Holiday Gift Guide Inside VOLUME 24, NUMBER 12
TPP Countries Move Forward with Trade Deal Minus the U.S. President Trump may have ditched the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but the 11 remaining members, led by Japan, have resurrected the sweeping trade deal in a clear rebuke to Trump’s “America first” agenda. / PAGE 8
BANGLADESH United States
In Volatile Trump Era, Congress Reconsiders Its Foreign Policy Role From his threats against North Korea to his praise for Russia, President Trump’s foreign policy forays have raised alarms on Capitol Hill. But how much power do lawmakers wield in driving American foreign policy? / PAGE 10
Ancient Egyptians Loved Their Cats “Divine Felines” shows how cats played an everyday but also otherworldly role in ancient Egypt. / PAGE 32
Bangladeshi Ambassador Mohammad Ziauddin says his overcrowded nation is struggling to absorb the mass exodus of persecuted Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, calling it “possibly the most catastrophic human crisis ever faced in the recent history of mankind.” PAGE 13
WITNESS to GENOCIDE People of World Influence
Puerto Rico Finds Its Voice in Washington
Nursed Back To Health
In the days after Hurricane Maria crushed Puerto Rico, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz grabbed all the headlines for her verbal lashing of President Trump. But it’s another Puerto Rican politician — Jenniffer González-Colón — who actually wields clout in Washington, where it counts. / PAGE 4
She was a nurse. He was her patient in October 1982 after he had gotten into a car accident. Today, Kurt Jaeger is the ambassador of Liechtenstein and has been married to his former nurse, Lauritta Jaeger, for 26 years. / PAGE 33
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2 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECEMBER 2017
ON THE COVER Photo taken at the Embassy of Bangladesh by Lawrence Ruggeri of Ruggeriphoto.com.
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECEMBER 2017
13 10 25
It’s no fun getting old in America, especially compared to other countries.
A car accident brought together Lauritta Jaeger with her future husband.
People of World Influence Puerto Rico’s voice in Washington pleads for help for her devastated island.
8 TPP 2.0 Trump may have rejected TPP, but the trade deal is far from dead.
10 Uphill Battle Can Congress fill the foreign policy vacuum created by an America first White House?
Failed Gamble Iraq’s Kurds miscalculated in their push for independence.
2017 Holiday Gift Guide
From cashmere to high-end cooking, there’s a holiday gift out there for everyone on your list.
A $2.5 billion development project has finally given Washington its Wharf.
13 Cover Profile: Bangladesh
Overcrowded Bangladesh struggles to absorb the Rohingya exodus from Myanmar.
“Divine Felines” shows the dual-natured role cats played in ancient Egypt.
Ibero Melting Pot
Hillyer highlights immigration’s impact on Latin America, Portugal and Spain.
Man of Many Talents
Musician Bryan Adams puts down the mic to show off his skills behind the camera.
REGULARS 36 Cinema Listing 38 Events Listing 40 Diplomatic Spotlight 46 Classifieds 47 REAL ESTATE Classifieds
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DecEMBER 2017 | 3
WD | People of World Influence
Recovery Mode Jenniffer González-Colón, Weathering the Storm, Is Puerto Rico’s Voice in Washington by Larry Luxner
n the days after Hurricane Maria crushed Puerto Rico, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz grabbed all the headlines for her verbal lashing of President Trump. But it’s another Puerto Rican politician — Jenniffer GonzálezColón — who actually wields clout in Washington, where it counts. González, 41, is Puerto Rico’s non-voting resident commissioner in Congress, the closest thing the Caribbean island has to an ambassador in Washington. She’s been on Capitol Hill since Jan. 3, following her November 2016 election as the first woman — and the youngest person — ever to hold the position, which was created back in 1900. The Washington Diplomat managed a quick interview with the congresswoman in October, the same day the House of Representatives approved a $36.5 billion disaster aid package that includes $4.9 billion to specifically fund a loan program for Puerto Rico to repair its devastated infrastructure. That vote came three weeks after Trump’s widely ridiculed trip to Puerto Rico, during which he tossed rolls of paper towels to hurricane survivors at an aid shelter. Since then, Puerto Rico has formally asked the federal government for $94.4 billion to help the island recover, which surpasses the $61 billion hurricane-ravaged Texas is seeking for its own recovery. So far, however, the White House has only asked for $44 billion to aid recovery efforts in Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Even though Maria caused at least 55 deaths, destroyed tens of thousands of homes and literally left the island in the dark, Trump tweeted that the federal government can’t keep sending help “forever.” He also said Puerto Ricans should be grateful that hundreds of people didn’t die, as they did “in a real catastrophe, like Katrina.” Trump’s demeanor and his tweets prompted Cruz, while wearing a “nasty” T-shirt on live TV to drive her point home, to describe his visit as “insulting” to Puerto Ricans, whom she said were being treated “not as second-class citizens but as animals that can be disposed of.” The president shot back at her, tweeting that, “The mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.” By contrast, in a Sept. 30 tweet that at last count had generated more than 62,000 likes and nearly 13,000 retweets, Trump lavished praise on the resident commissioner. “Congresswoman Jenniffer GonzálezColón of Puerto Rico has been wonderful to deal with and a great representative of the people,” he said. “Thank you!” Asked about the 45th president’s behavior, González, who formerly headed
4 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DecEMBER 2017
Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection
A home in Puerto Rico with the word “HELP” painted on its roof is spotted by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter on Sept. 24, 2017.
We’re talking about 1,000 Puerto Ricans leaving the island daily…. If you don’t have the human resources and the tax base to maintain an economy, how can you recover without the people who will work and pay taxes and make this happen? Jenniffer González-Colón resident commissioner of Puerto Rico to Congress
the Republican Party of Puerto Rico, managed a smile. “The media will pick whatever controversy that’s going on, but I’m the only federal elected official from the island,” she said. “I am the sole representative for 3.4 million U.S. citizens from Puerto Rico. And what I’ve been doing is coordinating with federal agencies in terms of responding to what has happened, and releasing funds to get FEMA running. In that regard, we’re working with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who has been a big supporter of the island’s recovery.” That recovery has been slow-going and will likely take years, especially considering that the island’s economy was already reeling under a massive debt crisis. Hospitals, gas stations and supermarkets have largely reopened, but many businesses have shuttered and people remain without clean drinking water or power. In fact, just as Puerto Rico had regained about 43 percent of its electrical power, a storm last month
knocked out the aging power grid, plunging most of the island into darkness again. And while only 55 deaths have been directly attributed to Maria, nearly 500 more people died this past September than last year, suggesting the hurricane has made life on the island much more dangerous. Nevertheless, some of the 15,000 federal troops stationed on Puerto Rico have already begun to leave, declaring the emergency over — which in turn has left residents panicked that their plight will soon be forgotten by Washington. Those fears were amplified after Trump declared that Puerto Rico “was in really bad shape” before the storm and the federal government can only do so much to help, while praising himself for doing an “outstanding job.” Even González admitted to Bridget Mulcahy of Politico that the remarks were “shocking.” When asked by Mulcahy if the president understood the situation, González replied: “Maybe I’m going to be nice here: I don’t know.”
Nether World González is a lifelong Republican and activist for Puerto Rican statehood. In 2002, at the age of 25, she became the youngest woman ever to be elected to the Puerto Rico House of Representatives. Even before that, she had been active in the student wing of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP in Spanish). In 2008, she made history again when she became the youngest person ever to be elected speaker of the House. In November 2015, González was elected chairwoman of the Republican Party of Puerto Rico after having served as vice chair for eight years. Then in June 2016, she won the PNP primary by a margin of 70.5 percent — making her one of the most popular politicians of any party on the fractured island. And in the general elections, González defeated her main opponent of the pro-Commonwealth Popular Democratic Party, with 48.77 percent of the vote. Since arriving on Capitol Hill, González has focused on veterans’ issues as well as health care and tax relief for Puerto Rico. Unlike foreign diplomats, who represent actual countries, and her voting House colleagues, who represent actual states, González is caught in a nether world. Like resident commissioners before her, she has sometimes found herself forced to define what Puerto Rico actually is: a Spanish-speaking U.S. commonwealth See Gon zález- C olón • page 6
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González-Colón Continued • page 4
whose official title is “Estado Libre Asociado,” or free associated state. The Connecticut-size island came under U.S. jurisdiction in 1898, when American troops wrested it from Spain during the SpanishAmerican War. That short-lived conflict also gave the United States control of both Cuba and the Philippines, though Cuba got its independence in 1902 and the Philippines in 1946. Puerto Rico, on the other hand, became a commonwealth in 1952 and has remained one ever since. “Puerto Rico is never in the news, but before this hurricane, not everyone understood that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Now, everybody knows we are U.S. citizens,” González told us. “But instead of just issuing reports, key policymakers are going to the island to see the situation firsthand.” To that end, González has already led several delegations to see Puerto Rico’s post-hurricane devastation for themselves. “I’ve gone with President Trump to the island. We’ve brought Vice President [Mike] Pence, Paul Ryan and others, along with members of the Cabinet,” said the resident commissioner, whose most recent fact-finding mission took place in mid-October. “Why is this so important? It’s because we don’t have senators, so the only way I can continue pushing the island’s agenda in Congress is by having my colleagues go there.”
Mass Exodus But most of the human traffic is flowing northward, to the U.S. mainland — a trend that began before Maria. The island, whose popula-
tion at one point reached nearly 4 million, has seen an exodus unprecedented in American history thanks to years of economic mismanagement (also see “As Economy Crumbles Race for D.C. Resident Commissioner Heats Up” in the November 2016 issue of The Diplomat). There is plenty of blame to go around for the island’s fiscal woes. On the one hand, the Puerto Rican government propped up a bloated welfare state and wracked up debt. At the same time, federal tax breaks encouraged reckless borrowing. For decades, Puerto Rico benefited from U.S. laws that provided financial incentives to manufacturers that developed production in Puerto Rico instead of outside the United States. But Congress phased out those incentives over a 10-year period that ended in 2006, devastating the manufacturing sector and triggering a fullblown recession, which was compounded by the 2007-08 global financial crisis. As people began leaving the island, tax receipts were squeezed and the government began issuing debt to crawl out of the fiscal hole. This debt was exempt from federal, state and local taxes, making it attractive to opportunistic Wall Street investors. As bills mounted and bondholders demanded payment, the cashstrapped government was forced to shut down schools, hospitals and other public services while hiking sales taxes, which exacerbated the island’s misery. The breaking point came last year when Puerto Rico, under the weight of more than $70 billion in debt, found itself essentially bankrupt, even though under U.S. law it cannot declare bankruptcy because it is not a state. And because it is not a country, it cannot appeal for emergency loans from the International Monetary Fund, leaving Congress as its only lifeline. Last summer, Congress had to pass emergency legislation to keep the island from defaulting on its debt, which on a per-capita basis exceeds $15,700 — more than 10 times the av-
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6 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DecEMBER 2017
Photo: Larry Luxner
Jenniffer González-Colón is Puerto Rico’s non-voting resident commissioner in Congress, the closest thing the Caribbean island has to an ambassador in Washington.
erage per-capita debt of the 50 states. And that was before Maria. The rescue plan, dubbed PROMESA, sets up a seven-member control board to oversee the island’s budget, stabilize its economy and facilitate debt-restructuring talks with creditors. The idea of Washington bureaucrats dictating how Puerto Rico manages its money, however, has stirred deep resentment among residents and revived calls for the U.S. territory to secede from the “colonist” mainland. Conversely, calls by some economists to wipe out Puerto Rico’s crippling debt, which some see as the only viable way to restart growth, have fallen on deaf ears among lawmakers who balk at the idea of a massive taxpayer-funded bailout. In the meantime, Puerto Rico’s economic crisis and brain drain have created a vicious cycle, as investors stay away from the island while doctors, teachers and other workers abandon it and head to the mainland in search of jobs, further complicating recovery efforts. And if current rates of emigration continue, Puerto Rico will have fewer than 3 million inhabitants within a year, González warned. “We’re talking about 1,000 Puerto Ricans leaving the island daily” since Maria struck, she said. “This will directly affect our economy in the long term. If you don’t have the human resources and the tax base to maintain an economy, how can you recover without the people who will work and pay taxes and make this happen? This can put that recovery in jeopardy.” González said most are joining family members already on the mainland until the situation at home stabilizes. “I talk with Florida Gov. Rick Scott on a weekly basis. He told me that 20,000 Puerto Ricans have moved to Florida, half of the 40,000 who have left since Maria,” she said. “We don’t know if they’re coming back. People need to work, and most of the private sector is letting employees go without salaries. And elderly people are leaving the island. I don’t even want to think about it.”
Economic Priorities González says she’s particularly concerned about the hurricane’s impact on Puerto Rico’s all-important pharmaceutical industry. Over the years, tax incentives such as Section 936 of the Internal Revenue Code encouraged U.S. drug companies to set up factories on the island. As a result, those facilities produce everything from Viagra to Xarelto, a blood thinner used to prevent strokes. And even though Congress phased out that tax loophole in 2006, manufacturing still accounts for about 40 percent of the island’s GDP. Of that, 32 percent is generated by production of drugs and medical devices for export to the U.S. mainland and abroad. “If there’s no power, there’s no production, and no tax revenue,” González said, noting that 14 products including insulin and blood transfusion bags are made exclusively in Puerto Rico
and are threatened by power cuts. “This doesn’t just affect the supply of medicines to the States and internationally, but also directly hurts the island’s economy,” she said. “There’s no way we can take for granted that these companies will always be there if we don’t connect the grid soon. So having these companies operational is a main priority for me.” In the longer term, González said incentives to invest on the Caribbean island must be included in the tax reform discussions now going on in Congress. “We need to encourage more domestic companies to establish operations on the island,” she told us. “The president says those companies are moving to Mexico. Well, when you’re doing tax reform, you consider everything, and we want Puerto Rico to be an option.” At the same time, “we know that Congress is not going to approve a corporate welfare program like Section 936. That’s not even an option. But if we were part of the U.S. mainstream economic system, we would never have had this situation,” González said. “Personally, I’m looking into other options, such as a temporary 20- or 25-year neutral status, so that even if we become a state, we maintain our current territorial tax situation.” In the meantime, as officials struggle to alleviate the island’s problems, one thing Puerto Rico must watch out for is corruption. On Oct. 29, the head of the beleaguered Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority said the agency would scrap its $300 million contract with Whitefish Energy Holdings following scrutiny over the Montana company’s role in restoring the island’s electric grid. Federal authorities are investigating the contract awarded to Whitefish, which is based in the hometown of Trump’s interior secretary, Ryan Zinke. The White House insisted it had nothing to do with the awarding of the contract, which was riddled with exorbitant clauses for Whitefish employees and prevented any audits from taking place. “When we receive federal money in an emergency like this, there should be transparency,” González told us. “You should have an open way to know who’s bidding and why that company won. My concern here is that once you have these kinds of accusations of wrongdoing, it puts what’s going on in the island in a bad light, and we can’t afford for that to happen. Three hundred dollars an hour for a company that just had two employees is something that will immediately raise a red flag.” This isn’t the first time González has spoken to The Diplomat. In October 2016, we interviewed her in San Juan just before voters elected pro-statehood candidate Ricardo Rosselló their new governor, and González — his running mate — as their new resident commissioner in Washington. “We should use the resident commissioner’s office as an ambassador for economic development — not only with foreign embassies in Washington, but also with programs and agencies at the federal level so we can help the island get out of its fiscal crisis,” she told us then. Even before Maria struck, she pointed out, 46 percent of Puerto Ricans were living below the poverty level — more than twice the ratio as in the poorest U.S. state, Mississippi. And of that 46 percent, she said, 56 percent are children. Now the island needs more help than ever before. In that regard, González insists her 3.4 million fellow puertorriqueños still on the island can count on Donald Trump, no matter what people say about him — or what he tweets. “My first meeting with the president was on Air Force One. My impression was that he was caring and direct in terms of how he could help. I asked him for so many things. In front of me he called Gen. [John] Kelly and gave him instructions,” she recalled. “I saw a president who is different than what we see in the media. Everything we asked for has been granted.” WD Larry Luxner is the Tel Aviv-based news editor of The Washington Diplomat.
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WD | Trade
TPP Take Two Trump Said No to Trans-Pacific Partnership, But Deal Is Not Dead by Aileen Torres-Bennett
resident Donald Trump has consistently moved to dismantle Barack Obama’s legacy policies, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional trade agreement originally between 12 countries, is no exception. Soon after he came into office, Trump formally withdrew the U.S. from TPP, a sweeping accord encompassing Pacific-Rim nations that together accounted for about 40 percent of global economic output and a third of world trade. As the U.S. dropped the ball, Japan picked it up and is now running with it, trying to revive the deal, or at least keep it on life support for the time being. “Japan is the biggest economy remaining in TPP,” Bruce Andrews, managing director of Rock Creek Global Advisors and former deputy secretary of the Department of Commerce, told The Diplomat. “It is a key player. It recognizes the value of market opening and the importance of high standards and rules of the road in a rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region.” In a clear rebuke to Trump’s “America first” rhetoric, the remaining countries in TPP, referred to as the TPP 11 — Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Peru and Chile — announced at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in November their commitment to resurrecting the trade agreement without the U.S. (All 11 TPP signatories are members of APEC.) While ministers did not reach a final agreement on the deal at the meeting, they did agree on core principles of high standards for labor and environmental protection and abandonment of U.S.-backed intellectual property provisions. The reborn agreement is now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). In particular, Canada, which is in the midst of trying to renegotiate NAFTA with the U.S., had been reluctant to commit to a quick timeline for revamping TPP. New Zealand, Malaysia and Peru also expressed reservations about moving too fast. Still, the 11 remaining TPP members appear motivated to salvage the deal, which took over a decade to hammer out and would’ve struck down some 18,000 tariffs. TPP also includes unprecedented environmental, labor and intellectual property protections and is widely seen as a vital counterweight to Chinese economic dominance. The remaining 11 members now account for about one-sixth of world trade. TPP talks may be concluded as early as next year as negotiators focus now on remaining sticking points such
8 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DecEMBER 2017
Photo: The White House
There is a view that it’s sufficiently worthwhile that it should be kept alive. Joshua Meltzer
senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution
as a dispute over state-owned enterprises related to Malaysia and a disagreement over coal that affects Brunei. They must also figure out how the deal can be rejiggered to reflect America’s absence. So far, that has involved suspending about 20 provisions to avoid renegotiating them and potentially entice the United States into rejoining the agreement down the line. “There is a view that it’s sufficiently worthwhile that it should be kept alive,” Joshua Meltzer, a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution, told The Diplomat. “This is a major step forward for trade in the Asia-Pacific region, with high-standard rules agreed upon in such areas as digital trade, state-owned enterprises, labor and the environment. Next steps include hammering out the details of the agreement, resolving any outstanding issues and initiating their respective domestic procedures to put the agreement into effect,” said Wendy Cutler, vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, who noted that South Korea, the Philippines and Thailand have expressed an interest in even-
tually joining the deal.
TPP Minus the U.S. Trump pulled out of TPP over concerns that it would erode U.S. manufacturing jobs and increase trade deficits. But American businesses now worry that they’ll be shut out of one of the fastest-growing regions in the world while competitors step in to fill the void. Still, the U.S. withdrawal from TPP is not being taken lightly. The TPP 11 can still forge ahead without the U.S., but the agreement came together primarily because countries wanted access to the lucrative U.S. market, so Trump’s pullout has created political headaches for the TPP 11 with their home constituencies. Even with the U.S. out of the picture, though, Japan — the second-largest economy in the accord — is still a big attraction for TPP countries, particularly emerging nations like Vietnam. “A lot of the benefit of TPP was helping smaller countries get access to the Japanese market, which has been closed historically, in exchange for adopting a high-standard set of rules,” Michael Fro-
Heads of state participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit last month in November. There, 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership announced they were moving forward with the trade pact minus the United States.
man, who served as the U.S. trade representative under Obama and is now at the Council on Foreign Relations, told The Diplomat. In the talks leading up to APEC, the focus was on provisions the U.S. pushed through that the remaining countries might want to review or rework. With the U.S. out of the trade deal, countries such as Vietnam and Malaysia, for instance, might want weaker rules on labor and environmental protections than what was agreed to as part of the original TPP. “There’s a discussion going on about which obligations should be frozen — not renegotiated — and put to the side unless and until the U.S. comes back to the table,” said Froman. “The key will be to avoid reopening the negotiation, minimizing the number of obligations that fall into that category, avoiding the notion of weakening TPP. There’s a lot at stake for all these countries in moving forward with a high-standard agreement and sending a positive signal to the global stage.” While smaller, developing countries might want to water down some of the U.S.-imposed regulations, experts think the version that will go into effect once the TPP 11 commit will be very close to the original agreement. For instance, in the days before
APEC, renegotiation was avoided when New Zealand figured out a way to uphold its restrictions on foreign buyers of homes to try to manage its housing market without violating TPP. “There’s a very strong chance the TPP 11 countries will agree to move forward to implement the agreement substantially into action,” Jeffrey Schott, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told The Diplomat. “There will be some provisions suspended, particularly those that were basically demanded by the U.S. and acquiesced by the other 11 countries, but, in most respects, you will see the agreement largely intact moving forward.” Schott believes it’s highly likely the TPP 11 will move forward with implementation in 2018, and that the agreement will likely be in force in 2019. The TPP 11 will also probably leave an opening for the U.S. to rejoin at a later date — say, under a new presidential administration — should it choose to do so. “They’re leaving a light on in the back if and when U.S. policy changes,” said Schott. “I suspect it would mean they would be willing to consider some renegotiation of the TPP to encourage U.S. re-entry.”
