just trying to avoid the awkward family photo aspect of these shots.  Obama apparently found it funny; when Harper returned from the bathroom, “he was greeted by a “jovial” President Obama, “who appeared to find the Canadian leader’s absence quite amusing.”

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