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Hotels & Travel Special Section Inside Hotels & Travel A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat

VOLUME 24, NUMBER 7

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July 2017

JULY 2017

WWW.WASHDIPLOMAT.COM New Kids on Block

From Micro Rooms to Trump’s

Eurasia

H

Huge Mark, D.C.’s Hotel

otel options are not in short supply in the nation’s capital. Whether travelers want ognizable chain, an independent a recstandalone boutique or something steeped in history (we’re looking at you, Watergate, Willard and Washington Hilton), there’s really something for everyone. But D.C. tourism is evolving and so is the hospitality landscape here.

Russia’s Unassuming Envoy Finds Himself At Center of U.S. Storm

Scene Continues to Evolvet

BY STEPHANIE KANOWITZ

So far in 2017 alone, four hotels in four different neighborhoods, have debuted beyond. with more to Other come. For instance, there’s the Pod DC in Penn waves prominent newcomers that have made Quarter, the District’s in the region include Trump second micro-hotel, International, which plays its own which has tiny rooms but interesting role here big plans, predecessor, the sleekly compact as well as its for obvious reasons, and the gigantic MGM NaHotel Hive in tional Foggy Bottom. There’s also The Darcy, based on makingHarbor just across the Potomac, which is a fictional character but its mark not only as a casino, with but as a mentary daily gin tastings, very real compli- popular concert venue, too. and The Line, which Here’s a look at each of these is joining the marketplace new properties, later with a radio station broadcasting this summer what they have to offer, how they differ and how from its lob- they hope by. In fact, according to to stand out in an already Destination DC, there crowded market. are 16 hotels in the pipeline, with 3,703 rooms opening in the rest of 2017 through 2020 and 22

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Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak has been a fiercely unapologetic, if affable, voice for the Kremlin’s policies in the U.S. since 2008, but the low-key diplomat now finds himself thrust into the center of one of the worst political scandals to hit D.C. since Watergate. / PAGE 8

PAKISTAN

FANTASTIC FUTURE?

United States

Trump Delegates More Authority To Pentagon President Trump holds his generals in high esteem and has shown it by giving the Defense Department wide latitude over decision making, which has far-reaching implications for U.S. foreign policy in places ranging from Afghanistan to Yemen. / PAGE 10

Donald Trump has vacillated between calling Pakistan a nation of “betrayal and disrespect” to a “fantastic place of fantastic people.”The president’s malleable foreign policy views aside, Islamabad’s envoy to the U.S., Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, is steadfast in his belief that despite their many differences, Pakistan and the U.S. can maintain their “exceptional relationship” and even bring stability to the conflict-prone region. / PAGE 13

Culture

Germany’s Lüpertz Arrives in America Prolific German artist Markus Lüpertz comes to America with a bang in two groundbreaking shows at the Hirshhorn and Phillips Collection. / PAGE 28

People of World Influence

Diplomatic Spouses

Professor Says Allies Losing Faith in U.S.

Georgian Wife Offers Dose of Knowledge

Professor Monica Duffy Toft, director of the newly established Center for Strategic Studies at Tufts University, says Donald Trump’s many foreign policy flip-flops and his “America first” agenda have left allies from Europe to Asia wondering where they fit into the president’s hierarchy of priorities. / PAGE 6

Anna Matsukashvili trained as a dentist but switched gears to work with the U.N., pharmaceutical companies and medical foundations. Now in D.C. with her husband, Ambassador David Bakradze, she hopes to give Americans a dose of the “other” Georgia. / PAGE 29


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ON THE COVER Photo taken at the Embassy of Pakistan by Lawrence Ruggeri of RuggeriPhoto.com.


Contents

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | July 2017

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34 12

21

Lahore Fort in Pakistan

13

NEWS

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6

A new report finds that nearly 10 million U.S. adults suffer from mental illness.

The new ARTECHOUSE space seamlessly marries art and technology.

TRAVEL & HOTELS

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21

“Inspiring Beauty” shows how Ebony Fashion Fairs broke the color barrier.

People of World Influence A professor wonders whether America’s allies should trust Trump.

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Reluctant Man of the Hour Russia’s ambassador finds himself at the center of the worst political scandal since Watergate.

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Medical

New Kids on the Block From The Darcy to The Line, new hotels are springing up left and right in the nation’s capital.

The Pentagon’s Power President Trump has given the Defense Department wide-ranging new powers.

CULTURE

12

All Roads Lead to Beijing China wants to connect the region with its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.

13

Cover Profile: PAKISTAN Pakistan’s envoy feels Washington and Islamabad can continue their “exceptional relationship.”

30

‘XYZT’ and Beyond

Clothes as Agents of Change

32

Embracing the ‘Other’ The Contemporary American Theater Festival ponders how to “make America think again.”

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28

Lüpertz Arrives in America German artist Markus Lüpertz makes a subdued splash in two groundbreaking shows.

Canadian Backdrop “Punctured Landscape” surveys the highs and lows of Canada’s 150-year confederacy.

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Diplomatic Spouses Georgia’s Anna Matsukashvili puts her medical career on hold to focus on diplomacy.

Dining

New restaurants are rejuvenating the oncederelict Ivy City neighborhood.

16

Voice for the Vulnerable Refugees International’s new president hopes to put humanitarianism back on the world’s radar.

REGULARS

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36

Global Vantage Point “Hooper’s War” examines the moral injury of war and its enduring scars.

Cinema Listing

38 Events Listing

40 Diplomatic Spotlight 46 Classifieds 47 Real Estate Classifieds THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017 | 3


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WD | People of World Influence

Alienated Allies Professor Wonders Whether Allies Should Continue to Trust U.S. Under Trump by Whitney McKnight and Anna Gawel

F

or America’s allies, the now constant barrage of bafflement by President Trump began on day one when, in his inauguration speech, he declared twice — without qualification — that from that day forward it would be “America first.” Notwithstanding whether it was a direct reference to the rhetoric of the 1940s America First Committee, which advocated for the U.S. to stand down from entering World War II, or, as the president said to The New York Times, it simply expresses his personal sentiments that the U.S. must focus its energies on rebuilding the home front, the isolationist tone is in stark contrast to the last 70 years of America’s leading role in alliance-building. “Allies are now unsure of where and to what the U.S. is committed and which allies it might defend. Even within the administration itself there is uncertainty, so it’s not only a matter of whether to take the U.S. seriously, but even more basically how to assess U.S. commitments altogether,” professor Monica Duffy Toft, director of the newly established Center for Strategic Studies at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, told The Washington Diplomat. Toft, a Fulbright scholar, has taught at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government and at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she directed the Initiative on Religion in International Affairs. We spoke with Toft, an author who also spent four years in the U.S. Army as a Russian linguist, for an international perspective on the reasons for the growing erraticism in U.S. foreign affairs, where it might lead and whether the Constitution ultimately will protect the country from stumbling into chaos. The growing divide between the U.S. and its allies was laid bare in May during a high-profile trip that Trump made to Brussels, where he berated NATO allies for not paying their “fair share” and refused to commit to Article 5, whereby an attack on one member is an attack on all. The public snub came despite months of reassurance by his surrogates that America remained committed to the mutual defense pledge. Shortly afterward, Trump formally withdrew from the Paris climate accord, disappointing leaders in Europe and beyond. The transatlantic rift widened when the normally constrained German Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed that Europe can’t rely on “others” for its security and prosperity. But perhaps the most compelling metaphor for Trump’s “America first” paradigm was his shoulder snatch and shove of Montenegrin Prime Minister Duško Marković — the leader of NATO’s newest member — during the Brussels summit. Marković dismissed the incident, which went viral on internet memes, although Toft counts it among the many missteps

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the president has made in assuaging our allies’ fears that he is for and not against them. “The Trump administration has changed U.S. standing in the world, there is no doubt about that,” said Toft, a recent World Politics Fellow at Princeton University whose books include “Securing the Peace,” “Political Demography” and “God’s Century.” Toft counts it among the many “diplomatic blunders, slights and policy aboutfaces that have not only taken aback allies, but those within the administration who are trying to maintain, much less advance, vital U.S. interests.” The White House says the president has kept his campaign pledge to put America first through a series of actions that includes: withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, vowing to renegotiate other trade deals such as NAFTA, ditching the Paris climate agreement, cracking down on immigration and signaling to allies that they must share the financial burden for their defense. In general, however, Trump’s America first agenda has yet to be fleshed out or result in any concrete legislative victories. Instead, the White House has been consumed by the ongoing investigations into the Trump team’s ties with Russia and has struggled to fill key positions. It has also struggled to keep up with a president who

Monica Duffy Toft Photo: Tufts University

The Trump administration has changed U.S. standing in the world, there is no doubt about that. Monica Duffy Toft

director of the Center for Strategic Studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

relishes unpredictability and disdains detail. To his supporters, however, Trump is pursuing a long-overdue rethink of America’s place in the world and upending conventional Beltway wisdom. To his detractors, he is pushing incoherent polices marred by improvisation and inexperience. That wide spectrum of opinion can be seen both at home and around the world. For example, Trump’s tough talk on the Islamic State, Iran and military might has pleased nations such as Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt and Russia, where leaders often criticized President Obama as weak and indecisive. But Trump’s foreign policy flip-flops and vague pronouncements have angered, alienated or bewildered allies such as Canada, France, South Korea and Qatar. The latter was confused by conflicting signals from Washington amid a recent row with its Gulf neighbors. After Saudi Arabia, the UAE and sev-

eral other nations severed diplomatic and trade relations with Qatar, home to an important American military base, U.S. officials such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis urged calm and mediation. Their pleas were quickly undercut by their boss, who took credit for the Saudi-led move and labeled Qatar a “funder of terror.” Toft cited other instances where the president has driven a wedge with critical allies. In addition to his running tirade against Mexico, a key trading partner, Toft referred to how Trump insulted Australia’s prime minister for his nation’s policies on refugees and for “scaring Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about U.S. commitments in Asia, to the point that Abe felt compelled to visit Trump.” Another blow to foreign relations has been the president’s attempts to push through a controversial travel ban on six Muslim-majority nations, an order that remains mired in legal challenges and that

Toft said belies either a willful ignorance or a disregard for the limits of executive power. “I think it’s a combination of ignorance and that he doesn’t care. What is unnerving is that now that he is in office and he is getting so much pushback, he doesn’t seem to care about redressing that ignorance,” Toft charged. Trump’s general lack of understanding about foreign policy, his widely reported short attention span and off-the-cuff style have also disconcerted allies. For instance, he has repeatedly insisted that NATO members owe the U.S. money, even though the concept of “back payments” doesn’t exist in the alliance. His argument that he was pulling out of the Paris accord to “renegotiate” its terms made little sense to experts because countries can adjust their climate commitments by remaining inside the agreement — not to mention that no one is about to return to the drawing board on a deal signed by nearly 200 governments. Whether on North Korea or Turkey, Trump often says one thing while his aides say another, leaving diplomats in Washington with the Sisyphean task of deciphering the ambiguous and contradictory statements coming out of the White House. Trusting Trump with sensitive information has also become problematic for allies. In May, shortly after the furor over Trump firing FBI Director James Comey, who had been investigating the administration’s links to Russia, the president ap-


peared to leak classified intelligence to top Russian officials when he boasted about the details of an alleged Islamic State plot, reportedly infuriating the source of that information, Israel. Likewise, after the Manchester terrorist bombing, British officials warned that they would stop sharing intelligence with the U.S. if the administration could not put a lid on leaks to the media about the attack. More recently, following a terrorist rampage in London that killed eight people, Trump criticized the city’s mayor for saying that there was “no reason to be alarmed.” But the president distorted those remarks (the mayor was referring to the increased police presence, not the attack). Trump’s false tweets about Mayor Sadiq Khan drew fierce condemnation throughout Britain, where Prime Minister Theresa May, an early Trump supporter, lost a commanding lead ahead of snap parliamentary elections in June, leaving her political prospects in jeopardy. If Trump’s inner circle is attempting to correct his misperceptions about the complexities of world affairs, it is not apparent, Toft said. “They seem more concerned about controlling the message than taking him aside and saying you need some tutoring here.” Allies initially appeared hopeful that experienced hands such as Mattis and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster would temper the president’s impulses. But with every incendiary tweet, their influence seems to be waning. Meanwhile, Toft suggested the diplomatic community is keen to figure out who is actually charge in the White House, and how the competing agendas of Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and senior advisors Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner are driving the president’s foreign policy agenda. (Some diplomats have been reportedly trying to cultivate ties with Kushner, who’s been tasked with everything from Middle East peace to streamlining the government; some have also reportedly tried to work with his wife Ivanka instead of Tillerson and a diminished State Department.) From Toft’s perspective, Priebus is the voice of mainstream conservative thought, Bannon is the voice of those who desire to deconstruct an establishment that they say doesn’t speak for them, and Kushner is simply protecting his father-in-law and the family fortune. Just who has the most power, and when and how that shifts, is unknown. “I think there are dueling conceptions of where the U.S. needs to be. It could be why it’s so chaotic,” Toft speculated. “That’s why I think this is such a mess, and why we’re having a hard time see-

Credit: Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

President Trump hosts a June 1 press conference on the Rose Garden, where he explicitly endorsed America’s commitment to Article 5 of the NATO charter after refusing to do so at a Brussels summit the previous month.

ing who is really in charge. Supposedly, during the NATO summit, Trump was to have said we are committed to Article 5. It was in his speech, and then Trump himself changed it. Did he do that on his own? We don’t know. We may never know,” she said. (Two weeks later, Trump affirmed America’s commitment to Article 5 during a press conference.) The lasting effects of Trump’s policies depend largely on Congress, said Toft. She pointed to Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) among those who have “tried to counter some of President Trump’s most egregious policies, but with seemingly little impact. The GOP seems more concerned about advancing its domestic policy agenda [such as] repealing and replacing Obamacare [and] tax ‘reform’ than in ensuring that the U.S. government under a Trump administration follows a sound foreign policy.” She added that although McCain has been vocal in his criticism of the administration’s foreign policy, “he hasn’t created a cohort of people to have a stronger voice in all of this.” The potential legacy of this looms as a dark unknown, according to Toft. “It’s too soon to tell, but keep in mind that the impact of Trump’s decisions and policy choices, both domestic and foreign, have considerable inertia. Both the good and bad effects will continue to ripple outward, even if the subsequent chief executive

or Congress attempts a rollback.” When asked by The Washington Diplomat in an interview what message McCain would give our allies, particularly since the Trump administration has proposed a nearly 30 percent cut to the State Department’s budget, the senator laughed and said, “There isn’t going to be cuts to the State Department.” Meanwhile, Toft said the current investigations into the administration’s ties to Russia could help restore faith in America as a trusted ally and friend. “If such ties are exposed, expect the Republicans to act and to act decisively, as they are historically more hawkish toward Russia — and especially Russia under President Vladimir Putin. This would reinvigorate NATO’s strategic importance and compel the U.S. to reevaluate which states truly share its traditional values and interests,” Toft said. “The Senate appears to be ready to take on the president, and the diplomatic community is one among many hopeful that this will slow the destruction of the U.S. position as a global supporter of peace and free trade.” “I think our allies are going to wait and see what happens. I am sure they watch with interest,” McCain told us of the Russia investigations, which he described as a “centipede with 100 shoes yet to drop.” In the meantime, Trump faces the challenge of getting actual work done despite the cloud of suspicion hanging over him. Toft says there are some foreign policy achievements he could rack up, but she isn’t overly hopeful. “There’s an old saying that even a busted clock is right twice a day. So we should not forget that a Trump administration is likely to have a few great ideas and advance at least a few innovative policies,” Toft said. But she added that, “Trump himself has made it clear his rationale for hiring surrogates is personal loyalty to him, not professional competence. So even if renegotiating NAFTA, the Paris accords and the NATO Charter or putting North Korea on notice might be of benefit to the U.S., it has become increasingly doubtful that a Trump administration has sufficient experience or connections to implement any positive initiatives.” German Chancellor Merkel and other allies have voiced fears that for now at least, the U.S. cannot be counted on the way it once was. Toft said that the degree to which such doubts persist depends on how well we are able to defend what makes us unique in the world. See T oft, page 20

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THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017 | 7


WD | Eurasia

Russia’s Reluctant Star Ambassador Sergey Kislyak Thrust into Worst Political Scandal Since Watergate by Larry Luxner

T

hree and a half years ago, as Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi was getting ready to open the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sergey Kislyak happily agreed to an interview. For an entire hour, Moscow’s man in Washington regaled us with his thoughts about bilateral relations, Hillary Clinton’s famous “reset” button, the ongoing war in Syria, Russia’s struggle against terrorism as well as its decision to offer NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum, and, of course, the upcoming Olympics (see “Russia Puts Its Olympic Dreams, Reputation on the Line at Sochi” in the February 2014 issue of The Washington Diplomat). “I arrived here in early September 2008. It was a very difficult period, the lowest point in our relations since the end of the Cold War,” he explained over tea and chocolates at his official residence on 16th Street, NW. “It was the time of the Georgian invasion and we had big differences with the United States. It wasn’t easy. I remember I started my first working day after presenting my credentials at the White House by making two speeches, explaining the Russian position [on Georgia].” Things started improving after the elections, when President Obama proposed the “reset” — a policy Kislyak said his government took very seriously. “Russian-American relations are important under all circumstances. Is everything so rosy and positive? Of course not, but our relations have never been simple. They have always been complex, and we certainly have irritants in our relationship,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, relations are much more productive than we are given credit for.” Kislyak added: “As is the goal of any ambassador, my job is to build productive ties and overcome the stereotypes that are still haunting us. Our differences will always remain, but we must also be mindful of things we can do together, to have more interactions between people, especially among the younger generation. They need to understand what Russia is, and what it is not.” But all that was before Kislyak become a household name — and the well-connected, low-key envoy found himself thrust into the center of what is rapidly becoming Washington’s worst political scandal since Watergate. Now, as special counsel Robert Mueller and his legal team investigate Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential elections to discredit Hillary Clinton and the Trump administration’s contacts with Kislyak and other Russian officials, the Kremlin’s envoy here has suddenly clammed up. Two top Trump confidants had conversations with Kislyak that were inter-

8 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017

cepted by U.S. intelligence officials, but were less than straightforward about those contacts: Michael Flynn, who lasted only 24 days as Trump’s national security adviser before being forced to resign after having misled Vice President Mike Pence about his phone calls with Kislyak, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who conceded that he had had two previously undisclosed conversations with the ambassador and has since recused himself from supervising the investigation, reportedly infuriating Trump. Also under scrutiny: Kislyak’s early December 2016 encounters at Trump Tower with New York businessman Jared Kushner, who is Trump’s son-in-law and now a top White House advisor. The scandal grew more intense when The Washington Post, quoting unnamed U.S. officials, revealed on May 26 that Kislyak and Kushner discussed the possibility of setting up a secret, secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, “using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their preinauguration discussions from monitoring.” “Kislyak reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate — a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the

Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri

Kislyak is a very experienced, welltrained, very adept Russian diplomat, but was relatively low-profile until this scandal broke…. I wasn’t impressed by his style, but I was impressed by his effectiveness. Donald Jensen senior adjunct fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis

Trump team,” wrote Ellen Nakashima, Adam Entous and Greg Miller. Meanwhile, despite Trump’s repeated pronouncements on the campaign trail that the U.S. could work with Moscow to defeat the Islamic State, the cloud of suspicion over his administration and steady drip of leaks have dampened any prospects for a rapprochement with Russia. In mid-June, Bloomberg reported that “Russian hackers hit election systems in at least 39 states before Donald Trump’s election as president … an attack on almost twice as many states as previously reported.” And last month, the Senate overwhelmingly voted to slap additional sanctions on Russia in a bid to limit Trump’s maneuvering room to improve relations with Moscow.

