In their own words

Never ever

“We will never seek to weaken our currency as a tool to gain competitive advantage or grow the economy.” — Timothy Geithner, US Treasury secretary, defending the Obama administration’s policy of weakening the dollar to stimulate the economy and make US exports more competitive.

Diplomacy

“It’s not him. And we gave him a lot of money.” A “Western diplomat in Kabul”, quoted in the New York Times about a “Taliban leader” involved in negotiations with the US-backed regime who turned out to be a fake.

Sound familiar?

“Europe can afford the collapse of Ireland, even perhaps that of Portugal, but not that of Spain, so Spain’s ultimate line of defence is ... this knowledge that it’s too big to fail ...” — Pablo Vazquez, an economist at a Madrid economic research institute.

Effective and timely

“Australia already has one of the world’s most effective petroleum regulatory regimes and will be further strengthened as we progress legislation to put in place a national offshore petroleum regulator by January 1, 2010 ...” - Resources minister Martin Ferguson, as quoted in the January 17 Australian.

Friendly persuasion

“[O]ur intention was not to threaten Germany, but rather to urge that the German government weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the US.” - A senior US diplomat on how the German government was persuaded in 2007 not to enforce arrest warrants for CIA agents who had kidnapped and held for months in Afghanistan a German citizen whose only crime was to have the same name as a “suspected militant”.