Tuesday, October 8, 2013

1986: Olof Palme

Olof Palme in 1986, the year of his murder.

Palme’s murder has never been solved, although no one outside Sweden has ever exhibited much interest in the matter. Palme is the only democratically-elected European leader ever to have been murdered while in office.

The U.S. administration had difficulty stifling yawns upon receiving the news of Palme’s death—and sent Secretary Of State George Schultz to represent the U.S. at Palme’s funeral, a conspicuous nose-thumbing directed at Sweden’s government. Most European nations sent their heads of state to Palme’s funeral; at a minimum, the U.S. would have been expected, pursuant to protocol, to send Vice President Bush to the funeral.

To rub salt into the wound, the U.S. explained that Schultz was the perfect U.S. official to attend the funeral, since Schultz was to be in Europe on other business at the same time and might as well pop up to Stockholm for an hour as long as he was on the continent.

In diplomatic parlance, the U.S. sent what is called “a signal”.

Everyone else calls it an eye-jab.

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