At the same time, The Post reported that Mueller’s probe has expanded to include possible obstruction of justice charges against the president for, among other things, allegedly pushing FBI Director James Comey — whom Trump fired — to drop the investigation into his embattled national security advisor. Trump sparked an uproar by sacking Comey, but he raised even more eyebrows when, the very next day, he hosted Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the White House for a jovial get-together that was captured by a Russian photographer — while American media were barred from the meeting. The optics of the encounter were strange enough, but then The Post reported that Trump spilled

Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak poses for the February 2014 cover of The Washington Diplomat ahead of the Sochi Olympics.

highly classified information to Lavrov and Kislyak about a possible Islamic State plot — intelligence purportedly received from Israel. Caught in the middle of this furor is Kislyak, an otherwise unassuming but seasoned diplomat whose expertise includes arms control and forcibly defending the Kremlin line while winning the grudging respect of his adversaries, according to multiple reports. “He has interacted with American officials for decades and been a fixture on the Washington scene for the past nine years, jowly and cordial with an easy smile and fluent if accented English, yet a pugnacity in advocating Russia’s assertive policies,” wrote Neil MacFarquhar and Peter Baker in a March 2 New York Times article. “Invited to think tanks to discuss arms control, he would invariably offer an unapologetic defense of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and assail Americans for what he portrayed as their hypocrisy — then afterward approach a debating partner to suggest dinner.” We couldn’t reach Kislyak to comment for this article, though Donald


Jensen, a former U.S. diplomat who served in Moscow in the 1990s, compared the 66-yearold Kislyak to Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s longtime permanent representative to the United Nations, who died in February. “Both were highly professional in advocating the Kremlin’s policies,” Jensen told us. “Kislyak is a very experienced, well-trained, very adept Russian diplomat, but was relatively low-profile until this scandal broke. He throws a lot of money around Washington, and I’ve seen him in action. I wasn’t impressed by his style, but I was impressed by his effectiveness.” Jensen called him “a very good mouthpiece for the Russian point of view, even though he’s not ethnically Russian,” but rather Ukrainian. “In the early ’90s, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, many Ukrainian diplomats went with the new Ukrainian government. Kislyak stayed loyal to Moscow — and many Ukrainians have criticized him for staying in the Russian Foreign Service.” As much as Jensen disagrees with the official Moscow line, he acknowledged that it’s “perfectly understandable” that many top people in Washington have met Kislyak. “The Russian Embassy here keeps tabs on officials and think tank discussions, and Russia has an active soft power outreach program in the U.S. and Europe,” he told us. “Kislyak is just a very well-oiled, well-funded diplomatic machine. I find nothing unusual about an ambassador trying to schmooze and glad-hand people all over town. Many ambassadors do that, even if he advocates, as with Kislyak, policies that are hostile to the interests of the United States.” Kislyak himself has said it is perfectly “normal diplomatic work” for ambassadors in Washington to cultivate ties with both Republicans and Democrats. A graduate of Moscow’s Engineering Physics Institute, Kislyak was posted to the U.N. in New York at the height of Cold War tensions and later came to D.C. in the mid-1980s under Mikhail Gorbachev’s efforts to open up the communist government. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Kislyak went on to serve as ambassador to NATO and deputy foreign affairs minister before coming to Washington in 2008. In July, Kislyak is set to be replaced as ambassador to the U.S. by Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s current deputy minister of foreign affairs. Rumors have circulated that Kislyak may be in line for a newly created senior position at the U.N. focusing on counterterrorism, a job that Russia, as one of the five permanent Security Council members, wants to fill with one of its own. (Reports have speculated that he may also replace Churkin as Russia’s ambassador to the U.N.) Yet in addition to the lengthy diplomatic credentials on his resume, some media outlets have suggested that Kislyak doubles as an intelligence agent. John Herbst, director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, doesn’t buy into the spy speculation. “He’s a career Russian diplomat whose expertise is on arms control, and who worked his way up through the ranks and was the Russian ambassador to NATO before coming to Washington,” said Herbst. “There’s no reason to assume he’s a spy, although it’s true that ambassadors do have some relationship with the [intelligence] chief of station at their embassies.” Herbst, who was a U.S. ambassador to two former Soviet republics, Uzbekistan (from 2000 to 2003) and Ukraine (2003 to 2006), isn’t alone in that assessment. “A lot of people think he’s a spook, or that he’s running agents in America,” said a Western diplomatic source who asked not to be named. “Despite the fact that a large proportion of Russian diplomats in the U.S. may work for the intelligence service, it’s my understanding that Kislyak does not. I don’t think he’s a spy, even though it’s sexier to say that he is.” Herbst, whose Atlantic Council hosted

PhoTo: STATe dePArTMenT

russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, left, greets then-Secretary of State John Kerry at a conference on the Arctic held in Alaska on Aug. 31, 2015. A skilled, behind-the-scenes diplomat, Kislyak has found himself thrust into the center of the spotlight because of the investigations into President Trump’s ties to russia.

Kislyak once for a lunch roundtable, did call him “a very smart and cautious guy who pays close attention to the policies of his government” as ties between Moscow and Washington have worsened in recent years. “Whatever his Ukrainian blood lines, he clearly made a choice to be a part of the Russian Foreign Service after the Soviet Union fell apart, so that suggests a certain loyalty to Moscow,” said Herbst, who met Kislyak back in the mid-1990s when Herbst was a senior deputy to the U.S. ambassador to the Commonwealth of Independent States and Kislyak was an upper mid-level diplomat in the Russian Foreign Ministry. Yet Herbst doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to who Kislyak speaks for. “I believe that Russia is committing aggression in Ukraine,” he said. “They stole Crimea by force and they’re trying to subvert the country. Kislyak has to represent Russian interests, so he serves as an instrument of Russian policy and explains it away. That’s the purpose of diplomats. But these policies are dreadful and should be resisted.” Ariel Cohen, a senior fellow at the Dinu Patriciu Center, went further, calling Kislyak a “mouthpiece for the Kremlin.” “For example, he meticulously articulated the party line on Ukraine on numerous occasions. In the larger scheme of things, the personalities of ambassadors reflect the personalities and policies of their masters,” said Cohen, adding that “he may have been appraised about the Russian hacking of the U.S. election campaigns, but I doubt this was a policy that originated with him.” Even so, Cohen says Kislyak’s contacts with the Trump campaign, starting with his appearance at the candidate’s April 2016 foreign policy speech, “could be seen as rather benign, as Russia was seeking to get rid of the sanctions and the Trump campaign policy toward Russia talked about a massive improvement in the relationship.” Professionally, Kislyak has been an unyielding advocate for Kremlin policy, but the affable diplomat has also tried to connect with Americans on a personal level. In 2010, he opened the Russian Embassy compound for a lavish, fantastical ball to benefit the Washington National Opera, attracting a slew of VIPs, including CEOs, senators and Supreme Court justices. The embassy regularly hosts cultural events such as jazz concerts, and Kislyak often traversed the U.S. to talk to students, business leaders and others about bilateral relations. He would also invite Americans to weekend events at Russia’s sprawling estate on Maryland’s Eastern Shore — which was shuttered by the Obama administration when the charges of

election hacking surfaced. While he has kept a low profile since the election imbroglio erupted, Kislyak still occasionally makes his presence known around town. In May, he co-hosted the first-ever #DiploChess Tournament alongside the Norwegian ambassador, welcoming chess players to compete at the Russian Embassy. And on June 12, Kislyak hosted Washington insiders and diplomats celebrating Russia Day at the embassy. “Attendees were encouraged to pose for photos with signs that said ‘I love Russia’ and post them on Facebook, Instagram and other social networks,” Politico reported. “The

frayed U.S.-Russia relationship was clearly on the embassy’s mind as they handed out a pamphlet highlighting the two countries’ close relationship.” Yet that close relationship is anything but at the moment. While Kislyak has stressed that the two former Cold War adversaries can work together on areas of mutual interest, such as tackling terrorism — echoing Trump’s position — the litany of issues that divides Moscow and Russia — from Syria to NATO to Ukraine to gay rights — remains long and seemingly insurmountable. What happens next in the troubled bilateral relationship is anyone’s guess, though Garrett M. Graff, in a lengthy article for Esquire titled “The Inconvenient Comrade,” suggested that Kislyak has long coveted the post of Russian ambassador in Paris, but might be “too comprised now for such a plum job.” “Wherever he ends up, the larger open question is how much blame he will face, here or back home, for the election-interference campaign,” Graff wrote. “The final twist is that Russia might now find itself in a more isolated, antagonistic position than it would have if Clinton had won. At the very least, it’s hard to imagine a member of Congress — or even a semi-ambitious Washington player — risking a meeting with Russia’s top diplomat. And the cloud of suspicion over Trump may compel him to prove himself less friendly to Russia than he anticipated last year.” The immediate future may not bode well for Trump either. The Atlantic Council’s Cohen warns that Antonov — a hardline negotiator who is the departing ambassador’s replacement in Washington — “may be tougher and even more anti-American than Kislyak.” WD Larry Luxner is the Tel Aviv-based news editor of The Washington Diplomat.

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WD | United States

Pentagon Unleashed The Pros and Cons of Trump Giving the Defense Department More Power by Aileen Torres-Bennett

D

onald Trump was elected in part because voters liked his shootfrom-the-hip attitude. As Trump moves further into his shoot-first-ask-questions-later presidency, the American people — and the rest of the world — are finding out what his personal style means for how he wields power. And one of the most powerful entities in the world is the U.S. military. Trump holds the generals in high esteem and has shown it by giving them more authority over decision making, which has implications for foreign policy and international relations. There are pros and cons to this move, and they are interrelated. The biggest pro is that the Pentagon now has a greater ability to act more quickly on executing missions and tactics, which can result in more efficient ground operations. “It also allows operators more latitude to adapt to changes in real time,” Alice Hunt Friend, a senior fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Diplomat. “People can be more tactically flexible and responsive so they can take advantage of opportunities that the normal chain of command might force them to miss,” said Thomas Donnelly, co-director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, in an interview. “Most of the senior generals have grown up in Iraq and Afghanistan, so they know their trade pretty well.” But they may not be as adept in the tradecraft of diplomacy — not to mention the fact that both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan turned out to be costly quagmires with mixed results. That’s why some experts worry that handing more power to the Pentagon could lead to the militarization of foreign policy and possibly drag American troops into the kind of murky conflicts that Trump pledged to avoid as a candidate. The U.S. military has significantly increased its presence in Iraq and Syria to root out the Islamic State, in addition to ramping up drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia. Trump has given the Pentagon wide-ranging authority to possibly send thousands of additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan. He has also reveled in displays of military might, dropping the “mother of all bombs” to kill Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan, for example, although he has failed to deliver a comprehensive plan to defeat the terrorist group. And while U.S.-backed forces have made significant strides in dislodging the Islamic State from its sanctuaries in Mosul and Raqqa, American-led airstrikes have been blamed for killing hundreds of civilians. Without a long-term strategy or sufficient oversight by the president, experts warn that loosening restrictions on the Pentagon could lead to more casualties, alienate allies and undermine broader U.S.

10 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017

President Trump, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford attend a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on May 29. Trump has delegated more authority to the Defense Department to make operational decisions in conflict zones such as Afghanistan and Yemen. photo: DOD / U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley

Giving authority to DoD and military services while also giving them responsibility for the outcome of their actions is dangerous…. A White House can very quickly lose control of what the military is doing and why, and the White House is always going to be answerable when something goes wrong. Alice Hunt Friend

senior fellow in the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

goals. But Trump seems to prefer a more hands-off approach — and he clearly favors generals over diplomats. According to a review by The Washington Post, at least 10 out of 25 senior policy and leadership positions on the National Security Council are held by current or retired military officials (as opposed to two at the end of the Obama administration). Trump is handling the military as a businessman would, said Peter Haynes, a senior fellow focusing on defense strategy and warfare at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “It’s really more of a businessman’s approach in that you hire the right people and let them do their work. It’s all about them getting results.”

Grasping the Big Picture The new freedom can be a relief to commanders, who may appreciate the shift from President Barack Obama’s style of extensive deliberation over major military decisions, which some likened to micromanaging.

However, greater freedom for the military on operational decisions raises big questions: What is every move for? What is the grand strategy guiding warfighting decisions? And how do these decisions affect foreign policy? The Pentagon must have a broad understanding of the risks and possible ripple effects of decisions, which requires knowing what the long-term strategy is, especially after victory on the battlefield is achieved. What is necessary is that “those in the White House and civilian leaders have a sense of what the objectives are,” Loren DeJonge Schulman, the deputy director of studies and the Leon E. Panetta senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, told The Diplomat. “What are the limits of the strategy and our interest in pursuing it? What are other trickle-down factors, risk tolerance for civilian casualties, possibility of mission creep?” “If you’re going to give a lot of autonomy on the operations side, they have to understand the larger strategic picture,” said

Friend. “You have to understand when an operation is not supporting strategy. That’s where a collaborative relationship works over the years. There has to be back and forth between senior strategists and folks on the ground so each understands the other.”

Where Responsibility Lies When Trump moved more decision making into the Pentagon’s court, he also shifted responsibility for the outcome of operations. The prime example of this is the Jan. 29 raid in Yemen, which the military said was conducted to gather intelligence on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). U.S. counterterrorism efforts have been hampered by a civil war in Yemen, but instead of being a victory against AQAP, the raid resulted in the death of Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, as well as Yemeni civilian deaths. Trump punted the blame to the Department of Defense (DoD). “Giving authority to DoD and military services while also giving them responsibility for the outcome of their actions is dangerous,” said Friend. “A White House can very quickly lose control of what the military is doing and why, and the White House is always going to be answerable when something goes wrong.” The Yemen raid shows how the White House has given the Pentagon leeway to make decisions on operations without giving it guidance about the greater strategic objective. Without this guidance, the DoD is unlinked from national purpose, argued Friend. “This is not good for the White House or the country,” she said. Indeed, what some praise as decisiveness on Trump’s part, others denounce as an im-


Foreign Policy Implications

pulsiveness that could endanger American lives. “The discussion for the operation was made in haste,” said Schulman about the Yemen raid. “There was no strategy in Yemen.” Trump is not understanding his responsibility as commander in chief, added Schulman. “The American people deserve to have a sense of why men and women in uniform put themselves at risk.”

Presidential Transition Trump’s brash style stands in stark contrast to Obama’s more cautious, studious approach. But defense experts say that while Trump seeks to position himself as the opposite of Obama on many issues, military actions under his leadership are not that different in tone from the previous administration. “What you’ll see is operations continuing to support the strategy as we have them now,” said Friend. Case in point: Somalia. “We’ve had a strategy for years of counterterrorism and building the capacity of the Somali government and military. You’ve seen that mission persist. You’ve seen the president giving more authority to the Pentagon to continue its line of operations but to make adjustments in the number of personnel deployed, types of capabilities used for particular operation purposes. They’re allowed to make those choices themselves now,” she said. Trump’s main focus for defense at the moment seems to be counterterrorism, with the Islamic State as a major target. He has given Secretary of Defense James Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Iraq and Syria. Mattis is also deciding on whether to send a reported 4,000 troops to Afghanistan in addition to the 8,400 U.S. troops already stationed there. Obama wanted to get the U.S. out of Afghanistan, but he found a complete withdrawal of forces unwise. The U.S. military presence in the country was given an exclamation point in April with the decision by Gen. John Nicholson,

Photo: DOD / U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr

From right, James Mattis is sworn in as the 26th secretary of defense in a ceremony presided over by President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the Pentagon on Jan. 27.

the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to drop the “mother of all bombs,” or MOAB, the largest non-nuclear bomb in the nation’s arsenal, on a tunnel complex used by Islamic State fighters. It was a tactical move, and he made it without needing White House clearance. It can be argued that the MOAB was successful in that it resulted in almost 100 fighters killed — and possibly sent a signal to the world that the U.S. would not hesitate to act militarily. At the time, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un had launched a salvo of missiles while Syria’s Bashar al-Assad had allegedly directed a chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held area, leading analysts to speculate that the MOAB was Trump’s way of warning both leaders. “That was not so — an American commander in Afghanistan had simply taken it upon himself

to use a particularly large bomb on a cave complex in the remote province of Nangarhar,” wrote Eric Schmitt and Helene Cooper in The New York Times. In addition to exposing a possible lack of communication between the White House and Pentagon, the decision to drop America’s largest conventional bomb on a vastly smaller adversary rattled and bewildered allies (compared to Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State does not have a significant presence in Afghanistan). Critics say the MOAB fit a pattern in which Trump’s bluster is more show than substance. “What’s missing is the broader decisionmaking process. If you use MOAB, that will affect other theaters,” said Schulman. “How do we message that? Let’s make sure the message is consistent.”

What the U.S. military does around the world is typically in service of foreign policy. The Trump presidency, still feeling its way during its start perhaps, has yet to come up with, or publicize, a strategic framework for the U.S. role abroad and how the military plays into that. Giving the military more agility and speed in theaters of operation may be good in terms of tactical execution, but questions remain about the specifics of the U.S. master plan, or whether there is, or ever will be, one under Trump. For instance, the president promised to defeat the Islamic State, but has yet to formulate a plan to do so. He has vowed to stop North Korea from developing the capability to strike the United States with a nuclear bomb, but has run up against the same wall of limited options that his predecessors faced. He has repeatedly disparaged NATO, forcing his commanders to defend the alliance. And other than vague, dramatic tweets, Trump has failed to articulate how — or whether — he would tackle the deep-seated sectarian grievances and governance problems driving conflicts from Afghanistan to Yemen. The problem with this policy vacuum is that the different threads of action resulting from the Pentagon’s newly minted freedom might not have a unifying arc, which sends confusing signals to other countries about Washington’s underlying intentions. “Many of our allies likely are getting the message that the White House is interested in doing independent transactions, not acting as part of a broader theme or strategy,” a former defense official told The Diplomat. “For Trump, there tends to be a transactional basis to his strategy. There’s problems with that because it allows really big decision making at See Pen tagon • page 18

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WD | Asia

China’s Grand Vision Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative Is Ambitious, Maybe Too Ambitious by Aileen Torres-Bennett

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n 2013, China introduced the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a grand vision of regional connectivity through infrastructure projects that would have global reach. At its base, BRI is an economic framework. But it is also President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy vision, aimed at building and strengthening ties with neighboring countries and increasing China’s role in Asia and its stature as a world leader. The massive endeavor would finance the construction of roads, high-speed rail, bridges, power plants, pipelines, ports and other infrastructure projects in over 60 nations spanning Asia to Europe — to the tune of more than $1 trillion in investment. Just as the ancient Silk Road trade routes spread Chinese influence over a millennium ago, BRI (previously known as “One Belt, One Road”) would cement China’s rise as a global economic power at a time when the U.S. is turning inward. It is an ambitious undertaking, one with enormous risks and rewards. It could offer China new markets and friends while promoting its brand of state-sponsored, nostrings-attached investment over the traditional Western development model that links aid to human rights and governance. But the investments could go down the drain in conflict-plagued, corruption-riddled nations, and not all governments have bought into the idea of a modernday Silk Road that could strengthen China’s regional dominance.

BRI Basics BRI’s objective is to build what China terms a landbased Silk Road Economic Belt and an ocean-based 21stcentury Maritime Silk Road. The initial focus areas are Asia, Europe and Africa, but the initiative is open to all countries. By 2050, BRI aims to contribute 80 percent of global GDP growth, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. China will act as a lender to finance BRI projects, but it has also invited other countries to work as partners in financing, as well as multilateral institutions, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Germany’s Deutsche Bank has come on board with China Development Bank by agreeing to finance $3 billion in BRI projects. “Functionally, the initiative aims to improve hard infrastructure, soft infrastructure, and even cultural ties,” wrote Christopher Johnson, Matthew Goodman and Jonathan Hillman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in a May 9 brief. “Geographically, it includes roughly 65 countries comprising about 70 percent of the world’s population. Economically, it could involve Chinese investments approaching $4 trillion. The scope and scale of the initiative are somewhat elastic, but all signs point to an ambitious and consequential endeavor: a future where all roads lead to Beijing.”

Economic Drivers There are several drivers behind Belt and Road. One is the economic divide between western and eastern China. The western part of China has lagged behind in economic development compared to eastern China, where there is much higher GDP per capita and extensive infrastructure, explained Sean Miner to The Diplomat. Miner was previously the China program manager at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and is currently the associate director of the China – Latin America Initiative at the Atlantic Council. China also seeks to facilitate economic development in western China to try to stabilize the troubled autonomous region of Xinjiang in the northwest, where there are disaffected minority groups, 12 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017

Mandarin symbols dot a border station between China and Pakistan. As part of its Belt and Road Initiative, China is financing roads, ports and other infrastructure projects throughout Pakistan as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, valued at over $45 billion.