TPP Benefits The TPP would effectively cut out tariffs over the long run, according to a World Bank report: “Although both tariffs and restrictions … between many TPP members are already low by historical and international comparison, the currently negotiated TPP would over time eliminate nearly all of tariffs among its members, including very high ones such as the 350 percent tariff on U.S. tobacco imports.” TPP would also “lower trade barriers associ-
Credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead
Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes President Trump to China during his November visit to Asia. Jinping has positioned China as a global advocate of free trade and multilateralism in the wake of Trump’s “America first” agenda.
ated with sizeable non-tariff measures in many member countries.” The report cites a model that predicts that by 2030, TPP will raise the GDP of member countries by up to 10 percent. “This would be an important counterweight to the trade slowdown underway since 2011. At current 201114 trends, member countries’ trade would fall 25 percent below pre-crisis trend by 2030.” Smaller TPP countries have a lot of advantages in the trade agreement. “The largest gains in GDP are expected in smaller, open member economies, such as Vietnam and Malaysia (10 percent and 8 percent, respectively),” the re-
port states. “Both countries would benefit from lower tariffs and [non-tariff measures] in large export markets and at home and from stronger positions in regional supply chains through deeper integration.” NAFTA members — the U.S., Canada and Mexico — all of whom are also part of TPP, would experience more modest growth of about 0.6 percent of GDP because existing barriers to their trade are already low, the World Bank notes. Gains may be uneven from country to country, but many economists agree that the overall effect on growth is positive.
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TPP is a landmark agreement for its reach beyond economics. It establishes the highest labor standards of any trade agreement in history. “TPP will result in the largest expansion of fully enforceable labor rights in history, including renegotiating NAFTA and bringing hundreds of millions of additional people under [International Labor Organization] standards,” the U.S. Trade Representative office said at the time it was promoting TPP. TPP also includes the most stringent environmental protections of any trade agreement before it, in addition to championing conservation and energy-efficiency efforts. Preserving a single, global digital marketplace is another priority of TPP. The agreement encourages e-commerce and an open internet. “TPP does this by preserving free international movement of data, ensuring that individuals, small businesses, and families in all TPP countries can take advantage of online shopping, communicate efficiently at low cost, and access, move, and store data freely,” according to the U.S. Trade Representative. Addressing market inequities caused by state-owned enterprises is another key part of TPP. This provision seeks to ensure that stateowned enterprises compete on a commercial basis. The agreement also includes provisions to promote sustainable development and inclusive economic growth, reduce poverty, increase food security and combat child and forced labor. What do all of these provisions have in common? They are a reflection of U.S. values and See TPP • page 16
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WD | United States
Power on the Hill Can Congress Fill Foreign Policy Vacuum Created by an ‘America First’ White House? by John Shaw
ince the end of the Second World War, the United States has been mostly a force for order in the world. But many analysts argue that during the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, America has become a deeply destabilizing country. Trump is often described as volatile and provocative, dispensing with, and often shattering, established norms of international behavior and civil discourse. He has derailed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, disparaged NATO and withdrawn the United States from the Paris climate accord. He has scolded America’s most loyal allies in Europe and elsewhere, taunted enemies such as North Korea and praised Russian President Vladimir Putin even as Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election continues to dog his administration. Critics posit that Trump’s White House staff is inexperienced and lacks top-tier policy experts. The administration has dueling power centers and a weak inter-agency process. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has struggled to find a clear role in shaping American foreign policy. He has left scores of senior jobs unfilled and has supported deep cuts in the State Department budget. Tillerson is also frequently and publicly undercut by Trump. A question cascading across the United States and in overseas capitals is whether Congress will step in to fill the void and stabilize American foreign policy during this time of disruption from the White House. “That’s the big question and the answer is not clear to me,” said Leon Panetta in an interview with The Diplomat. Panetta is a former congressman, White House budget director, White House chief of staff, CIA director and secretary of defense. “We are in uncharted territory. We have never had a president like this, certainly in modern times. We need to have some checks on this president who is impulsive, who governs by tweets and whose tweets are usually based on impulse and emotion, not any real analysis. Can Congress provide this check? Probably not by itself, but it can be part of the answer,” he said. Panetta pointed out that the president is always the main driver of America foreign policy. “It’s really clear that in our system the president has the primary power to deal with foreign policy. Congress has a role to play, but it’s frankly a secondary role. It’s very difficult for 535 members of Congress to get their act together to direct foreign policy and to get it in a better place. It’s very difficult for Congress to agree on coherent alternatives to the president’s policies. This is an inherent challenge and it’s made much worse now by our current partisan divisions. There is no reason to believe the Republican leadership in Congress is willing to challenge Trump on foreign policy,” he said. That is not to say that Congress is powerless, especially because it holds the all-important power of the purse — i.e., funding the government. This means lawmakers can exert their will over the presidency in a variety of ways. For instance, GOP defense hawks have largely dismissed the steep budget cuts Trump has proposed for the State Department. Congress has also pushed through tough sanctions on Russia and North Korea. And because Trump has punted the issue of the nuclear deal with Iran to Capitol Hill, it is now up to lawmakers to decide whether to reinstitute sanctions on Tehran and potentially scuttle the agreement. Lawmakers can also use the bully pulpit to spotlight issues. This is what Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) — who has publicly questioned the president’s fitness and criticized
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As President Trump promotes his “America first” agenda, foreign policy observers wonder how much lawmakers on Capitol Hill will step in to fill the void left on the world stage.
We need to have some checks on this president who is impulsive, who governs by tweets and whose tweets are usually based on impulse and emotion, not any real analysis. Can Congress provide this check? Probably not by itself, but it can be part of the answer. Leon Panetta, former secretary of defense and CIA director
his fiery rhetoric on North Korea — did with a recent hearing examining the executive’s authority to use nuclear weapons. But Corker told The Diplomat that while Congress has considerable foreign policy powers, the president’s power is more substantial. “Under our system, the executive branch has a lot of authority in foreign policy. Congress can play a role. We can ask questions, hold hearings, explore issues,” Corker said. He added that Congress has control over the nation’s finances but this often wields limited influence over foreign policy. “We do have the power of the purse, but when you have American troops in harm’s way, there is an understandable reluctance to cut off funds.” Some analysts dispute the assertion that Trump’s foreign policy is perilous. Matthew Kroenig, an associate professor of government at Georgetown University, argues that while this president’s approach is unconventional, his policies are basically sound. In an April 2017 essay in Foreign Affairs, Kroenig said Trump has been hammered by a negative and unfair press that has focused heavily on early policy missteps, slowness in staffing national security positions and controversial statements. He argues that critics often fail to give Trump sufficient credit where credit is due. Trump’s foreign policy, he declares, is “for the most part, well
suited for the challenges ahead.” He adds that Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Tillerson constitute a top-notch foreign policy team. Both House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) often say it’s more important to pay attention to what Trump does than what he says, adding that Trump’s actual policies are conservative and sound. Still, the prevailing perspective among foreign policy experts in both parties is that Trump’s approach to foreign policy is at least disruptive and often dangerous. In an October 2017 essay in The Atlantic, Eliot Cohen, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former official in the George W. Bush administration, charges that Trump’s policies have substantially weakened the United States. He concedes that Trump inherited a difficult set of international problems but says he has made them much worse through incendiary language and ill-conceived policies. “Trump seems incapable of restraining himself from insulting foreign leaders…. He cannot himself articulate a worldview that goes beyond a teenager’s bluster. He lays out his resentments, insecurities, and obses-
sions on Twitter for all to see, opening up a gold mine to foreign governments seeking to undermine and manipulate the American president,” Cohen writes. “In short, foreign leaders may consider Trump alarming, but they do not consider him serious. They may think they can use him, but they know they cannot rely on him…. And so, already, they have begun to reshape alliances and reconfigure the networks that make up the global economy, bypassing the United States and diminishing its standing.” Cohen also contends that it is now apparent Trump will not change. “Matters will not improve. Trump will not learn, will not moderate, will not settle into normal patterns of behavior. And for all the rot that is visible in America’s standing and ability to influence global affairs, more is spreading beneath the surface,” he asserted. “Even barring cataclysmic events, we will be living with the consequences of Trump’s tenure as chief executive and commander in chief for decades.” The Constitution divides foreign policy authority between the legislative and executive branches. It gives Congress the power to declare war, raise military forces and regulate commerce. The Senate is also charged with providing advice and consent on treaties and nominations. Much of the president’s foreign policy power comes from his executive authority and his role as commander in chief of the military. The president has the explicit power to appoint and receive ambassadors and, thus, the power to recognize foreign governments and conduct diplomacy. Analysts say the president’s most significant informal power is having the most prominent platform and the loudest megaphone to set the agenda of American foreign policy. Former House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) told The Diplomat that Congress has critical foreign
Credit: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump join Chinese President Xi Jinping during a performance marking Trump’s visit to China last month. Trump has veered from bashing China’s economic ties with the U.S. to praising its role in the North Korea nuclear crisis.
policy powers if it chooses to exercise them. “Congress has considerable authority in foreign policy, but it has to focus its demands and be persistent. Congress can do a lot to shape and influence American foreign policy — if it wants to. It can hold hearings and force the administration to explain and defend its policies. It can pass legislation to change policies, but that’s hard to do. It can use its funding powers to support programs and scare the hell out of the administration. This is a powerful tool.” Hamilton does not anticipate the current Republican-controlled Congress will challenge Trump on international policy, however. “The prospects are not good that this Congress will do much. We seem to be in a period of considerable passivity. The leaders of the Republican Party are deeply reluctant to take on Trump, probably because he remains popular in a strong segment of the Republican Party.
If Trump’s support among Republicans erodes further, Republican leaders may become more active. But so far, they don’t want to take on Trump voters,” he said. Senate Historian Emeritus Donald Ritchie cautioned that Congress’s international reach is limited. “Unlike the presidency, Congress is not a singular institution so it is very difficult for it to act in a coherent way. It’s diverse and diffuse and this makes it hard for Congress to act in a coordinated way on foreign policy,” Ritchie said. “Congress can direct public attention to an issue, interrogate administration officials, ask hard questions, press for answers, request reports. It can pass legislation related to foreign policy, reject nominations and treaties, fund programs or withhold funds from programs. It can have a say on foreign policy, but it’s very hard for it to dominate the foreign policy debate,” Ritchie said.
Former Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) told The Diplomat that Congress can play a constructive role on specific issues such as trade, immigration reform and bolstering traditional alliances. He added that lawmakers can also give thoughtful speeches that send messages of assurance to the world. “We do need members to speak out forcefully and to offer an informed view of the world. It takes a certain courage and a clear view of the world. Are there risks? Yes, but this is important work to do and this work is more important than the longevity of individual careers,” Lugar said. He cited Congress’s role in challenging the Reagan administration’s policy on apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s and in creating the Nunn-Lugar program to secure weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s. Lugar, as a former senator and a respected statesman, has delivered several wide-ranging foreign policy speeches that challenge Trump’s “America first” policy. He hopes more lawmakers will use their platforms to articulate worldviews that are more in line with America’s traditions. “President Trump’s view of the world is negative. Others need to project hope and optimism and let the world know there is still support for this perspective in the United States,” Lugar said. Congress will have ample opportunity to project this perspective and influence American foreign policy in the coming months. There will be renewed attention on the international nuclear agreement with Iran that imposed strict restrictions on the country’s stockpiles of uranium and its ability to enrich these materials. In return, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union agreed to lift sanctions that have crippled the See for eign policy • page 46
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WD | Middle East
The Kurds’ Failed Gamble Former U.S., Iraqi Diplomats Criticize Wisdom of Kurdish Independence Vote by Larry Luxner
raq’s Kurds badly miscalculated by deciding to hold a referendum on independence just as the last remnants of the Islamic State were being pounded out of existence in both Iraq and Syria. Now, the Kurds’ long-held dream of building a state for what has often been called the world’s largest nation without a state — some 30 million Kurds live in Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria — that seemed tantalizing within reach has been put on the backburner yet again. The U.S. and regional stakeholders urged the autonomous region of Kurdistan to delay the referendum for fear of inciting tensions with the Iraqi government, but the Kurds pressed ahead with their bid to secede from Baghdad. Shortly after the results were announced — with the overwhelming majority voting for independence — Iraq moved in to retake Kurdish-held towns and cities, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, with little resistance. The spectacular backfiring of the Kurds’ quest for self-determination wiped out many of the territorial gains they had made in Iraq when the Islamic State seized parts of the country in 2014. It has also squandered much of the international goodwill the self-sufficient Iraqi Kurdistan region had earned up until that point. Internally, the loss of oil revenues and land has sparked an economic crisis, political squabbling over who’s to blame for the mess, and anger at Washington for abandoning the Kurds, who have proven to be among the best fighters in the battle against the Islamic State. The imbroglio has even entangled Iran, as accusations surfaced that Tehran conspired with one of Kurdistan’s two main political parties in a backroom deal to overtake Kirkuk. In fact, amid the chaos, finger-pointing and backstabbing, some observers point to Iran as the real threat to Middle East stability. At least that’s the view of two seasoned diplomats: Lukman Faily, Iraq’s ambassador to the United States from 2013 to 2016, and James Jeffrey, a veteran diplomat who from 2010 to 2012 headed the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Both spoke during a heated Oct. 18 panel discussion at the National Press Club that attracted well over 100 people. The event, hosted by the Turkish Heritage Organization, also featured Arshad Al-Salihi, leader of the Iraqi Turkmen Front and a member of the Iraqi parliament. Al-Salihi was supposed to be on the podium with Faily and Jeffrey. Instead, he spoke via Skype from Kirkuk because of what he called the “security situation” there following Baghdad’s move to reassert its presence after the Sept. 25 ref-
Credit: UN Photo / Rick Bajornas
Voters elect new representatives in the parliamentary and presidential elections in the Kurdistan region of Iraq in July 2009. Iraq’s Kurds had been praised for the gains they’d made in their autonomous region, but more recently, when they voted in a nonbinding referendum for independence, they drew the ire of the U.S. and sparked a fierce backlash from the central government in Iraq as well as Turkey.
Those people in Washington who were advising the [Kurdistan Regional Government], I don’t know what they were smoking. I’ve spent the last 50 years dealing with difficult situations, and I haven’t seen anything as clear-cut and dumb in my entire 50-year career. James Jeffrey, former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and Iraq
erendum, in which 93 percent of those voting chose independence. Calling the plebiscite organized by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) “illegal and destructive,” Al-Salihi said it was planned to benefit politicians and their own self-interest. “There is no question that this referendum has violated Iraq’s constitution,” said Al-Salihi, himself a politician. “In addition, the KRG extended the referendum to territories that were not designated in the constitution. We think this is wrong, and it clearly violates both Iraq’s constitution and international rules.” For all three panelists, the central issue is Iraq’s future after the referendum, which took place not only within Iraqi Kurdistan’s accepted borders, but also in disputed territories that have been under de facto Kurdish control since their liberation from forces loyal to the Islamic State, or ISIS. “There’s a reason why Turkey, the
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U.S. and many Western European countries were against the referendum,” said Jeffrey. “It was a bad idea, bringing instability to the region at a time when countries are facing tough choices. Many world leaders believe the current situation in northern Iraq would distract from efforts to defeat ISIS. The U.S. warned Irbil not to do it, and they did it anyway.” Jeffrey, a career diplomat, said Washington did not abandon the Kurds, as many pro-Kurdish politicians have angrily insisted. He noted that the capture of Kirkuk by Kurdish forces when the Islamic State began its assault on Iraq was seen by many as a land grab. “The United States has made it clear that it considers the territorial integrity of Kurdistan to be a very important issue, but it never signed up for turning over Kirkuk and its mixed population and, by my estimate $20 to $30 billion of hydrocarbon infrastructure and billions of barrels of oil, over to Irbil,” he
said, referring to the de facto capital of Kurdistan. “That was never part of the deal.” In fact, he continued, “we never signaled anything other than real reluctance to make any movement — other than the very theoretical constitutional provisions that some day, inshallah, there would be a referendum. That point was made clear by me personally and by everybody I know. Why that message was not picked up is still a mystery to me.” Some blame Masoud Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan, for the fiasco. Barzani enjoyed good relationships with the U.S. and Turkey, so it’s possible he naively expected both to back — or at least turn a blind eye to — the nonbinding referendum. But once Washington and Ankara made it clear that they adamantly opposed the move, Barzani chose to ignore those warnings, See ku r dis tan • page 45
Cover Profile | WD
Witness to Genocide Poverty-Stricken Bangladesh Struggles to Absorb Rohingya Refugees from Myanmar by Larry Luxner
veryone agrees that the ongoing exodus of hundreds of thousands of starving, suffering Rohingyas from Myanmar’s Rakhine state into neighboring Bangladesh is heartbreaking. But what to label the drama unfolding in South Asia remains a matter of debate. Some say it’s ethnic cleansing, some claim it’s genocide, still others insist it’s neither — and that Myanmar has a right to defend itself against “terrorists.” Mohammad Ziauddin has no problem calling it like it is. “This Rohingya refugee crisis is possibly the most catastrophic human crisis ever faced in the recent history of mankind,” he declared. “And they’re coming in every day.” Ziauddin, Bangladesh’s ambassador to the United States, said no less than 10,000 refugees are streaming into his already overpopulated country on a daily basis. More than 615,000 Rohingyas have crossed from Myanmar to Bangladesh since the current crisis began on Aug. 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked dozens of Myanmar police posts and an army base, sparking a ferocious military counteroffensive that has continued to this day. An estimated 80 percent of these refugees in Bangladesh are women and children. Along with the 400,000 already there — having arrived in previous waves of desperation in 1978, 1982, 1992, 2012, 2015 and 2016 — this means more than 1 million Rohingyas are now crammed into one of the most crowded nations on Earth. In a lengthy interview with The Washington Diplomat, Ziauddin voiced frustration with neighboring Myanmar (also known as Burma) and its leadership. “On Aug. 25, the Myanmar government said some of their police forces were attacked, so they took this necessary measure of countering the attackers. But the fact remains it has gone beyond that,” he said. “If attacks are taking place, then it’s the government’s duty to catch the culprits — not vent their anger on ordinary, common people. This is what they have been doing.” The dramatic photos and videos coming out of Bangladesh reveal a scorchedearth assault that has horrified people all over the world: women and young girls raped, villages destroyed, children burned alive. But so has the apparent indifference of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader — who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for standing up to the country’s military dictatorship but now faces global condemnation for letting the Rohingya crisis continue. Human rights groups have documented widespread atrocities in the
border area. Matthew Smith, chief executive of Fortify Rights — a Southeast Asian-based nonprofit group — said state security forces are intentionally killing men, women and children, and that Buddhist villagers in Rakhine state have slaughtered at least thousands of Rohingyas since the crisis began. “They have been slitting throats. There have been beheadings. Soldiers have opened fire on groups of people and then set the bodies on fire,” Smith told The Telegraph’s Nicola Smith in September. “Children have been thrown into rushing rivers, thrown on the ground and stomped. We’ve documented children being burned to death.”
History of Persecution Often called “the world’s most persecuted minority,” the Rohingya have been the target of anger and apathy for decades. Most of them are Muslims, though some Rohingyas profess Hinduism or Christianity. All of them face discrimination in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. For students of Asian history, this crisis is a rather old story with roots in the centuries-old hatred of the Rohingyas, which speak a distinct dialect. The ethnic group has been living in Myanmar’s Rakhine state since the 8th century — many of them having migrated from the Indian subcontinent. During the 19th and early 20th century, when the British administered Myanmar as a province Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri
This Rohingya refugee crisis is possibly the most catastrophic human crisis ever faced in the recent history of mankind…. And they’re coming in every day. Mohammad Ziauddin ambassador of Bangladesh to the United States
of India, Rohingya laborers from Bangladesh and India also migrated to the country, fueling resentment among the local Burmese population. “After independence, the government viewed the migration that took place during British rule as ‘illegal, and it is on this basis that they refuse citizenship to the majority of Rohingya,’” said a Sept. 28 Al-Jazeera feature on the Rohingya, citing a 2000 report by Human Rights Watch. “This has led many Buddhists to consider the Rohingya to be Bengali, rejecting the term Rohingya as a recent invention, created for political reasons.” Myanmar is home to 135 distinct tribes, yet under Burmese law, the Rohingyas are not recognized as one of those
ethnic groups, nor are they considered one of Myanmar’s eight “national races.” A 1982 citizenship law effectively rendered the Rohingyas stateless, restricting their freedom of movement, education and employment. Prior to the current exodus, about 1.1 million Rohingyas lived in povertystricken Rakhine state, where they could not leave without government permission. Even so, various crackdowns in the 1970s forced hundreds of thousands to flee, mainly for Bangladesh as well as Malaysia, Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. “In 1978, we got the first thrust of refugees from Myanmar. The next one was in 1982, after the Myanmar government
had disenfranchised the Rohingyas,” Ziauddin told us. “However, we managed to talk to them, and a significant number of them went back.” Then in 1992, another wave of Rohingyas — about 250,000 or so — streamed into Bangladesh. “Very conveniently, we were able to talk to the Myanmar government, and they agreed to take them back,” said the ambassador. “Then they came again, in 2012, then in 2015 and 2016 and now in 2017. We have a really long, porous border with Myanmar, and it’s very easy for people to come and go. This thing has been going on for a long time, and it’s always led to the burning of villages and killings. All these atrocities frighten the people, so any excuse they get, they come to Bangladesh.”
Unwanted and Unwelcome Yet Bangladesh doesn’t necessarily want them either. While generally praised for its humanitarian response to the current exodus, Bangladesh has See ban glades h • page 14
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DecEMBER 2017 | 13
Photo: Sk Hasan Ali / Shutterstock
Social activists organize a demonstration in Dhaka against recent attacks on the Muslim-majority Rohingya community in neighboring Myanmar.
