Obama says every small country 'punches above its weight'

Uri wrote a post in November on President Obama's persistent tic of saying America has "no stronger ally" than the country of whatever leader he happens to be talking to. But I hadn't realized until seeing this Danish TV segment, flagged by the good folks at Buzzfeed, that "punches above their weight" is also one of Obama's go-to clichés:

I get that it must be a little hard to come up with new and insightful ways of describing U.S.-Danish relations, but surely he could come up with something a little less patronizing!


Was the Mali coup leader trained in the U.S.?

An interesting nugget from the AP's latest dispatch from Bamako:

A diplomat who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press said that [Capt. Amadou Haya] Sanogo, the coup leader, was among the elite tier of soldiers selected by the U.S. Embassy to receive military counterterrorism training in America. Sanogo, the official said, traveled "several times" to America for the special training.

That means that he had to pass a background check indicating that he was not complicit in any human rights crimes. The official requested not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

As blogger Laura Seay quips, "your tax dollars at work."

The U.S. hasn't yet made a decision on whether to cut off military assistance to Mali following the coup.  According to State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, annual U.S. assistance to Mali is around $137 million, about half of which is humanitarian aid. France suspended its military cooperation with Mali yesterday.

See also: Elizabeth Dickinson's post from 2010 on why coups always seem to be led by captains or colonels not generals.