Photo: Pixabay / Abdullah Shakoor

While countries welcome Beijing’s generosity, they are simultaneously wary of its largesse. Paul Haenle

director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy

Miner said. Despite uneven domestic development, China’s economy is among the largest in the world. The World Bank named China as the largest contributor to world growth since the global financial crisis of 2008. With China’s rise as an economic power has come the problem of overcapacity. “On the supply side, financing overseas infrastructure makes sense for China because the country has excess savings,” David Dollar, a senior fellow in the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, wrote in an email. “China has over-invested at home and created problems of excess capacity in infrastructure, housing and industry. There are fewer good investment opportunities in China now, so it makes sense for them to invest more abroad.” BRI serves as a vehicle for China to export its excess industrial capacity (in the form of steel, cement, aluminum, etc.), while channeling investment to its poorer western provinces. Alongside China’s internal economic drivers for BRI is the very real, very large need for infrastructure in Asia. The Asian Development Bank reports that Asia will need to invest $26 trillion from 2016 to 2030, or $1.7 trillion per year, if the region is to maintain its growth, lift more people out of poverty and deal with climate change. Without climate change mitigation and adaptation costs, $22.6 trillion will be needed. Of the total climate-adjusted investment needs from 2016 to 2030, $14.7 trillion will be for power and $8.4 trillion for transport.

Geopolitical Strategy Beyond basic economics, BRI is a statement by Chi-

na on global leadership. China seeks to pave the way for greater regional connectivity and position itself as a world power that rivals the U.S. “China became increasingly frustrated with U.S. leadership of the international economic system,” Carla Freeman, director of the Foreign Policy Institute and a professor of China studies at Johns Hopkins, told The Diplomat. “Principally, we can look at the Asian financial crisis in the late ’90s, then followed by the crisis in 2007, 2008, and that really, for the Chinese, signaled that the U.S. was demanding from China to be a responsible power, but the U.S. was irresponsible because our financial policies were not designed with global financial stability in mind. China has been looking for ways to secure its interests by designing resilience into the international system.” Belt and Road is also a counterpoint to President Barack Obama’s “pivot” to Asia strategy, which included the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement that left out China. BRI is China’s way of asserting itself, but with a soft edge, offering financial and economic support around the world. Now that Donald Trump is the U.S. president, BRI is a way for China to step forward as the U.S. steps back from international commitments. “I’m struck by the fact that traditional leaders of globalization since World War II, the U.S. and the U.K., are consumed by their own domestic challenges right now. China sees its opportunity,” Jonathan Hillman, director of the Reconnecting Asia project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Diplomat. “It’s filling a void. You see that in Xi’s comments at Davos earlier this year, talking about an open system and the importance of free trade.” Belt and Road is China’s idea of globalization 2.0., he said.

The Role of Pakistan The most prominent manifestation of BRI is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which comprises infrastructure projects throughout Pakistan such as power plants, roads and ports. Deloitte reports that the corridor is valued at $45 billion, and experts say the total continues to rise. See c hin a • page 20


Cover Profile | WD

Defending Pakistan Envoy Says Islamabad Wants to Continue ‘Exceptional Relationship’ with U.S. by Larry Luxner

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ast December, a month and a half before Donald Trump was even inaugurated, the president-elect had, to say the least, a rather bizarre phone conversation with Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif. During their chat, he called Sharif a “terrific guy” who is “doing amazing work” and said Pakistan is “a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people.” Bizarre, considering that back in 2012 — a year after U.S. Navy Seals ambushed and killed Osama bin Laden at his fortified compound just outside Abbottabad, Pakistan — the future president tweeted: “Get it straight: Pakistan is not our friend. We’ve given them billions and billions of dollars, and what did we get? Betrayal and disrespect — and much worse. #TimeToGetTough.” It should surprise no one that the White House has played down both Trump’s past pronouncements on Pakistan and the warm-and-fuzzy phone call, which have confused foreign policy experts and enraged India, Pakistan’s arch-enemy. More recently, the White House seems to have reversed course yet again. On June 20, Reuters reported that the administration is considering toughening its approach to Pakistan, potentially expanding drone strikes, withholding aid or downgrading its status as a major non-NATO ally in an effort to prod Islamabad to clamp down on Pakistan-based militants launching attacks on neighboring Afghanistan. Despite the mixed messages, one thing is clear: Islamabad is going to great lengths to portray the often rocky alliance as one of mutual friendship, trust and understanding. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, who presented Trump his credentials April 24, says he’s “very pleased” the Sharif government chose him to represent his country in Washington. “Pakistan and the United States have enjoyed an exceptional relationship for the last seven decades, going back to the ’50s and ’60s,” he told us recently. “There’s a tremendous reservoir of goodwill on both sides, and a tremendous desire on both sides to deepen this relationship in every walk of life.” With an estimated 200 million inhabitants, Pakistan is now the world’s sixthmost populated country behind only China, India, the United States, Indonesia and Brazil. It’s also the world’s second-largest Muslim nation — and the only one with nuclear weapons — not to mention the fact that Pakistan’s 1,600-mile border with Afghanistan straddles one of the most violent, unstable regions on Earth. That makes treading with caution advisable when it comes to navigating the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, something Trump apparently has a hard time doing. Yet Chaudhry politely declined to discuss the president’s past anti-Islamic rhetoric,

his frequent inconsistencies — or the unusual phone call that raised eyebrows in Washington and infuriated officials in New Delhi. “The conversation between our prime minister and then President-elect Trump was very positive,” he said without elaborating. “We had good cooperation under the previous administration, and we believe that a similar good cooperation with this one would be our goal. There are plenty of areas where we need to work together and make that happen.” Chaudhry, who replaced Jalil Abbas Jilani as Pakistan’s ambassador here, has 36 years of Foreign Service experience under his belt. The 59-year-old diplomat was born in the province of Punjab and educated in the United States. He has a master’s in international relations from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and was posted from 1999 to 2000 as political counselor in Washington; he then moved to New York as Pakistan’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations for the next six years. He next became spokesman for the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, and from 2013 until earlier this year, he was Pakistan’s foreign secretary. Over time, he’s also served as ambassador to the Netherlands and been posted to Tehran, Cairo and Doha. “We have great admiration for the values the United States represents,” he told The Diplomat. “Our people are yearning for the same things.”

‘Reality of Today’s Pakistan’ As ambassador, Chaudhry says his priority is “to bring the people of the United States up to speed with the reality of today’s Pakistan.” Over the last two or three years, he said, “We’ve demonstrated that

a blind eye to terrorist groups that further its foreign policy goals and say the U.S. has spent billions of dollars in economic and military assistance to Pakistan — with sometimes little to show for it. Islamabad counters that it has suffered far more from terrorism than the U.S. has, with tens of thousands of its civilians and soldiers dying in the country’s long-running battle against extremists. (For instance, a 2014

Pakistan and the United States have enjoyed an exceptional relationship for the last seven decades, going back to the ’50s and ’60s…. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry ambassador of Pakistan to the United States

the tide of terrorism can be reversed, with a great deal of sacrifice. The entire tribal area today has been cleared of all militants and hideouts.” Experts remain skeptical of that claim, noting that Islamabad has long supported groups such as the Pakistani Taliban and Haqqani militant network as a hedge against Indian hegemony in the region and to ensure Pakistani influence over Afghanistan. Lawmakers in Washington perpetually criticize Islamabad for turning

massacre committed by gunmen affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban on an army school in Peshawar killed nearly 150 people, including many children.) Despite the mutual suspicion and bad blood, neither side can afford a permanent breakup of their uneasy union — Pakistan needs U.S. assistance, and Washington needs to ensure the stability of a geostrategic, nuclear-armed nation. While Pakistan continues to be blamed for fomenting unrest in Afghanistan,

Photo: Lawrence Ruggeri

where 8,400 U.S. troops remain stationed, Chaudhry defended his country’s relations with its troubled neighbor on March 29 in his first public appearance as Pakistan’s new ambassador here. At the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), he spoke at length on how to stop the fighting in Afghanistan and bring a lasting peace to the war-ravaged nation, even though AfghanPakistani relations are mired in a perpetual state of mistrust. For years, extremist groups have made the mountainous area between Pakistan and Afghanistan their home, planning terrorist attacks in each other’s countries, crossing the porous border at will and complicating the Pentagon’s 15-year effort to crush militants in Afghanistan. Each country accuses the other of harboring terrorists. On April 13, the chaotic war zone once again grabbed world headlines when the United States dropped a massive 11ton explosive on a complex of caves and bunkers in eastern Afghanistan, close to the Pakistani border. The GBU-43, nicknamed the “mother of all bombs,” reportedly killed dozens of Islamic State fighters. Yet hundreds of Islamic State fighters still remain in Afghanistan, according to See pakis tan • page 14 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017 | 13


Pakistan ConTinUed • PAge 13

experts, not to mention thousands of Taliban fighters and their allies, such as the Jalaluddin Haqqani militant network, which experts say is abetted by Pakistan’s intelligence services. On May 31, an enormous bomb ripped through Kabul’s highly secure diplomatic quarPhoTo: U.S. MArine CorPS / CAPT. PAUl dUnCAn ter, killing over 150 people and A U.S. navy helicopter flies over Pakistan’s Kalam valley to provide injuring another 300. The Talihumanitarian relief after deadly flooding hit the country in the summer ban denied involvement in the of 2010. The joint humanitarian effort was a rare bright spot in America’s attack — one of the deadliest military relations with Pakistan, which have been marked by longstandsince the U.S.-led war began ing suspicions that islamabad provides sanctuary for terrorist groups in Afghanistan in 2001. But such as the haqqani network. PhoTo: by SAlMAn ShAKeel 1234 - oWn WorK / WiKiMediA CoMMonS CC by-SA 4.0 Afghan intelligence said in a statement quoted by CNN fighters in what used to be percent in 2018 — an absolute Construction skyscrapers rise over Clifton beach in Karachi, a teeming city of 16 million. Pakistan is on track that they believe Pakistan’s called the “Federally Admin- necessity in a rapidly urbaniz- to register economic growth of 4.7 percent this year. Haqqani network was behind istered Tribal Areas” (FATA) ing country where 40 percent NOTE: Although every effort is made to assure your ad is free of mistakes in spelling and it — charges that Islamabad in semi-autonomous north- of the population lives in pov- “We are talking about huge once we do that, the leverage however, belie longstanding it is can ultimately customer make thethat final proof. has for usup on to thethe Taliban would to accusations spaces that Islamabad vehemently denies. western Pakistan have gone erty, according to a 2016 sur- ungovernedcontent diminish because we wouldn’t be a magnet for militants of coddled the very groups it’s “This subject is extremely back home, the ambassador vey by the U.N. Development bebe ablemade to nudge toward world. e otherchanges worry for will finally targeting. Speak- changes twoThfaxed at them no cost to thenow advertiser, subsequent important for my country be- said, adding that “we are now Program, a ratio that rises to 71 Thethefirst Today, mostSigned of ingads us is the Taliban who of fled$75reconciliation. at a June panel discussion cause there is a full consensus engaged in combing out the percent in Balochistan province will bethat billed at a rate per faxed alteration. are 7considered approved. from Pakistan after our op- them have no space in Paki- hosted by the Atlantic Counin Pakistan that peace in Af- remaining terrorists who have and 73 percent in the FATA. have teamed up with stan. They have fled into the cil’s South Asia Center, Zalghanistan is an absolute im- been hiding out in various ciYet in neighboring Afghani- erationsPlease check this high ad carefully. Mark anymay changes mountains. Some went Khalilzad,toa your former ad. U.S. perative,” said Chaudhry at the vilian urban centers.” stan, the situation is much other groups.” into Afghanistan, and some Chaudhry said 7,000 Pakiambassador to Afghanistan, USIP event. “Time and history Since then, he said, terror- worse. Chaudhry, quoting figIf thestani ad military is correct sign and to:urban (301) 949-0065 changes centers. This is not a needs personnel havefax to noted that for years, Pakistan have shown that whenever Af- ist attacks have dropped from ures cited by Afghan President ghanistan was unstable, we an average 150 incidents per Ashraf Ghani, noted that only already been killed in the effort very happy occasion. We could has provided safe havens to an not make 933-3552 much success on the assortment of terrorist groups, to “clear up” theDiplomat tribal areas. The Washington (301) ered. The instability invari-(DC/VA/MD) month to almost zero. “Today, 60 percent of the Texas-size Megansuff Motherway, Realtor “For any military com- military track, or on the politi- including the Taliban. The ably flows across that border the number of attacks a month country is under the control of mander, this is a huge bur- cal track either, so the situation Pakistani Army and the Interinto Pakistan, and therefore, cannot be counted on the fin- Afghan National Forces, while Approved __________________________________________________________ Services Intelligence (ISI) Integrity we would like to work with any gers of a single hand,” said 10 percent is controlled by the den to carry. Nevertheless, in is what it is.” deference to the wishes of the agency in particular, view terChanges ___________________________________________________________ Taliban and the remaining 30 Trust and every effort that is aimed Chaudhry. Afghan and U.S. governments, rorist groups such as the Taliat bringing peace and stability TrAding This progress, he claims, has percent is contested. ___________________________________________________________________ Professionalism ban as proxies in the regional to Afghanistan.” “Unfortunately, the security we started squeezing space for ACCUSATionS boosted Pakistan’s economy, the Taliban and Haqqanis, ” he scramble for power. At least 90 percent of the situation in Afghanistan is not with a projected 4.7 percent Performance These terrorist sanctuaries Pakistan’s military sacrifices, people displaced by Taliban GDP growth this year and 5 very encouraging,” he said. said. “We had cautioned that







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have long been obstacles to peace in Afghanistan, according to Khalilzad. That’s why he said Pakistan “has to tell the Taliban that if they don’t enter a peace process, they will not be allowed to operate from Pakistan.” Chaudhry, who also participated in that Atlantic Council discussion, argued that Pakistan is perennially used as a scapegoat for Afghanistan’s problems. “To say that Pakistan is responsible for everything is over-simplistic, and if you keep doing that I think you are barking [up] the wrong tree and will not be able to get to a solution.” He warned that in the long run, there is no military solution to Afghanistan’s many problems. “If there were one, it would have come when NATO forces were at their peak,” he said. “But after 15 years of huge military and economic investments by the United States and their partners, there’s not much to show. We believe we should not rely solely on the military option. The political track also has to be nudged forward. Unfortunately, it has not been satisfactory.” Efforts by Pakistan to get the Taliban leadership to sit together with Afghanistan’s legitimately elected government and “come up with some kind of politically negotiated pace” began in earnest in 2015 — yet a string of political assassinations and U.S. drone strikes caused the collapse of those talks, and the insurgency has only grown since then. “We are waiting for the new [Trump] administration to announce the outcome of its review,” said Chaudhry. “Based on that, we would like to engage with the U.S., which we still believe is the main player and has invested huge stakes in Afghanistan’s peace.” Trump has given Defense Secretary James Mattis wide-ranging authority to come up with a new strategy for Afghanistan, with Mattis reportedly considering sending an additional 4,000 troops to the country (also see story on page 10). But the president has yet to articulate a clear

Pakistan at a glance Independence: Aug. 14, 1947 (from british india) Location Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, between india on the east and iran and Afghanistan on the west and China in the north National flag of Pakistan

Capital islamabad Population 201.9 million (July 2016 estimate) Ethnic groups Punjabi 44.7 percent, Pashtun (Pathan) 15.4 percent, Sindhi 14.1 percent, Sariaki 8.4 percent, Muhajirs 7.6 percent, balochi 3.6 percent, other 6.3 percent GDP (purchasing power parity) $988.2 billion (2016 estimate)

GDP per-capita (PPP) $5,100 (2016 estimate)

vision for Afghanistan — or Pakistan, for that matter — focusing instead on defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. currently has no ambassador in either Afghanistan or Pakistan, and it remains to be seen when the posts might be filled, given how slow Trump has been to fill government vacancies and the looming budget cuts to the State Department. That has left Af-Pak watchers eagerly awaiting Mattis’s review, which is due later this month. “Officials said the Afghan review has been broadened to include the policy toward neighboring Pakistan, particularly the question of how to prevent that country from being a haven for the Taliban and militants involved in the Afghan conflict,” wrote Michael R. Gordon in a June 13 New York Times article. “That in turn has led to a discussion within the administration about what steps might be taken to mitigate Pakistan’s decades-long anxieties over India. The result is that the Afghan review has turned into a larger review of American policy toward Southwest Asia.”

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PAKiSTAn’S role in AfghAniSTAn In the meantime, with diplomats in limbo over the president’s unformulated policies, Chaudhry is stressing that Pakistan stands ready to work with Afghanistan to stabilize the region. The first step is continued negotiations. “We should not rely solely on a military solution,” he said in his USIP speech. “Force is important, but wars are not the answer. In this day and age, we should have more faith in negotiations.” Chaudhry said Islamabad and Kabul need to “talk at all levels, leadership to leadership, politicians to politicians, diplomats to diplomats, military to military and intel to intel. All approaches are simultaneously required to bring our two governments together in a mode to coordinate with each other for the common good.” Those talks should include border management, or more specifically, regulating the movement of legitimate, bona fide travelers.

“People crossing in large numbers without any passports or documentation whatsoever has not helped. Pakistan complains that bad guys come from Afghanistan and create mischief and terrorism on the Pakistani side, and Afghanistan says the same thing,” the ambassador told his audience. “In order to eliminate cross-border movement of terrorists, it is extremely important that we have a managed border between our two countries. It is as important for them as it is for us.” More controversially, Chaudhry defends his government’s decision to expel all Afghan refugees in Pakistan, some 3 million of whom have fled to Pakistan since the 1980 Soviet invasion of their homeland. “In many countries, even 1 million refugees is a big issue,” he said. “For 15 years, billions of dollars of economic investment was made in Afghanistan, but never to create conducive conditions for people to go back.” Ultimate responsibility for stabilizing Afghanistan, he argues, lies with Kabul, not Islamabad. “We believe that whatever works, we are ready to work with that. But at the end of the day, it has to be the Afghan government,” Chaudhry said. “Pakistan, the U.S. and China can only play a facilitative role. We can push the Taliban and the Haqqanis, but efforts have to be made to create conditions which would facilitate a negotiated peace in Afghanistan so that the U.S. — which has invested so much for so long in that country — is also able to leave with the peace of mind that it has stabilized Afghanistan.”

doMeSTiC WoeS Beyond Afghanistan, however, Pakistan has plenty of its own internal problems to worry about. Poverty and corruption are endemic. The Panama Papers leak ensnared Prime Minister Sharif, leading to investigations about his See Pakis Tan • PAge 20

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THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017 | 15


WD | United States

Voice for the Vulnerable Refugees International’s New President Aims to Put Humanitarianism Back on Global Radar by Sarah Alaoui

W

e’ve all seen the haunting images of 3-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi washed up lifeless on a Turkish beach, or the dusty, bloodied face of Omran Daqneesh, 5, who was rescued from the rubble in Aleppo. These images shock and disturb until the next news cycle seemingly desensitizes audiences. In June, Refugees International — an independent advocacy group whose board has boasted the likes of George Soros and Queen Noor of Jordan — announced the appointment of its new president, Eric Schwartz, a seasoned diplomat with a three-decade career and a passion to put humanitarianism back on the world’s radar. “At no point in my professional lifetime has there been as significant of a threat to humanitarianism as over the last several decades,” said Schwartz, who joined Refugees International following a six-year tenure as the dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. “This threat is critical and challenges some values or beliefs that some of us feel are deeply embedded in global politics.” Schwartz has an especially challenging menu of obstacles to address in promoting human welfare today. The international community faces massive humanitarian crises in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and elsewhere, with more than 65 million men, women and children displaced — levels unprecedented since World War II. At the beginning of this year, the United Nations declared a famine in South Sudan, the first since 2011. More than 20 million people, in fact, are now living on the brink of famine in Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria and South Sudan. Out of these, 1.4 million children are now in imminent risk of death. Elsewhere in the world, humans are still risking their lives to reach Europe’s shores in search of better opportunities, with over 5,000 people recorded as dead or missing in the Mediterranean in 2016, the deadliest year on record. “Over the past year and across the world, borders have been closed, walls have been built and hearts have hardened…. And this is frankly unforgivable,” said Schwartz’s predecessor, outgoing President Michel Gabaudan, at the group’s annual fundraising dinner in April (also see “Refugees International Pleads for Compassion to Help World’s Displaced” in the May 2017 Diplomatic Pouch). Schwartz is well-equipped to take on these challenges — and apathy. His career spans positions with NGOs, the United Nations and U.S. government, including stints as U.N. deputy special envoy for tsunami recovery and senior director for multilateral and humanitarian affairs on the National Security Council. More recently, he served as U.S. assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration between 2009 and 2011, managing a $1.85 billion budget and working to improve America’s refugee resettlement program. That program is now under threat by President Trump’s controversial travel ban, which suspends all refugee admissions and significantly lowers the annual caps on admissions, as well as his proposed budget cuts to State Department funding. At the tail end of the Obama administration, the U.S. reached a nadir of accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees per year — still a tiny fraction of the over 5 million who have fled Syria to countries such as Turkey and Jordan. Yet the issue of accepting Syrian refugees became a contentious one even before Trump came to power. The debate came to the forefront in 2015 when more than half of America’s governors announced that refugees would no longer be welcome in their states. During that period, Schwartz was invited to testify before the Senate to discuss the possibility of radicals from groups such as the Islamic State infiltrating Syrian resettlement programs. Instead

16 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017

Eric Schwartz

Photo: Refugees International

At no point in my professional lifetime has there been as significant of a threat to humanitarianism as over the last several decades.