Bangladesh Continued • page 13
been criticized for refusing Rohingya refugees citizenship and other rights, instead insisting that they return to Myanmar. Earlier this year, Dhaka also tried to resurrect a widely ridiculed plan to move tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees to a remote, flood-prone island that rights groups said was uninhabitable. Meanwhile, Bangladeshi authorities have tried to prevent more refugees from entering the country, while keeping those already there from leaving overcrowded border areas. These dark-skinned refugees, many of them camped out in makeshift, monsoondrenched tent cities in and around Cox’s Bazar, have nowhere to go and refuse to return to Myanmar, fearing for their lives. To be fair, Bangladesh is one of the most ill-equipped nations in the world to handle a refugee influx, because it simply does not have room for them. No bigger than Iowa, this tropical low-lying country has 163 million people, half the population of the United States. With 1,115 people per square kilometer, Bangladesh in 2016 was ranked among the 10 most densely populated nations in the world, according to the World Population Review — and that was before the current surge of Rohingya refugees. “With the influx of a million people, our economy has taken a hit. There’s never been 700,000 people landing in the space of two months in one particular country. This is sudden, and it’s putting tremendous pressure on our economy,” Ziauddin said. “Even so, the people of Bangladesh themselves have
come to the rescue, sharing their food and whatever they have.” The government has allocated 2,000 acres of land for building tent cities. It has also provided on-site medical facilities and has sent seriously injured people needing surgery to Chittagong Medical College Hospital. Despite its poverty, Bangladesh has been doing pretty well lately. Thanks to the country’s booming exportbased economy, annual percapita income now stands at $1,614, up from $600 in 2009 — putting it ahead of most other countries in the region, including Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan. GDP growth was supposed to reach 7.5 percent this year, though that clearly won’t happen now. “In a sense, Myanmar has declared war by sending the Rohingya to Bangladesh,” the country’s finance minister, A.M.A. Muhith, warned in late September. “They are trying to jeopardize our economy by sending people from their country.” Bangladesh’s foreign minister went even further, saying that the violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar constituted “genocide.”
Politics of Labeling Tragedy Many officials have shied away from using that loaded term, although most experts agree that what’s happening in Myanmar is a case of ethnic cleansing. “The evidence is irrefutable. The Myanmar security forces are setting northern Rakhine state ablaze in a targeted campaign to push the Rohingya people out of Myanmar,” said Tirana Hassan, crisis response director of New York-based Amnesty International. “Make no mistake: this is ethnic cleansing.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson initially refused to use
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Photo: By John Owens (VOA) / Public Domain
Rohingya refugees from Myanmar fill the makeshift Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh.
Photo: Djohan Shahrin / Shutterstock
Above, members of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority walk through a broken road in Cox’s Bazer, Bangladesh, on Sept. 11, 2017. Left, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (with William Lacy Swing, director general of the International Organization for Migration, behind him) addresses the press during a pledging conference for the Rohingya refugee crisis held Oct. 23 in Geneva.
Credit: UN Photo / Violaine Martin
that label during a Nov. 15 press conference in the Burmese capital of Naypyidaw. But on Nov. 22, the State Department backtracked, saying that after analyzing the facts, it determined that the situation did indeed constitute ethnic cleansing. The State Department said it is focused at the moment on ending the violence; ensuring a path for repatriation for those displaced; expanding access for humanitarian assistance; seeking accountability for reported atrocities; and supporting longer-term solutions for the root causes of tensions and conflict in Rakhine state. Meanwhile, at the press conference with Tillerson, Suu Kyi defended her country’s policies, telling reporters: “I don’t know why people
say I’ve been silent” about the Rohingyas, countering that she has avoided making “incendiary statements” while thanking the secretary of state for having “an open mind.” In the past, she’s also blamed overseas aid groups and complained that “terrorists” have leveled a “huge iceberg of misinformation” against Myanmar’s leaders. For his part, Ziauddin isn’t buying any of it. “It is very clear that the military is playing a major role in this. And probably they’re keeping Suu Kyi in the front because she’s well liked in the Western world,” he said. “Maybe they’re carrying out their nefarious designs with respect to ridding the country of the Rohingyas. It is definitely ethnic
cleansing — and definitely a genocide, too.” Suu Kyi has no authority over Myanmar’s military junta, which still officially rules the country and retains control of all matters related to defense, security and border issues. She has also tread carefully in voicing support for the Rohingya in a country that is largely hostile to them. Nevertheless, in a stinging editorial, Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times calls Suu Kyi the “chief apologist” for this modern-day tragedy. He notes that when discussing the issue, she refuses even to use the word “Rohingya.” Instead, this one-time heroine repeatedly calls them “Bengalis” — even though most have lived in Myanmar for generations and have no links with Bangladesh. Suu Kyi, who has called for an investigation into the atrocities, won her Nobel
Peace Prize for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights. But that was 26 years ago. At last count, more than 432,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the committee to rescind her prize. Asked if he agrees that her prize should be taken away, Ziauddin replied: “It is not for us to decide.”
American Assistance Before coming to Washington, the Dhaka-born ambassador — who took up his post in August 2014 — was ambassador-at-large with the rank of state minister in the prime minister’s office. He’s also served as ambassador to Italy and has held diplomatic posts in London, Nairobi and New York. “My role over here is to make the American people
and lawmakers aware of this great human crisis taking place in our part of the world,” he said. “Our main focus is the State Department. We also have contacts in the White House and on Capitol Hill. I’m meeting people over there and apprising them of this grave situation.” In that regard, Ziauddin already has the ear of Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “Burma’s violence against the Rohingya is horrific, and one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises,” Royce said Sept. 28 as he convened a hearing on the issue. “Burma can’t be allowed to continue cruelly mistreating the Rohingya and other minority groups. And the United States should use the tools at its disposal to help stop this violence.” In late October, the State Department moved to do just that, announcing it would end U.S. assistance to certain Myanmar military units involved in the forced displacement of the Rohingyas. It is also said to be considering sanctions against specific officials linked to such abuses. U.S. military ties with Myanmar are already limited, however. That’s why some activists say Washington should hit Myanmar where it hurts: trade. The U.S. lifted economic sanctions on Myanmar in 2016 in response to political reforms led by the military junta, which has ruled the country since the early 1960s. After the government released Suu Kyi and her party won a landmark election in 2015 that put a nominally civilian administration in charge, Myanmar emerged from decades of international isolation. But some experts warn that trying to isolate the country again could backfire. Not only would it push Myanmar closer to China, it would reduce what little leverage Washington has over the military regime that still wields ultimate clout — and that successfully survived decades of crippling Western sanctions. “The only way you can really have leverage on the military is to do something with them, and the only way to really change or hope to change their ways is to engage them and show them different ways and show them different tactics,” Derek Mitchell, the former U.S. ambassador to Myanmar, told Foreign Policy’s Martin de Bourmont for an Oct. 24 article. “You don’t get solutions by sanctions. You get their attention, but the question is how you are going to get both justice for what’s happened as well as justice for the Rohingya,” he added. Tillerson agrees. “We want Myanmar to succeed, we want its democracy to succeed,” he said during his visit. “I have a hard time seeing how [broad-based sanctions] help this crisis.” Ziauddin plans to visit the region some time this month or next, depending how accessible it is. He’s also pushing for more U.S. assistance to Bangladesh to help his country cope with the influx; so far, that aid has come to $104 million. “The United States has been the strongest, most reliable friend of Bangladesh,” he said. “The Trump administration is aware of this huge crisis, and they have been very sympathetic and supportive.”
BaNGlaDESh-MyaNMaR RElatIoNS We asked the Bangladeshi ambassador if he’s discussed the Rohingya crisi s with his Burmese counterpart, Aung Lynn, who’s represented Myanmar as ambassador to the United States since mid-2016. “We are good friends. He’s been here, and I’ve been to their embassy,” Ziauddin replied. “He’s come to my house and we’ve had din-
these young Rohingyas to join them,” he said, warning of possible cross-border reprisal attacks against Myanmar. “Many of them have lost their homes and seen their families destroyed, and among them there could be a significant number who have pure vengeance in their heart. This is what we are afraid of. These kinds of activities could lead to bad blood between the two countries.”
bangladesh at a Glance Independence Dec. 16, 1971 (from West Pakistan) Location Southern asia, bordering the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and India Capital Dhaka
Unemployment 4.1 percent (2016 estimate)
Population 157.8 million (July 2017 estimate)
*Note: about 40 percent of the population is underemployed; many persons counted as employed work only a few hours a week and at low wages
Ethnic groups Bengali at least 98 percent, other ethnic groups 1.1 percent) GDP (purchasing power parity) $629.7 billion (2016 estimate)
GDP per-capita (PPP) $3,900 (2016 estimate)
Industries Jute, cotton, garments, paper, leather, fertilizer, iron and steel, cement, petroleum products, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, ceramics, tea, salt, sugar, edible oils, soap and detergent, fabricated metal products, electricity, natural gas
GDP growth 7.2 percent (2016 estimate)
Flag of Bangladesh
Population below poverty line 31.5 percent (2010 estimate)
SouRCE: CIa WoRlD faCtBooK
Boats crowd the Buriganga River in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.
ner together. But all that happened before this crisis. Since then, both of us have been pretty busy doing our own work.” Aung Lynn couldn’t be reached for comment, though a vague press statement on the Burmese Embassy’s website dated Nov. 7 denounced a Capitol Hill rally the day before protesting the deteriorating situation back home. Claiming the demonstrators “neither reflect the true situation nor represent the genuine desire” of those who support democracy in Myanmar, it urged “all ethnic brethren and supporters of democracy residing in the United States [to] stand united against any action aimed at harming and threatening the unity of the citizens of Myanmar, and join hands to support the nation-building and development process.” Despite the tensions, the two neighbors signed an agreement to boost border security and coordinate on the repatriation of Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar. The two sides agreed to “halt the outflow of Myanmar residents to Bangladesh” and to “form a joint working group” on the issue, though details remain scarce.
Not GoING aNyWhERE But the reality, some say, is that the Rohingyas are in Bangladesh to stay.
Photo: PIxaBay / NaChoIPD
On Oct. 6, Bill Hayton, an associate fellow at London-based Chatham House, wrote that “at least half a million people have been brutally expelled from their homes and are now living in miserable conditions in muddy refugee camps and storm-drenched shantytowns. As the international community debates how to respond, it needs to take a clear-eyed view of the situation and recognize a brutal truth: the refugees are almost certainly not going home.” Hayton added: “Consequently, policymakers must not hide behind the fiction that Bangladesh is only temporarily hosting the refugees in preparation for their rapid return home. Over-optimistic assumptions now will lead to worse misery in the long term. Instead, the world needs to plan on the basis that Bangladesh will be hosting a very large and permanent refugee population.” That concerns Ziauddin, who worries that the presence of thousands of unemployed young Rohingya men will attract the attention of radical Islamic terrorist groups. Bangladesh already has eight such groups on its watch list — offshoots of the Jamaat-e-Islami movement that constitutes the largest Islamist political party in Bangladesh. The ambassador claims Jamaat-e-Islami takes in a combined $450 million a year in revenues from their various legal businesses throughout the country. “They use that money to recruit or entice
‘NEaR-IMPoSSIBlE tRIlEMMa’ Tom Felix Joehnk of The New York Times reported Oct. 6 that the Rohingya crisis could exacerbate tensions between the “nominally secular Awami League, now the ruling party, and the gently pro-Islamic Bangladesh Nationalist Party.” He also warned that the increasing Rohingya presence could boost the influence of Hefazat-e-Islam, a popular Bangladeshi Islamist movement that already runs about 25,000 madrasas, or religious schools, throughout the country. The group, which is based in the port city of Chittagong — not far Myanmar’s Rakhine state — recently threatened to wage jihad on Myanmar “if the army and its associates do not stop torturing the Rohingya Muslims.” Joehnk said the crisis could indeed play into the hands of extremists and hasten Bangladesh’s “continued slide toward authoritarianism.” He warned that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of the ruling Awami League “faces a near-impossible trilemma: appeasing radical Islamists in Bangladesh while remaining friendly with India [which backs Myanmar] even as she tries to satisfy the Bangladeshi Army’s demand for a more aggressive posture toward both Myanmar and India. So far, her attempts to strike that balance seem to have undercut the role of secularism and other liberal values in Bangladeshi politics.” Nonetheless, Ziauddin says his country has succeeded in keeping a lid on violent Islamic extremism in the aftermath of a July 2016 terrorist attack at an upscale café popular with foreigners that left over two dozen people dead, including 20 hostages. “Through intelligence sharing, we have been able to weed out many of the sleeper cells of local homegrown terrorist organizations,” he told The Diplomat, noting that since the Dhaka attack, “There have been no further incidents. We stopped them with the cooperation and support of our friends, like the United States.” Ultimately, Ziauddin said, the three worst problems Bangladesh faces are poverty, terrorism and climate change. That last one, perhaps, represents the ultimate challenge: Only a 1-degree Celsius rise in average world temperatures would melt enough Antarctic ice to submerge one-fifth of Bangladesh. That means 25 million to 30 million Bangladeshis would have to leave their homes and migrate to cities, which are already bursting at the seams. That could fuel the country’s two other problems, poverty and terrorism. “To solve all three, we need the cooperation of our neighbors,” said the ambassador, who prefers to take an optimistic view of things. “Despite the crises we are facing, if we can maintain good relations, I believe we will be able to resolve these problems amicably. We can do that. I still have that hope.” WD Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat.
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TPP Continued • page 9
standards. That is why TPP was a cornerstone of Obama’s Asia pivot, which sought to realign American economic and military resources toward one of the world’s fastest-growing markets — one that is home to 60 percent of the global economy. Politically, the deal was considered a geostrategic tool to blunt Chinese hegemony and establish rules of the road for Asian businesses that meet American, not Chinese, standards.
China Steps Up China was excluded from TPP, and it reacted by offering its own trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). China’s alternative to TPP is more of a traditional trade agreement. RCEP, which is moving slowly through negotiations, does not push for political reforms that would be a tough sell in some member countries, unlike TPP, which seeks to improve transparency, working conditions and the environment, in addition to basic trade issues. As the Trump administration increases the stakes and retreats further from the global stage, China is among the countries angling to fill the vacuum. Beijing is trying to refashion itself as
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President Donald Trump greets officials during his trip to Japan last month, with Japanese Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to his right. Japan has led the charge trying to revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership following Trump’s withdrawal from the trade accord.
a leader in free trade and climate change after the U.S. withdrew from both TPP and the Paris climate agreement. Trump is supposedly focusing on bilateral, instead of regional, trade agreements, but experts say his strategy to negotiate one on one with governments is less effective than multilateral frameworks, which create clear, universal rules for businesses to follow and raise the bar for all players involved. When there’s only one other player, countries are less likely to make tough concessions in trade talks, but those sacrifices are easier to make when the reward is a
16 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DecEMBER 2017
deal that opens up access to multiple markets. “We’ve been the leader since World War II in opening up markets around the world,” said Andrews of Rock Creek Global Advisors. “We’re walking away from the key leadership role we’re playing. The Chinese have stepped in on the trade front. The irony is that [Chinese President] Xi Jinping is claiming to be the leader on free trade and the environment.” Trump has not publicized a U.S. strategy for Asia. Despite his high-profile visit to the region in November, there has been no articulation, or even hints, of how he sees the role of the U.S. in
the Asia-Pacific. “China has a coherent regional strategy that it’s executing on, between the One Belt One Road Initiative, the Silk Road Fund, the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank, forays into the South China Sea and RCEP,” said Froman. “China is working to draw countries closer to it. The question is: Will the U.S. have a regional strategy, and will we be able to execute on it?” The U.S. is already feeling the effects of TPP withdrawal, particularly in the agricultural sector. U.S. beef exports have been on the rise, and Japan has reacted by enacting an emergency tariff of 50 percent on frozen beef now that the U.S. is no longer part of TPP. “There’s risk of other lost sales if we disrupt existing trade relationships in North America and in the Pacific Basin, with the risk that barriers would increase significantly on U.S. exports,” said Schott. The U.S. not honoring the commitments it has made during the lengthy TPP talks could also make foreign governments wary of working with Washington. “Around the world, it means government officials are thinking twice about cutting deals with the U.S.,” said Schott. “What’s the value of going through the effort and facing political challenges at home for pursuing agreements when the U.S. may abruptly turn around and withdraw? So, the TPP precedent and the Paris precedent are weighing heavily on foreign officials when they think about agreements with the U.S.” WD Aileen Torres-Bennett is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
Medical | WD
Aging Disparities U.S. Seniors Struggle More to Pay for Health Care Compared to Other Countries by Steven Reinberg
I’s often no fun getting old in America: A new report finds the availability of health care for U.S. seniors lags behind that of other affluent nations. Access to insurance isn’t an issue, because all Americans 65 and older are covered by Medicare. But America’s seniors are still sicker than the elderly in other countries — and are more likely to go without essential care because they can’t afford it, according to the Commonwealth Fund study. “Our Medicare is not as generous as comparable insurance in other countries,” fund President Dr. David Blumenthal said during a media briefing Nov. 14. In other countries, government health insurance is not restricted to the elderly, but covers everyone, he added. The United States is complacent about the value and benefits associated with Medicare, even though it’s a universal system, according to Blumenthal. “We do know that we, as a country, do tolerate higher levels of inequality. That’s most evident in the fact that we underinvest, compared to other countries, in social services and overinvest, despite the lack of generosity of our insurance, in health care,” he said. Providing more social services to the elderly might help reduce the inequality of care, Blumenthal said. For the study, researchers surveyed older adults about their health care. Participants came from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Almost one-quarter of U.S. seniors didn’t go to a doctor in the past year when sick or they didn’t get a recommended test or fill a prescription because they couldn’t afford it. In France, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, no more than 5 percent of older adults skipped care because of costs, the researchers found. In the United States, 22 percent of seniors spent $2,000 or more on out-of-pocket costs during the past year. The only country with higher outof-pocket costs was Switzerland, with 31 percent spending more than $2,000 out of pocket. Among all the other countries, less than 10 percent of seniors spent $2,000 or more, researchers found. Among U.S. seniors, 25 percent said they worried about having the money to buy food or pay rent or bills for heat, electricity or medical care. However, in France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and the United Kingdom, only 10 percent or less said they had these concerns. Seniors in many countries who suffered from several chronic health problems or had trouble with the basic activities of daily living reported being dissatisfied with the quality of their care. For example, in Australia, 41 percent were somewhat or not at all satisfied, compared with 26 percent in the United States and 21 percent in Switzerland, the country rated the best in satisfaction. Cost was also a concern for the sickest. In the United States, 31 percent skipped health care due to costs, compared with 2 percent in Swe-
Photo: Pixabay / sarcifilippo
We do know that we, as a country, do tolerate higher levels of inequality. That’s most evident in the fact that we underinvest, compared to other countries, in social services and overinvest, despite the lack of generosity of our insurance, in health care.
Dr. David Blumenthale, president of the Commonwealth Fund
den. Additionally, almost a third of the sickest U.S. seniors worried about having enough money for meals, rent or other bills, researchers reported. The sickest seniors in other countries struggled as well, with about 25 percent of those in Australia and Germany also saying that they worried about paying for food, rent or other bills. Many of these seniors also suffered from anxiety or depression, which can lead to poorer health and higher costs, Blumenthal said. Social isolation was also a problem faced by a number of seniors, particularly in European countries, the study found. Access to care, especially after hours and on weekends, is another challenge seniors face. Fifteen percent of U.S. seniors and 11 percent of Canadian seniors went to the emergency room
LEARN MORE: For more information on elder care, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at www.hhs.gov/aging/index.html.
for a condition that could have been treated by a regular doctor or clinic had one been available. In other countries, that figure is 8 percent or less, the researchers said. U.S. doctors did well when it came to counseling seniors on diet, exercise and the risks of falling. Only doctors in Australia and France were similarly likely to discuss falls with their patients, the researchers found. Dr. Kenneth Brummel-Smith is professor emeritus of geriatrics at Florida State University College of Medicine and a spokesman for Physicians for a National Health Program. He said that providing more home care, social services and after-hour doctor and clinic times could help improve the care of the elderly. “What older people really need are the support systems to manage themselves,” Brummel-Smith said. “Everyone wants to live independently if possible, but we aren’t set up to do that.” The report was published Nov. 15 in the journal Health Affairs. WD Steven Reinberg is a HealthDay reporter. Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DecEMBER 2017 | 17
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Luxury Living A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat
Season of Giving From Cashmere to Avant-Garde Cooking, 2017 Gift Guide Has It All
is the season once again. And once again we offer some ideas to ﬁt every budget and whim. Did you ever think of giving someone a bottle stopper shaped like a moose head? You have now. Looking for that perfect $16,000 bracelet? We found it. Want to dine
with José Andrés? So do we — and we’ll keep an eye out for our invitation. Thanks in advance! From our Washington Diplomat family to yours, happy holidays!
photo: YuLia gRigoRYeva / ShutteRStoCk
2017 Holiday Gift Guide BY Stephanie kanoWitz
See GIFT GUIDE • page 20 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECEMbEr 2017 | 19
WD | Luxury Living | Gift Guide
e h t r o F Home
MacKenzie-Childs Moose Bottle Stopper: $30 1037 33rd St., nW home.mackenzie-childs.com/products/Bottle-Stopper When a glass is just enough, and you need to save the remaining wine in the bottle, cork it with this whimsical moose head bottle stopper. handmade from polyresin and measuring 5.5 inches tall, the moose’s black-and-white tiled head and golden ears are in and of themselves intoxicating.
Moderate UGG Cashmere Pillow: $98 nordstrom
shop.nordstrom.com /s/ugg-cashmere pillow/4744650
Mood by Christoﬂe 24-Piece Silver-Plated Flatware Set: $1,190
faux fur pillows are hot, especially during this cold season. give someone the gift of warmth and snuggly softness with this square pillow from australia’s renowned shoemaker, ugg. it’s available in gray and white — two hues that match any décor.
984 i St., nW www.christofle.com/us_en/ this service for six comes in an elegant egg-shaped storage capsule, which is just as pretty as the simple design of the silver-plated silverware.
