Battling my way through Sarah Palin’s book, Going Rogue, last weekend, I began to wonder how American conservatism had come to this. Ms Palin’s book is smug, lightweight, nationalistic, entirely free of original ideas. How has this woman become the darling of the American right? How has she become so popular that some bookmakers make her the favourite to win the Republican party nomination in 2012?
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By Daniel Dombey, US diplomatic correspondent
I’m travelling with Hillary Clinton on a week long tour of Latin America – a trip that in its first hours has already furnished further proof of the unpredictability, delicacy and sheer grind of 21st century diplomacy.
The backdrop to it all is the US’s sometimes tortuous relations with its southern neighbours, made more sensitive by Washington’s push for a UN sanctions resolution on Iran (an effort Argentina backs but Brazil has doubts about), lingering misgivings about the US’s reaction to a coup in Honduras last year (many countries, notably Brazil, wanted tougher US denunciations), and British-Argentinian tensions over the Falkland islands (Latin America has lined up with Buenos Aires while the US studiously tries to stay neutral).
And then there is cataclysmic natural disaster.