Eric Schwartz

president of Refugees International

of expounding on the infinitesimal threat of terrorists who manage to elude a years-long screening process, however, Schwartz pointed out the economic edge that immigrants have given the U.S. over the years. “Immigration — including the entry of refugees who are often so determined and entrepreneurial — is a critical factor in enabling the United States to avoid many of the very troubling demographic trends that bedevil other industrialized countries less hospitable to immigrants,” he said. At Refugees International, Schwartz is determined to continue this advocacy on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable. Because the organization does not accept funding from governments or the United Nations, a bulk of its work focuses on rigorous on-the-ground assessments used to secure more assistance for the world’s displaced. Its reports have chronicled the devastation in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew; the lack of opportunities for displaced Syrians in Turkey; and the large gaps in humanitarian funding for the violence-plagued Central African Republic. That mission has taken on added urgency in light of the Trump administration’s relegation of human rights to the bottom of his foreign policy agenda, which emphasizes defense over diplomacy and development. “Traditionally, whether you were dealing with Democratic or Republican administrations, there was a shared consensus on the U.S. being an international leader on humanitarian response. With some respects, in the new administration, there is uncertainty on whether that con-

sensus exists,” Schwartz said. One crucial area where the organization has focused its efforts is on the administration’s proposed budget cuts to the State Department and foreign aid — an estimated 28 percent that includes the elimination of key programs and emergency reserve funding for refugee assistance. During several hearings in June, senators from both parties admonished the Trump administration’s international affairs budget cuts that gut soft power in favor of hard power as “a total waste of time” and “dead on arrival.” In a June 13 statement, Refugees International had strong words about slashing the international affairs budget, which together comprises just 1 percent of federal spending: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson today had the unenviable task of putting lipstick on a pig, suggesting that a foreign aid budget request with draconian cuts represents responsible stewardship of U.S. foreign policy,” the group said. “With unprecedented humanitarian needs around the globe, this is no time for the United States to slash its aid budget and leave millions of people at greater risk of suffering.” Despite the bleak budget environment under Trump, Schwartz sounded a diplomatically hopeful note. “I believe there are some voices in the new administration that are sympathetic of this perspective, and they also need to be spoken to and engaged with.” These humanitarian needs extend to climate changeinduced displacement — a phenomenon not commonly associated with mass migration, and another area where Refugees International is at odds with the White House (Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget would slash all climate-related initiatives). The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre estimates that an average of 22.5 million people have been displaced by climate- or weather-related events since 2008. “There has always been humanitarian suffering — this isn’t something unique to 2017,” said Schwartz. “Right now, there is a short supply of enlightened, forwardleaning leadership … [which is] critically important in helping articulate a narrative of support, of tolerance, of sympathy for the plight of those who are most adversely affected.” WD Sarah Alaoui (@musingsdiffused) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.


Global Vantage Point | WD

Moral Injury of War Op-Ed: Choices Made in War Can Lead to Lifetime of Invisible Wounds by Peter Van Buren

“M

y guilt will never go away,” former Marine and now veteran advocate Matthew Hoh explained. “There is a significant portion of me that doesn’t believe it should be allowed to go away, that this pain is fair.” Somewhere in that sentence I found the voice of Lt. Nate Hooper, the main character in my new book, “Hooper’s War: A Novel of World War II Japan.” He was going to teach me about moral injury in war. I wanted to write about what happens to people in war, combatants and civilians alike. The need to tell that story grew in large part out of my own experiences in Iraq, where I spent a year embedded with a combat unit as a U.S. State Department Foreign Service Officer, and where I witnessed two soldier suicides. As I broadened my research for the book, I found myself speaking with more and more veterans who suffered in ways they had a hard time describing but which they wrestled with every day. They seemed to be trying out the words for the first time as they told me they went away with the wartime conceit “we’re the good guys,” and then spoke of a depth of guilt and shame when that good guy persona does not survive the test of events. I came to know this as moral injury. The term is fairly new outside of military circles, but the idea is as old as war, when people sent into conflict find their sense of right and wrong tested. As they violate deeply held convictions by doing something (such as killing in error), or failing to do something (such as not reporting a war crime), they suffer an injury to their core being. Think Tim O’Brien’s iconic Vietnam War book, “The Things They Carried,” or films like William Wyler’s 1946 “The Best Years of Our Lives” and Oliver Stone’s 1986 “Platoon.” There are lines inside us that cannot be crossed except at great price. As Lisa Ling, a former Air Force technical sergeant working in the drone program told the makers of the documentary “National Bird”: “I lost part of my humanity.” Society once expressed skepticism toward such ideas, calling sufferers cowards or dismissing them by saying it’s all in their heads. Yet today a sister illness to moral injury such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is widely acknowledged. The two afflictions often occur together. Moral injury, however, takes place at the intersection of psychology and spirituality, and so, in a sense, is all in someone’s head. Moral injury applies guilt and/or shame as a penalty for a choice made. PTSD is more physical, more fear-based, often a reaction to something experienced, not chosen, and includes stresses like hyper-alertness in the absence of a true threat. The setting for “Hooper’s War” evolved to World War II Japan, as I realized moral injury doesn’t just affect soldiers — the same as bombs and bullets don’t affect just civilians. I spent eight years in Japan as an American diplomat and speak the language well enough. That gave me the rare opportunity to interview now-elderly Japanese who lived through the war as children. They described the horrific choices they faced in a landscape of hunger and survival. Desperate people can be forced into desperate acts, and those, too, cause moral injuries that survive long after the conflict ends. In fact, sometimes those injuries don’t end until the sufferers do. I learned moral injury is a debt that has to be settled, one way or another. One incident I wrote about focuses on a Japanese child seeing his neighbor killed by an errant American

Photo: National Archives and Records Administration

bomb. That changes him from an innocent boy into a soldier seeking revenge. It’s as if he was radicalized, a term we use today to describe how a peaceful person becomes a suicide bomber. Through other research I came to understand that my own country committed acts of moral depravity on a massive scale: The U.S. followed a policy of targeting civilians through mass fire bombings of Japanese cities. To fine-tune their use of firebombs, the U.S. Army Air Force even built a full-size Japanese village in Utah during World War II. They questioned American architects

My guilt will never go away…. There is a significant portion of me that doesn’t believe it should be allowed to go away, that this pain is fair. Matthew Hoh former Marine

who had worked in Japan before the war, consulted a furniture importer and installed tatami straw floor mats taken from Japanese-Americans sent off to internment camps. Among the insights gleaned from this model village was the need for incendiary devices to be made much heavier than originally thought. Japanese homes typically had tile roofs. The early devices tended to bounce right off. A heavier device would break through the tile and ignite inside the structure, creating a much more effective fire. The American campaign reached its peak of genocidal efficiency with the atomic fire-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There was no territory conquered; the dead and their survivors had no means of influencing policy. This was bloodletting, raw and simple. It represented moral injury, to Americans, on a national level. What help can there be for something so human as

The USS Bunker Hill aircraft carrier is struck by two Japanese kamikazes during the battle for Okinawa in World War II on May 11, 1945. Three months later, the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leading to Japan’s surrender to the Allies.

moral injury? For individuals, there are bad answers, which all too often include opioids and alcohol. Drinking and drugs wipe away hours when there are too many of them, all the way back to 1945 sometimes. You drink in the dark places, even after you understand you can still see too much in the dark. Tragically, suicide is never far from moral injury. The soul isn’t that big a place. One soldier told me he’s never forgiven his neighbor for talking him out of going into the garage with his rifle. Another said the question wasn’t why he might commit suicide, but why he hadn’t. The Department of Veterans Affairs counts an average of 20 vet suicides a day. About 65 percent of those are individuals 50 years and older with little or no exposure to the most recent conflicts. The pain that grows out of moral injury can be patient, a drop of water swelling on the end of a faucet. Progress is being made, though the trip back is as complex as the individual, and the most effective treatments are still evolving. The Department of Veterans Affairs now acknowledges moral injury and its effects, and Syracuse University created the Moral Injury Project in 2014 to bring together vets, doctors and chaplains. Psychologists are developing diagnostic assessment tools. One path is helping a patient understand what happened and their own responsibility, though not necessarily their fault, for transgressions. What doesn’t work, according to Matthew Hoh, now a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, is lying — the all-too American obsession with telling veterans who view themselves as damaged that they are really heroes. Others seek forgiveness. Drone warrior Lisa Ling traveled to Afghanistan wanting only to understand her role in the drone program, but during an encounter with the relatives of victims, was forgiven by them. “I didn’t ask for forgiveness,” Ling told See Op - ED • page 18 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017 | 17


Pentagon

and to accept — but not be defined by — what one did or didn’t do. ConTinUed • PAge 11 “You mean that Vietnam helicopter thing?” a well-meaning family doctor ConTinUed • PAge 17 asked me when I got back. “No, no, the lower levels, but they may not all be aggregate something more,” I said. I told him that and heading in the same strategic direction in terms me, “because it was unforgivable.” the anemic role I played as a diplomat of results. That’s the problem when you delegate “Like all of us,” Ling continued, “I in Iraq administering reconstruction more authority,” said Haynes, who added that Mattis spent time on the mission floor, or at projects left me more interested in vodis much more involved in foreign policy and operabriefings where I saw and heard dev- ka than my family. That was my taste of tions than his predecessors. astating things or blatant this phenomenon, a failure to In addition to the potential for confusion in forlies, but to actually conhave accomplished the good eign relations, there is also the risk of a widening nect my individual work I’d hoped to do. gap between the Defense Department and State Deto single events wasn’t I wrote “Hooper’s War” in partment. “Unless U.S. embassies overseas underpossible due to the difreverse chronology. Hooper stand what the combatant commanders are doing fusion of responsibility. lived all those years with the and work with them, there’s a possibility you may For sensor operators, it things he had seen and done, delink U.S. defense policy overseas with U.S. foreign is more like stepping on and I want the reader to feel policy,” said Haynes. “There needs to be that bridge ants. For analysts, they those repercussions just as between operational goals and the achievement of get to know people over those suffering from moral foreign policy goals to accomplish grander political time. As watchers and injury do. Everyone goals.” listeners, they describe can relate because evTrump’s authorization of a missile strike on an airan intimacy that comes eryone at one point fi eld in Syria in April illuminates the confusion that with predictably “If only I had…” —in spelling and NOTE: Although every knowing effort is made to assure your adsays, is free of mistakes can arise from focusing on tactics untethered from thecontent targets’ family patterns — kissing referring to the handful of secit is ultimately up to the customer to make the final proof. strategy. From one perspective, the strike could have the kids, taking children to school — onds that add up to a lifetime of regret effectively been Trump rapping Syrian President Asand then seeing these same people die.” and second-guessing. The first twoAnother faxed changes will be made at no cost to the advertiser, subsequent changes sad on the knuckles for attacks against his people. way back is for the sufThe book ends with Hooper as a boy But from the perspective of Congress and Syria, will be billed atmake a rate of $75 per faxed Signed ads are considered approved. ferer to amends of some sort, toalteration. as far away in rural Ohio as one can be this looked at first glance like a declaration of war balance the scales. To amend means from Japan. You see the darkness, but — until it became clear that the strike was a onechangingcheck something already and youMark Please this ad done, carefully. any changes to your ad. can also see the light. That is where off event. Trump’s decision also seemed to catch his in the case of moral injury, that trans- the reader ends up, so there is a winown team off-guard. Just days earlier, Secretary of lates intosign drawing line to: between who a ner, of sorts. Notneeds always so much in real If the ad is correct anda fax (301) 949-0065 changes State Rex Tillerson had suggested that Assad could person was then and who a person can life. WD remain in power, saying the Syrian people should be now. Iraq War whistleblower ChelThe Washington Diplomat (301) 933-3552 decide his fate. sea Manning’s decision to leak video of Peter Van Buren is a former Foreign civilian deaths may have been a form of Service Officer who is the author of amends, driven by her guilt over silently “Hooper’s War: A Novel of World War Approved __________________________________________________________ filling The void witnessing that and other war crimes. II Japan” and “We Meant Well: How I Changes ___________________________________________________________ Yet the absence of a unifying strategic framework The goal of all methods is the same: Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts for U.S. operations abroad cannot easily be filled by ___________________________________________________________________ to reclaim the good parts of one’s self and Minds of the Iraqi People.” either the Pentagon or the State Department without leadership from the White House — even if Trump

Op-Ed

were to give diplomats more decision-making freedom as he did the generals. “It’s not like Rex Tillerson or Secretary Mattis or [National Security Advisor] H.R. McMaster have well-developed views about local American strategy,” said Donnelly. “There’s not much indication that these individuals involved are standing by with a grand program to rebuild American power. I think we got a way to go before there’s anything like a normal policy-making apparatus or process in place.” If one goes with the theory that Trump leads like a businessman, then it seems he would value efficiency. Giving the military more authority on decision making is one way to achieve that, but the administration may be getting in its own way by being very slow to fill civilian appointments. In fact, there are hundreds of vacancies across the government for which Trump has yet to name candidates, including many at the Pentagon and State Department (also see article in the June 2017 issue of The Washington Diplomat). The administration would be able to “get a lot more done” by not waiting so long to fill key positions, argued Friend. A White House-approved staff under Mattis and Tillerson would enable the administration to implement its vision, whatever that happens to be. “There’s also very little practical connectivity between the White House and the day-to-day folks who work on things out of the embassies, out of headquarters,” Friend pointed out. “What’s the policy-planning shop up to? Does Tillerson have one or want one? What guidance are chiefs of mission getting about how to portray our foreign policy in the world?” There are operational benefits in giving the military the authority to act on its own, but the means must have an endgame for the U.S. “What you need longer term is strategic planning to make the lines of effort go in the same direction,” said Haynes. WD Aileen Torres-Bennett is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.

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The International Patient Program

at the George Washington University Hospital

Caring for Our Diplomats and International Community We provide a boutique concierge program that offers personalized healthcare services for diplomats, international patients, and U.S. and non-U.S. citizens. The International Patient Program can help you and your family with: • Complimentary language interpretation

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18 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017

• Physician and hospital appointment scheduling • A complimentary personal escort to medical appointments • Medical cost estimates

Photo: Shiv Vachhani

To learn more, contact the program director at +1-202-715-5028 or Helen.Salazar@gwu-hospital.com

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Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of the George Washington University Hospital. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. 170197 2/17


Medical | WD

Growing Ills Nearly 10 Million U.S. Adults Suffer from Mental Illness More than a third aren’t getting help, federal study says

by HealthDay News

N

early 10 million American adults have a serious mental illness, and a similar number have considered suicide during the past year, according to a new government report on the nation’s behavioral ills. The report also said that 15.7 million Americans abuse alcohol and 7.7 million abuse illicit drugs. The nation’s growing opioid epidemic was also a focus in the report. The researchers found that 12.5 million people are estimated to have misused prescription painkillers such as oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) or hydrocodone (Vicoprofen). Despite the growing number of Americans with mental health problems, about a third of those who need help aren’t getting it, said researcher Dr. Beth Han. She’s from the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality at the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “These are real increases,” Han said. The reasons people aren’t getting the help they need are varied. They include not having health insurance and not knowing where to go for help, she said. Han believes that stigma continues to play a part in why people with mental health problems don’t seek help. “They are afraid that other people may find out,” she said. Among teens, marijuana use has gone down slightly, from nearly 8 percent in 2011 to 7 percent in 2015, though with more states legalizing its use, more people continue to accept the drug as safe and discount its potential harms, the researchers said. “For teens, marijuana is a substitute for other behaviors like binge drinking,” said Dr. Scott Krakower. He’s the assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y. Often, substance abuse is driven by other mental problems such as depression or bipolar disorder, Krakower said. These mental problems may also be a product of the substance abuse, he added. On the bright side, fewer teens are smoking cigarettes. And fewer teens started using marijuana, drugs or alcohol in 2015 than in previous years, the researchers said. Mental illness is a growing problem among adolescents. Three million teens from 12 to 17 had major depression in 2015. The problem is particularly acute among girls, the researchers found. Among teens, depression increased from 2 million in 2011 to 3 million in 2015, Han said. Among adults, 9.8 million Americans reported having serious thoughts about suicide in the past year. This continued an upward trend that started in 2012. In 2011, 9 million adults reported thoughts of suicide, according to Han. These numbers are rising along with the opioid

Photo: Pixabay

The country needs to figure out a better model so people get the mental health care they need.

Dr. Scott Krakower

assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York

epidemic, she noted. In addition, 9.8 million adults have a serious mental illness. That number has remained about the same since 2011, Han said. Despite this, only about two-thirds of those who need it are getting treatment for mental health problems. Poor people have less opportunity for treatment, Krakower said. People who are uninsured or who have insurance with large deductibles may be more likely to deal with a physical problem rather than a mental problem, he said. In addition, wait times for treatment can be very long — up to a year, Krakower said. That’s because of the lack of trained staff and resources. “The country needs to figure out a better model

so people get the mental health care they need,” he said. In the meantime, the prescription drug abuse epidemic continues, Han said. Many of these people get their drugs from a friend or relative or from a doctor, the researchers said. People without health insurance were nearly twice as likely to have misused a prescription painkiller as those with insurance in the past year, according to the report. In 2015, more than 1 million Americans were being treated for substance abuse. From 2011 to 2015, the number of people receiving medicationassisted therapy, mostly methadone, as part of a narcotic treatment program has increased about 16 percent. Looking for an explanation for the behavioral health problems in the country, Krakower speculated that the mood of America is feeding mental health and drug issues. “The morale of the country has been down,” he said. “The economy drives a lot of people’s mood. I don’t think people feel comfortable in this country. When that kind of morale happens, it has an effect on people’s psychology,” Krakower said. The findings are published in the “Behavioral Health Barometer – United States, 2016,” which was released June 12 by SAMHSA. WD Copyright (c) 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017 | 19


country. “Big corporate names want to be in Pakistan, like ExxonMobil, GE, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble,” he said. “This is my top priority, to remove some of the prevailing misperceptions of Pakistan which are at variance with the reality on the ground — that we defeated terrorism at a time and in a region still grappling with these evil forces. That is the reality of today’s Pakistan. We are opening new chapters in economic engagement with different parts of the world, from China to Turkey to Europe to America.” Yet Pakistan is still held back by religious and sectarian strife, as well as violence against the country’s Christian minority (which accounts for about 1 percent of the population) and en-

Pakistan ConTinUed • PAge 15

offshore companies and assets. Political infighting is a constant threat to the civilian government, which has long been beholden to the country’s powerful military. But Chaudhry says that thanks to a series of economic reforms and the improvement of what he calls “law and order,” Pakistan’s fiscal deficit has been halved, the stock market is booming and investments are flowing into the

Toft

forcement of Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws. In early June, a court in Bahawalpur sentenced 30-year-old Taimoor Raza to death for allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammad during a Facebook debate on Islam with a man who turned out to be a counterterrorism agent. The Guardian quoted Saroop Ijaz, a lawyer for Human Rights Watch in Pakistan, as saying that “the casual manner in which death sentences are handed in blasphemy cases coupled with the lack of orientation of Pakistani courts with technologies makes this a very dangerous situation,” where the mere mention of unfounded allegations of blasphemy can lead to mob vigilante justice.