Inexpensive Grooming Lounge Core Values Kit: $45
For the Men in Your Life
1745 L St., nW 2001 international drive, tysons galleria,mcLean, va. www.groominglounge.com appealing to frequent travelers, gym goers, college students and anyone else, this kit includes full-size bottles of grooming Lounge’s Best Smeller Body Wash, Super powder and greatest pits deodorant. Buying them as a package deal — and in a toiletry bag — saves $34.
Moderate Aura Spa’s Fitness and Endurance Facials: $150 each five d.C. locations www.auraspa.net using organic male om4 products, the spa has created two new skin services just for men. Clients get a four-step facial plus a face and upper-body massage. it starts with a cleanser and is followed by an aftershave splash, serum and moisturizer. the fitness facial takes 60 minutes, while the endurance facial, which is designed for antiaging, acne-prone and sensitive skin, takes 15 minutes longer.
20 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECEMbEr 2017
High-end Paul Stuart’s Made on Madison Printed Polka Dot Reversible Silk and Cashmere Scarf: $348 906 i St., nW www.paulstuart.com/made-on-madison-printed-polka-dotssilk-reversible-cashmere-scarf.html measuring 60 inches by 12 inches, this handmade silk scarf is made of 100 percent silk on one side and 100 percent cashmere on the other. it’s available in burgundy and in other prints such as ginkgo leaf, paisley and medallion.
Gift Guide | Luxury Living | WD
e h t For en in m Life o W ur Yo
Inexpensive Scout’s Oh Buck It Shoulder Bag: $57 to $59.50 See website for locations www.scoutbags.com/shop-all/ oh-buck-it this made-in-d.C. company’s new oh Buck it Bag comes in five colors and patterns, including blue, red and pink, and black and white. it can be worn on the shoulder or as a crossbody bag. the crossbody strap unclips to streamline the look. the bag has two side pockets, is made of quilted poly twill, and measures 15 inches wide, 18.5 inches high and six inches deep.
Luxury WITHOUT THE MIDDLEMAN
Moderate Jeffrey Campbell Roshana Side Zip Bootie: $135 See website for locations www.southmoonunder.com/jeffrey-campbellroshana-side-zip-bootie/189868.html Sometimes the way to a woman’s heart is through her feet. Booties have been a popular footwear fashion for several fall and winter seasons, and this one is no diﬀerent. anklehigh looks with stacked heels are especially in style right now. this pair has three silver buttons on the outside for some detail and zips closed on the inner side. the suede upper has a rounded toe and the heel is two inches high.
Discover our line of jewelry and see the difference for yourself. Addison Everly Fine Jewelry is the Washington DC area's choice for accessible ﬁne jewelry. We only offer high quality diamonds and solid gold necklaces, earrings and rings priced well below retail.
Loro Piana Collo Alto Davenport Shine Sweater: $2,425 949 h St., nW
For a limited time, enjoy an extra savings of 10% off your total order.
www.loropiana.com/en eshopwomen/knitwear made of 90 percent cashmere and 10 percent silk in corncob stitch embellished with small tonal sequins, this turtleneck will keep wearers cozy and fashionable. it’s available in winter light rose (i.e. pink), white and black.
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WD | Luxury Living | Gift Guide
For the Kiddos Moderate Yinibini Baby Reversible Hooded Bath Towel: $65
“Have You Seen My Tail?”: $17 amazon or Barnes & noble www.amazon.com/Have-You-Seen-My-Tail/dp/0996432914 d.C.-based children’s book author kaitlin puccio’s new book came out in June. Corky the dog finds out from his friends that he’s missing his tail, so he begins a journey to find it that ends with Corky on an overseas flight with a peacock, who gives him the lowdown on his “missing” tale — and embracing our diﬀerences. a portion of the proceeds from book sales benefits paws of War, which trains and places rescued dogs to help u.S. military veterans suﬀering from the emotional eﬀects of war.
High-end Lego 31313 Mindstorms EV3:
this 27-inch-by-27-inch towel is handmade right here in d.C. out of 100 percent cotton and chenille, although some patterns are made of organic cotton or african fabrics. Choose from 20 options such as trucks, animals and nature themes. Be sure to also check out the t-shirts and drool bibs featuring the d.C. flag.
$349.99 www.lego.com/en-us/mindstorms/products/ mindstorms-ev3-31313 Build and command your own robotic Lego creations with this set, which comes with programmable brick, motors and sensors to make your robot walk, talk, grab and even think. this set comes with 17 designs, including a humanoid, electric guitar, snake, fork lift, race truck and dinosaur. a remote control brings the creations to life when you’re done, or you can get more detailed control using the Commander app on a smartphone or via free programming software for tablets and computers.
Inexpensive Rachel Pfeffer Brass Fan Stud Earrings: $24 716 monroe St., ne
For Bl ingLovers
www.rachelpfeffer.com/product/brass-fan-studs these tiny solid brass studs are both elegant and edgy. their size, delicate shape and detailing make them wearable day and night. the brass gives them a slight toughness. posts are made of sterling silver. email pfeﬀer.firstname.lastname@example.org to be sure that this local d.C. artist will be at her studio before stopping by.
High-end Vendorafa Lombardi Gold and Diamond Onda Bracelet $16,220 tiny Jewel Box 1155 Connecticut ave., nW www.tinyjewelbox.com/
Moderate Idole de Christoﬂe White Gold and Diamond Chain Ring: $500 984 i St., nW www.christofle.com/us_en/ designed by french designer andrée putman, the ring is beautifully simple, with a twisted white gold band and a circle punctuated by round white diamonds.
22 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECEMbEr 2017
if you want to go all out this year, here’s the way to do it. this hand-hammered 18-karat yellow gold bracelet from italian designer vendorafa Lombardi has a row of .74 carats’ worth of white diamonds that run all the way around.
Gift Guide | Luxury Living | WD
For Trendy Techies Inexpensive Amazon Echo Dot (second generation): $50 Moderate
www.amazon.com “alexa, was i naughty or nice?” ok, so maybe that’s not one of alexa’s skills, but the dot, a voice-controlled device, can play music, control smart home devices, send and receive messages, make orders, provide information and read audio books to you. You can also ask alexa to order an uber or a pizza, or just get some companionship and play “Jeopardy!” with her.
TobyRich’s SmartPlane Pro FPV: $298 www.tobyrich.com/en/products/smartplaneprofpv/ german drone company tobyRich’s new Smartplane pro fpv weighs 0.08 pounds and can fly for about 12 minutes, doing stunts such as looping, hover mode, speed boost and helicopter mode. available in black or blue, the plane is made of company-developed durinum and carbon fiber, designed to survive crashes and other mishaps. the plane’s camera streams live video to a pair of virtual reality goggles, which come with the set, giving users a better view of the flight path. there’s also an app that includes a flight school, stunts and missions.
Click and Grow Wall Farm: $1,299 www.clickandgrow.com/products/wall-farm indoor-vertical-garden Like to garden, but lack the space for it outside? grow pesticide-free plants with this three-tier indoor vertical garden, which uses the company’s Smart Soil technology. it comes with a full set of plant capsules in four choices: salad, herb, flower or tea. the garden includes a water tank that can last a month and energy-eﬃcient Led lighting that promotes growth for many plant types.
For the Traveler
Inexpensive Flywheel Sports LO Rise and Fly Travel Mug: $24
824 9th St., nW 1927 florida ave., nW
Louis Vuitton Horizon 55: $4,300
flywheelsports.com ok, so technically this is swag from flywheel Sports to inspire users to get to the studio for a cycling or barre session. But it’s also inspirational to get frequent travelers to the airport — one mug with two meanings. Just remember to empty out the 16-ounce, stainless steel mug before you get to the security checkpoint.
Moderate Shinola Canﬁeld Headphones: $195 to $650 1631 14th St., nW
5555 Wisconsin ave., Chevy Chase 943 palmer alley, nW http://us.louisvuitton.com/eng-us products/horizon-55-epi-014198 this four-wheeled carryon epitomizes sleek and classic. the lightweight luggage weighs just 7.2 pounds and has a completely flat interior thanks to its large external cane. the bag features a leather exterior, cowhide leather trim, mesh lining and a discreet new tSa lock. Choose from six colors or opt for Louis vuitton’s signature monogram print in canvas for $3,100.
shinola.com/audio/all/headphones.html these headphones — two years in the making — are new to the market and available in four styles: over the ear, on the ear, in the ear and in-ear monitor. each over-ear and on-ear pair has stainless steel components, interchangeable lambskin ear pads and a leather headband.
See GIFT GUIDE • page 24
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECEMbEr 2017 | 23
WD | Luxury Living | Gift Guide
For the t/ a Gym RNut Health Moderate
barre3’s Light Grey Balance Tank: $36 shop.barre3.com/collections/apparel/products/ light-grey-balance-tank We can all use a little more balance in ou r lives at any given time, but especially during this season of gluttony. put a reminder to keep an even keel front and center with this racerback tank top, whose hem line dips lower in the back than the front for stylish coverage.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, Peppermint Mocha Massage: $155 for 50 minutes or $215 for 80 minutes High-end
1700 tysons Blvd., mcLean, va. ritzcarlton.com/Tysons Corner although exercise is great for the mind and body, it can take a toll. Recharge and enjoy the scents of the season without the calories by indulging in this full-body massage. therapists use moderate to firm pressure to work out your worked-out muscles.
Equinox All Access Fitness Membership: $235 a month 4905 elm St., Bethesda, md.; 1170 22nd St., nW 8065 Leesburg pike, tysons Corner, va. equinox.com get access to all equinox clubs in the united States, including all classes and amenities. and the classes aren’t like those you’ll find at other big-box gyms. for example, the Bethesda location oﬀers Barre Bootcamp, precision Running and metcon3, a high-intensity metabolic workout. amenities trend luxurious. it has a saltwater pool, steam room and spa.
Inexpensive Ladurée 75 Champs Elysées Gift Box: $30 3060 m St., nW 50 massachusetts ave., ne (union Station) www.laduree.fr/en/75-champs-elysees-gift-box.html
Moderate Bo Ssäm Dinner at Momofuku CCDC: $88 per person
a tribute to the french chocolatier’s boutique on paris’s famous avenue, this box is full of chocolate bonbons made with a dark ganache infused with madagascar vanilla and coated with dark chocolate and cocoa nougatine nibs.
1090 i St., nW
Private Dining at José’s Table at Minibar by José Andrés:
$565 per person
the Bo Ssäm dinner is intended for groups to enjoy together. it features a slowroasted pork shoulder and guests can make their own wraps with Bibb lettuce, white rice and traditional korean accoutrements. available by reservation only; contact email@example.com.
855 e St., nW
Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. 24 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECEMbEr 2017
minibarbyjoseandres.com this local celebrity chef’s name has peppered the news lately after he served more than 2 million freshly cooked meals and sandwiches to people in need in puerto Rico after hurricane maria hit the island in September. take a seat at his table at his two michelin-starred restaurant, described on its website as “a study in avant-garde cooking.” a prepaid reservation for two to six guests is required and includes 20-plus courses and wine pairings.
For t Food he ie
Development | Luxury Living | WD
D.C.’s Wharf $2.5 Billion Development Project Set to Transform Southwest Waterfront •
BY Stephanie kanoWitz
decade in the making, Washington ﬁnally has its Wharf. The $2.5 billion waterfront development ofﬁcially opened for business on Oct. 12 to much fanfare and praise from local politicians, including D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton. Celebrities such as actor Kevin Bacon and his folk rock band, The Bacon Brothers, and Grammy Award-winning rockers the Foo Fighters helped kick off an action-packed opening weekend.
photo: the WhaRf
Despite being only a mile long and sitting on 24 acres of land along Washington’s Southwest waterfront, The Wharf is one of the largest waterfront developments under construction in the country and the largest planned development in Washington’s history. By its completion, The Wharf will boast 14 buildings — each built by a different architect — linked by 10 acres of parks and public space. In addition, developers PN Hoffman and Madison Marquette are restoring a 200-year-old fish market, creating 1,400 waterfront residences, setting up three unique hotels, designing a 6,000-person-capacity concert hall and conference center, and constructing four public piers. They’ll all be joined by a waterside promenade with more than 75 res-
taurants and shops extending along the banks of the Potomac River, not far from the National Mall. The Metropolitan Police Department estimated that about 75,000 people visited The Wharf on its first Saturday in business, eating and drinking at one of the 20 restaurants that have opened so far and shopping at about 15 stores, such as a 2,300-square-foot Politics and Prose Bookstore and Harper Macaw, the first store of a local chocolate manufacturer. Other highlights of D.C.’s newest hotspot include the 57,000-squarefoot Anthem concert and events venue, operated by Seth Hurwitz and I.M.P., which owns the District’s famous 9:30 Club. Upcoming performances include Bob Dylan on Nov. 14; Erykah Badu on Nov. 18; O.A.R.
the Wharf, a $2.5 billion development project along d.C.’s Southwest waterfront, is one of the largest waterfront developments under construction in the country and the largest planned development in Washington’s history.
on Dec. 16; and the Killers on Jan. 10, 2018. To catch a more intimate performance, head to Pearl Street Warehouse, a pedestrian-friendly cobblestone street filled with openair bars, restaurants and smaller music venues. Visitors can get around by taking a new water taxi system that will connect The Wharf to other waterfront destinations, including National Harbor in Maryland, Alexandria in Virginia and Georgetown and Nationals Park in D.C. The Wharf has four piers. The District Pier reaches 450 feet into the Washington Channel and is the neighborhood’s main outdoor gathering place, hosting festivals, inter-
national celebrations and holiday events. Recreation Pier extends from 7th Street Park and provides direct access to the water. Transit Pier, which offers water views on three sides, and Market Pier, where boaters can dock, round out the list. Catering to Washingtonians who enjoy living in one of the fittest cities in the country, there are kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals available at Recreation Pier, as well as DC Sail, the community sailing program of the National Maritime Heritage Foundation that offers sailing lessons, boat rentals or charter schooners. See THE WHARF • page 28 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECEMbEr 2017 | 25
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Spectacular Victorian on .80+ acre. Lots of upgrades throughout! Completely renovated kitchen, family room with beamed ceiling, library with built-ins and fireplace and master suite with collar-tie beams and cathedral ceiling. Huge deck overlooking resort style pool with a detached and an attached garage. Truly a must see! Lilian Jorgenson 703.407.0766 / 703.790.1990 (O) Lilian.Jorgenson@LongandFoster.com
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | December 2017 | 27
The Wharf Continued • page 25
Diners can also indulge. Renowned local chefs Mike Isabella, Kwame Onwuachi and Fabio Trabocchi will all leave their culinary mark on The Wharf. Also on tap: the Belgian bistro Florentijn helmed by Jan Van Haute, former chef at the Embassy of Belgium; Hank’s Oyster Bar by chef Jamie Leeds; and a mix of Italian, Mexican, Irish and American eateries. It’s also got three hotels, including the 278-room InterContinental Washington D.C. – The Wharf; the 237room Hyatt House; and the 175-room Canopy by Hilton, the first Canopy NOTE: Although effort is made to with assure your ad is free of mistakes in spelling and propertyevery in North America; along content it isinultimately up to the customer to make the final proof. 868 residences four buildings. The businesses that opened last The first two faxedarechanges will of bea made at no cost to the advertiser, subsequent changes month the first part two-phase rollout. spoke Hoffman, will be billed at aWe rate of with $75Monty per faxed alteration. Signed ads are considered approved. chief executive officer of PN Hoffman, a developer of Th e Wharf along with Mark any changes to your ad. Please check this ad carefully. Madison Marquette, to find out what the torch is a 14-foot gas-powered flame that greets pier-goers at the Wharf. he thinks about the project so far and If the ad is correct sign faxdown to: (301) 949-0065 needs changes ning and executing to turn on a switch for four days was pretty intense. The what we canand expect the line. and now it’s open to the public. It’s very market just really embraced it all. The Washington (301) 933-3552cool. I’m slightly numb, to be quite honTHEDiplomat WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT: est. Numb, excited and humbled really. TWD: How does The Wharf represent Congratulations on the opening. It’s been a lot of collaboration with a lot How are you feeling? Approved __________________________________________________________ of people — contractors, construction D.C.? Changes ___________________________________________________________ workers, the city itself coming in and MONTY HOFFMAN: It’s exciting to helping, and then with the crowds and MH: The whole ethos behind the plan___________________________________________________________________ see The Wharf after all this time plan- the programming that we had set up ning and design and curating of artisan-
photo: the WhaRf
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THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECEMbEr 2017 | 29
The Wharf Continued • page 28
spaces that were designed for socializing. It is absolutely 100 percent the District’s waterfront. The water taxi program that we put together helps to connect the DMV. Our first routes are to Old Town Alexandria, so they can get people here from Old Town Alexandria in 25 minutes, or vice versa. Same as connecting Georgetown by water to here with a new water taxi. Next spring we’ll be connecting National Harbor as well as the Yards [Park]. On the land side, we have shuttle buses that do very simple routes, and they’re free. If you’re on the National Mall or coming out of L’Enfant Metro, you can walk here [or] you can hop on a bus. We have apps that can be loaded from our website. The Wharf app provides you with many services and information, but it also provides you with the exact time that a shuttle bus will arrive where you are — same with a water taxi. It’s really intended to connect everybody in the region to come here. The way we look at water, it’s almost magical. It brings people together. The Potomac River is our greatest natural resource in D.C., so we did everything we possibly could to embrace it. It also connects over to East Potomac Park, which is a phenomenal place for triathletes or those who are into fitness. It’s regularly used for bike training around its loop, it has an Olympic-size swimming pool in it, and of course there are a couple golf courses on it and, I think, 20 tennis courts. We have a free jitney, which is like a little ferryboat, that takes you over there and back. TWD: Still, The Wharf is a unique neighborhood.
Photo: Kaz Sasahara
Pearl Street Warehouse is a pedestrianfriendly cobblestone street filled with open-air bars, restaurants and intimate music venues.
MH: We don’t really even look at it as a project. We look at it as a neighborhood. It’s almost like a village, actually, [and] the blocks, we call them mini blocks because they’re only about 270 feet long. They’re all cobblestone streets that connect this sort of grid between Maine Avenue and the water itself.
If you want to watch a ball game or you want to visit with some friends low key, you could go to Kirwan’s Irish Pub. That’s an authentic Irish pub. Mark Kirwan brought over from Ireland all the millwork and then the craftsmen that put it together were flown in from Ireland. We have Mike Isabella’s Requin, which is in the middle of District Square, and … it has really extensive drink menus and tapas — more Mediterranean food. It’s a fun place for socializing and peoplewatching. It’s actually next to a fire pit that’s toward the water, where a lot of people gather and you have a beautiful view of the water. The fish market land site will be completed by June  and that will be like its own village with a mini Eataly [Italian market], if you will, by Nick Stefanelli, [a Michelin-starred chef]. It will be an Italian market on the first floor, a restaurant on the second floor, a lounge on the third. We’ll have Todd Thrasher, who is probably the number-one mixologist in the region, opening up a rum distillery [Potomac Distilling Company], there, too.
TWD: Twenty restaurants are part of Phase I, and I noticed there’s a lot of international flavor. MH: That’s a very good point. That’s solid. We have Thai food, we have Mexican, we have Italian street food and Irish — just about everything, really, you can imagine. We have a sushi restaurant that will be coming in a few months. TWD: So, what do you recommend? MH: I’m not going to pick favorites because I love all of them. Certainly Del Mar might be the gold standard in dining. That [belongs to] Fabio Trabocchi and his wife, Maria. Del Mar is going to be a Spanish version of Fiola Mare [the Trabocchis’ Italian seafood restaurant in Georgetown]. It’s probably the best food experience in Washington, I would say. 30 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECember 2017
Photo: Steve Ruark / AP Images for Hoffman-Madison Waterfront
The Wharf will feature an outdoor floating stage, above, as well as a fire pit and 10 acres of parks and public space.
Photo: The Wharf
The Capital Yacht Club at The Wharf overlooks the Potomac River.
