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April 27, 2009 / Brooklyn news / Politics / Bay Ridge / McMahon on Line 1

Ridge freshman corners Hillary on … Sri Lanka?

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had just testified before the House foreign affairs committee, so it was time for freshman Rep. Mike McMahon to get on the horn.

And he admitted it right out: he was star-struck.

“It was without question the most meaningful committee hearing I’ve been to” since becoming a congressman at the start of this year, McMahon said by phone in his weekly “McMahon on Line 1” call.

“She has a gravitas about her, of course, but the topic was also so important,” he added.

The April 22 hearing allowed Clinton to provide an overview of President Obama’s overseas agenda — and McMahon liked what he heard.

“I appreciated that she was definitely setting a strong tone towards Iran, which is the biggest challenge we face, not only with aggression to Israel, but to the West, as well,” he said.

“And she spoke about the fragility of the situation in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, what the president hopes to accomplish in the Middle East and the progress they think they’ve made in Central and South America at the recent conference in Trinidad.”

Members with more seniority got to ask questions on the big topics, but finally the gentleman from Bay Ridge was allowed to pose a few.

“I focused on two things that are near and dear to the district: Sri Lanka and the situation in Cyprus,” he said.

Sri Lanka? Cyprus? Near and dear to Brooklyn?

“Get with it — there is a large Greek Cypriot and Sri Lankan community in Bay Ridge,” he said. “There is an atrocious war going on in Sri Lanka, and the situation in Cyprus is fragile.”

Yeah, but … Sri Lanka? Congressman, have you forgotten the three “I’s” of New York politics.

“Yes, I know that Italian-Americans and the Irish are the largest ethnic groups in the district, but we don’t have conflicts in those parts of the world. And I did ask about the Middle East, too.

“But one of the hotspots for the district is Sri Lanka,” McMahon said. “There were actually 30 people from the district from Sri Lanka who came to the hearing.”

Clearly, the session with Clinton was one of McMahon’s “100 days” highlights. The Brooklyn Paper asked for others, and the freshman ticked off the usual list of “helping to stabilize the economy [by] bringing back stimulus money to fix the subway, the roadways and the ferry station on Staten Island; making a positive impact on the infrastruc­ture.”

Making a difference? Forgive us, but that’s every congressman says!

True, McMahon added, but who can also say this: “I also got to give a speech — in German — at the German Embassy about the need for America and Western Europe to unite to bring about positive change in the Middle East.”

Wait a minute — in German?!

“I speak German,” McMahon said. “The people at the embassy actually said I spoke it well. They said they’d never heard a member of Congress speak German without an accent.”

In other words, he didn’t say, “Ich bin ein Bay Ridgite”!

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Reader Feedback

Naveen from Sri Lanka says:
I'm just wondering why Mrs.Clinton think that she is the secretary of whole world,Is she that much mentally retard? Isnt there anyone in white house to point out that she is only secretary to her nation.Actually i can think why Mr.Clinton likes Mrs.Monica.....
I like to say one thing to US govenment is mind your own bussiness.....
April 27, 2009, 9:49 am
Shirani from Canada says:
US should be concerned about the players in the war in Sri Lanka for the same reason that the country openly issued threats that western diplomats will be expelled if they talked about the war, rolls the red carpet for Iran, has very close ties with China who is funding & supplying arms and the fact they have openly defied calls for ceasefire by UN and USA. Journalists & Aid workers have been barred while UN staff are confined in camps with no freedom of movement.
April 27, 2009, 11:14 am
Peter from UK says:
It is in US interest to caution the Sri Lankan regime.

Tamils have throughout history been natural allies to with the American people. In fact, Tamils are marginalised in Sri Lanka on the basis that they befitted disproportionately by being close to the American mission.

Sri Lanka's excessively cosy relationship with Iran and China could be a threat to long-term US interests in the sub continent.
April 27, 2009, 1:01 pm
JackQ from Slope says:
Naveen from Sri Lanka says: "I'm just wondering why Mrs.Clinton think that she is the secretary of whole world,Is she that much mentally retard? Isnt there anyone in white house to point out that she is only secretary to her nation."

#1, this story isn't even ABOUT Clinton: It's "All About Mike McMahon" (such as it is ...)

#2, The U.S. Secretary of State heads the State Dept, which is exclusively concerned with U.S.-foreign dealings. The Sec is SUPPOSED to represent the U.S., talk/negotiate/meet with other nations' reps, advise the President, effect and help shape U.S. foreign policy, etc. That's the whole JOB.
You might want to check out the US Sec's job description, at:
http://www.state.gov/secretary/115194.htm
... because nowhere does it say, "Must stay home, butt out, and collect paycheck."
(And, PS -- other nations' Secs of State, or equivalents, have the same job: representing their countries to "the world," and trying to get THEIR way.)
April 27, 2009, 1:08 pm
Henry from Toronto says:
Hillary Clinton played into the hands of one of the most dangerous terrorist groups. The FBI on it's website Ranks Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers as the most dangerous group of terrorist anywhere. They pioneered suicide bombing with the invention of the suicide belt (packed with explosives).

The Tigers have a vast network and thousands fo dollars at their disposal. Tamil men were nabbed in New York paying $1M to an undercover CIA agent to buy surface to air missiles.

They are paying just about anyone to get Hillary Clinton to voice enough concern that the democratically elected government of Sri Lanka will stop it's offensive on them.

The Tamil Tigers and their cult like leader is now cornered and if Clinton's comments allow for a pause in the offensive, the Tigers will flee, re-group, re-arm, and take Sri Lanka back into decades more of civil war.

Clinton is a disgrace in the Obama administration.
April 27, 2009, 7:46 pm
Thamizhan from Sydney says:
Sri Lanka (Sinhala Govt) is now friends with China, Pakistan, Russia and Iran (not exactly 'friends' of the USA).

US govt should support the Tamils' struggle for freedom, for independence, to reclaim the Tamil homeland, 'Tamil Eelam'.

http://sites.google.com/site/helpsavetamils

HELP save innocent lives, please visit >>>>

sites.google.com/site/helpsavetamils
April 27, 2009, 8:15 pm
Thamizhan from Sydney says:
China has a stronghold in Sri Lanka now. The US govt should hurry up and restore the Tamil Nation so that it has a strong ally in Tamils & Tamil Eelam.

see this website about USA and Sri Lanka and Tamils >>> www.TAMILNATION.org
April 27, 2009, 8:18 pm

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