Asked about the verdict, Choudhry didn’t comment on it directly, but said such cases are the “legacy” of Afghanistan’s struggle following the Soviet invasion of 1980, when the U.S. began funding Islamic extremists as a bulwark against communism. “After the Soviets and then the Americans left, the militants took root, and after 9/11, the limelight was again shined on them. We are now focusing on that mindset which germinates extremism,” the ambassador explained. “We have also launched a national action plan, a 20-point agenda to deal with extremism in the country.” See Pakis Tan • PAge 46

China

ConTinUed • PAge 7

ConTinUed • PAge 12

“America stands for basic rights for individuals and the protection of those rights. We have one of the most beautifully written documents in the world — the Constitution — and it does seem to be under threat now. We have a president who does not seem to understand constitutional authority. I do think people believe in the defense of the Constitution and what it stands for, but it boils down to the interpretation. I think we’re at a liminal point,” she said. Whether Trump’s inward-looking administration will be a “oneoff ” event or set the tone for future relations is still unknown, she said. “One of the reasons we are all holding our breath is that we don’t know where this is going to go.” Regardless of what happens during this administration, Toft is concerned that while the specter of a civil war may not be imminent, violence among different Americans could erupt in such a deeply polarized environment. She said that her daily reading habits include the alt-right’s leading media sites, Breitbart and Infowars, where dehumanizing language reminiscent of Nazi Germany is prolific. “I read an article where Eric Trump [son of the president] said that Democrats aren’t even people. That’s hateful language. [On] Breitbart, Democrats are ‘demrats’ or ‘librats.’ The dehumanization here is very unAmerican,” she said. It’s not known whether Trump himself is aware of the origins of his “America first” mantra, a slogan popularized by Nazi sympathizers during World War II. “Are our institutions resilient enough, will the system correct [itself] and we will go back to protecting the most vulnerable in our population and honoring our treaties?” Toft mused. “Those questions are still up in the air at this point. But if Congress and the Cabinet fold, then I think [our allies] will say, ‘Wow, we can’t rely on the U.S.’ That’s where we are right now. Let’s hope that we can re-establish our stature.” WD

“This is very much a strategic relationship in that China wants to maintain Pakistan as its very good ally. But, also, Pakistan can help strategically because of its location,” said Miner. “It’s connected to the western part of China, and it can help facilitate development of the western part of China. Facilitating this corridor through Pakistan helps the western region export more and helps have access to energy. Using a port in Pakistan cuts off shipping time.” The corridor will pass through the Gilgit-Baltistan province in north Pakistan, which will connect Kashgar in Xinjiang to the rest of the world through the Gwadar Port in south Pakistan. China has naval security interests in Gwadar, and the port could be a bulwark against instability in the South China Sea, where China is in dispute with several countries over territory. The South China Sea is also where the narrow Strait of Malacca is located, a critical shipping lane for Chinese oil that in theory could be blockaded by India, the U.S. or other nations during a conflict. “A lot of China’s trade goes through the South China Sea. They see that as a vulnerable area. That’s why the Pakistan Corridor comes in handy. It gives them a way to ship out through Pakistan if there’s trouble in the South China Sea,” said Miner. But Pakistan comes with its own set of headaches for the Chinese, including warring political and military factions, instability and rampant corruption. Moreover, India is unnerved by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor because it worries that it will involve Kashmir, the contested territory between India and Pakistan. India’s disapproval, however, is not enough to stop the infrastructure projects that are well underway.

Whitney McKnight (www.whitney mcknight.com) is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C. Anna Gawel (@diplomatnews) is the managing editor of The Washington Diplomat.

India is not the only country skeptical of the initiative — and China’s underlying intentions. “While countries welcome Beijing’s generosity, they are simultaneously wary of its largesse,” wrote Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie-

PoliTiCAl, PrACTiCAl ChAllengeS

20 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017

PhoTo: PixAbAy

beijing hopes its belt and road initiative develops the western part of the country, including xinjiang, above, which economically lags behind other parts of China.

Tsinghua Center for Global Policy based in Beijing, in a May 9 Carnegie brief. “As was made clear in Xi’s speech inaugurating the initiative, countries along its routes should be connected not just by roads and rails but by political aims. China’s growing influence is a concern for nations whose political interests do not always align with Beijing’s.” He added that for developed nations, “it is impossible not to view the BRI through a geopolitical lens — a Chinese effort to build a sphere of influence. There is an inherent duality in many BRI infrastructure projects, from foreign ports to dams. While ostensibly a commercial or soft power venture, the resulting infrastructure could have dual-use applications that would allow China to enhance its hard power projection.” Beyond its lofty political aims, however, China’s vision of One Belt, One Road may have problems even getting off the ground. BRI is incredibly ambitious in its goal of interconnectedness in Asia and beyond, but it is a loose network of sprawling projects still in its infancy. Whether BRI will be successful depends on the implementation of those projects. “It’s up to the countries themselves what will happen,” Yukon Huang, a senior fellow with the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Diplomat. “If they know exactly what they want, then they can move very quickly.” In general, infrastructure projects are problematic anywhere in the world. “They’re usually over cost, delayed and don’t deliver what’s promised,” said Hillman. “This happens in the best business environment. Those challenges are even bigger in the developing world.

Implementation is going to depend on the ability to address those risks. It depends on the partners.” Beijing is no doubt aware that it is taking a huge gamble in places such as Pakistan, where the Chinese expect to lose 80 percent of their money, according to one estimate by the consultancy firm Gavekal cited by The Economist. But the government appears willing — and financially able — to absorb short-term losses to achieve longterm gains. Conversely, the need is deep for infrastructure projects in developing countries, making Chinese offers of financing very attractive. The problem of unpayable debt, however, could loom large down the line. “When the numbers start to get big, that’s when it’s concerning. For example, Laos is pursuing a railway more than half its GDP with China’s financing,” said Hillman. “Very likely, a percentage of these projects will not work out. What happens with the debt? The larger the numbers, the more concerning it is,” he said. Development of the China-Pakistan Corridor is moving quickly, which has set off alarm bells within the IMF as Pakistan racks up debt to finance projects, Hillman added. Chinese financing often also requires that Chinese construction companies do the work using Chinese goods. “Most of these companies are state-owned enterprises in China. They’re plagued with overcapacity in steel and aluminum,” said Miner. One way to increase the demand for steel is to build railroads. “These projects will help to get some of these companies in a better position financially. A lot of them took on a lot of debt in the last 10 years, and revenues are now stagnating, if not going down.”

Because of the high probability of Chinese companies taking over BRI projects, Europe wants transparency in the bidding process for construction projects. “I think you’ll see pushback from European countries that have different standards on this,” said Freeman. “If they’re engaging and competing, there are going to be strains between the Chinese and these countries insisting on high standards like transparency.” This clash of standards has become evident in the controversial BRI railway that was to be built between Belgrade, Serbia, and Budapest, Hungary. The European Commission put the plans on hold to investigate whether the finances and bidding process hold up to EU law. On top of the transparency issue are questions on the political and environmental ramifications of projects. For instance, it’s possible that China could partner with an authoritarian regime to build and protect infrastructure. As for environmental practices, Chinese firms generally do not have good reputations. If BRI is to go beyond China’s yard and be a win-win for all involved, as China is saying it would like BRI to be, then Chinese interests will have to be tempered by high standards for infrastructure and industry best practices. Competing interests between countries, and between businesses interested in participating in BRI, will require coordination, which ultimately is the biggest challenge facing the Belt and Road Initiative. It’s a behemoth concept that will be fleshed out one project at a time, potentially involving 65 countries, in China’s estimate. There is no governing structure for BRI projects, so there is a lack of coordination from the start. This lack may lead to overlapping efficiency, Miner pointed out. “There’s not much grand coordination. If you’re building a train in Southeast Asia, there may be other companies doing other projects that may overlap,” he said. “Coordination is uncertain. What’s the grand scheme of things?” It’s early days for BRI, so the world has yet to see what Xi’s grand idea will yield. “I think as it moves ahead, it will create as many strains in bilateral relations as it brings countries together,” said Freeman. “It’s a very complex, very difficult vision.” WD Aileen Torres-Bennett is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.


Hotels & Travel A special section of the Washington Diplomat

July 2017

New Kids on Block

photo: AdRIAN gAut

the 220-room line dC hotel in Adams Morgan opens later this summer.

From Micro Rooms to Trump’s Huge Mark, D.C.’s Hotel Scene Continues to Evolve •

H

otel options are not in short supply in the nation’s capital. Whether travelers want a recognizable chain, an independent standalone boutique or something steeped in history (we’re looking at you, Watergate, Willard and Washington Hilton), there’s really something for everyone. But D.C. tourism is evolving and so is the hospitality landscape here.

So far in 2017 alone, four hotels have debuted in four different neighborhoods, with more to come. For instance, there’s the Pod DC in Penn Quarter, the District’s second micro-hotel, which has tiny rooms but big plans, as well as its predecessor, the sleekly compact Hotel Hive in Foggy Bottom. There’s also The Darcy, based on a fictional character but with very real complimentary daily gin tastings, and The Line, which is joining the marketplace later this summer with a radio station broadcasting from its lobby. In fact, according to Destination DC, there are 16 hotels in the pipeline, with 3,703 rooms opening in the rest of 2017 through 2020 and

By StephANIe kANoWItZ

beyond. Other prominent newcomers that have made waves in the region include Trump International, which plays its own interesting role here for obvious reasons, and the gigantic MGM National Harbor just across the Potomac, which is making its mark not only as a casino, but as a popular concert venue, too. Here’s a look at each of these new properties, what they have to offer, how they differ and how they hope to stand out in an already crowded market. See Hot els • pAge 22

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017 | 21


Hotels Continued • page 21

The Darcy 1515 Rhode Island Ave., NW thedarcyhotel.com

This 226-room hotel with 37 suites opened April 26 bursting with amenities. First, some background: The hotel’s name is based on a fictional man who grew up in D.C. but attended boarding school in London. When he returned to D.C., he brought many of his acquired European tastes with him, including a propensity toward gin, fine suits and great food. To those ends, the hotel partnered with locally owned Green Hat Gin and Element Shrub, which makes vinegar-based drinking mixers, to offer complimentary tastings in the lobby every day at 5:30 p.m. Ingredients to make the hotel’s signature drink, the Darcy Double, are available in each room, along with instructions. But guests can also reserve a cocktail cart, which comes with a mixologist to prepare cocktails en suite. The hotel also works with Read Wall, a local menswear designer, to offer a haberdashery — a trunk full of cufflinks, ties, pocket squares and more — that guests can borrow from. The focus on men’s fashion extends into the rooms, added Kelly McCourt, director of sales and marketing at the hotel. For instance, the sofas are covered in fabric reminiscent of men’s suiting. Additionally, twice a month on Fridays, the hotel provides a pop-up flower shop through a partnership with UrbanStems. Shoppers

22 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017

can build their own bouquets and the hotel donates all proceeds to Safe Shores, the D.C. children’s advocacy center. The property, which was purchased by KHP Capital Partners last May for $65 million, began life as a DoubleTree Hilton but has been completely revamped from a chain hotel into an independent boutique property that is now part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, which boasts hotels with individual history and character. In addition to its swanky but restrained décor reminiscent of “Mad Men,” The Darcy brought in local talent to distinguish its culinary offerings. Onsite dining comes in the form of the 96-seat Siren, a seafood restaurant and bar by chef Robert Wiedmaier of Brasserie Beck and Marcel’s. There’s also Lil’ B Coffee Bar and Eatery, the kid sister of the former Bayou Bakery. Run by chef David Guas, the food offerings are New Orleans-inspired and include muffuletta, gumbos and Southern sandwiches. The hotel also emphasizes family-friendliness. Through the Gear Shop, it offers bikes, scooters, helmets, strollers and picnic materials for adults and children to borrow. “We’re six blocks from the White House, six blocks from the National Mall,” McCourt said. “It’s a great way for families to get out and explore the city.” The Darcy Kids Program lets children borrow backpacks stuffed with goodies based on six themes, such as art, cooking and history. The most popular is Shoot for the Stars, which is inspired by the popular National Air and Space Museum and includes astronaut ice cream. Situated next door to the Embassy of Australia, McCourt recognized the importance of catering to the diplomatic community. She hired a diplomatic sales manager, Jilan Bruce, to help attend to diplomats’ needs. “When you’re working with embassies, you

The Darcy, whose anteroom is seen above, features swanky, “Mad Men”-esque décor and complimentary gin tastings in the lobby every day.

Photo: The Darcy


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The 245 rooms at The Pod DC, a micro-hotel in Penn Quarter, come in three varieties: twin, queen (above) or full.

When you’re working with embassies, you need to be as flexible as possible, be able to accommodate all different types of cultures, all types of different people from the highest levels of government and make sure you can produce that kind of luxury and very individual service. Jilan BrucE, diplomatic sales manager for The Darcy

need to be as flexible as possible, be able to accommodate all different types of cultures, all types of different people from the highest levels of government and make sure you can produce that kind of luxury and very individual service,” Bruce said.

The Pod DC 627 H St., NW thepodhotel.com/pod-dc/

The micro-hotel trend — small, no-frills, budget-friendly but stylishly designed rooms — has officially arrived in D.C. In addition to Hotel Hive, the Pod DC recently made its debut. The 245 rooms at this micro-hotel come in three varieties: twin, queen or full. But every room is only 150 square feet big, eschewing in-room amenities such as ironing boards, refrigerators and even dressers. Instead, guests — only two per room allowed — can find free WiFi, 50-inch flat-screen TVs, a media hub and USB charging ports. “We didn’t want to take up space in the room that not every traveler uses,” said Janne Clare, executive vice president of Modus Hotels, which developed, owns and operates Pod. “It isn’t about taking things out. It’s more about having guests’ requests responded to quickly.” Rooms at the Pod, which opened April 7, make the most of their space, with storage under the bed for luggage and plenty of shelves and hooks. Most guests stay one or two nights, and so far the hotel has attracted a mix of business travelers attending events at the Washington Convention Center — which drew 1.4 million convention attendees in 2016, according to DowntownDC — and leisure travelers, who spend eight to 10 hours outside the hotel, Clare noted. “Pod is designed for three really important things. One is location, second is value and three is community,” she said. Pod offers an onsite fitness facility plus access to Washington Sports Club and Sculpt DC, a cycling and yoga studio. Wednesday mornings are Pod Runs with the Pod Squad, or guests can take Pod Walks. Offered three times a week, groups leave from the lobby with a local guide to explore lesser-known parts of the city.

Th e Hotel

“It’s a fun way to meet other people,” Clare said. Food and drink options opening this summer include a diner serving breakfast all day plus dishes such as sweet corn chowder and smothered pork chops. Later this month or early next, the whiskey bar will open with customized moonshine and a craft beer, while the Crimson View rooftop bar will serve up views along with the drinks. Pod keeps its rates below market pricing, Clare said. For example, this summer, guests could pay $109 a night, but at peak times that can jump to $289. Clare said that value and quality will help Pod stand out in the D.C. hotel crowd. “D.C. has a lot of wonderful hotels,” she said. “You have the iconic luxury that exists, and you have a lot of brand. Pod filled a void in [that] there aren’t a lot of hotels in the Penn Quarter/Mount Vernon area, and there’s nothing that’s like this.”

Photo: James C. Jackson

The Line is housed in a 110-year-old church and will feature radio broadcasts from its lobby.

The Line DC 1770 Euclid St., NW thelinehotel.com/dc/

Housed in a 110-year-old church, the 220-room Line DC hotel in Adams Morgan will open later this summer, with Full Service Radio, a community station that has more than three dozen local hosts covering

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See H o t e l s • page 24 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017 | 23


Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C.

Hotels

1100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW trumphotels.com/washington-dc

Continued • page 23

The 263-room hotel, which occupies the Old Post Office Pavilion, art, entertainment, music, food had its grand opening in the fall politics, comedy, human interest of 2016. Since then, it has come to and fiction, broadcasting from embody the unconventional presithe lobby. Additionally, guests will dency of its namesake, for better or find throughout the hotel original worse. artwork and photography from loBefore Donald Trump’s surpriscal female artists. ing election victory, many locals and “One of the elements that pundits had their doubts about the makes The Line so unique is our glittering, pricey property — and partnerships,” Crawford Sherman, whether guests and organizations the hotel’s managing director, said would want to be associated with in an email. “We’ve partnered with the polarizing real estate billionaire. the local community to create Those doubts quickly evaporated an experience unlike any other, when Trump defied expectations Photo: Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. including a wealth of food and and took up residence in the White beverage options, a radio station The Benjamin Bar & Lounge is a focal point of the Grand Lobby in the Trump International Hotel, House, not far from his hotel, in the hotel lobby and even a com- which draws tourists and politicos alike. which underwent a $200 million to munity center that will cater to lotransform yet preserve the historic cal nonprofits.” Fitness is also a priority for the hotel, which Old Post Office Pavilion space. The hotel will offer eight room types, including boasts a 1,600-square-foot fitness center stocked Today, the plush hotel is the place to spot figures the 400-square-foot District King, 420-square-foot with weight and cardio equipment, a rowing ma- associated with the Trump administration and other District Double Queen, 500-square-foot studios and chine, TRX straps, boxing equipment and a space for prominent politicos, from Cabinet secretaries to a 1,200-square-foot Monument View Master Suite. Pilates, yoga and group classes. Additionally, guests members of Congress (the Republican ones at least). Rooms overlooking the National Cathedral and oth- can work out with Urban Athletic Club owner Gra- It also attracts a surreal mix of tourists, supporters er sites can be requested. ham King, who focuses on functional fitness. With and detractors, many drawn out of sheer curiosity, The hotel also will have three restaurants headed The Line, he offers a 50-minute Urban Athlete Class, whether it’s to check out the Swarovski chandeliers by two James Beard-recognized chefs: Spike Gjerde a series of 20-minute mini workouts, seasonal out- in the soaring lobby atrium or sample decadent ofand Erik Bruner-Yang. At A Rake’s Progress, Gjerde door courses and rooftop yoga. Classes are free for ferings like a $100 vodka cocktail with caviar (there will serve locally sourced Chesapeake ingredients. At hotel guests, and there are weekly community classes are cheaper drink options, although they’ll still run Brothers and Sisters, Bruner-Yang will serve Ameri- free to Adams Morgan residents. you about $24 each). can classics with Taiwanese and Japanese twists, “We want locals to feel just at home at The Line as While Trump’s hotel has capitalized on its namewhile Spoken English will have only 10 seats and will our hotel guests, to come together in our space and sake’s political fortunes, it hasn’t been able to avoid offer an Asian-inspired tasting menu served family enjoy good food, good drinks and great company — the controversies dogging his presidency. The most style. All three made Zagat’s list of the 10 most an- whether that’s inside the beautifully designed build- obvious of these is the glaring conflicts of interest in ticipated D.C. restaurants of 2017. ing or on the church steps,” Sherman said. trying to curry favor with Trump by spending monThe Park Hyatt ® trademark and related marks are trademarks of Hyatt Corporation. © 2015 Hyatt Corporation. All rights reserved.

A New Upscale Address on Embassy Row An eclectic, 226-room boutique hotel in the heart of Washington, DC. Featuring Siren, the highly acclaimed restaurant by chef Robert Wiedmaier. 1515 Rhode Island Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005

202 232 7000

24 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017

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FOR THE GLOBAL CONNOISSEUR, YOUR IDEAL STAY IS WAITING AT PARK HYATT WASHINGTON D.C. Park Hyatt Washington combines dynamic modernism with classic American style, reflecting timeless attributes of the nation’s capital and the U.S. For reservations please visit washingtondc.park.hyatt.com #LuxuryIsPersonal

LUXURY is PERSONAL


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photo: StepheN WIlkeS

In addition to its expansive casino, the MgM National harbor offers a variety of dining options, a state-of-the-art theater and growing retail options such as Breitling and ella-Rue.

ey at his hotel. While the Justice Department has said that Trump’s hotel is not violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause, meaning his businesses can continue to legally accept payments from foreign governments while he is in office, various groups from watchdogs to local restaurants have filed lawsuits against the president and his business ventures. Most recently, in the first case of its kind, attorneys general for Maryland and D.C. filed suit against Trump, alleging that he violated anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution by accepting millions in payments and benefits from foreign governments since taking office. The hotel itself has attracted protests, including an artist’s projection of the emoluments clause and the words “Pay Trump Bribes Here” on the property’s façade last month. The various legal challenges face a steep climb, however, and despite the questionable optics, foreign governments haven’t shied away from spending lavishly at the hotel. The embassies of Azerbaijan, Bahrain and Kuwait have hosted receptions there, while lobbyists working for Saudi Arabia racked up a $270,000 tab there, according to Time’s Alex Altman. The ongoing legal headaches haven’t stopped visitors from coming or the property from rolling out the red carpet for them. The gilded Benjamin Bar & Lounge is a focal point of the Grand Lobby, offering Champagne sabering, rare wine by the spoon and cocktails in addition to breakfast pastries, afternoon charcuterie and cheeses, and a menu of salads, sandwiches and burgers, Patricia Tang, director of sales and marketing at the hotel, said in an email. The Benjamin Terrace on Pennsylvania Avenue is now open, too, with outdoor seating and lighter fare, including bar food and beers. Additionally, The Spa by Ivanka Trump opened in January and offers services that fall into three categories: calm, energize and restore. Most 90-minute massages cost $225, while one 60-minute facial goes for $175. The original building, built in the late 19th century, included a 315-foot clock tower. In April, the National Park Service began managing the Clock Tower Museum and tours, and later this summer or early fall, the hotel will add a gift shop and New York’s acclaimed Sushi Nakazawa restaurant to its roster. “With more than 45 nationalities represented, we are pleased that we have attracted a team of such diverse, energetic and passionate associates, all focused on

delivering exceptional guest experiences and anticipatory versus merely responsive service,” Tang said. Guest surveys have been positive, she said, attributing that to location, management and staff. Trump would certainly be pleased with — and perhaps envious of — the high approval ratings.

