Vice President Kamala Harris was accused of bungling her words in a speech on “space cooperation” with Mongolia.
Kamala Harris Can’t Get It Right
Addressing a White House press conference, Harris remarked, “I am delighted to reveal that our collaborative efforts will take a stride forward as we explore ways to enhance our partnership. Specifically, our deliberations will revolve around bolstering our joint efforts in space cooperation.”
Speaking alongside Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai on Monday, the 58-year-old shared, “Our recent discussions touched on the advent of the upcoming era and its implications for your leadership and your vision of the future. Undoubtedly, enhancing our space collaboration forms an integral component of this agenda. This collaboration extends to leveraging our joint space endeavors to fortify the economic prosperity and advancement of our respective nations.”
What Was the Meeting About?
The encounter between Harris and Luvsannamsrai aimed to build upon a strategic alliance established in 2019. The discussions primarily centered on avenues to elevate space and technology cooperation between the United States and Mongolia, according to statements from the White House.
Kamala Harris has been noted for her tendency to reiterate points and offer self-evident explanations when addressing the public.
Her speeches on topics like artificial intelligence, culture, and women’s history have, in recent months, featured circuitous and repetitive discourse, leading to widespread derision.
In reference to her conversation with Luvsannamsrai, Harris reflected, “Our dialogue touched on the commencement of a new era, and its implications for your leadership and the vision you hold for the future.”
More Kamala Problems
In a separate instance, Harris delivered a speech in February to honor recipients of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. However, this speech also faced criticism for its oversimplified portrayal of space travel.
Recounting the journey of former NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken, Harris stated, “They donned their spacesuits, bid farewell to their families, and ascended an elevator to a height of nearly 20 stories. After securing themselves in their seats, they awaited as the reservoirs beneath filled with thousands of gallons of fuel. And then, they embarked on their mission. Yes, they did,” Harris expressed, followed by her distinctive laughter.
Echoing her earlier sentiments, Harris reiterated, “[S]trengthening our space cooperation would be a part of that agenda, encompassing the utilization of this partnership to bolster the economic prosperity and progress of our nations.”
Luvsannamsrai further declared Mongolia’s intention to endorse the Open Skies Agreement, thereby facilitating direct flights between the two nations and fostering tourism, trade, business, and investment opportunities.
“Mongolia is renowned for being the birthplace of Genghis Khan and for its illustrious history encompassing the Mongolian Empire,” he remarked, while also celebrating the United States as a guiding “North Star” on Mongolia’s democratic journey.
Why Mongolia Matters
Mongolia transitioned from a communist system to a democracy in the early 1990s. The pivotal year in this transformation was 1990.
Mongolia had been under the rule of the Mongolian People’s Republic, which was a satellite state of the Soviet Union, and operated under a communist system for several decades.
The United States is countering China’s influence in Asia through a significant development project in Mongolia. In 2021 the U.S. initiated a $350 million grant program, with a $93 million water purification plant project as a part of it, to address Ulaanbaatar’s growing water scarcity. The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by U.S. Ambassador Michael Klecheski and Mongolian President Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh. This project is viewed as a new chapter in the U.S.-Mongolia partnership.
Despite being situated between China and Russia, Mongolia’s diplomatic and economic outreach has been facilitated by decades of educational exchanges. This has established warm relations between the two countries, with several government officials educated in the U.S. The Mongolian government values American adherence to transparency, accountability, and other principles.
Unlike some Chinese infrastructure projects that lead to debt, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) project in Mongolia is fully funded by the U.S., with the Mongolian government making a contribution. The MCC project aligns with Mongolian values and aims to help address the country’s water crisis, particularly in its capital, Ulaanbaatar.
Mongolia’s geopolitical position, transformation to democracy, and strategic partnership with the U.S. have led to close ties between the nations. While China remains a major trading partner for Mongolia, the U.S. is actively engaging in development projects and strengthening cooperation in areas such as education, security, and defense. U.S. Ambassador Klecheski acknowledges the need for increased cooperation in various sectors to compete with China’s economic influence. Mongolia’s desire to integrate with the world and its potential in mining, agriculture, and IT offer opportunities for American investment and collaboration.
A shame Kamala Harris is drawing negative attention to herself and this vital partnership.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.