TWD: How would you spend your ideal day at the Wharf? MH: An ideal day for me would be to have breakfast at Pearl Street Warehouse, which is a really cool music venue, but in the morning is actually a diner. After that, I would be going out on my boat and come back to have probably early dinner and from there go to the Anthem. After that for me, I’m pretty
Photo: Steve Ruark / AP Images for Hoffman-Madison Waterfront
much done. TWD: You mentioned there’s more to come, including Phase 2. What can we expect? MH: Phase 2 will have a fourth hotel that we’re adding. We’re in the final stages with a group we think we’ll be working with on that. Another half-million square feet of trophy office building plus another jewel-box office building — I call it jewel box but it’s about 60,000 square feet, which will be a nice, small, trophy-style iconic office. We will also have another apartment building, another condo building, another park that we’re building, which is right across from the Arena Stage, and then a couple more piers with buildings on them — one or two of them will be restaurants. We’re very much focused on the pedestrian experience, the whole neighborhood feel, so it’s a continuation of Phase I in that you can explore the entire one-mile waterfront with something different in every block. TWD: It’s the holiday season. Any special events to watch for? MH: It’s best to go on our website and look at our whole calendar. Every weekend we have something going on here. Through the winter we will have an ice skating rink that starts on Thanksgiving and goes all the way to March, and that ice skating rink is out on a pier in the water, which makes it really cool. We also have a couple fire pits with real wood where people can make s’mores. WD Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
Culture arts & entertainment art
Fateful Accident She was a nurse. He was her patient. It was October 1982 and he had just gotten into a car accident that resulted in one of the tendons in his hand being cut. It turned out to be a fortuitous injury. Today, Kurt Jaeger is the ambassador of Liechtenstein and has been married to his former nurse, Lauritta Jaeger, for 26 years. / PAGE 33
The Washington Diplomat
Ibero Immigration A photography exhibition at Hillyer Art Space tracing the impact of immigration on Ibero-American countries highlights the varied and unexpected ways migrants and refugees both influence and adapt to their adopted homes. / PAGE 34
Versatile Voice In the 1980s, breakout hits like “Summer of ’69” put him on the rock music radar. But singer Bryan Adams is an artist in more ways than one, with a second highprofile career in photography, examples of which are now on display at the Canadian Embassy. / PAGE 35
PHOTO: BROOKLYN MUSEUM
The newly reopened Freer | Sackler Galleries offer visitors a look back at the ancient
Egyptian version of the unofficial mascot of the internet: cats. With more than 80 works on display dating from the Middle Kingdom to the Byzantine period, “Divine Felines” highlights the fascinating and surprising ways that cats played a key part in the ritualistic and everyday lives of ancient Egyptians. / PAGE 32
Art / Dance / Discussions Music / Theater / PAGE 38
Meridian Ball / Wolf Trap Ball ASEAN at 50 / PAGE 40 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECEMBER 2017 | 31
WD | Culture | History
Kitty Power ‘Divine Felines’ Shows How Cats Played Everyday, Otherworldly Role in Ancient Egypt •
BY MACKENZIE WEINGER
he newly reopened Freer | Sackler Galleries offer visitors a look back at the ancient Egyptian Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt version of the unofficial mascot of the internet: cats. THROUGH JAN. 15 “Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt” is an undeniARTHUR M. SACKLER GALLERY ably social media-savvy exhibition, but there is plenty of 1050 INDEPENDENCE AVE., SW substance for visitors in between sending Snapchats or (202) 633-1000 | WWW.FREERSACKLER.SI.EDU posting Instagrams. The exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery explores the role and meaning of cats in ancient Egyptian society through the arts, showcasing everything from a sarcophagus for a cat mummy to items adorned with cats such as jewelry, waterspouts and weights. With more than 80 works on display dating from the Middle Kingdom to the Byzantine period, the show highlights the fascinating and surprising ways that cats played a key part in the ritualistic and everyday lives of ancient Egyptians. The museum has only a small collection of Egyptian art — not enough for its own gallery — but wanted to continue the tradition of having an exhibition about ancient Egypt after its renovation, curator Antonietta Catanzariti said. This show, organized by the Brooklyn Museum, fit the bill, given that “lots of people here love cats and there really was just a buzz around it,” she told The Washington Diplomat. “We liked it because this exhibition was dealing with this aspect of ancient Egyptian culture we don’t often talk about,” Catanzariti said. “And it would please visitors who love cats.” Cats in ancient Egyptian culture served as everything from domesticated animals that fended off vermin and killed snakes to sacrifices for the gods. The dual nature of cats — protective and nurturing on the one hand, ferocious and aggressive on the other — is a central theme in the show. According to the Sackler, these traits, along with their loyalty and independence, became symbolic representations of Egyptian rulers and gods. It is a “unique exhibition because it presents a topic that isn’t often developed as a theme,” Catanzariti noted, and it “also shows beautiful pieces of the Brooklyn PHOTOS: BROOKLYN MUSEUM Museum.” This marks a great opportunity for Washingtonians to see the museum’s “amazing collection,” according to Catanzariti. “This is what I hope will drive people to come and check out the exhibition, besides being cat lovers.” “Divine Felines” details how ancient Egyptians did not worship cats, but instead associated specific traits related to them with deities. Take the sun god Re, for instance, who was associated with cats because they enjoy warmth and often have yellow or reddish fur, or the goddess Sakhmet, who was often depicted as a lioness-headed warrior. Feline deities were seen as divine protectors, like the goddess Bastet, a daughter of the sun god and a symbol of motherhood who was commonly associated with small cats. Egyptians not only associated cats with deities, but they also bred and sacrificed them to the gods. They were then often mummified and buried in elaborate coffins, such as the one in the exhibition that is in the shape of an elegantly seated feline. An impressive array of artifacts fills the exhibition space, from grand sculptures to small personal mementos. The most striking is the cat mummy on display from the National Museum of Natural History. It is one of the thousands that were produced as an offering to temples, Catanzariti said, and the tightly wrapped linen with cat-like features painted in black is a showstopper. “We’re now paying more attention to these types of objects, like cat or animal mummies in general, and we’re doing more studies, X-rays, scans, to allow us to know more what’s behind the wrappings of this mummy,” she said. “Studies are still trying to understand the process — we know it is similar to humans, but it’s a bit different. This object really allows the viewer to connect with this whole idea of cats being offered to temples and that specific time period.” Don’t worry puppy fans — dogs have their day in this show as well. In ancient Egypt, dogs and jackals lived on the edges of the desert, which is where most cemeteries were located. Before viewers depart the exhibition, it briefly touches on how canines were used to symbolize guard- “Divine Felines” reveals how ancient ians of the dead and as pets. Egyptians viewed the role of cats But cats are certainly the stars of the show. And along with in religious, social and political life showcasing many social media-worthy objects, the exhibithrough works such as, from clockwise above: a bronze-and-gold cat’s tion helps to demystify the notion that many visitors may head; a cat mummy; a sculptor’s have of ancient Egyptians worshipping cats, Catanzamodel of a walking lion; and a riti said. weight in the form of a cat. “It can be hard to think about the way Egyptians were actually observing the natural behavior of cats, and by seeing those, they associated those attributes to gods,” she told The Diplomat. “For some people, it’s quite hard to see how that works, but then when you think about how a cat you own has a hunting attitude or is more relaxed, it can be related to Egyptian gods and goddesses. Don’t think of Egyptians as worshipping animals, but as observing the natural world.” WD Mackenzie Weinger (@mweinger) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
32 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECEMBER 2017
PHOTO: DONALD E. HURLBERT
Diplomatic Spouses | Culture | WD
Good Medicine Liechtenstein Envoy Met Nurse Wife While He Was Her Patient •
BY GAIL SCOTT
he was a nurse. He was her patient. It was October 1982 in the Swiss canton of Fribourg. He was studying economics at the University of St. Gallen and had just gotten into a car accident that resulted in one of the tendons in his hand being cut. It turned out to be a fortuitous injury. Today, Kurt Jaeger is the ambassador of Liechtenstein and has been married Lauritta Jaeger is pictured with her to his former nurse, Lauritta Jaeger, for husband, Ambassador of Liechtenstein 26 years. Kurt Jaeger, left, and her son Fabian above. Lauritta said she initially liked her future husband not only as a patient, but to meet people.” also “as a person.” She said she relishes the chance “We married seven years later,” she to meet “new people from other told us. “I make him laugh and he makes countries and cultures. I like to me laugh.” learn about their history and tra“As a nurse, I worked mostly in the ditions and try their cuisine. I eat hospital and clinic in general surgery, a lot; I never say no,” she quipped, orthopedic and plastic reconstruction. I wearing a stylish crème-colored worked for nine years [as a nurse],” said ensemble with a short, floating skirt Lauritta, who then worked for a surgeon designed by Maje, a French brand, specializing in maxillofacial surgery. that she bought in Majorca, Spain. “At the age of 38, I stopped working After being born in Bolzano, Itawhen I had our son Fabian to dedicate ly, Lauritta was raised in the French myself completely to him and my fampart of Switzerland. She made ily, which was moving around mostly in homes for her family in SwitzerSwitzerland every three or four years. land and Belgium. Wherever she is, My husband was in private industry she said she loves to return to the then.” mountains. Even though this dipToday, Fabian, 19, is in his first year at lomatic couple have only been here the University of Zurich studying music for a year and a half, they have aland physics. “He is the kid I dreamed ready visited Grand Teton National of,” said the proud mother. “He is so Park in Wyoming. cool, so easygoing. He never liked to “When you have the mountains, fight. He is gentle.” you feel humble. There is majesty, “At the beginning, I missed nursing a a beauty. The power … it’s incredlot,” Lauritta admitted. “Taking care of ible.” someone can be very rewarding. Plus, Liechtenstein, while tiny, is blessed with there’s the teamwork. I was aware very early abundant natural beauty. The mountainon that sometimes patients die and that life ous Alpine nation is a popular tourist descan be very difficult.” tination for skiers and hikers. But a life in diplomacy has been rewarding, Sandwiched between Austria and Switshe said, although she admits that she had no zerland, Liechtenstein is home to just idea what she was getting into at the time. 37,000 people but is one of the wealthiest “In 2005, we went to Brussels and lived nations in the world on a per-capita basis there for 11 years where my husband asthanks to its lucrative industrial and finansumed first the position of commissioner at cial services sector. the EFTA [European Free Trade Association]. “Liechtenstein has a strong identity. We EFTA was set up for the promotion of free feel we are unique,” said Lauritta. “We are trade and economic cooperation among its LAURITTA JAEGER sixth-smallest country in the world. The members, within Europe and globally.” wife of Ambassador of Liechtenstein Kurt Jaeger others are the Vatican, Monaco, Nauru, Kurt Jaeger has over 25 years of profesTuvalu and San Marino. We are very proud sional experience in international regulatory affairs, of which 15 years were acquired in the airline industry and civil avia- of what we are. We have 300 years of our existence, beginning in 1719. We have tion administration. From 2010 to 2016, he served as Liechtenstein’s ambassador an active foreign policy and participate in the global dance. We have everything to the European Union and Belgium before coming to Washington to take over we need: fantastic museums, including a world-famous postage stamp museum, for Claudia Fritsche, Liechtenstein’s longtime ambassador to the U.S. who estab- wineries, mountains, a chance to ski and walk in the snow, and even eat outside in the snowy winters sitting in front of an outside fire.” lished the principality’s embassy in D.C. Economically, she said, Liechtenstein is “quite proud” of the fact that manu“I am so grateful that Claudia choose this place,” Lauritta said, referring to the embassy and residence located along the Georgetown Waterfront, inside the facturing now accounts for 41 percent of its GDP and that these manufacturing same sleek building as the House of Sweden. “I love the modern décor and the companies are responsible for 4,000 jobs in the U.S. At the same time, Liechtenstein has been criticized for being a tax haven for location. I can walk, feel the life…. God is so good to me. I’m so lucky.” She added: “I love the international community here. Everyone is so friendly, the rich. Lauritta said the government has worked hard to clean up its reputation welcoming and helpful. They smile at you and it’s not superficial. You don’t find and notes that manufacturing and general services rank above financial services this in other places. This is a vibrant, beautiful city. I love New York, too, but in importance to the economy. She also pointed out that the country’s corporate tax system is comparable to you don’t see the sun because the tall buildings are blocking it. Washington is that of many industrialized countries. “It has no special offshore tax regimes and greener.” Yet constantly having to transition to a new city can be difficult, Lauretti con- applies a flat 12.5 percent corporate tax rate to all businesses, which in some cases ceded. “I hate moving itself. And it’s never easy to leave friends. Every ending has is higher than effective tax rates in other countries.” WD a new beginning. It’s a new chapter. It is important to always keep an open mind. It’s important to never wait until someone comes over to you. Take the first step Gail Scott is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
We are sixth-smallest country in the world…. We are very proud of what we are. We have 300 years of our existence, beginning in 1719. We have an active foreign policy and participate in the global dance.
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECEMBER 2017 | 33
WD | Culture | Photography
Ibero Melting Pot Hillyer Highlights Immigration’s Impact on Latin America, Portugal and Spain •
Immigration in Ibero-America: from here and there
BY MACKENZIE WEINGER
“Immigration in Ibero-America: from here and there” presents images from Latin America, Spain and Portugal by photographers such as El Salvador’s René Figueroa, below, and Peru’s Oscar Chambi Echegaray.
THROUGH DECEMBER 17 IA&A AT HILLYER 9 HILLYER COURT, NW
(202) 338-0325 | WWW.ATHILLYER.ORG
photography exhibition at Hillyer Art Space (now known as IA&A at Hillyer) tracing the impact of immigration on Ibero-American countries highlights the varied and unexpected ways migrants and refugees both influence and adapt to their adopted homes. With images selected by the individual embassies of Latin America, Portugal and Spain, “Immigration in Ibero-America: from here and there” represents each country’s respective take on the immigrant experience. The exhibition highlights a timely global issue that has been taking center stage in the U.S. and Europe, but does so by shining a spotlight on nations that have also been hugely shaped by immigration but don’t receive the same headlines as, say, the refugee crisis in Europe or the debate over President Trump’s promise to build a wall with Mexico. It makes for a varied addition to the selection of exhibitions on display in connection with FotoWeekDC, a citywide photography festival that marked its 10th anniversary this year. The former residence of the ambassadors of Spain served as the home-base for FotoWeekDC 2017, which featured over 150 shows spread throughout D.C. by both local and international artists. The Hillyer show showcases photographs from the embassies of Guatemala, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, El Salvador, Spain, Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica and Portugal — and each piece tells a memorable story. “Immigration, an inescapable, painful and at the same time hopeful path, is a fundamental axis in the history of people. In this fusion of customs, codes, cultures, lies the very essence of the communities,” the exhibition notes in its introduction. “IberoAmerica does not escape this continuous and permanent coming and going of migrants in search of new horizons; in some cases fleeing persecutions; in others escaping from hunger and misery; or simply pursuing dreams of love, freedom, peace.” Maria Laura Reos, the curator with the IberoAmerican Cultural Attachés Association (AACIA), told The Washington Diplomat that she worked extensively with each embassy to help select a photograph that would speak to a “positive” aspect of immigration and its impact on individuals, culture and the nation at large. It was at times a “difficult” task, she noted, asking each cultural office to distill such a broad concept down to just one image for display in the show. “We wanted the show to explore the impact of immigration, through the lens of each embassy’s selection,” she said. AACIA is a D.C.-based nonprofit organization created by the embassies of Latin America, Portugal and Spain to promote Ibero-American heritage and culture to the area. A favorite of Reos’s is the image of an Argentine cowboy, known as a gaucho. An Argentine herself, she said she had been surprised by the history of immigration behind the national symbol. In photographer Marcos Furer’s “Elegancia,” skilled horsemen take their galloping horses through a field, creating a vibrant black-and-white scene. This is the most striking photograph in the exhibition, hinting at the influence of Spanish immigrants in gaucho culture as the viewer is absorbed in the movement of both horse and rider. Stories are at the heart of the show, with every piece offering a wealth of details in the description about both the image and the country’s respective history of immigration. “This is an exhibition where you should read the text,” Reos said. “Each one tells a story.” While some of the exhibition text focuses on giving visitors the broad strokes through the nation’s history, several hone in on individual tales, like that of photographer Jorge
34 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECEMBER 2017
PHOTO: RENÉ PIGUEROA / IA&A AT HILLYER
Alba’s “Continuidad” for Colombia. It shares the immigration story of Master Lui Qingxun, who traveled to Colombia 22 years ago for a cultural exchange and decided to stay on. “He studied American literature but mainly focused on the practice of Tai Chi Chuan, a Chinese martial art. Today, people of all ages travel to Parque Virrey in the north of Bogota to practice this martial art farm,” the display text reads. Brazil’s entry, Carlos Augusto Waldrich’s “Alemanha Brasileira,” shows the Castelinho Moellmann, a copy of the Michelstadt city hall in southern Germany that is located in the Brazilian city of Blumenau. As the caption notes, PHOTO: IA&A AT HILLYER German immigration started before Brazil’s independence in 1822, resulting in a “German-Brazilian population that integrated into Brazil’s reality without denying their original culture.” The photograph, notably, is a compilation of 70 pictures taken by drone, making for both a surprising subject and technique on display. The 14 images in the show range from landscapes to intimate portraits, but the cohesive thread zeroing in on the positive aspects of immigration runs through each piece. It is a simple yet surprising exhibition that explores immigration beyond the headlines. Taking visitors on a whirlwind tour through the Ibero-American countries, this photography exhibition revels in showcasing the fascinating ways that immigration has profoundly shaped individuals and societies. As the exhibition text states, “Each of these images shows the transformations of a society that evolves from the arrival of new cultures and customs. Perhaps the best face of immigration allows growth, integration and the idea of a peaceful world capable of accepting others without resentment, bitterness or distrust. In this diversity of spaces and sensibilities that is Ibero-America, photography becomes a testimony of the essential.” Also as part of FotoWeekDC, Hillyer is hosting “Land That We Love,” a series of photographs and videos by Lloyd Kofi Foster highlighting the self-taught GhanaianAmerican photographer’s experiences in the West African country of Sierra Leone. Hillyer is a contemporary art gallery established in 2006 to raise awareness of underrepresented artists, both emerging and established, who have not had a major solo exhibition within the last three years. Hillyer is a program of International Arts & Artists (IA&A), a nonprofit dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally. WD Mackenzie Weinger (@mweinger) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
Photography | Culture | WD
Versatile Canadian Musician Bryan Adams Shows Off His Skills Behind the Camera •
BY KATE OCZYPOK
Canadians by Bryan Adams THROUGH DEC. 31 EMBASSY OF CANADA 501 PENNSYLVANIA AVE., NW HTTP://INTERNATIONAL.GC.CA/ WORLD-MONDE/UNITED_STATES ETATS_UNIS/WASHINGTON.ASPX?LANG=ENG.
n the 1980s, breakout hits like “Summer of ’69” put him on the rock music radar, and his worldwide 1991 blockbuster “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” cemented his status as an awardwinner singer and songwriter. But Bryan Adams is an artist in more ways than one, with a second highprofile career in photography, examples of which are now on display at the Canadian Embassy. Adams, a Canadian native, took photos of fellow famous Canadians such as Céline Dion, Michael J. Fox, Wayne Gretzky and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the aptly titled exhibit “Canadians.” The exhibit is in the U.S. for the first time, after spending two weeks in Toronto. Although best known for his music, Adams is also an awardwinning photographer whose work has been showcased in Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire and Vanity Fair. His photography has also been displayed in galleries worldwide since 1999. Adams began his photography passion as a way to relax and disconnect after his concerts. The 29 portraits at the embassy, done over the span of two decades, feature well-known men and women that multiple generations will recognize. There’s iconic singer Joni Mitchell and venerated “Sound of Music” actor Christopher Plummer. Those who grew up in the 1990s will delight in seeing singers Avril Lavigne and Nelly Furtado as part of the exhibit. Last-minute additions to add some millennial relevance include singers burning up today’s radio airwaves like The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes and Alessia Cara. There is even one Canadian who may not be recognizable, but is famous in Adams’s eyes: his mother Jane Clark. “This is my second exhibition of Canadians,” Adams said. “My first was in 1999 at the ROM, or Royal Ontario Museum, and this current exhibition is to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary and was great fun to put together.” The photos in the exhibit are all in black and white, except one: singer-songwriter Jann Arden, who posed nude. The cheeky pose is well deserving of color and also fits with each personality behind the photo. Pamela Anderson’s portrait has the sultry “Baywatch” actress standing in the middle of the street, playfully wrapped in a sheet. Michael
Musician Bryan Adams has a selection of photographs on display at the Canadian Embassy that depict other famous Canadians, such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, at left.
Bublé is handsome as he pensively works on music at a desk, his tie undone and a coffee cup nearby. Perhaps the most interesting backstory in the show is how Adams scored a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Mat Humphrey, curator of the exhibition, said Buckingham Palace approached Adams in 2001 for a photo of the queen. He was given just 10 minutes and ended up capturing the queen sitting in a hallway, her wellies (leather rain boots) and umbrella nearby. She asked if her wellies were indeed in the photo and when Adams said they were, the queen exclaimed “Oh good!” “Later, when the palace was reviewing photos, there is a strict rule of no domestic photos of the queen,” Humphrey recalled, explaining that the queen absolutely cannot be seen beside common household items or PHOTOS: EMBASSY OF CANADA doing anything related to keeping a home. But when the staff showed the photo to the queen, explaining that was all they had, she told them she loved it and it was instantly approved. “Bryan is good at putting people at ease,” Humphrey said. Perhaps the relaxed, personality-driven results of his photos are the result of his subjects knowing that Adams, too, has been on the other side of the camera. Humphrey said this sense of empathy is key to allowing his subjects to open up and feel comfortable. “It’s a fortunate position he has because he’s also used to being the subject matter,” Humphrey said. “He has empathy with the people he’s photographing.” Adams says practice is also essential to getting the right shot. As far as advice for aspiring photographers, he recommends that when you think you have the best shot, take 10 more. “I’ve always enjoyed photography, but the thing I found most surprising was perhaps how much I love the challenge to get the right photo,” Adams told us. “From the shoot itself, to spending hours editing film and choosing shots before digital arrived on the scene, then spending time in darkrooms with printers — taking the photo was the easy part.” As for what’s next in his versatile career, Adams said he’ll continue to “stumble along” and “make photos and books, working for zoomagazine.com,” a website Adams started in 2003 that he calls “a great playground for my work.” WD Kate Oczypok (@OczyKate) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DECEMBER 2017 | 35
WD | Culture | Film
Cinema Listings *Unless specific times are listed, please check the theater for times. Theater locations are subject to change.
Bulgarian 3/4 Directed by Ingmar Trost (Bulgaria/Germany, 2017, 82 min.) Two talented siblings struggle with the idea of being separated while their astrophysicist father seems incapable of dealing with his children’s anxieties (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Dec. 2 to 6
Czech Angels of the Lord 2 Directed by Jirí Strach (Czech Republic, 2016, 99 min.) A record-breaking smash in the Czech Republic, this is the sequel to the popular Czech fairytale about the angel Petronel who works at Heaven’s door, but is convinced that he deserves a better job. The Avalon Theatre Wed., Dec. 13, 8 p.m.
Ice Mother Directed by Bohdan Sláma (Czech Republic/Slovakia/France, 2017, 106 min.) Hanna, a 67-year-old widow, finds new love — and a new hobby — as part of an ice-swimming team (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Dec. 9, 11:05 a.m., Mon., Dec. 11, 5:15 p.m., Tue., Dec. 12, 5:15 p.m.
Danish You Disappear Directed by Peter Schønau Fog (Denmark/Sweden, 2017, 117 min.) The increasingly erratic behavior of school principal Frederik and the stress caused to his wife and teenage son is explained when a brain scan reveals a tumor causing orbitofrontal syndrome. But can this condition explain the $2 million he’s accused of embezzling from the school? (Danish and Swedish; part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Dec. 3, 3:30 p.m., Thu., Dec. 7, 9 p.m.