COMFORT MEETS STYLE

MGM National Harbor 101 MgM National Ave. oxon hill, Md. mgmnationalharbor.com

Travelers who want to take a gamble on a new hotel and staycation experience beyond District limits can head across the Potomac River to the $1.4 billion MGM. The hefty price tag to develop the 23-acre destination isn’t the only big number associated with the resort and casino: In addition to 234 guest rooms and 74 suites, the hotel’s 125,000-squarefoot casino offers 3,300 slot machines, 124 table games, 25 types of carnival games, and 39 poker, 10 craps, 12 roulette and 25 baccarat tables. Opened Dec. 8, 2016, the hotel also has a 3,000-seat, state-of-the-art theater where upcoming shows include performances by The Who on July 18, Mary J. Blige on Aug. 15 and Cher from Aug. 31 to Sept. 10. Onsite dining boasts 15 eateries, including restaurants headed by celebrity chefs. At José Andrés’s Fish, diners can splurge on seafood such as stone crabs, abalone, oysters and squid prepared with global cooking techniques. Brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio of “Top Chef ” fame teamed up for a steakhouse that offers appetizers such as roasted beef bone marrow and entrées such as a 22-ounce T-bone and 36-ounce porterhouse. Other options include burgers at Shake Shack; Asian dishes at Ginger; a floor-to-ceiling chocolate fountain at Bellagio Patisserie; and Marcus, offering classic American fare. Since the hotel’s opening, it has added more retail shops such as Breitling, Stitched and Ella-Rue to expand the resort experience. “Since opening, we have focused on continually enhancing our guest service,” said Patrick Fisher, executive director of hotel operations at MGM National Harbor. “Our [outdoor] Potomac Plaza recently opened and provides another opportunity to experience entertainment at our property with the best views in the DMV.” WD

EMBASSY SUITES CHEVY CHASE PAVILLION The recently renovated contemporary, yet elegant, all two-room suite Hotel is consistently ranked among TripAdvisor’s top 10 Washington DC Hotels. Located in Chevy Chase/Friendship Heights, the heart of the city’s premier shopping district, with a variety of highly rated restaurants nearby and the red line metro stop located right inside the Pavilion. You can enjoy all the perks of the city and a few others: • Complimentary cooked to order breakfast buffet daily

• Willie’s Bar and Atrio Cafe

• Complimentary evening reception with drinks and light fare

• Groups and Meetings Welcomed

• Pavilion Health & Fitness

Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JuLY 2017 | 25


Please check this ad carefully. Mark any changes to If the ad is correct sign and fax to: (301) 949-0065 The Washington Diplomat

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Culture arts & entertainment art

diplomatic spouses

theater

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Anna Matsukashvili, the medically trained wife of Ambassador David Bakradze, hopes to show Americans the “other” Georgia. / PAGE 29

ART

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July 2017 events

LÜPERTZ COMES TO AMERICA

DIPLOMATIC SPOUSES

The ‘Other’ Georgia

music

The Washington Diplomat

ART

During a career spanning more than 50 years, German artist Markus Lüpertz hasn’t pursued prevailing artistic trends, which may explain why he hasn’t been wholeheartedly embraced by a fickle art world known for chasing the latest wunderkind. Lüpertz’s influence may expand in America now, however, with two groundbreaking simultaneous exhibitions at the Hirshhorn Museum and the Phillips Collection that together comprise the first major U.S. retrospective of his work. / PAGE 28

High-Tech Art French digital artists Adrien Mondot and Claire Bardainne fuse computer science and creativity in “XYZT: Abstract Landscapes,” a collection of 10 interactive digital installations in the first exhibition at ARTECHOUSE, a new venue in Southwest D.C. / PAGE 30

FASHION

Diversifying the Runway Ebony magazine’s Fashion Fair traveled the country for five decades, using clothes to break the color barrier by introducing globally renowned designers and their cutting-edge fashions to black audiences. / PAGE 31 PHOTO: WILLIAM ATKINS / THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

Markus Lüpertz’s “Zelt 46—dithyrambisch (Tent 46—Dithyrambic)”

PHOTO: © THE ARTIST / COURTESY GALERIE MICHAEL WERNER MÄRKISCH WILMERSDORF, COLOGNE, LONDON & NEW YORK

DINING

EVENTS

DIPLOMATIC SPOTLIGHT

Ivy City has become fertile ground for innovative restauranteurs. / PAGE 34

Art / Discussions Music / Theater / PAGE 38

Passport DC 2017 / Phillips Gala Women Diplomats / PAGE 40 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2017 | 27


WD | Culture | Art

Lüpertz Arrives Hirshhorn, Phillips Host Groundbreaking Exhibits of Under-Recognized German Artist •

Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History THROUGH SEPT. 10 HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN INDEPENDENCE AVENUE AND 7TH STREET, SW

(202) 633-1000 | WWW.HIRSHHORN.SI.EDU

BY BRENDAN L. SMITH

The Phillips Collection surveys German artist Markus Lüpertz’s 50-year career with works such as, from bottom clockwise, “Männer ohne Frauen. Parsifal (Men without Women: Parsifal)”; “Baumstamm Abwärts—dithyrambisch (Tree Trunk Down—Dithyrambic)”; and “Der große Löffel (The Large Spoon).”

Markus Lüpertz THROUGH SEPT. 3 PHILLIPS COLLECTION 1600 21ST ST., NW

(202) 387-2151 | WWW.PHILLIPSCOLLECTION.ORG

D

uring a career spanning more than 50 years, German artist Markus Lüpertz hasn’t pursued prevailing artistic trends, which may explain why he hasn’t been wholeheartedly embraced by a fickle art world known for chasing the latest wunderkind. While Lüpertz is well known in Europe for his subdued paintings, his influence may expand in PHOTO: ©2017 ARTIST RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NY / America now with two groundbreaking simultaneVG BILD-KUNST, BONN ous solo exhibitions at the Hirshhorn Museum and PHOTO: © THE ARTIST / COURTESY HALL ART FOUNDATION the Phillips Collection, the first formal collaboration enous war machine. between the two museums and together the first ma- The Hirshhorn Museum explores German artist Markus Lüpertz’s earlier works that incorporated The Phillips exhibition spans pop art, such as “Donald Ducks Hochzeit (Donald Duck’s Wedding),” above, and military themes, jor U.S. retrospective of his work. Lüpertz’s artistic career, with such as “Westwall (Siegfried Line),” below. “Obviously the visitors will come flooding in. some works placed together in I hope this will help for my own personal glory,” an innovative fashion rather Lüpertz said wryly during a press preview of the exthan a straightforward chronolhibitions. “I am a little like Columbus [exploring the ogy. “The Large Spoon,” on loan New World].” from the Museum of Modern At the Phillips, Lüpertz was the best-dressed Art, is sandwiched between two PHOTO: STRÖHER COLLECTION, DARMSTADT, GERMANY © THE ARTIST man in the room, wearing a other paintings to create a tripthree-piece tweed suit with a tych of swirling abstract forms matching hat, navy cravat and surrounding a giant grey spoon. The work red handkerchief square. The defies easy interpretation, but it conveys a 76-year-old artist leaned on a sense of tension between the straight mesilver-topped cane while antallic lines of the spoon swimming in a chaswering questions in German otic sea of organic shapes. through an English interpreter. Gallerist Michael Werner, who repreHe said he was never interested sents Lüpertz, suggested the joint exhibiin cranking out paintings in tions after he donated 46 pieces by postwar industrial fashion in an easily German artists to the Phillips Collection, recognizable style or brand like including work by Lüpertz, Georg Baselitz PHOTO: ©MARKUS LÜPERTZ / ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY, NY / Roy Lichtenstein. and A.R. Penck. Phillips Director Dorothy VG BILD-KUNST, GERMANY / ©THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART “I don’t have a style. I only Kosinski, who curated the exhibition with have an individual language,” he said. “On one hand, you have formidable painters who input from Lüpertz, blamed “art politics” produce a product. Then you have other artists who rebel against that product. And for for the lack of appreciation of his “paintings eternity, they are the better artists, I hope.” that grip you by the throat.” Lüpertz’s work does express a distinct neoexpressionist style combining abstract and Since painters have been using essentially figurative forms in decidedly unfashionable paintings that are so subtle they border on the same tools for centuries, the focus now the bland if you don’t look more closely. His work also has bridged different art moveis on the uniqueness of ideas rather than ments, including pop art themes such as his Donald Duck paintings that were spurred technique, Lüpertz said. “It’s a question of PHOTO: HALL ART FOUNDATION ©2017 ARTIST RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS), NY / VG BILD-KUNST, BONN by an obsession with the fresh visual language of comic strips. faith, of belief. People need to believe,” he In more than 30 paintings from the 1960s and ’70s, the Hirshhorn exhibition explores said. “In art, it is so much more beautiful to believe than to know.” Lüpertz’s less-known earlier work, which broached military themes that were largely Lüpertz, who has five children from two marriages, hadn’t seen some of the paintings considered taboo in postwar Germany at the time, including large paintings in muted in the two exhibitions for many years because they are owned by private collectors or tones featuring German helmets and spades used to dig trenches. Born in 1941 in the museums around the world. He believes his work still has merit, and some paintings midst of World War II, Lüpertz’s family moved from Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) he created decades ago could have been painted yesterday. “With every painting, I have to West Germany after the war, where he experienced a country grappling with its self- to learn again how to make that painting,” he said. “I want to paint a Mona Lisa every inflicted devastation and bloody history of Nazi atrocities. day.” Lüpertz’s 1968 painting “Westwall (Siegfried Line)” stretches 40 feet across a gallery The public and art historians must interpret the meaning of his paintings for themwall at the Hirshhorn, depicting orderly rows of green bunkers or “dragon’s teeth,” pyra- selves, but Lüpertz hopes his work endures long after he is gone. mids of concrete used to trap Allied tanks in Nazi defensive lines along the Westwall. “There’s no death in painting,” he said. “I hope to be able to take that little bit of eternal The network of more than 18,000 defensive fortifications still couldn’t stop the advance life with me.” WD of American troops despite thousands of casualties on both sides. In Lüpertz’s painting, the bunkers have become a grid of identical geometric forms on a field of yellow that Brendan L. Smith (www.brendanlsmith.com) is a contributing writer doesn’t feel menacing until one considers their origin. The giant scale of the work also for The Washington Diplomat and a mixed-media artist conveys the massive undertaking involved in transforming an entire country into a rav- (www.dcmixedmedia.com) in Washington, D.C.

28 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2017


WD | Culture | Diplomatic Spouses

Georgia on Her Mind With Medical Background, Wife Aims to Educate Americans on Her Country, Not the State •

“W

BY GAIL SCOTT

hen people in this country ask me where I am from, I tell them Georgia,” said Anna Matsukashvili. “They often think I’m from Atlanta or some place else in that southern

state.” But Matsukashvili and her husband, recently appointed Georgian Ambassador David Bakradze, are from the country that stands at the intersection of Europe and Asia bordered by the Black Sea, Turkey, Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. While many Americans might not be that familiar with the former Soviet republic that’s home to Caucasus Mountain villages and Black Sea beaches, Georgia recently celebrated its 25th year of relations with the U.S. — and both Matsukashvili and Bakradze want Americans to know that their geo-strategically placed country embraces the West. For example, she noted that Georgia contributes the largest percentage of NATO troops per capita in Afghanistan. “I want to introduce my country to the American people,” said Matsukashvili. “I want them to know about our culture and diversity.” Georgia has long sought to join NATO and the European Union as a hedge against Russian hegemony. Those fears have been exacerbated by Moscow’s support for the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which occupy about 20 percent of Georgian territory, following a brief war with Russia in 2008 (also see “Regional Hostilities Unnerve Georgia as Ex-Soviet Republic Turns 25” in the June 2016 issue of The Diplomat). Prior to coming to Washington last year, Bakradze served as state minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, as well as ambassador to Greece and Serbia. Matsukashvili and her husband did in fact travel to the U.S. state of Georgia for the first time on June 17 to see the Georgian national rugby team play the U.S. team (they had already beaten Canada). “We have a good and strong team; we follow them,” she said. Matsukashvili noted that the small country of 3.7 million, about the size of South Carolina, is also represented athletically by Zaza Pachulia, a successful basketball player who is now with the Golden State Warriors. He is remembered for wrapping himself in Georgia’s handsome redand-white flag when the Warriors won the 2017 NBA Championship. “My husband played basketball semi-professionally for five years. He is 6’5,” Matsukashvili said. “But Pachulia is much taller. He was 6’8” when he was only 13 years old!” Georgian Ambassador David Bakradze and his wife Anna Instead of basketball, however, Bakradze went Matsukashvili, along with their daughters Liza and Keso, into the world of diplomacy, serving in the press ofwear traditional attire at a recent reception celebrating 25 fice of the Georgian president in the 1990s shortly years of relations between Georgia and the U.S. after the country’s independence from the Soviet Union. lish, met her husband at a party hosted by a Likewise, Matsukashvili took a different career mutual friend. “He came with his camera and path than the one she set out on, studying dentistry started to take pictures of me. Then he told but deciding it wasn’t for her. Matsukashvili’s fame that he would share the photos with me ther was a surgeon and her mother was a dentist. but he lost them. I found him positive, warm, Although she graduated from the Georgia Medical open. He invited me to tea and we were marUniversity in Tbilisi with an honors degree in denried a half-year later. We were 31 and 32.” ANNA MATSUKASHVILI tistry, she never worked a day in the profession. Photography is one of the hobbies they “Everyone told me, ‘Dentistry was a good job for wife of Georgian Ambassador David Bakradze share. The other one is cooking. “We host a woman. It’s easier to find a job or you could work a monthly dinner party where we tutor our with your mother and more easily have a family.’ guests in making Georgian dumplings from But I found it boring,” Matsukashvili told us. “I like scratch…. One of the best ways to introduce your country is with cuisine emergency medicine better.” She ended up switching fields and worked with the U.N., medical asso- diplomacy,” she said. “Georgian cuisine has the influences of the Chinese and the East and ciations, pharmaceutical companies and foundations, including the Open Society Foundations established by George Soros, where she managed a the Europeans to the West. You could say it is one of the first natural fuproject that promoted healthier lifestyles for teenagers fighting heroin ad- sion cuisines. We have our own spices and use some Indian ones. We love walnuts. It is not unusual to have an appetizer, main course and dessert all diction. Prior to coming to Washington, she managed antibiotic and ophthal- with walnuts or walnut sauce,” she added, noting, “There are no Georgian mology products for the pharmaceutical company Humanity Georgia restaurants in the Washington area but there will be. One is opening soon and headed an initiative to improve the well being of Georgians living in around 11th and M Streets. It’s called Supra.” Greece. SEE DIPLOMATIC SPOUSES • PAGE 35 Matsukashvili, who is fluent in Georgian, Russian, German and Eng-

When people in this country ask me where I am from, I tell them Georgia. They often think I’m from Atlanta or some place else in that southern state.

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2017 | 29


WD | Culture | Art

‘XYZT’ and Beyond New ARTECHOUSE Space Offers Interactive Exploration of Art and Technology •

BY BRENDAN L. SMITH

XYZT: Abstract Landscapes THROUGH SEPT. 3 ARTECHOUSE 1238 MARYLAND AVE., SW WWW.ARTECHOUSE.COM

T

he marriage of art and technology can often seem like a cold, loveless affair, a heavy-handed attempt to translate the ethereal beauty of art through an endless string of ones and zeroes. But French digital artists Adrien Mondot and Claire Bardainne reveal the possibilities for embracing our common humanity through an artful combination of computer science and creativity in “XYZT: Abstract Landscapes,” a collection of 10 interactive digital installations in the first exhibition at ARTECHOUSE, an ambitious new 15,000square-foot venue in Southwest D.C. that will feature art, music, theater and film. ARTECHOUSE, which opened last month, describes itself as D.C.’s first interactive digital art gallery, showcasing experiential and immersive large-scale installations that stand at the crossroads of art, science and technology. The installations in “XYZT” engage viewers both literally and figuratively with motion-sensing cameras and interactive software altering projected images based on touch, movement or even blowing of breath. After descending a staircase into the basement of a nondescript office building, you turn a corner onto a balcony overlooking the compact gallery. A large screen showing a live video projection of the room immediately engages the viewer. While the background remains static, my movements triggered a carnivalesque distortion as my body swayed in serpentine fashion because of a four-second lag between the top and bottom of the screen. The work is both comical and disorienting but not as engaging as some of the other installations In “Shifting Clouds,” a roiling sea of digital sticks of light flew together in response to my movement, morphing into human forms as I moved closer to the screen. At a console with headphones, the artists spoke of “collective animal intelligence,” the notion that flocks of birds or schools of fish are individual creatures that can react simultaneously as a whole, moving in concert to defend themselves in a communal act of survival. Predators are confused by the seeming chaos while the hunted are actually moving in precisely coordinated patterns governed by instinct rather than conscious thought. In “Coincidence #1,” a video projection of dark circles against a wall are suddenly parted by the wave of a hand, creating trails of bright white light. I felt like a conductor directing light rather than music, offering a refreshingly different level of interaction than a static painting or sculpture. On the floor nearby is “Field of Vectors,” a mesh of white digital lines that bent and coalesced around my footsteps. A tabletop installation titled “Kinetic Sand” shifts dots of light based on the movement of fingertips, creating swirling pools of light that rise and fall like mountains into valleys before disappearing again into orderly stillness. “Anamorphosis in Space” offers a larger version of the same effect as visitors walk across the floor in a shifting sea of digital lines that rise and fall with movement. Anamorphosis, derived from the Greek words for back and shape, is a distorted projection that appears normal when viewed from one point, such as the floor at either end of the projection. The exhibition’s title refers to the combination of the four dimensions: X (horizontal), Y (vertical), Z (depth), and T (time). It’s an apt description for the work

30 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2017

PHOTO: LAURENCE FRAGNOL / ARTECHOUSE

“XYZT: Abstract Landscapes” by French artists Adrien Mondot and Claire Bardainne is the first exhibition in the new ARTECHOUSE venue, the city’s first interactive digital art gallery.

PHOTO: ADRIEN M. AND CLAIRE B.

PHOTO: BRENDAN L. SMITH

that becomes three-dimensional and temporal through its direct interaction with viewers. The exhibition was created in 2010 and has been shown around the world, including dance performances interacting with the projections, but this is its first appearance in Washington, D.C. The show is a perfect fit for the focus of ARTECHOUSE, a confusing name that is a combination of art, technology and house. The use of all-capital letters adds to the confusion, and I initially thought it was pronounced art-chouse. The venue is a muchneeded private art space in a city dominated by government-funded museums that often won’t take chances on more provocative or avant-garde work. As the city gentrifies at a rapid clip, it has become even more difficult for small art venues to survive. ARTECHOUSE is an ambitious vision from the founders of Art Soiree, the longtime organizer of pop-up art events in the D.C. area. It took more than two years to plan and redesign the space, which originally was built in the 1990s for a theater that never materialized, said Sandro, the founder of Art Soiree and ARTECHOUSE artistic director who

uses one name. “We always wanted to have our own space. We kept it kind of secret, and it’s not a secret any more,” he said. “Every masterpiece needs hard work and dedication and not giving up. Here we are.” Ticket prices at ARTECHOUSE range from $15 to $25, which may be a challenge in a city where people have become accustomed to seeing art for free in museums. The venue also is off the beaten track in Southwest D.C. between the Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza Metro stations. “Unfortunately, we aren’t some big institution yet,” Sandro said. “I’d say it is worth every dollar spent to have this experience.” WD Brendan L. Smith (www.brendanlsmith.com) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat and a mixed-media artist (www.dcmixedmedia.com) in Washington, D.C.


Fashion | Culture | WD

Expanding the Runway ‘Inspiring Beauty’ Shows How Ebony Fashion Fairs Broke Color Barriers •

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair THROUGH JULY 24 THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY MUSEUM AND THE TEXTILE MUSEUM 701 21ST ST., NW

BY BRITTANY AZZOUZ

Among the striking ensembles in “Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair” are Emmanuel Ungaro’s bridal gown and Tilmann Grawe’s cocktail dress, at left, as well as Yves Saint Laurent’s “Picasso” evening dress, bottom. AT LEFT, PHOTO: COURTESY OF JOHNSON PUBLISHING CO. FAR LEFT, PHOTO: BY JOHN ALDERSON © CHICAGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY

(202) 994-5200 | WWW.MUSEUM.GWU.EDU

E

bony magazine’s Fashion Fair traveled the country for five decades, using clothes to break the color barrier by introducing globally renowned designers and their cutting-edge fashions to black audiences. The show, which toured the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean from 1958 to 2009, was a glamourous affair, with music and audience members who aimed to outdress the models. Although fashion drove the project, philanthropy was the goal, with the fairs raising millions of dollars for charity. This fascinating history is on display, along with the fair’s stunning ensembles, in “Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair” at The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, where visitors are drawn to an array of vibrant colors, contrasting patterns and elaborate designs. The ephemera reflects the sophistication and extravagance that Eunice Walker Johnson, director of Ebony’s Fashion Fair, brought to the pioneering concept. Johnson and her husband, John H. Johnson, owned Johnson Publishing Co. and originally launched the fashion fair as a way to expand the audiences for their lifestyle magazines, Jet and Ebony, while raising money for a hospital. However, the event drastically changed PHOTO: WILLIAM ATKINS / THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY the fashion industry. on who could wear the sharpest outfits as audience The Ebony Fashion Fair brought haute couture to Afmembers. You didn’t know what you were going to rican Americans for the first time and became the first fashion show to see.” introduce black models to the runway, breaking barriers at a time of inTo illustrate the bridal line that was always a highequality. The fair was initially met with discrimination and pushback. light at the end of each show, the exhibit features an Designers feared what clients might think if high-end brands were haute couture bridal gown designed by Emanuel worn by African Americans. By putting “first-class fashion on secondUngaro. The 18th century-inspired wedding gown class citizens,” Johnson brought new opportunities to black men and — comprised of a beaded lace bodice and a lavish women and changed an insular industry, according to the museum. pannier-style skirt embellished with embroidered This is the exhibit’s seventh stop on its eight-city tour across the floral sprays — reflects the luxurious craftsmanship country, with the show wrapping up in Raleigh, N.C., after its D.C. run that Johnson wanted to share with her audiences. ends this month. The exhibition sprawls across two floors of the GWU/ Johnson would seek out designers from around Textile Museum, highlighting 40 ensembles worn in previous fashion the world who used a variety of elements in their fairs ranging from intricate gowns to feathered coats, along with acwork. A daytime ensemble by Angelo Marani meshcessories and videos to recreate the fair experience. World-renowned es several contrasting fabrics into one seamless look. designers such as Givenchy, Christian Dior, Vivienne Westwood and The core outfit, composed of neutral-toned lace and Yves Saint Laurent are showcased, among many others. leather, is combined with a bold, blue fur coat and Johnson gained access to the highest echelons of the industry and exudes a youthful spirit that Johnson wanted her her goal was to shock her audience with bold, cutting-edge fashions. PHOTO: BY JOHN ALDERSON © CHICAGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY fairs to convey. She used vibrant colors, such as canary yellow on a dark-skinned modDedicated to Johnson’s accomplishments, the exhibit includes photographs and el, and would select the most extraordinary designs. She enjoyed bringing theatrics to the stage, highlighting eye-popping pieces that left audiences uncertain whether or memorabilia commemorating her career. In addition to working as Ebony’s fashion editor, Johnson created her own cosmetics line because it was difficult to find makeup not they could ever be worn off the runway. This whimsy is evident throughout the exhibit. Designed by Tilmann Grawe, an for darker skin tones at the time. She showcased emerging black designers alongside exceptional cocktail dress made almost entirely of horsehair tubing, plastic boning established names and continued to find new ways to push the boundaries of the and beads wrapped in dazzling fabrics embodies the innovation that Johnson looked runway, eventually adding plus-size models to her shows. “What caught me off guard at the show was the response to the plus-size models. for in designers. The exhibit tells the story of how fashion evolved through the decades. From a ’60s The men in the audience would go crazy; they would go berserk. It really validated the sequined jumpsuit, to a retro ’70s color-block dress, to an elegant modern-day eve- appeal of plus-size models,” Brewer said. Johnson had a huge impact on the world of high fashion at a time when dark skin ning gown, the exhibit is a visual parade of creativity and extravagance. Each design was rarely celebrated. She opened doors and opened minds, expanding the concept exudes power and success, a key characteristic of the fashion fair. “The exhibit and work illustrate the glamour and sensation of the Ebony Fashion of beauty to include the full color spectrum and illustrating the power of clothing to Fair,” Camille Ann Brewer, curator of contemporary art at The GWU Museum and reshape cultural attitudes. WD The Textile Museum, said. “[The fair] was an annual event that people really looked forward to. People would dress up for the fair and it was a fun competition with folks Brittany Azzouz is a freelance writer in Virginia. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2017 | 31


WD | Culture | Theater

Embracing the ‘Other’ Contemporary American Theater Festival Explores How to ‘Make America Think Again’ •

2017 Contemporary American Theater Festival JULY 7 TO 30 SHEPHERD UNIVERSITY WEST VIRGINIA

(800) 999-CATF (2283) | WWW.CATF.ORG

“M

BY LISA TROSHINSKY

This year’s Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) in Shepherdstown, W.Va., features six plays in rotating repertory that examine notions of “the other” and forgiveness of “the other” and of ourselves.

ake America Think Again” is the compelling goal of the 2017 Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) in Shepherdstown, W.Va., according to festival trustee Sharon J. Anderson. At a time when Americans are bitterly divided along partisan and economic lines, this year’s plays “cross the empathy walls,” she said, so that patrons will see the “other’s” perspective. Two themes that progress throughout the plays are notions of “the other” and forgiveness of “the other” and of ourselves, associate producing director Peggy McKowen told The Washington Diplomat. “Many times, after we select the plays, we begin to see shared ideas,” McKowen said. “This year explores the issue of how people handle being ‘the other’ in a community and how they deal with those outside their population. Through these productions, we comprehend the idea of forgiveness and how willing an individual is to forgive and forget; how certain cultures embrace The play grapples with that idea. Almost all the plays deal with those either questions of faith, forgivedirectly or they trajectorially touch them.” ness and dark wounds that This year, the festival, now its 27th season, has exforce everyone to reckon panded from five to six plays in rotating repertory. with their past. Four of those plays are world premieres: “Welcome to Similarly, “Welcome to Fear City” deals with the specific Fear City” by Kara Lee Corthron; “Wild Horses” by “other” community of 1977 Bronx, which at the time was difAllison Gregory; “Everything is Wonderful” by Chelficult and dangerous terrain, but also birthed the positive and sea Marcantel; and “We Will Not Be Silent” by David creative forum of hip hop, McKowen said. Meyers; as well as two new plays: “The Niceties” by In the play, “E,” a young African American man, dreams Eleanor Burgess and “Byhalia, Mississippi” by Evan of being a poet, but unemployment, a raging fiscal crisis and Linder. a family on the brink of disaster drives him to ask a danger“We Will Not Be Silent” is based on the incredible ous question: Can you love your “hood” if you take part in its PHOTOS: JARED SCHEERER / CATF true story of heroine 20-year-old Sophie, a German destruction? student who organized the White Rose, a group of non-Jewish students that The theme of forgiveness plays out when E, while going through his journey, led the only major act of civil resistance to the Nazis during World War II, commits arson, which leads his community to embrace him through either playwright Meyers told The Diplomat. pardon or blame. Sophie, who called for the peaceful overthrow of Hitler, was apprehended The fourth world premiere, “Wild Horses,” is a tour-de-force, one-person for distributing leaflets against the regime, charged with treason and placed in show of a woman remembering her teenage years and the formative decisions a German prison. she took that made her the person she is today. The play explores different epi“It’s not a play about the Holocaust. There are no Jews in this play; the re- sodes of her life — some pleasant and some not — and delves into whether she sistance group didn’t have Jewish friends,” Meyers explained. “This was an in- can forgive herself and obtain self-acceptance, McKowen said. credible story of someone willing to risk her life [for ‘the other’], knowing it Like other seasons, this year CATF continues to make good on its lofty goals. was a hopeless cause but the right thing to do.” Founded in 1991 to produce and develop new American theater, to date the McKowen added: “The character of Sophie must wrestle with what she can festival has produced 115 new plays, including 43 world premieres. CATF has live with and what she can’t live with, and whether she can forgive herself for commissioned 10 new American plays, and 40 percent of all plays have been whatever actions she chooses to take.” produced by women writers, which is well above the national average, accordFor Meyers, who is relatively new at playwriting and came to it after a ca- ing to the group. reer in politics, “We Will Not Be Silent” is his first big nationally recognized By showcasing these six new American plays this summer, CATF is indeed production. making America think again, per trustee Anderson’s pledge. The theme of forgiveness and “the other” is also very much at the heart of “Theater, like all art, shatters accepted patterns, pushes us into unknown ter“Everything is Wonderful,” McKowen said. ritory and challenges the existing order,” she said. “Bottom line, it challenges us The play takes place in the Amish community, which unequivocally forgives to think. To condemn requires much less mental effort than to think. Empathy another Amish person once they admit to his or her mistakes. But how does bridges cannot be built without understanding, without thinking again.” WD this insular community deal with forgiving someone outside its hamlet, especially when that someone was a driver who killed a family’s two Amish sons? Lisa Troshinsky is the theater reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.

32 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2017


Art | Culture | WD

Checkered Past ‘Punctured Landscape’ Surveys Highs and Lows of Canadian Confederation •

BY KATE OCZYPOK

Punctured Landscape THROUGH JULY 30 ART MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAS 201 18TH ST., NW

(202) 370-0147 | WWW.MUSEUM.OAS.ORG

T

he Organization of American States is often associated with nations in Latin America and the Caribbean. But it encompasses the entire Western Hemisphere, including Canada, which, like its southern neighbors, has a long history of grappling with issues such as identity, democracy, human rights, security and the treatment of its indigenous population. The OAS Art Museum of the Americas is exploring that history in the exhibit “Punctured Landscape,” which coincides with the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. The show presents artwork that examines both the trying times and celebratory milestones in Canada’s history, conveying a political and cultural statement. Canada has been widely lauded for accepting migrants and refugees from Syria and elsewhere, building an inclusive, diverse society. At the same time, it has struggled to reconcile its relationship with its indigenous people and, like many other nations, its multicultural tapestry has been frayed by tensions over questions of identity and inclusion. Artist Barry Ace, an Anishinaabe native member of the M’Chigeeng First Nation community, wanted to be a part of “Punctured Landscape” because he feels it conveys an important alternative response to outside perspectives of Canada as an uncomplicated, welcoming nation without any problems. The exhibition is curated by Kegan McFadden, who Ace thought selected a “poignant precis of works, which not only reflect significant cultural, social, political and legal perspectives of Canada, but present them as puncture points in the meta-narrative of Canadian history.” McFadden was drawn to the exhibit during a call for curators put out by the Canada Council for the Arts. “They [the council] were also looking forward to the 150th anniversary of the Confederation in Canada,” McFadden said. “They are clear to say it is not a celebration — just a milestone or another parking of time. The celebratory nature of the 150th is unresolved for many indigenous peoples of Canada who have been systemically mistreated.” The 17 pieces brought together for the exhibit ask viewers to take another look at their interpretation of Canadian history, its legacy and its future. Ace calls the exhibition “unequivocally timely” and believes it can offer an opportunity for self-reflection on the current U.S. political landscape, which is also roiled by tensions over immigration and divisions over race, ethnicity and religion. Ace said he is proud to tell the story of his father Cecil and “other indigenous veterans who fought for a country that denied indigenous people the right to vote in federal elections until 1960.” His piece is a blunt denunciation of that denial, offering a quaint portrait of his father in uniform with the words: “For King and

PHOTOS: ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES

“Punctured Landscape” at the Organization of American States examines the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation through the conflicted lens of the country’s indigenous population.

Country / Denied the Vote Until 1960.” Other pieces range from swirling paintings of forests and shoes to thought-provoking photography of children delivering newspapers. According to McFadden, work by indigenous artists makes up over one fourth of the show and represents harrowing events in Canada’s living memory. There’s the Indian residential school system begun in the late 1800s that removed tens of thousands of native children from their communities in an attempt to assimilate them into the dominant Canadian culture, leading to several thousand deaths. There’s also the 1990 Oka crisis, a land dispute between the Mohawk tribe and government that turned violent; a dark history of missing and murdered indigenous women and and girls; as well as a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Canadians to come to terms with their past. But there are positive stories as well. “There is a bright light here, with the inclusion of David Neel’s portrait of Chief Elijah Harper,” McFadden noted. Harper became the first Treaty Indian elected as a provincial politician and as a member of parliament in the Manitoba Legislature in 1990, he gained national fame by filibustering the Meech Lake Accord, which would’ve reduced sovereignty for Quebec. The refusal of Harper — who argued that Aboriginal people were left out of the debate over the constitutional amendment — effectively killed the accord. Ace, who learned his artistic techniques from his grandmother and aunts, said he will continue to highlight indigenous challenges and victories. He has several significant exhibits planned at the Art Gallery of Ontario and Royal Ontario Museum, in addition to creating new works of art that draw inspiration from “multiple facets of my Anishinaabe culture and that endeavor to create a convergence of the historical with the contemporary,” he said. WD Kate Oczypok (@OczyKate) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2017 | 33


WD | Culture | Dining

Blossoming Ivy City Slew of Restaurants, Projects Aim to Transform Blighted Neighborhood •

I

BY MICHAEL COLEMAN

n a city teeming with urban redevelopment projects, perhaps none will ultimately be as transformative as D.C. uber-developer Douglas Jemal’s real estate venture in Ivy City. For years, the gritty industrial district off of New York Avenue, NE, was best known as the site of the abandoned Hecht Warehouse, a sprawling homeless shelter and the oft-troubled Dream nightclub. But due in large part to Jemal’s redevelopment vision, PHOTO: JOHN JACK PHOTOGRAPHY Ivy City over the past few years has sprouted an organic grocery store, a The smokehouse fish board is a highlight of the menu at The Tavern at Ivy City new health club, a slew of breweries Smokehouse, above, one of the restauand distilleries, a gorgeous high-end rants redefining the once-blighted Northapartment complex and a number of east neighborhood. Meanwhile, La Puerta good new restaurants. Verde, located in the newly renovated And there is more to come — much historic Hecht Warehouse, below, is D.C. more. Jemal’s Douglas Development restaurateur Ari Gejdenson’s homage Corp. is preparing to break ground on to authentic Mexican food. another 550,000 square feet of retail, more quickly, but that’s a relatively entertainment and residential propersmall quibble when weighed against ties directly across New York Avenue the high quality and fair value of the from Ivy City. The plans promise to food. Ivy City Smokehouse is a worthy eventually turn one of D.C.’s most dianchor to a rapidly improving dining lapidated neighborhoods into one of landscape in the neighborhood. its most vibrant. While Jemal’s grand Another intriguing Ivy City dinvision is sure to transform an area ner option is La Puerta Verde, D.C. characterized by blight and neglect, restaurateur Ari Gejdenson’s homage residents hope that the tide of gentrito authentic Mexican food. Gejdenfication sweeping D.C. doesn’t uproot son’s Mindful Restaurant Group also the people who have made Ivy City includes Acqua Al 2 on Capitol Hill their home. and Ghibellina on 14th Street, NW, For now, Ivy City’s food and drink PHOTO: THE TAVERN AT IVY CITY SMOKEHOUSE as well as the Denson Liquor Bar and options are the main draw for those Ari’s Diner in Ivy City, which we’ll get to in a moment. seeking out the next new thing in D.C.’s ever-evolving Translated as “the green door,” La Puerta Verde is locatrestaurant scene. Over the past months, we’ve sampled THE TAVERN AT IVY CITY ed in the newly renovated historic Hecht Warehouse, and much of what the revitalized neighborhood’s culinary its décor manages a deft nod to both a traditional MexiSMOKEHOUSE scene has to offer and, on the whole, we’ve come away can hacienda and its Ivy City roots. Traditional talavera impressed. 1356 OKIE ST., NE tiles and vibrant colorful murals coexist with repurposed The first splashy new restaurant to open in the area (202) 529-3300 cargo containers and original warehouse columns. But the was The Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse, a spacious upmenu, of course, is pure Mexico. WWW.IVYCITYSMOKEHOUSE.COM/TAVERN/ stairs restaurant and live performance space with a reOrder the guacamole to start and you’ll find not the tail fish market operating at ground level. The first thing typical bland mush, but a cool and you’ll notice about The Tavern is its roominess — piquant version enlivened by lightly a welcome change from the often cramped envigrilled avocados and a big blast of rons of trendy eateries in other parts of the city. It’s lime and cilantro. We give a thumbsalso attractively laid out with a large rectangular up for the house-fried chips, too bar front and center and dining tables scattered — warm, crisp and dense with a throughout the former warehouse space. light dusting of salt. If this appetizer It’s a comfortable and stylish place to hang out doesn’t awaken your taste buds, they and catch a game on the big TVs at the bar while suffer from severe narcolepsy. sipping on one of the numerous craft beers on tap. But the menu — especially if you’re a fish and seafood lover — is what will keep you coming back. The smokehouse fish board is a good bet for LA PUERTA VERDE first-timers. The board offers up a generously ap2001 FENWICK ST., NE pointed selection of five Smokehouse specialties: traditional cold smoked salmon, smoked North (202) 290-1875 Carolina rainbow trout, hot smoked pepper salmWWW.LAPUERTAVERDEDC.COM on, Great Lakes smoked whitefish salad and the restaurant’s signature “salmon candy,” a delectable honey hot smoked salmon from the American PHOTO: DANA BOWDEN PHOTOGRAPHY Two other excellent starters are Northwest. The varieties of fish come with two toasted bagels, onions, capers and a chunk of cream cheese. If you and a friend are the tamal de cerdo — a fat, tender (not at all dry) pork tamale draped with queso looking for a hearty snack, the smokehouse fish board is a solid — and delicious — fresco and a zesty tomatillo sauce. The elote loco — grilled corn on the cob with spicy citrus mayo, chili and cojita cheese — had us fighting for the last few remainvalue at $24. Other winners include a succulent crab cake sandwich, velvety macaroni and ing kernels. The tacos are also a treat and a decent value at $9 for three. We suggest mixing it cheese (also available with crab), and a crusty and filling fried shrimp po’ boy up — the perfectly tender tomato and chipotle braised chicken tacos make subtle sandwich. If there’s a knock on The Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse, it’s the service. While use of the often overpowering chipotle chile, and the cumin-crusted fried cod with generally friendly, the restaurant sometimes seems understaffed. We’ve had to track mango slaw offers a satisfying textural and flavor contrast. If you’re feeling advendown servers for the check on more than one occasion and drinks could be refreshed turous, try the lengua, or tender braised beef tongue.