English Big Sonia Directed by Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday (U.S., 2016, 93 min.) Sonia Warshawski can barely see over the leopard-skin-patterned steering wheel of her Oldsmobile. But at age 90, Sonia has a personality that towers
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | December 2017 Zuzana: Music Is Life
over her community, where she has tirelessly run her late husband’s tailoring business for decades. She is one of the last remaining Holocaust survivors in Kansas City and has, for years, been speaking at schools, church groups and prisons — dispensing positive life lessons (known as “Soniaisms”) to anyone and everyone in her path. Edlavitch DCJCC Tue., Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m.
Directed by Harriet Getzels and Peter Getzels (Czech Republic/U.S., 2017, 83 min.) Czech harpsichordist Zuzana Ruzickova is the only musician to have recorded the complete keyboard works of Bach. Even while staying in Nazi camps and living under communism, the now ninety-year-old Zuzana never abandoned her work. National Gallery of Art Sat., Dec. 16, 12 p.m.
The Breadwinner Directed by Nora Twomey (Ireland/Canada/Luxembourg, 2017, 93 min.) This animated film tells the story of Parvana, an 11-year-old girl growing up under the harsh rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. With her family facing starvation, Parvana cuts her hair and dresses as a boy to go out and look for work, risking discovery to try to find out if her father is still alive. Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Call Me By Your Name Directed by Luca Guadagnino (Italy/France/Brazil/U.S., 2017, 132 min.) In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father’s research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape (English, Italian, French and German). Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., Dec. 15
Daphne Directed by Nico Mensinga (U.K., 2017, 87 min.) Thirty-one-year-old Daphne is unable to shake off the dregs of a quarter-life crisis, caught up in the oscillating monotony and unpredictability of daily life. When she witnesses a stabbing, Daphne must admit that she needs to make a change (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Fri., Dec. 15, 7:15 p.m., Mon., Dec. 18, 9:30 p.m.
Darkest Hour Directed by Joe Wright (U.K., 2017, 125 min.) During the early days of World War II, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds. Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Opens Fri., Dec. 8
God’s Own Country Directed by Francis Lee (U.K., 2017, 104 min.) In rural Yorkshire, isolated young sheep farmer Johnny numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking
36 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | December 2017
The “Breadwinner” tells the story of a young Afghan girl who disguises herself as a boy during Taliban rule to help her family.
and casual sex, until the arrival of Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe, employed for the lambing season, ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path. Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Jane Directed by Brett Morgen (U.S., 2017, 90 min.) Drawing from over 100 hours of never-before-seen footage that has been tucked away in the National Geographic archives for over 50 years, award-winning director Brett Morgen tells the story of British primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall, considered the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees. West End Cinema
The Killing of a Sacred Deer Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (U.K./Ireland, 2017, 116 min.) Dr. Steven Murphy is a renowned cardiovascular surgeon presiding over a spotless household with his ophthalmologist wife and their two exemplary children. Lurking at the margins of his idyllic suburban existence is Martin, a fatherless teen who Steven has covertly taken under his wing. As Martin begins insinuating himself into the family’s life in ever-more unsettling displays, the full scope of his intent becomes menacingly clear when he confronts Steven with a long-forgotten transgression. Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Last Flag Flying Directed by Richard Linklater (U.S., 2017, 124 min.) Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corpsman Larry “Doc” Shepherd re-unites with his old buddies, former Marines Sal Nealon and Reverend Richard Mueller, to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema
Loving Vincent Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman (U.K./Poland, 2017, 94 min.) In a story depicted in oil-painted animation, a young man comes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van
Gogh to deliver the troubled artist’s last letter and ends up investigating his final days there. West End Cinema
The Man Who Invented Christmas Directed by Bharat Nalluri (Ireland/Canada, 2017) This film shows how Charles Dickens mixed real-life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up the timeless tale of “A Christmas Carol.” Angelica Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Murder on the Orient Express Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Malta/U.S., 2017) A lavish train ride unfolds into a stylish and suspenseful mystery in this story based on the Agatha Christie novel that follows 13 stranded strangers and one man’s race to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again. Angelika Mosaic Angelika Pop-Up Atlantic Plumbing Cinema Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema
Pin Cushion Directed by Deborah Haywood (U.K., 2017, 83 min.) Awkward teen Iona and her eccentric mother Lyn arrive in a new town and get off to a rough start. Lyn feels increasingly isolated as Iona falls in with the cool clique at her new school (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Dec. 10, 4 p.m., Thu., Dec. 14, 9:20 p.m.
Sea Sorrow Directed by Vanessa Redgrave (U.K., 2017, 74 min.) Celebrated actress Vanessa Redgrave makes her directorial debut with this moving documentary, an impassioned plea for compassion and commonsense policy in the face of the ongoing European migrant crisis (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Dec. 16, 4 p.m., Tue., Dec. 19, 7:20 p.m.
The Shape of Water Directed by Guillermo del Toro U.S., 2017, 123 min.) This otherworldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962, takes place in the hidden high-security government laboratory where lonely Elisa is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and coworker Zelda discover a secret classified experiment. Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Opens Fri., Dec. 8
The Square Directed by Ruben Östlund (Sweden/Germany/France/Denmark, 2017, 142 min.) Christian is the handsome, sophisticated and somewhat smug curator of a contemporary art museum. His next show is “The Square,” an installation that invites passersby to altruism, reminding them of their role as responsible fellow human beings. But sometimes it is difficult to live up to your own ideals: Christian’s foolish over-reaction to the theft of his phone drags him into shameful situations (English, Swedish and Danish). West End Cinema
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Directed by Martin McDonagh (U.K./U.S., 2017, 115 min.) In this darkly comic drama, a mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder, when they fail to catch the culprit. AFI Silver Theatre Angelika Mosaic The Avalon Theatre Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Finnish Law of the Land Directed by Jussi Hiltunen (Finland/Norway, 2017, 90 min.) In a remote Finnish village in Lapland, just across the Swedish border, a retiring police officer learns that his illegitimate son has been released from prison and is terrorizing the area (Finnish and Swedish; part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Dec. 10, 9:45 p.m., Wed., Dec. 13, 9:30 p.m.
The Other Side of Hope Directed by Aki Kaurismäki (Finland/Germany, 2017, 100 min.) Middle-age shirt salesman Wikström abruptly leaves his prickly wife and unfulfilling job and buys a conspicuously unprofitable seafood restaurant, which he tries to turn into a success with a hilarious series of culinary re-inventions. After displaced Syrian Khaled is denied asylum, he decides not to return to Aleppo, staying on illegally in Helsinki — and the paths of the two men cross fortuitously, with unexpected results (Finnish, Arabic, English and Swedish). Landmark’s Cinema Opens Fri., Dec. 8
Tom of Finland Directed by Dome Karukoski (Multiple countries, 2017, 115 min.) This stirring biopic follows the life of the artist Touko Laaksonen, known to the world as Tom of Finland, whose proudly erotic drawings shaped the fantasies of a generation of gay men, influencing art and fashion before crossing over into the wider cultural consciousness (Finnish, German and English). Landmark’s Cinema Opens Fri., Dec. 8
Victoria and Abdul
Directed by Stephen Frears (U.K./U.S., 2017, 112 min.) Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim with a loyalty to one another that her household and inner circle all attempt to destroy. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema
Directed by Laura Schroeder (Luxembourg/Belgium/France, 2017, 112 min.) Isabelle Huppert and her real-life daughter star in this intelligent drama about family, motherhood and three generations of women trying to reconnect (part of the European
Film | Culture | WD
Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Dec. 10, 11:05 a.m., Mon., Dec. 11, 9:30 p.m.
Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Dec. 9, 10:10 p.m., Thu., Dec. 14, 9 p.m.
Racer and the Jailbird
Directed by Xavier Legrand (France, 2017, 93 min.) Filmmaker Xavier Legrand won Best Director and the Silver Lion at the 2017 Venice Film Festival for this precisely observed portrait of a broken family and the impending threat posed by an obsessive ex-husband (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Dec. 16, 2 p.m., Mon., Dec. 18, 7:20 p.m.
Directed by Michaël R. Roskam (Belgium/Netherlands/France, 2017, 130 min.) When Gino lays eyes on racecar driver Bénédicte, it’s love at first sight, and nothing will keep them apart. But when Gino finally reveals his darkest secret to his beloved, can this fiery romance last? (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Dec. 16, 9:15 p.m., Mon., Dec. 18, 7 p.m.
Boy on the Bridge
Directed by Laurent Cantet (France, 2017, 113 min.) Mystery novelist Olivia Dejazet leads a summer writing workshop for students from the working-class town of La Ciotat in southern France, where the most promising writer in the group is also the most controversial, owing to his needling of other students’ viewpoints, his affinity for certain right-wing views and his deeply disturbing but rivetingly well-written short story about a mass shooter (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Dec. 10, 1:30 p.m., Wed., Dec. 13, 9:20 p.m.
Directed by Petros Charalambous (Cyprus, 2016, 85 min.) Twelve-year-old Socrates spends the summer days of 1988 hurtling through the streets of his sleepy mountain village on his bicycle, setting off homemade firecrackers and tormenting the local residents. Socrates’s carefree life comes to an abrupt end when he discovers that his best friend Marcos and his family are suffering abuse at the hands of Marcos’s violent father (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Mon., Dec. 11, 7:20 p.m., Thu., Dec. 14, 5:15 p.m.
Faces Places (Visages Villages) Directed by Agnès Varda (France, 2017, 90 min.) Agnès Varda’s most recent feature is a witty portrait of France and a friendship and, in Varda fashion, a madcap mission. Varda teams up with installation-and-graffiti artist JR, forming an unlikely duo that travels to pastoral hamlets and secluded spots, meeting local workers, shooting outsized portraits, and plastering these images on the sides of buildings. National Gallery of Art Sun., Dec. 3, 4 p.m.
Let the Sunshine In Directed by Claire Denis (France/Belgium, 2017, 94 min.) Writer/director Claire Denis turns romcom conventions inside out with this portrait of artist and divorcée Isabelle (Juliette Binoche), who juggles a succession of lovers (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Dec. 2, 8:30 p.m., Thu., Dec. 7, 7 p.m.
Lover for a Day Directed by Philippe Garrel (France, 2017, 76 min.) After a bad breakup, Jeanne moves in with her father, Gilles, a professor who has begun a relationship with one of his students, Ariane, who at 23 is the same age as Jeanne. Initially an awkward situation for the three, in time Jeanne and Ariane form a fine friendship (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Fri., Dec. 8, 5:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 10, 8 p.m., Tue., Dec. 12, 9:30 p.m.
Nocturama Directed by Bertrand Bonello (France/Germany/Belgium, 2016, 130 min.) Bertrand Bonello’s provocative, slightly surreal portrait of contemporary terrorism depicts a cell of suburban teenagers, students and shop workers as the perpetrators of a coordinated bombing attack across Paris. Their motive? Unclear. Their escape plan? To hide all night in the luxury department store La Samaritaine (part of the European
German The Divine Order
AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Dec. 16, 6:45 p.m., Wed., Dec. 20, 9:10 p.m.
Greek Directed by Stergios Paschos (Greece, 2016, 94 min.) In this spritely directorial debut, 30-year-old Nikos convinces his exgirlfriend Sofia to come spend a week with him at his pal’s lavish home a year after breaking up. But his motives are far from pure (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Mon., Dec. 11, 9:15 p.m., Wed., Dec. 13, 5:15 p.m.
Hungarian On Body and Soul
Directed by Petra Volpe (Switzerland, 2017, 96 min.) Doing laundry, vacuuming, cooking and caring for her husband and two sons. That’s the submissive routine that Nora, a 45-year-old housewife from a Swiss village in the early ’70s, is stuck in. But when her husband refuses to allow her to work — a privilege granted to him by Swiss law — the quiet and well-liked Nora starts campaigning for equality and the right to vote. Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., Dec. 1
Directed by Ildikó Enyedi (Hungary, 2017, 116 min.) In a Budapest slaughterhouse. Mária, the new quality controller, has an exacting eye for perfection that has not won her any popularity points. Endre, the financial controller, is a quiet man with his own problems. When the pair discover that they share the same dream — literally — the century’s strangest romance begins to unfold (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Dec. 9, 7:45 p.m., Tue., Dec. 12, 7:10 p.m.
Directed by Jakob Lass (Germany, 2017, 90 min.) Vanilla is looking at a career in law enforcement. After failing the police exam, she signs up as a security guard while waiting to take the test again, and in the interim meets Tiger, a wild child who appeals to Vanilla’s sense of adventure (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Dec. 10, 6 p.m.
Wild Mouse Directed by Josef Hader (Austria/Germany, 2017, 103 min.) A music critic in midlife crisis seeks revenge on the boss who fired him in this satirical seriocomedy (part of the European Union Film Showcase).
A Ciambra Directed by Jonas Carpignano (Multiple countries, 2017, 118 min.) Pio, 14, is already adept at surviving on the streets of his tough Calabria hometown — he drinks, he smokes, he knows how to be a good lookout — but when his older brother and father are rounded up by the police, Pio sets out to prove he’s ready to fend for his family (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Fri., Dec. 8, 9:30 p.m., Mon., Dec. 11, 7:10 p.m.
Naples ’44 Directed by Francesco Patierno (Italy, 2016, 80 min.)
Working from a wealth of archival footage and carefully selected fiction films, Italian documentarian Francesco Patierno adapts British travel writer/ novelist Norman Lewis’s celebrated World War II memoir for the big screen (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Dec. 15 to 20
Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle Directed by Mike van Diem (Netherlands, 2017, 90 min.) When Anna travels from Montreal to scatter her step-mother’s ashes in her Italian hometown, she meets an old family friend who helps Anna fill in the blanks about her father (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Dec. 17, 3:15 p.m., Wed., Dec. 20, 7:10 p.m.
Japanese Tokyo Story Directed by Yasujiro Ozu (Japan, 1953, 137 min.) A profoundly stirring evocation of elemental humanity and universal heartbreak, “Tokyo Story” follows an aging couple’s journey to visit their grown children in bustling postwar Tokyo, surveying the rich and complex world of family life with the director’s customary delicacy and incisive perspective on social mores. Freer Gallery of Art Wed., Dec. 6, 2 p.m.
Korean The Day After Directed by Hong Sang-soo (South Korea, 2017, 92 min.) When Areum starts her job as an assistant to publisher Bongwan, his wife immediately accuses her of having an affair with him. In fact, Bongwan recently broke off an affair with Areum’s predecessor and seems to be grooming her as his next conquest. Freer Gallery of Art Sun., Dec. 3, 1 p.m.
Fabricated City Directed by Park Kwang-hyun (South Korea, 2017, 126 min.) A paranoid thriller with a high-tech edge, Park Kwang-hyun’s latest film pits a team of skilled video gamers against a mysterious underworld organization in a battle that rages through both the physical and digital worlds. Freer Gallery of Art Fri., Dec. 1, 7 p.m.
On the Beat at Night Alone Directed by Hong Sang-soo (South Korea, 2017, 101 min.) A famous actress grapples with the end of her affair with an older, married film director during a self-imposed exile in Hamburg and then with the help of hard-drinking friends back home. Freer Gallery of Art Sun., Dec. 3, 3 p.m.
Ana, Mon Amour
Directed by Renars Vimba (Latvia, 2016, 106 min.) After their father dies, 17-year-old Raya and her younger brother must move into the ramshackle farmhouse of their grouchy grandmother. When the old lady suddenly dies, Raya must grow up quickly to run the household and keep social services in the dark about her guardian’s demise (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Dec. 17, 1:05 p.m., Wed., Dec. 20, 7:20 p.m.
Directed by Cãlin Peter Netzer (Romania/Germany/France, 2017, 127 min.) Examining a tumultuous relationship between Toma and Ana after they meet as students, Cãlin Peter Netzer traces the shifting power dynamic of the pair as Ana tries to conquer the debilitating anxiety attacks that have plagued her from the outset of their romance (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Dec. 16, 11:20 a.m.., Tue., Dec. 19, 7 p.m.
We the Workers
A Gentle Creature
Directed by Wen Hai (Hong Kong/China, 2017, 174 min.) Shot over a six-year period in the industrial hub of south China, this unprecedented look at China’s world of labor organizers follows activists as they find common ground with workers and negotiate with local officials and factory owners over wages and working conditions. Freer Gallery of Art Sun., Dec. 17, 1 p.m.
Directed by Sergei Loznitsa (France/Germany/Netherlands/Lithuania, 2017, 143 min.) A woman receives the care package she has sent to her imprisoned husband, marked “return to sender.” Her efforts to get an explanation and information about her husband lead her into a hell populated by Kafkaesque civil servants, opportunistic exploiters of misery and peddlers of vice (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Dec. 17, 4:20 p.m.
Directed by Joachim Trier (Norway/France/Denmark/Sweden, 2017, 116 min.) Timid, lonely and devout Thelma, raised in a small rural town by overprotective parents, has left to study at a university in Oslo. While there, she finds herself intensely drawn toward a beautiful young student who reciprocates Thelma’s powerful attraction. Soon after, however, Thelma has a frightening and mysterious seizure. As it becomes clearer that the seizures are a symptom of inexplicable, often dangerous supernatural abilities, Thelma is confronted with tragic secrets of her past, and the terrifying implications of her powers. West End Cinema Opens Fri., Dec. 1
Directed by Jens Assur (Sweden, 2017, 100 min.) Jens Assur’s bleakly beautiful rural drama, set in the 1970s, focuses on a struggling farmer who desperately wants to pass the family farm on to his uninterested son, unable to admit to himself that it has been a source of misery for him and his family for generations (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Fri., Dec. 15, 9:15 p.m., Sat., Dec. 16, 4:20 p.m.
Spoor Directed by Agnieszka Holland (Poland/Germany/Czech Republic/ Sweden/Slovakia, 2017, 128 min.) Part-time teacher and full-time vegetarian Janina lives alone in the Klodzko Valley on the Polish-Czech border with her two beloved dogs. When her pets vanish and a series of mysterious killings leaves a trail of murdered local hunters, Janina is convinced that she knows who — or what — is responsible (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Dec. 2, 1 p.m., Mon., Dec. 4, 7 p.m.
Directed by Hanna Slak (Slovenia/Croatia, 2017, 98 min.) Since leaving Bosnia in the 1970s, Alija has been working as a miner in Slovenia’s Zasavje coal region. One of many migrant workers employed in a failing industry, Alija is afraid to refuse when he is tasked with opening a longsealed mineshaft to declare it empty. When he opens the abandoned shaft, however, Alija uncovers some terrible secrets (part of the European Union Film Showcase). AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Dec. 17, 9:45 p.m., Tue., Dec. 19, 9:30 p.m.
Culture arts & entertainment
Plan Your Entire Weekend. www.washdiplomat.com
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | December 2017 | 37
WD | Culture | Events
Events Listings *Unless specific times are listed, please check the venue for times. Venue locations are subject to change.
ART Through Dec. 3
Fragonard: The Fantasy Figures Combining art, fashion, science, and conservation, this revelatory exhibition brings together — for the first time — some 14 of the paintings known as the fantasy figures by Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806). He is considered among the most characteristic and important French painters of his era, and the fantasy figure series — several rapidly executed, brightly colored paintings of lavishly costumed individuals — are some of his most beloved works. National Gallery of Art Through Dec. 10
Stories of Migration – Sweden Beyond the Headlines Migration is old news. It has helped shape countries and the world. But the current situation is unprecedented: More than 65 million people around the world have been forced to leave their homes. Migration is also an integral part of the history of Sweden; in today’s population, one in six was born in another country. Since the 1930s Sweden has been characterized by more immigration than emigration, including offering refuge to people fleeing war and political unrest. This exhibition aims to add new perspectives to the story of Sweden and migration and give insights into the current situation in the country. Beyond headlines of chaos and collapse, beyond politics and public authorities, there are people who try to build a life in a new country. House of Sweden Through Dec. 10
Witnesses by Anna U Davis Anna U Davis is known for her bold, colorful, graphic mixed-media work, where she explores her fascination with gender relations. This exhibit examines the notion of personality traits that are often classified as either good or bad — from curiosity, passion and jealousy to maturity, independence and insecurity — delving into where these features stem from. House of Sweden Through Dec. 13
Matthias Mansen: Configurations German-born artist Matthias Mansen creates large-scale woodcuts that explore abstraction and figuration. He advances the tradition of woodblock printing by transforming pieces of scavenged wood—discarded floorboards or fragments of abandoned furniture—into printing blocks, which he progressively carves and recarves. National Gallery of Art
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | December 2017 from public and private collections around the world — that reveal the story of “Luncheon of the Boating Party” and the artists and patrons who were instrumental in its creator’s success. The Phillips Collection
Through Dec. 17
Between Two Rounds of Fire, The Exile of the Sea: Arab Modern and Contemporary Works from the Barjeel Art Foundation This exhibit showcases a diverse selection of works, grouped around the theme of technologies in conflict. The works come from the collection of the Barjeel Art Foundation, an independent United Arab Emirates-based initiative established to manage, preserve and exhibit Arab art. American University Museum
Through Jan. 7
Scraps: Fashion, Textiles and Creative Reuse Textile and apparel manufacturing is one of the most polluting industries in the world. This exhibition explores the work of innovative designers taking a lead in sustainability and reducing waste in the design process. The George Washington University Textile Museum
Through Dec. 17
I Am: An East-West Arts Initiative Organized by Caravan
Through Jan. 12
“I Am” spotlights the insights and experiences of Middle Eastern women as they confront issues of culture, religion and social reality in a rapidly changing world both in the Middle East and West. American University Museum
Changing Landscapes: Janelle Lynch and Pedro David
Through Dec. 17
Immigration in Ibero-America at FotoWeekDC The Iberoamerican Cultural Attachés Association contributes to Fotoweek DC with this exhibition of photographers who depict how Ibero-American countries have opened themselves up to foreign people, celebrating the diversity that led to today’s merged cultures. The exhibit includes “Miguel de Moreno” by Spanish photographer Javier Hirschfeld, who reflects on the contribution of immigration to Spanish society, celebrating the achievements on social rights at the same time. Hillyer Art Space Through Dec. 29
Before the 45th | Action/ Reaction in Chicano and Latino Art This display of 60 works examines how Southern California-based Chicano and Latino artists worked tirelessly in an effort to shed light on the economic, political and social injustices faced over the past four decades. Concentrating on various themes and ideas, the exhibition highlights the diverse approaches taken by these artists to communicate their individual and community needs. Mexican Cultural Institute Through Dec. 31
Canadians by Bryan Adams in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, the Embassy of Canada displays a collection of photographs by Grammy-winning music legend Bryan Adams. The exhibition features 29 portraits of Canadian icons, including: Céline Dion, KD Lang, Michael J. Fox, Margaret Atwood, Robbie Robertson, The Weeknd, Wayne Gretzky, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Embassy of Canada
38 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | December 2017
Photo: Music Center at Strathmore
Linda Rossin’s “Lighthouse Keeper’s Companion” is among the 750 miniature pieces of art on display at the Music Center at Strathmore.
Through Jan. 1
Spectacular Gems and Jewelry from the Merriweather Post Collection For centuries, extraordinary gemstones have been the centerpieces of stunning jewelry made to adorn royalty, aristocracy, high society and Hollywood stars. Over 50 pieces that once belonged heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, one of the greatest jewelry collectors of the 20th century, will tell the story behind some of the remarkable stones and the jewelry into which they were transformed. Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens Through Jan. 5
El Tendedero / The Clothesline Project Mexico City-based artist Mónica Mayer transforms the clothesline, a traditionally feminine object, into a tool designed to engage the community and facilitate a dialogue around women’s experience with violence, including topics such as sexual harassment, domestic violence, and trafficking. National Museum of Women in the Arts Through Jan. 7
Bosch to Bloemaert: Early Netherlandish Drawings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam Founded in the 19th century, Rotterdam’s Museum Boijmans Van
Beuningen possesses one of the world’s finest collections of 15th- and 16th-century Netherlandish drawings. “Bosch to Bloemaert” offers American audiences an exceptional opportunity to see a selection of 100 master drawings from this collection. The exhibition presents a beautiful and remarkably comprehensive overview of the period, encompassing nearly all media and types of drawings of the time. National Gallery of Art Through Jan. 7
84th Annual Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature Strathmore’s Mansion bursts with an enormous collection of more than 750 miniature artworks for the 84th Annual Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature. This annual showcase of tiny treasures, some as small as a fingernail, features 292 artists from 11 countries, including Iran, Pakistan, Malta and Australia. Music Center at Strathmore Through Jan. 7
Renoir and Friends: Luncheon of the Boating Party This special exhibition will focus on The Phillips Collection’s celebrated “Luncheon of the Boating Party” by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and the diverse circle of friends who inspired it. The first exhibition to focus on this singular masterwork in more than 20 years, it is comprised of more than 40 carefully chosen works — paintings, drawings, pastels, watercolors and photographs
Landscapes are constantly shifting, marking points across the lengthy timeline of evolutionary changes and, more recently, changes caused by human-induced technological and economic impact. Today, these landscapes inform our subjectivities, reflecting our present through the past’s mirror, as evoked by photographs by Janelle Lynch and Pedro David. The notion of the “settler” and the concept of the landscape as a romantic convention are present in Lynch’s photographic series made in México City, where the “settler” becomes a corpse dumped into a mass grave. Meanwhile, for the last 13 years, David has been photographing transgenic eucalyptus that are replacing natural forests throughout Latin America. OAS Art Museum of the Americas Through Jan. 15
Architecture of an Asylum: St. Elizabeths 1852-2017 Established by Congress in 1855 as the Government Hospital for the Insane, St. Elizabeths is widely considered a pioneering psychiatric facility. The hospital is a prime example of the “Kirkbride Plan” for mental health hospitals, which promised to help patients with a specialized architecture and landscape. This exhibition traces St. Elizabeths’ evolution over time, reflecting shifting theories about how to care for the mentally ill, as well as the later reconfiguration of the campus as a federal workplace and a mixed-use urban development. National Building Museum Through Jan. 15
Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt Cats’ personalities have made them internet stars today. In ancient Egypt, cats were associated with divinities, as revealed in “Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt.” Cat coffins and representations of the cat-headed goddess Bastet are among the extraordinary objects that reveal felines’ critical role in ancient Egyptian
religious, social and political life. Freer and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Through Jan. 21
Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today This landmark exhibition of abstract paintings, sculptures and works on paper by 21 black women artists places the visual vocabularies of these artists in context with one another and within the larger history of abstraction. This exhibition celebrates those under-recognized artists who have been marginalized, and argues for their continuing contribution to the history and iconography of abstraction in the United States. National Museum of Women in the Arts Through Jan. 21
Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry This landmark exhibition examines the artistic exchanges among Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries from 1650 to 1675, when they reached the height of their technical ability and mastery of depictions of domestic life. The exhibition brings together some 65 works by Vermeer and his fellow painters of the Dutch Golden Age, including Gerard ter Borch, Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriel Metsu, Frans van Mieris, Caspar Netscher and Jan Steen. Juxtaposing paintings related by theme, composition, and technique, the exhibition explores how these artists inspired, rivaled, surpassed and pushed each other to greater artistic achievement. National Gallery of Art Through Jan. 28
Edvard Munch: Color in Context In the second half of the 19th century, advances in physics, electromagnetic radiation theory and the optical sciences provoked new thought about the physical as well as the spiritual world. Aspects of that thought are revealed in this exhibition of 21 prints that considers the choice, combinations and meaning of color in light of spiritualist principles. National Gallery of Art Through Jan. 28
Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death This fascinating exhibition explores the surprising intersection between craft and forensic science. Frances Glessner Lee (1878-1962) crafted her extraordinary “Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death” — exquisitely detailed miniature crime scenes — to train homicide investigators to “convict the guilty, clear the innocent, and find the truth in a nutshell.”These dollhouse-sized dioramas, created in the first half of the 20th century and still used in forensic training today, were the equivalent of
Events | Culture | WD
virtual reality in their time and helped to revolutionize the emerging field of forensic science. They also tell the story of how a woman co-opted traditionally feminine crafts to advance a maledominated field and establish herself as one of its leading voices. Renwick Gallery
first major U.S. exhibition, these intricate creations invite the viewer into their surreal world in miniature and offer a rare glimpse into the duo’s artistic process. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Through Jan. 28
Tamayo: The New York Years
Posing for the Camera: Gifts from Robert B. Menschel A selection of some 60 photographs in the National Gallery’s collection made possible by Robert B. Menschel are on view in an exhibition that examines how the act of posing for a portrait changed with the invention of the medium. Featured works come from the early 1840s — just after photography was invented — through the 1990s. National Gallery of Art Through Jan. 29
The Box Project: Uncommon Threads This exhibition explores contemporary fiber artworks commissioned through a challenge to international artists and features pieces by 36 acclaimed international artists, including Richard Tuttle, Cynthia Schira, Gerhardt Knodel, Helena Hernmarck and Gyöngy Laky, among others. It showcases a diverse collection of works that reflect the artists’ creative and ingenious use of fiber to create new works of art. The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum Through Jan. 31
DIS/PLACE: Notions of Home in Latin American Photojournalism “DIS\PLACE” is an invitation to reflect on notions of home through the lens of displacement. Topics include migration, violence, and humanity’s impact on the environment as a direct consequence of displacement. The aim is to “displace” viewers and their senses as they look out at the world as well as inward toward their own perceptions of place and home. Inter-American Development Bank Cultural Center Through Feb. 17
Painting Shakespeare Discover the paintings collection at the Folger — its stories, its glories and Shakespeare’s power to inspire visual artists. From humble oil sketches to international masterpieces, this exhibition presents kids and adults alike, with a sometimes surprising, and always eye-catching, view of the man and his works. Folger Shakespeare Library
Through March 18 Rufino Tamayo’s lushly colored paintings portraying modern Mexican subjects earned him widespread acclaim as an artist who balanced universal themes with a local sensibility. Tamayo (1899-1991) was drawn to New York City in the early 20th century at a time when unparalleled transatlantic and hemispheric cross-cultural exchange was taking place. “Tamayo: The New York Years” is the first exhibition to explore the influences between this major Mexican modernist and the American art world with 41 of his finest artworks. Smithsonian American Art Museum Through June 24, 2018
Jim Chuchu’s Invocations The museum is the first institution to acquire and display Kenyan multimedia artist Jim Chuchu’s mesmerizing suite of video projections, in which two distinct videos loop in succession and follow the structure of initiation rituals. Surrounded by Chuchu’s pulsing house beats and evocative imagery, viewers are invited to contemplate the separations and releases that shape our individual and collective identities. National Museum of African Art Through Nov. 12, 2018
Mark Bradford: Pickett’s Charge For his first solo exhibition in D.C., acclaimed artist Mark Bradford debuts a monumental site-specific commission inspired by Paul Philippoteaux’s 1883 cyclorama depicting the Battle of Gettysburg. Covering the curved walls of the Hirshhorn’s Third Level Inner Circle, “Pickett’s Charge” presents 360 degrees of abstracted historical narrative. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
DANCE Through Dec. 24
Through March 4
The Washington Ballet’s critically acclaimed production of “The Nutcracker” transports audiences to a historic D.C. era and stars George Washington as the heroic Nutcracker, along with waltzing cherry blossoms, dancing sugar plums and other enchanting adaptations by Septime Webre. Tickets start at $33. Warner Theatre
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: The Utopian Projects
Spanning 1985 through present day, this survey comprises more than 20 of the Kabakovs’ maquettes, whimsical models, for projects realized and unrealized, including monuments, allegorical narratives, architectural structures and commissioned outdoor works. Opening nearly 30 years after the Hirshhorn hosted Ilya Kabakov’s
Sat., Dec. 2, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Scandinavian Art and Architecture: Modern Aesthetic and Traditional Heart Scandinavians are renowned internationally for their modern aesthetic and innovations in architecture and design.
At the same time, they are passionate about preserving their past. Explore the creative contributions of noted artists, architects and designers reflected in the region’s beautiful capitals with art historian Karin Alexis. Tickets are $160; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org. S. Dillon Ripley Center Mon., Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m.
Denyce Graves Master Class Washington Performing Arts presents internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves in a public master class with two of her protégés from the Peabody Conservatory. Graves – a native Washingtonian who was raised in Southwest D.C. and graduated from Duke Ellington School for the Arts – is no stranger to local audiences, having last starred in Washington National Opera’s production of “Champion.” Tickets are $40. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater Tue., Dec. 5, 6:45 p.m.
Dickens Without the Humbug With his gripping plots, vivid characters and penetrating social commentary, Charles Dickens always left his readers wanting more. From his early hardships in a shoe-blacking factory through his wildly popular performances of his own works, Dickens lived a life filled with stunning triumphs and tragic reversals. Follow the life and career of Charles Dickens through the best of times and the worst of times with author Daniel Stashower while actor Scott Sedar reads a selection of the writer’s most celebrated works. Tickets are $50; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org. S. Dillon Ripley Center Wed., Dec. 6, 6:45 p.m.
Hannibal’s Oath: The Life and Wars of Rome’s Greatest Enemy In the spring of 218 B.C., Hannibal and his army prepared to leave New Carthage in southeastern Spain to undertake a seemingly impossible mission. His goal was to cross the Alps and surprise Rome with an attack from the north, in an attempt to break the republic’s hold on Italy. In the 1,000 miles that separated the army from their destination, they faced hostile tribes, steep and exposed climbs, severe weather conditions and starvation. Although thousands of men lost their lives in this quest, their general’s leadership ensured the success of their mission. Drawing on his new biography, historian John Prevas tells the story of one of the foremost military leaders of the ancient world. Tickets are $30; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org. S. Dillon Ripley Center Thu., Dec. 7, 6:45 p.m.
Indiana Jones, The Eternal Explorer: The Politics of Archaeology, Empires, and Exploration Indiana Jones is an appealing figure: a handsome, thoughtful professor by day, swashbuckling savior of the world’s archaeological treasures by night.
Although Jones is fictional, many of the major themes in the film franchise that celebrates his exploits are reflected in the stories of significant archaeological expeditions and missions of exploration throughout the world, from the excavation of Pompeii in 1750 to the Cold War-era race to the moon. Justin M. Jacobs, associate professor of history at American University, leads the expedition into real-life and Hollywood-style history. Tickets are $30; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org. S. Dillon Ripley Center Sat., Dec. 9, 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
The Olmec Culture: Monuments, Masterpieces, and Mysteries The Olmec culture flourished in several civic and ceremonial centers along the Gulf of Mexico more than 3,000 years ago, from 1500 to 400 B.C. Best known for their carvings of colossal stone heads, the Olmec were masters of monumental sculpture, and also produced some of the earliest evidence of urban planning and systems of numbering and glyphic writing in North America. George L. Scheper of Johns Hopkins University provides a cultural overview of these Olmec achievements. Tickets are $140; for information, visit www.smithsonianassociates.org. S. Dillon Ripley Center
popular holiday standards and seasonal Christmas classics. Tickets are $15 to $69. Kennedy Center Concert Hall Mon., Dec. 18, 7 p.m.
Christopher Schmitt, Piano Caroline Bean-Stute, Cellist Christopher Schmitt is a virtuoso classical concert pianist, teacher and chamber musician who studied at the Juilliard School in New York and performs regularly in ensembles at the White House and D.C. area as a member of the President’s Own U.S. Marine Band. Cellist Caroline Bean-Stute is co-artistic director of the Capitol Hill-based Chiarina Chamber Players, and holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University. Tickets are $30, including holiday reception; for information, visit www.embassyseries.org. International Student House
THEATER Through Dec. 2
The Keegan Theatre presents Caryl Churchill’s Obie Award-winning play “Top Girls,” which reveals a world of women’s experience at a pivotal moment in British history: the beginning of the Thatcher years. Tickets are $45. Andrew Keegan Theatre
Sun., Dec. 3, 2 p.m.
Dec. 5 to 31
Pasatono Orquesta Mexicana Enjoy the sounds of Oaxaca as performed by the Pasatono Orquesta Mexicana, which is dedicated to preserving and reinterpreting indigenous Oaxacan music on traditional instruments, combining the historic sounds of the region with contemporary music. This program is presented in conjunction with the exhibition “Tamayo: The New York Years” and in partnership with the Mexican Cultural Institute Smithsonian American Art Museum Dec. 9 to 17
The Christmas Revels: A French-Canadian Celebration of the Winter Solstice For its 35th annual production, journey with The Christmas Revels to TroisRivières, a charming town in southern Québec. The timber business is thriving and the Hudson’s Bay Company is paying good money for beaver pelts. A group of young men prepares to leave home to seek profit and adventure— to be voyageurs. They paddle a huge canoe across rivers and lakes, deep into the wild Canadian woods, singing as they go. This energetic Québécois winter celebration features carols, wild dancing, and foot-stomping instrumentals, blending old French traditions with New World ingenuity. Tickets are $18 to $60. GW Lisner Auditorium Dec. 17 to 24
The Second City’s Twist Your Dickens Experience Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” like never before, with this holiday favorite from The Second City. The legendary comedy troupe brings its infamous improvisational skills and sketch comedy mastery to the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge. Tickets are $49 to $75. Kennedy Center Theater Lab Dec. 6 to 9
Private Confessions, Part of the Bergman 100 Celebration Ingmar Bergman’s muse, celebrated director Liv Ullmann, expands Bergman’s 1996 film into a stage adaptation of poignant, non-linear series of “confessions” which delve into the realms of infidelity, family relationships, loneliness, and the weighty results of keeping secrets deep within. Tickets are $19 to $49. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater Dec. 12 to Jan. 7
An American in Paris “An American in Paris” is the new Tony– winning musical about an American soldier, a mysterious French girl and an indomitable European city, each yearning for a new beginning in the aftermath of war. Please call for ticket information. Kennedy Center Opera House
The Choral Arts Society of Washington: Christmas with Choral Arts
Dec. 14 to 17
Choral Arts celebrates the joys of the season in a delightful program of
On his tiny home planet, a young boy begins a quest across the cosmos to
Washington National Opera: The Little Prince
find new companionship. Featuring a tuneful score by Oscar winner Rachel Portman, the opera also showcases the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists and WNO Children’s Chorus. Tickets are $45 to $65. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater Through Dec. 20
Twelfth Night Stranded on the coast of Illyria, the quick-witted Viola assumes the disguise of a page boy for Duke Orsino and finds herself at the center of an explosive love triangle in which identity, passion and gender all threaten to come undone. Please call for ticket information. Shakespeare Theatre Harman Hall Through Dec. 23
Hansel and Gretel During the bustle of holiday crowds, Gretel tries to keep her brother, Hansel, out of trouble while their unengaged babysitter leaves Gretel to fend for them both. In this wordless production, the well-beloved Grimm fairy tale embraces the fantastical through the eyes of those who see the world through a different lens. Tickets are $20. Synetic Theater Through Dec. 24
Nina Simone: Four Women Celebrating the life and music of Nina Simone, one of America’s most iconic singers and civil rights activists, Christina Ham’s provocative musical journey makes its East Coast debut. Set in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in which four little girls lost their lives in 1963, Ham uses Simone’s song “Four Women” as the framework to explore the songstress’ shift from artist to artist-activist. Tickets are $40 to $90. Arena Stage Through Dec. 24
The Pajama Game Winner of the 1955 Tony Award for Best Musical, “The Pajama Game” follows Sid Sorokin and Babe Williams in a battle of the sexes romance that soars with seductive dance numbers like “Steam Heat” and “Hernando’s Hideaway.” Tickets are $50 to $99. Arena Stage Through Dec. 31
A Christmas Carol Acclaimed actor Craig Wallace returns to Ford’s Theatre to play Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”—a production heralded as a “rich visual and vocal treat” (TheaterMania) and “infectiously jolly” (The Washington Post). Please call for ticket information. Ford’s Theatre Through Dec. 31
Nothing to Lose (But Our Chains) Standup comic Felonious Munk tells the hilarious and harrowing story of how one black man went from six years in a state prison to a six-figure job in corporate America to a new life as an activist and satirist. Tickets start at $49. Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | December 2017 | 39
WD | Culture | Spotlight
49th Annual Meridian Ball On Oct. 20, the Meridian International Center hosted its 49th annual Meridian Ball, welcoming the largest number of guests in the event’s history. This year’s ball was chaired by former U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Tom C. Korologos and former Secretary of Labor Ann McLaughlin Korologos. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Lisa Collis, as well as House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Janna Ryan served as the congressional co-chairs. The evening kicked off with intimate dinners hosted by ambassadors representing 25 embassies, from Afghanistan to Germany to Mexico to Oman to Singapore. Following dinner, guests gathered at Meridian’s historic campus for dessert, dancing and dialogue. This year’s Latin theme featured musical performances by Trio Caliente, as well as Latin-inspired foods and desserts, including a nacho bar and tres leches cake station.
Photo: Stephen Bobb
The 2017 Meridian Ball Committee Leadership poses for a photo: From left are Glenn Youngkin; Suzanne Youngkin; Andrew Florance; Heather Florance; Tom C. Korologos; Ann McLaughlin Korologos; Janna Ryan; House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.); Gwen Holliday; and Meridian President and CEO Stuart Holliday. Wendy Banner, Margie Halem, Kenny Maites, Leslie Friedson, Tee Talout, Fouad Talout and Lynda O’Dea — all from Long & Foster / Christie’s International Real Estate — pose for a photo. Shahin Mafi of Home Health Connection Inc., Ambassador of Afghanistan Hamdullah Mohib, Lael Adams, Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Çitaku and Bardha Azari of the Department of Homeland Security.
Former Ambassador of Argentina Cecilia Nahón, now with American University; Head of Economic Affairs at the Embassy of Mexico Sergio García Gómez; realtor Leila Beale; Melissa Beale; and former Chief of Protocol Capricia Marshall.
Michael Curry, Assistant Chief of Protocol Gladys Boluda, Gouri Mirpuri and Ambassador of Singapore Ashok Kumar Mirpuri.
Photo: Stephen Bobb Photo: Stephen Bobb
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) dances with his wife Debbie Meadows.
Photo: Stephen Bobb
Gloria de Reyes and Ambassador of Colombia Camilo Reyes.
Photo: Stephen Bobb
Former U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert O. Blake dances with his wife Sofia Blake.
40 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | December 2017
Photo: Stephen Bobb
Former U.S. Ambassador Walter Cutler dances with his wife Didi Cutler.
Photo: Stephen Bobb
Ambassador of Panama Emanuel Gonzalez-Revilla, Adam Bernstein and Daryl Libow.
Spotlight | Culture | WD
Ambassador of Peru Carlos Pareja, Consuelo Salinas-Pareja, Lucia Villalobos and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Mexican Embassy Jose Antonio Zabalgoitia.
The Washington Diplomat managing editor Anna Gawel and Ambassador of Pakistan Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry.
Ambassador of Portugal Domingos Fezas Vital and his wife Isabel Vital.
Kriti Doval, Puru Trivedi, investment banker Kimbell Duncan and CNN Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Michelle Kosinski.
Ambassador of Switzerland Martin Dahinden and his wife Anita Dahinden.
Philip Dubovsky and Micki Hultquist of AstraZeneca.
Vera Luxner, The Washington Diplomat publisher Victor Shiblie, Lala Abdurahimova and Ambassador of Azerbaijan Elin Suleymanov.
Photo: Stephen Bobb
Nora Connors, Ankit Desai and former Assistant Chief of Protocol Natalie Jones.
Meridian President and CEO Stuart Holliday talks to House Majority Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Ambassador of Oman Hunaina Sultan Ahmed Al-Mughairy and her daughter.
Photo: Stephen Bobb
Stylist Paul Wharton, Erika Gutierrez and photographer Tony Powell.
Photo: Stephen Bobb Photo: Stephen Bobb
Ambassador of Denmark Lars Gert Lose, Lars Linderholm and Ulla RĂ¸nberg.
Photo: Stephen Bobb
Photo: Stephen Bobb
Mele Melton, Stephanie Misar and Jan Du Plain. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | December 2017 | 41
WD | Culture | Spotlight
Wolf Trap Ball
GWHCC Embassy Dinner
the 2017 Wolf trap Ball was presented Sept. 23 in partnership with the embassy of Monaco, transforming the Filene center into a glittering landscape punctuated by important cultural landmarks in Monaco, including its iconic casino and opera house. the annual ball benefits artist programs that Photo: aBe LanDeS PhotoGraPhy reach more than 400,000 patrons who visit Wolf trap’s three venues each year, Wolf Trap Foundation Board Chairman Daniel D’Aniello of The Carlyle Photo: tony PoWeLL as well as 90,000 participants in Wolf Group; Ambassador of Monaco Maguy Maccario Doyle; co-chairs Fred Wolf Trap President and CEO Arvind Manocha, Dorothy McAuliffe Schaufeld; Karen Schaufeld; Nancy Laben; Jon Feiger; and Wolf Trap trap’s educational programs. and former Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe. Foundation President and CEO Arvind Manocha.
the Greater Washington hispanic chamber of commerce (GWhcc) held its signature black-tie embassy Dinner on Sept. 29 at the Washington convention center highlighting the Washington area’s pivotal role in international business and trade. the event, sponsored by events Dc, toyota and hSBc, featured acting assistant Secretary of State for Western hemisphere affairs Francisco Palmieri, Sen. chris Van hollen (D-Md.), ambassador of Mexico Geronimo Gutierrez Fernandez and representatives from 17 embassies. the GWhcc Public Service award was given to José antonio tijerino, president and ceo of the hispanic heritage Foundation, for his contributions to Latino and minority communities.
Former Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Monaco Lorenzo Ravano, Shahin Mafi of Home Health Connection Inc. and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Monaco Karine K. Médecin-Lemon.
Photo: tony PoWeLL Photo: anthony PoFF
Author Caitriona Palmer, Ambassador of Ireland Daniel Mulhall and Ambassador of the Netherlands Henne Schuwer.
Fred Humphries, vice president of U.S. government affairs for Microsoft, and Kim Humphries.
Glenn Youngkin of The Carlyle Group, Suzanne Youngkin, Rep Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) and Chip Comstock.
Photo: cryStaL WhItMan
The Marquis band performs on stage.
Brooklyn Mack and Nicole Graniero, principal dancers with the Washington Ballet, performed a Pas de Deux from “Flames of Paris” on stage.
Ambassador of Kazakhstan Erzhan Kazykhanov, Danara Kazykhanov, Guefa Mulhall, Ambassador of Jordan Dina Kawar and realtor Theo Adamstein.
PhotoS: Greater WaShInGton hISPanIc chaMBer oF coMMerce
Ambassador of Mexico Geronimo Gutierrez Fernandez welcomes guests.
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GWHCC Board Chair and President and CEO of Crystal Insurance Group Margarita Dilone present the Public Service Award to José Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.
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Charlotte Wright and Joseph Rossetter play roulette in the casino area.
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Caren Backus and Christina Mather.
Sara Jaffe, Fred Humphries of Microsoft, Amy Mykityshyn and Mark Mykityshyn of Tangible Security.
Lloyd Buckner and Shirley Marcus Buckner.
Former Director of the D.C. Department of Small and Local Business Development Ana Harvey; D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson; and Jane Lee Garcia, founder and president emeritus of the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School. President and CEO of the Greater Washington Board of Trade Jim Dinegar and GWHCC President and CEO Nicole Quiroga.
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Hunt Howell and Julia Marsden at the roulette table.
Maris Angolia, Glenda Harrey, Stephen Harrey, Susan Yee and Ann Kline.
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Jill Olander of Park Hotels & Resorts and Brad Olander of EdOps.
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Leo Brooks and Debbie Brooks of Boeing.
42 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DEcEMbEr 2017
Photo: tony PoWeLL
Haley Schaufeld and Paige Bellissimo.
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Monique Breaux and Tim Breaux
State Department Country Officer in the Office of Children’s Issues Raquel Duran; Ambassador of Mexico Geronimo Gutierrez Fernandez; and GWHCC Board Chair Margarita Dilone.
G4 Alliance Gala
Meridian’s Sixth Annual Global Leadership Summit On Oct. 20, the sixth annual Meridian Global Leadership Summit gathered an international audience of over 150 business executives, foreign ambassadors, government officials and civil society pioneers to explore the importance of international engagement and how the United States can more effectively utilize its global leadership position to benefit the entire nation. Panelists included the ambassadors of Mexico and Finland; House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.); and CNN’s Michelle Kosinski.
Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and BBC anchor Katty Kay discuss international agreements such as NAFTA and the Iran nuclear deal.
Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar
Ambassador of Switzerland Martin Dahinden talks to guests.
Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar
Ambassador of Serbia Djerdj Matkovic, right, talks to guests.
On Nov. 4, the Global Alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma, and Anaesthesia Care (the G4 Alliance) hosted its first annual gala and silent auction benefit at the House of Sweden, home to the Swedish and Icelandic embassies. The inaugural event, themed “A Night of Illumination: Igniting Change for the Neglected Surgical Patient,” was chaired by former Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago Neil Parsan and Tara Parsan. Keynote speaker Robert “Bobby” Satcher, an American surgeon, astronaut and engineer, shared insights from his experience at NASA and medical missions in Africa and Central America.
Left, Ambassador of Mexico Gerónimo Gutiérrez, Ambassador of Finland Kirsti Kauppi and CNN’s Michelle Kosinski discuss the issue of border security.
NASA astronaut and orthopedic surgeon Robert “Bobby” Satcher and former Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago Neil Parsan.
Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar
Former Ambassador to Belgium Tom C. Korologos, former Secretary of Labor Ann McLaughlin Korologos and former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard.
Photos: The G4 Alliance
Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar
MacAndrews & Forbes’s Frances Townsend talks about cybersecurity and the reaity of data breaches.
Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar
Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar
Ambassador of Iceland Geir H. Haarde, right, talks to guests.
Former Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago Neil Parsan, Tara Parsan, embassy liaison Jan Du Plain and Vice-Chair of Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Fizan Abdullah.
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THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | December 2017 | 43
WD | Culture | Spotlight
Heart’s Delight Chairman’s Reception
‘Taste the Islands’
Heart’s Delight celebrated its 2018 chair, Mitch Bainwol of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers at its Chairman’s Reception held atop the Hay-Adams hotel. Over the last 18 years, the Heart’s Delight Wine Tasting & Auction — to be held May 9 to 12 next year — has raised over $16.5 million for the American Heart Association.
On Oct. 26, the Haitian Embassy hosted “Taste the Islands Experience – D.C. Edition,” presented by Blondie Ras Productions/Island Syndicate and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, with the support of the Embassies of Barbados and Jamaica, as well as Lakay Foods. During this Caribbean culinary event, guests explored the chancery while enjoying delicacies prepared by Haitian chef Cynthia “Thia” Vernam, the People’s Choice Award winner of the 2017 Embassy Chef Challenge.
Photos: Heart’s Delight
David Marventano of Fluor Corp. and Norma Kaehler of American Airlines.
DC Fashion Week founder Ean Williams, Haitian chef Cynthia “Thia” Vernam and Ambassador of Haiti Paul Altidor.
Christopher Marchand of Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC, Mitch Bainwol of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Mike Gallagher of Entertainment Software Association.
Chef Cynthia “Thia” Vernam and Ambassador of Haiti Paul Altidor prepare Haitian chiquetaille de morue (salted codfish marinated in a peppery vinaigrette).
Gail Bassin of JBS International Inc. and journalist Bill Plante.
Photos: Embassy of Haiti
Alan Tom, Mimi Tom, Susan Go and Anthony Go.
ASEAN at 50
Ambassador of Haiti Paul Altidor, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Jamaican Embassy Marsha Monique Coore Lobban, Ambassador of Barbados Selwin Hart and producer Calibe Thompson.
Chargé d’Affaires of the Philippine Embassy Patrick A. Chuasoto welcomes guests.
The Embassy of Philippines and the ASEAN Committee in Washington hosted a reception Sept. 13 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Ambassador of Suriname Sylvana Elvira Simson and Ambassador of Haiti Paul Altidor.
Guests toast the “Taste the Islands Experience – D.C. Edition.”
‘War and Art’
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), who is the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on ASEAN, emphasized the dynamic partnership between ASEAN and the United States over the past 40 years.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton delivers remarks.
ASEAN ambassadors in Washington and U.S. officials pose for a photo.
Photos: Embassy of the Philippines
ASEAN ambassadors in Washington and U.S. officials cut the cake.
44 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | December 2017
Alex Feldman, president and CEO of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.
The Embassy of Italy commemorated the centennial of America’s entrance into World War I with a photo exhibition and catalogue titled “War and Art: USA in Italy” that was inaugurated at the Pentagon on Oct. 12. The exhibit highlights not only the harshness of war, but also the importance of protecting the cultural heritage of countries from the ravages of conflict.
Photos: Embassy of Italy
Maria Cristina Scalet, director of the Museo della Battaglia in the Italian city of Vittorio Veneto; Ambassador of Italy Armando Varricchio; Antonella Uliana, cultural councilman of the city of Vittorio Veneto; and Roberto Tonon, mayor of Vittorio Veneto.
Kurdistan Continued • page 12
perhaps not expecting such a fierce backlash. He has since resigned, though he’ll remain an influential player in Kurdish politics. Iraqi Kurdistan has long been divided between Barzani’s ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the rival Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). “Now the rift has grown wider still, with Barzani blaming the loss of Kirkuk on a deal cut by a wing of Kurdistan’s other main party to allow Iraqi troops to enter,” wrote Loveday Morris in an Oct. 20 article in The Washington Post. Some speculate that Barzani, who had been in power since 2005, may have wanted to cement his legacy by making one last-ditch push for independence. Even a reported offer by the U.S. to facilitate talks with Baghdad in exchange for postponing the referendum did little to sway his decision. There is good reason why Barzani might have doubted Washington’s intentions. While the West has generally praised the gains that Iraq’s selfgoverning Kurds have made, it has never fully backed independence for them, knowing it would trigger an uproar in nations such as Turkey and Iran, which fear secession from their own sizable Kurdish population. But that hasn’t dampened the deep-seated Kurdish desire to one day have their own nation. “The Kurds of the Middle East are a proud people of nearly 30 million who have been treated as secondclass citizens in every country where they reside. From Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq, the Kurds can tell chronicles of war, deception and systemic discrimination. When the international community enforced a no-fly zone in northern Iraq to protect them from the murderous Saddam Hussein regime in 1991, Iraqi Kurds had their chance to shine. They did just that,” wrote Bessma Momani, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution Doha Center, in a Sept. 27 op-ed for The Globe and Mail. “The KRG attracted foreign direct investment, especially from neighboring Turkey, built prosperous and cosmopolitan cities, and further cultivated its language and culture. Kurdish nationalism was born again and, for more than 25 years, Iraq’s Kurdish semi-autonomous government has tried to prove it was ready for secession.” The KRG consists of three governorates that are home to roughly 6 million of Iraq’s 37 million people. In addition to ethnic Kurds, the population consists of Turkmen, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Yazidis and other communities. Since the 2005 Iraqi Constitution, which granted the Kurdistan region autonomy within the new federal Iraqi state, the roughly 40,000 square kilometers under KRG jurisdiction have been largely safe and prosperous. Oil has helped ensure that prosperity. The region boasts an estimated 43.7 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and 25.5 billion barrels of potential reserves. Under the Kurdistan Region Oil and Gas Law of 2007, the KRG shares oil revenues with the central government in Baghdad and receives 17
Photo: Larry Luxner
James Jeffrey, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, left, and Lukman Faily, Iraq’s former ambassador to the United States, speak Oct. 18 at the National Press Club during a panel sponsored by the Turkish Heritage Organization on Kurdistan’s recent independence referendum.w
percent of all revenues back. But the Kurds have long complained that they were not getting their fair share and in 2014, began shipping their own oil through Turkey despite Baghdad’s objections. The Kurdish region can ship as much as 700,000 barrels a day via a pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, providing billions of dollars in revenue to the KRG. But the loss of Kirkuk’s oil fields and a concerted effort by Iraq, Turkey and Iran to isolate the landlocked enclave have threatened to cripple its oil-dependent economy. For now, Turkey’s threats to shut down oil pipelines used by the KRG haven’t materialized, because the economies of northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey rely heavily on each other. But Ankara’s decision to suspend flights from its territory to the KRG forces travelers to fly to Baghdad instead — underlining the fact that the KRG is indeed part of Iraq rather than a separate entity. What Turkey does is hugely important, warned Jeffrey, who served as U.S. ambassador in Ankara from 2008 to 2010. “President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan thinks like a democrat, regardless of how he’s regarded by certain circles in Washington. He still needs to win an election in 2018 or 2019. Turkey, the United States and most countries in the Middle East have common interests, which start with the regional status quo. Turkey had no choice but to line up with the U.S., Iran, the U.N. and the EU to oppose Kurdish independence. Whoever thought anybody would support that? Certainly not Turkey.” He added: “To the extent there is an integrated Kurdish population anywhere in the Middle East, it is Turkey. They’ve had a 40-year conflict with the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party], but on the whole Turkey is doing well. It’s going to have 5.5 percent growth this year. Why would it at all want the KRG to become independent? Those people in Washington who were advising the KRG folks, I don’t know what they were smoking. I’ve spent the last 50 years dealing with difficult situations, and I haven’t seen anything as clear-cut and dumb in my entire 50-year career.” In addition to Turkey (and obviously Iraq), the other major regional player opposing Kurdish indepen-
Residents in the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan vote in July 2009 presidential and parliamentary elections.
Credit: UN Photo / Rick Bajornas
dence is Iran, home to roughly 7 to 8 million Kurds. In mid-October, Iran’s chief spymaster, Qasem Soleimani, traveled to Iraq to meet with the Kurdish PUK party, which traditionally has had closer ties to Iran than the ruling KDP. Shortly afterward, rumors erupted that the PUK had cut a deal with Tehran to abandon Kirkuk in exchange for joint administration of the city alongside Iranian-backed militias. “It is not known what Suleimani — the Middle East’s most cunning operative — told the P.U.K.’s leaders. But, within hours, their fighters began abandoning their posts, making way for Iraqi military units just across the front lines,” wrote Dexter Filkins in an Oct. 16 article for The New Yorker. “Not long after, Iraqi forces took over the former Kurdish positions and a stretch of oil fields near the city of Kirkuk. With the Iraqi Kurds now split in two — the P.U.K. on one side and the K.D.P. on the other — hopes for an independent Kurdish state appear to be fading fast.” As Shiite-majority nations, Iran and Iraq share close relations. Jeffrey argued that “the single biggest danger to the future independence of Iraq” is the powerful Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) that Baghdad relies on to bolster its weak military. But the PMF is also looking to expand its political influence, with its main factions agreeing to run on a unified list in Iraq’s April 2018 parliamentary elections. “The situation in Iraq is not as far gone as it certainly is in Damascus and Beirut, but that’s the trend line if there isn’t an attempt to bring these people back,” he warned of creeping
Iranian influence. “You cannot debate anything about Iraq — particularly Kurdistan — without the shadow of Iran, and Iran’s ability to influence events on the ground in military, political or clandestine terms,” Faily said. The former Iraqi diplomat said Iran’s growing influence in Kurdistan is precisely why “both the U.S. and Turkey have an interest in having an autonomous Kurdish region under the constitution with its own capability to defend itself — and with the ability to produce oil on its own territory under an agreement with Baghdad.” In the long term, Jeffrey contends that the Middle East needs to worry more about Iran than the Islamic State, which isn’t the ruthless, feared terrorist organization it once was. Israel, he said, has already figured this out, with its focus on Iran and its proxies in Lebanon and Syria. “The only people I know in the region who still think there is a collective, common fight against ISIS is the U.S. government. This is false, wrong and dangerous,” he concluded. “The 69-country coalition all pounded ISIS into the sand. It is about finished as an organization. As an army, it’s down to a couple of thousand in towns nobody has ever heard of, and nobody in Irbil is worried about the ISIS threat anymore. They’re worried about other security concerns now. Iran and its friends have a plan; the U.S. does not.” In fact, on Nov. 4, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri suddenly resigned in protest against Iran and its Hezbollah allies after less than a year in office. The surprise resignation —
which many say was orchestrated by Riyadh — was the latest escalation in the power struggle between Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and its Shiite archenemy Iran, which supports Hezbollah and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. In a televised address from Saudi Arabia, Hariri accused Iran’s proxies of meddling in Arab affairs, warning that “the evil Iran spreads in the region will backfire on it.” Hezbollah is also a sworn enemy of Israel and is strongly opposed to the Kurdish referendum. Its leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, warned in late September that the vote would lead toward partition of the Middle East and internal wars. Iranian officials have voiced suspicions that the referendum might have been a nefarious plot to install an Israeli-backed foe on its border. In fact, one of the few nations to openly support the Kurds’ independence drive is Israel, which maintains good relations with the KRG. While Faily and Jeffrey diverged on several points, they did agree on one thing: Israel’s outspoken support of an independent Kurdistan is both misguided and irrelevant. “Even if Israel has 100 percent sponsorship of it, what can it do on the ground? It’s not a U.N. Security Council member, so it can’t veto anything,” Faily pointed out. “So I don’t think the Israeli dimension is a factor that should even be in our calculations.” Jeffrey said it was “inexplicable” that Israel, of all countries, should support the Kurdish push for independence. “Why take a position that puts you at odds with two important partners — the U.S. and Turkey — where Israel has just recently mended their relations? My take is that some of the same people who were advising the Kurds told [Prime Minister] Bibi Netanyahu that Congress would overturn the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] … and that President Trump was going to walk away from it. They believed that,” he said, referring to the Iran nuclear deal signed by six countries. “They also thought the United States would flip and support the KRG.” The debate has drawn in much of the Middle East, with some Arab leaders calling the referendum a “Zionist plot” backed by the Mossad. For his part, Netanyahu denied any involvement, declaring in Jerusalem only days after the vote that “Israel had no part in the referendum, apart from the deep, natural, longstanding sympathy of the people of Israel for the Kurdish people and their yearnings.” For now, it appears those yearnings will go unrealized. Barzani agreed not to extend his term past Nov. 1 and elections have been postponed by eight months, leading to political jockeying and uncertainty within Iraqi Kurdistan. Meanwhile, in a humiliating sign of backpedaling, the KRG “froze” the referendum results in an effort to start a dialogue with Baghdad. But so far, Iraqi officials have demanded nothing less than a full cancellation of the referendum. At a news conference in Baghdad in mid-October, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that the referendum “is finished and has become a thing of the past.” WD Larry Luxner is the Tel Aviv-based news editor of The Washington Diplomat.
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | December 2017 | 45
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Trump’s presidency. For example, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) Iranian economy. Under American law, the have reintroduced legislation providing a president must certify every 90 days that Iran new authorization for the use of military is complying with this agreement. Trump force to guide America’s battle against terdeclined to make this certifi cation in mid- rorism (also see “No U.S. President Has Home Office: Lansing, Michigan || www.jackson.com Homeand Office: Lansing,has Michigan www.jackson.com October Congress 60 days to decide Wanted a New AUMF. Congress Is Starting JMF7362 09/15 JMF7362 09/15 sanctions. Iranian of- to Disagree” in the September 2017 issue of whether to re-impose ficials view the certification procedure as an The Diplomat). Kaine also wrote a prominent essay in internal American affair, but have signaled that if sanctions are re-imposed, Iran would Foreign Affairs this past summer calling for a new American grand strategy in a hyperno longer feel bound by the agreement. Congress must also approve a fiscal year connected world. The nation needs a new 2018 budget that funds the federal govern- bipartisan security strategy, Kaine wrote, ment. The final agreement is expected to re- but added that “the strategy itself must come ject many of the spending cuts that Trump from the president, to whom the Constituproposed for the State Department and tion gives significant powers to formulate other international programs. In addition, and execute foreign policy.” He said ideas many of the major domestic proposals that can come from Congress, think tanks, aca-
46 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | DEcEMbEr 2017
demics, military leaders, diplomats, foreign allies, journalists and citizens. But he observed that Congress has not been assertive in the foreign policy realm. “Most other nations, furthermore, are used to strong executives and expect the same from the U.S. president. So no lasting strategy will ever catch hold absent a clear articulation by the commander in chief,” he wrote. Panetta, one of America’s most experienced leaders, foresees a challenging time for the United States and the world for the duration of Trump’s presidency. “The best we can hope for is some constraints on the president from a combination of things like the administration’s senior foreign policy team, which takes a much more traditional approach to foreign policy issues than does the president, and senior leaders of Congress’s foreign affairs, defense and intelligence committees. These two forces will hopefully check the president and provide some stability,” he said. Panetta also noted that lawmakers may be
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able to soften the strident message that emanates from Trump’s “American first” agenda by articulating a more traditional liberal internationalist perspective that has animated U.S. foreign policy for seven decades. But the former defense secretary cautioned that the world is on edge. “Whenever I travel overseas, people ask me the same question about this president and his administration: ‘Is this real or is this some awful, convoluted reality show?’ I have to tell them that unfortunately it’s a bit of both.” WD John Shaw is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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Published on Nov 27, 2017
Published on Nov 27, 2017
The Washington Diplomat is an independent, monthly newspaper serving the Washington D.C. international and diplomatic community with regular...