34 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2017


PHOTO: DANA BOWDEN PHOTOGRAPHY

On several visits to La biscuits topped with pepperPuerta Verde, we’ve never flecked sausage gravy, served ARI’S DINER had issues with the service with a side of fluffy scram2003 FENWICK ST., NE and can wholeheartedly bled eggs. (202) 290-1827 recommend this charming The spinach and feta omeatery for your next Mexielet is healthy and generously WWW.ARISDINER.COM can culinary adventure. portioned, and the avocado Shifting gears to breaktoast with mashed avocado, fast (and can’t we all agree that Washington olive oil, pickled onion and sesame seeds was a still suffers from a dearth of appealing break- curiously addictive side dish. fast options?), we also enthusiastically suggest Unfortunately, service was slow — a bit surAri’s Diner in Ivy City. Another of Gejdenson’s prising considering the impressive attentivecreations, Ari’s gets the retro diner aesthetic ness at Gejdenson’s Mexican restaurant around right, with gleaming evergreen-and-white tile, the corner. Part of the reason we frequent dincomfortable booths and individual seats at the ers is the convenience and expedience. But this counter. spot is still a solid bet for a tasty and simple It also gets the menu right. Simple without breakfast or lunch, and we’re betting that Ari’s being boring and traditional without being Diner will remedy the pacing problem. We’re slavish, the food choices at Ari’s are well-exe- already looking forward to next time. WD cuted and thoughtfully presented. We’re particularly partial to the biscuits Michael Coleman (@michaelcoleman) is the and gravy — flaky and piping hot buttermilk dining reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.

Diplomatic Spouses

H PPDAC KH KK N @PEIAO

The most spectacular event at the Embassy of France is back with a unique southern flavor of

CONTINUED • PAGE 29

Wine diplomacy is also a big part of the culinary heritage of Georgia, which is often called the “cradle of winemaking.” An ancient method of winemaking involving underground clay pots has been used for 8,000 years and is now part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. There are over 500 unique varieties of grapes in Georgia, and many families make their own wine. Matsukashvili’s father owned a winery in Kakheti, a premier winemaking region. An increasing amount of Georgian wine is being exported not only to its neighboring countries, but also to the U.S., with Georgian wines available locally at Whole Foods, Walmart and many smaller wine and liquor shops. According to food columnist Dave McIntyre’s wine review in The Washington Post on Aug. 29, 2015: “Georgia’s wines are exciting. The country offers everything a modern wine geek could ask for: native vinifera grape varieties grown almost nowhere else; modern-style wines that capture those grapes’ fruity flavors; and wines fermented the way Georgians have done it for centuries, offering us a taste of the past. It doesn’t hurt that the old style has become trendy. Even better: The wines are not expensive.” Georgia is also known for its special folk singing style in polyphonic, or simultaneous, voices. “There are as many as seven to 10 different parts being sung at the same time. My grandfather was one of these folksingers and so were his two brothers,” Matsukashvili told us. “We are a very musical country. There is a piano in every home and music education which encourages the playing of instruments.

-A

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Ari’s Diner in Ivy City offers a well-executed and thoughtfully presented menu that’s a throwback to satisfying diner fare.

New Orleans Fun and Food.

Anna Matsukashvili and her husband, Georgian Ambassador David Bakradze, pose with their three children: son Georgi, who is now 18, and daughters, Liza and Keso.

I graduated from music school and play the piano.” Matsukashvili said she hopes her children will continue this musical tradition. Their son Georgi is 18 and studying in Estonia, soon to arrive to study at the University of Maryland. He will continue his interest in business, communications and marketing. Their daughters, Liza and Keso, are 6 and 5. “Since our children attended a British International School at home, their English is very good,” she noted. Looking back on her life of being married to a diplomat and living in Finland and Greece, and having children along the way, Matsukashvili said she took the changes in stride. “It is interesting meeting different people with different customs and cuisines.” At the same time, she admits diplomacy isn’t always easy. “It’s different from the start. I had to interrupt my career and start a new life. It’s difficult to imagine but I was so in love,” she said. “Where love is, you can manage your every day routines.” WD

Let the good times roll with a spicy gumbo of irresistible dance music and exceptional fares from Washington’s finest restaurants.

Embassy of France Saturday, July 15 7:30 PM – 11:30PM

Updates on program and tickets:

Bastille-day.org

Early bird admission tickets: $95 while available - $115 later In partnership with:

Gail Scott is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2017 | 35


WD | Culture | Film

Cinema Listings *Unless specific times are listed, please check the theater for times. Theater locations are subject to change.

Cantonese Mad World Directed by Wong Chun (Hong Kong, 2016, 101 min.) A former stockbroker is released into the custody of his father after being institutionalized for bipolar disorder in this moving, award-winning drama that explores the many issues facing Hong Kongers today, from the harsh living conditions of the poor to the immense pressure to succeed in business. National Museum of American History Fri., July 14, 7 p.m.

Mrs. K Directed by Ho Yuhang (Malaysia/Hong Kong, 2016, 97 min.) Kara Wai plays a retired assassin now living comfortably as a housewife. When her past comes back to haunt her in the form of a former criminal associate, Mrs. K must dust off her martial arts skills to dispatch a parade of baddies (Cantonese, Mandarin and Malay). National Museum of American History Sun., July 23, 3:30 p.m.

Three Directed by Johnnie To (Hong Kong, 2016, 98 min.) The latest thriller from action master Johnnie To takes place almost entirely in a hospital, where a neurosurgeon must treat a gangster with a bullet lodged in his head. The hospitalized criminal may have incriminating information on the ruthless cop who brought him in. National Museum of American History Sun., July 23, 1 p.m.

Trivisa Directed by Jevons Au, Vicky Wong Kai-Kit, ] Frank Hui (Hong Kong, 2016, 97 min.) Loosely based on the lives of actual Hong Kong gangsters, the film weaves together three tales of criminal derring-do played out against the backdrop of the 1997 British handover of Hong Kong to China. National Museum of American History Sun., July 16, 1 p.m.

Vampire Cleanup Department Directed by Hang Chiu and Anthony Yan (Hong Kong, 2017, 93 min.) After surviving a vampire attack, mild-mannered millennial Tim discovers that he is part of a centuriesold organization of vampire hunters, now working undercover as trash collectors. But what happens when he falls in love with a particularly cute bloodsucker named Summer?

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | July 2017 in the community — and with the hardened reclusive bachelor for whom she works. Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema

National Museum of American History Sun., July 16, 3:30 p.m.

English Abacus: Small Enough to Fail Directed by Steve James (U.S., 2017, 88 min.) Accused of mortgage fraud, Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves – and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community – over the course of a five-year legal battle. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Paris Can Wait (Bonjour Anne)

Atomic Blonde Directed by David Leitch (U.S., 2017, 115 min.) An undercover MI6 agent (Charlize Theron) is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents. Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., July 28

Baby Driver Directed by Edgar Wright (U.K./U.S., 2017, 113 min.) In this stylish, action-packed crime drama, a talented young getaway driver relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. When he meets the girl of his dreams, Baby sees a chance to ditch his criminal life and make a clean getaway. But after being coerced into working for a crime boss, he must face the music when a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom. Angelika Mosaic Atlantic Plumbing Cinema

Beatriz at Dinner Directed by Miguel Arteta (U.S., 2017, 83 min.) At an elegant dinner party, conversation between Beatriz (Salma Hayek), a self-effacing and spiritual immigrant from Mexico, and a hard-nosed businessman explodes into a bitter clash of cultures. AFI Silver Theatre Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s E Street Cinema

The Beguiled Directed by Sofia Coppola (U.S., 2017, 94 min.) At a girls’ school in Virginia during the Civil War, where the young women have been sheltered from the outside world, a wounded Union soldier is taken in. Soon, the house is taken over with sexual tension, rivalries and an unexpected turn of events. AFI Silver Theatre Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema

36 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JUly 2017

Photo: Menemsha Films

An accident during a bar mitzvah leads to a gender rift in a devout Orthodox community in Jerusalem in “The Women’s Balcony.”

Directed by Eleanor Coppola (U.S., 2016, 92 min.) Anne is at a crossroads in her life. Long married to a successful, driven but inattentive movie producer, she unexpectedly finds herself taking a car trip from Cannes to Paris with a business associate of her husband. What should be a seven-hour drive turns into a carefree two-day adventure replete with diversions that reawaken her lust for life. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema West End Cinema

Stories We Tell The Big Sick Directed by Michael Showalter (U.S., 2017, 119 min.) Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail connects with grad student Emily after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents (English and Urdu). Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Casablanca Directed by Michael Curtiz (U.S., 1942, 102 min.) Why is he in Casablanca? “I was misinformed,” explains nightclub owner/war refugee Humphrey Bogart, who won’t “stick his neck out for nobody” — until Ingrid Bergman walks in. AFI Silver Theatre June 30 to July 6

My Cousin Rachel Directed by Roger Michell (U.S./U.K., 2017, 106 min.) A young Englishman plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Dunkirk Directed by Christopher Nolan (U.S./U.K./France/Netherlands, 2017, 107 min.) Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in

World War II. AFI Silver Theatre Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., July 21

The Exception Directed by David Leveaux (U.K./U.S., 2017, 107 min.) This riveting World War II thriller follows German soldier Stefan as he goes on a mission to investigate exiled German Monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II who lives in a secluded mansion in the Netherlands. As Stefan begins to infiltrate the Kaiser’s life, he finds himself drawn into an unexpected and passionate romance with one of the Kaiser’s maids whom he soon discovers is secretly Jewish. The Avalon Theatre

A Ghost Story Directed by David Lowery (U.S., 2017, 87 min.) In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife. Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., July 14

Lady Macbeth Directed by William Oldroyd (U.K., 2017, 89 min.) Set in 19th-century rural England, young bride who has been sold into marriage to a middle-aged man discovers an unstoppable desire within herself as she enters into an affair with a worker on her estate. Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., July 21

The Lady from Shanghai Directed by Orson Welles (U.S., 1947, 87 min.) Footloose Irish sailor Orson Welles

gets mixed up in a murder with crooked lawyer Everett Sloane and his sultry wife, Rita Hayworth (then Mrs. Welles). Byzantine plot twists and hypnotic spectacles ensue, including would-be lovers discussing a murder plot as an aquarium’s shark swims behind them. AFI Silver Theatre July 2 to 6

Directed by Sarah Polley Canada, 2013, 108 min.) Actor and director Sarah Polley addresses the complicated mystery of her mother’s life in this rousing mix of memoir, interview, reconnaissance and copious Super-8 home-movie footage, both real and staged. National Gallery of Art Tue., July 4, 3 p.m.

The Little Hours

Wonder Woman

Directed by Jeff Baena (Canada/U.S., 2017, 90 min.) In this irreverent comedy, a group of medieval nuns spend their days chafing at monastic routine, spying on one another and berating the estate’s day laborer. After a particularly vicious insult session drives the peasant away, a virile young servant is introduced to the sisters as a deafmute to discourage temptation but soon struggles to maintain his cover as the repressed nunnery erupts in a whirlwind of pansexual horniness, substance abuse and wicked revelry. Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., July 7

Directed by Patty Jenkins (U.S./China/Hong Kong, 2017, 141 min.) Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny (English and German). Angelika Mosaic Atlantic Plumbing Cinema Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema

French

Manifesto

Fanny’s Journey

Directed by Julian Rosefeldt (Germany/Australia, 2017, 95 min.) “Manifesto” features two-time Academy Award-winner Cate Blanchett in 13 astonishing roles that span the gamut of humanity — from punk rocker to anchorwoman, from homeless man to mother delivering Sunday grace before family dinner, from puppeteer to factory worker. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Directed by Lola Doillon (Belgium/France, 2016, 94 min.) In 1943, 13-year-old Fanny and her younger sisters were sent from their home in France to a foster home for Jewish children in Italy. When the Nazis arrive in Italy, their caretakers desperately organize the departure of the children to Switzerland. Suddenly left on their own, these 11 children will do the impossible to reach the Swiss border in order to survive. Edlavitch DCJCC Tue., July 11, 7:30 p.m.

Maudie Directed by Aisling Walsh (Ireland/Canada, 2017, 115 min.) An arthritic Nova Scotia woman works as a housekeeper while she hones her skills as an artist and eventually becomes a beloved figure

The Midwife Directed by Martin Provost (France, 2017, 117 min.) Two of French cinema’s biggest stars


shine in this bittersweet drama about the unlikely friendship that develops between Claire (Catherine Frot), a talented but tightly wound midwife, and Béatrice (Catherine Deneuve), the estranged, free-spirited mistress of Claire’s late father. The Avalon Theatre Opens Fri., July 21

Moka Directed by Frédéric Mermoud (Switzerland/France, 2016, 89 min.) This tightly-paced, suspenseful psychological thriller stars Emmanuelle Devos as Diane, a grieving, obsessed woman who tracks down the hitand-run driver of the Mercedes she thinks killed her son and devastated her life. In order to get closer to her suspects, Diane pretends to be a potential buyer for the car with the owner, and separately strikes up a seeming friendship with his partner, Marlene. Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., July 7

gerMan Lessons of a Dream (Der ganz grosse Traum) Directed by Sebastian Grobler (Germany, 2011, 113 min.) Based on the true story of the teacher and football pioneer Konrad Koch, “Lessons of a Dream” relates the story of the beginnings of football in Germany, and of a school class that

develops into a real team when they are infected with their new teacher’s football fever. Goethe-Institut Fri., July 28, 6:30 p.m.

The Wedding Plan (Laavor et hakir)

The Women’s Balcony Directed by Emil Ben-Shimon (Israel, 2017, 96 min.) When the women’s balcony in an Orthodox synagogue collapses, leaving the rabbi’s wife in a coma and the rabbi in shock, the congregation falls into crisis. A charismatic young rabbi appears to be a savior after the accident, but slowly starts pushing his fundamentalist ways and tries to take control. This tests the women’s friendships and creates an almost Lysistrata-type rift between the community’s women and men. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema

sWeDish

rUssian

Directed by Amanda Kernell (Sweden/Norway/Denmark, 2017, 108 min.) In this emotionally-charged drama, primarily set in the 1930s, 14-yearold Elle, a reindeer-breeding girl from the Sami (Lapp) community in northern Sweden, is forcibly sent to a boarding school by the state in order to learn the Swedish language and culture. Taken from the untamed wilderness to an urban world, trying to fit in, she is exposed to racism and humiliating race biology examinations. Despite the prejudice of many, the compassion of a few shines through, offering Elle a sense of hope in her otherwise bleak world (Swedish and Sami). West End Cinema

Moscow Never Sleeps

heBreW

Directed by Rama Burshtein (Israel, 2016, 110 min.) Exhausted by single life at 32, spirited bride-to-be Michal is eager for the comfort and companionship of marriage. Then, her fiancé dumps her one month before their wedding. Devastated but undeterred, Michal, an Orthodox Jew, decides to keep her wedding date, leaving it to God to provide a suitable groom. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema

National Museum of American History Sun., July 30, 2 p.m.

Photo: snaPshot ProDuCtions

Evgenia Brik and Oleg Dolin star in the compelling Russian drama “Moscow Never Sleeps.”

inUKtitUt Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner Directed by Zacharias Kunuk (Canada, 2001, 172 min.) Written and spoken entirely in Inuit, the narrative is a mix of drama, myth, and oral tradition that, in its sense of verisimilitude, resembles a documentary, yet is a fictional tale (employing amateur actors) about an ancient evil disrupting a remote settlement in the Arctic. National Gallery of Art Sat., July 8, 2 p.m.

italian Like Crazy (La pazza gioia) Directed by Paolo Virzi (Italy/France, 2016, 118 min.) Beatrice is a motor-mouthed fantasist, a self-styled billionaire countess

who likes to believe she’s on intimate terms with world leaders. Donatella is a tattooed introvert, a fragile young woman locked in her own mystery. The two women form an unlikely friendship as they flee the mental institution in search of love and happiness in the outside world. The Avalon Theatre Wed., July 5, 8 p.m.

ManDarin Soul Mate Directed by Derek Tsang (China, 2016, 110 min.) Young actresses Zhou Dongyu and Ma Sichun deliver intense, emotionally raw performances as high school friends whose relationship is strained when they both fall in love with the handsome Jiaming. Years later, old wounds are reopened when one of them publishes a novel based on their lives.

Directed by Johnny O’Reilly (Russia/Ireland, 2017, 100 min.) Irish writer/director Johnny O’Reilly, who lived in Moscow for twelve years, has made a compelling Russian drama telling the story of five interlocking characters on a single day, the Moscow City Day holiday, celebrated with parades and fireworks. Like a Russian “Crash,” the film dives headlong into the volatile intersections and intimate lives of five people, including an entrepreneur whose business comes under siege by bureaucrats and a teenage girl mired in the misery of a broken home. Landmark’s Theatres

sPanish

thai

Endless Poetry (Poesía sin fin)

Pop Aye

Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky (Chile/France, 2016, 128 min.) Through the intensely personal lens of writer/director Alejandro Jodorowsky comes the story of his years spent as an aspiring poet in Chile in the 1940s — replete with Jodorowsky’s wonderfully imaginative, surreal and psychedelic imagery. Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., July 28

Visit Jordan & The Holy Land

Sami Blood

Directed by Kirsten Tan (Thailand/Singapore, 2017, 102 min.) On a chance encounter, a disenchanted architect bumps into his long-lost elephant from his childhood on the streets of Bangkok. Excited, he takes his elephant on a journey across Thailand, in search of the farm where they grew up together. Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., July 21

Rich Culture

Religious History

Visit the crown jewel of the Middle East, the Kingdom of Jordan. One of the most hospitable countries in the world, Jordan is home to one of the wonders of the world at Petra. Walk in the footsteps of Moses at Mount Nebo or see the site where Jesus was said to be baptized at Al-Maghtas. Camp with Bedouins in the vast valley of Wadi Rum, where you’ll enjoy traditional Jordanian food and dancing. Experience the stunning waters of Aqaba, which features unrivaled scuba diving and some of the most striking coral reefs in the world. Visit us as part of a biblical tour of the holy land: Jafa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Tiberias and Bethlehem. Conde Nast calls Jordan “one of the world’s must-see sights.” At Azure Tours we have spent decades giving tourists, groups and conference organizers the trip of a lifetime in the Kingdom. Whether you want to tour ancient or religious sites, embark on an adventure, enjoy a unique family get-away or organize a conference, we have the knowledge to help you experience the best of Jordan.

Call us at: 011 962 6 566 8970 • 011 962 79 552 6206 www.azure-tours.com • munther.twal@azure-tours.com

Extreme Sports

Beautiful Resorts

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULy 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 July 9

Frédéric Bazille and the Birth of Impressionism Frédéric Bazille (1841-70) created paintings inspired by contemporary life that challenged the aesthetic conventions of his day and helped to lay the groundwork of impressionism. In celebration of the 175th anniversary of the artist’s birth, this exhibit brings together some 75 paintings that examine Bazille as a central figure of impressionism. National Gallery of Art Through July 9

Inventing Utamaro: A Japanese Masterpiece Rediscovered In 2014, the Okada Museum of Art in Hakone, Japan, made an announcement that startled the art world. The new arts center revealed it had discovered a long-lost painting by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), a legendary but mysterious Japanese artist. Titled “Snow at Fukagawa,” the immense work is one of three paintings by Utamaro that idealize famous pleasure districts in Edo (now Tokyo). For the first time in nearly 140 years, these paintings reunite in Inventing Utamaro at the Freer|Sackler, the only location to show all three original pieces. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery July 10 to 12

Survibe Joan Tarragó, Sabek and Elliot Alcalde are traveling 4,139 miles on a painting roadtrip, a hand-drawn route that crosses half of the country, from Texas to New York to D.C. Their Survibe Project is a living documentary in which they will get to know as many people and places as possible while painting huge walls, engaging in art collaborations and creating pop-up exhibitions as well as 360-degree photographic and video content, 24/7. Former Residence of the Spanish Ambassador July 14 to Oct. 29

Equilibrium: Fanny Sanín This spotlight exhibition, featuring five paintings and more than 30 preliminary drawings by Fanny Sanín, invites viewers into the artist’s meticulous, intuitive process, as she creates compositions of geometric forms with precisely defined fields of color. National Museum of Women in the Arts Through July 24

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Flair For 50 years, the Ebony Fashion Fair

shaped a new vision of black America through contemporary fashion. Founded by Eunice Walker Johnson in 1958, the traveling fashion show broke the color barrier to bring the pinnacle of global fashion to communities that were eager to celebrate black accomplishment, aspiration and success. The George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum present the story of the Ebony Fashion Fair and its cultural impact with 40 garments, including stunning gowns, feathered coats and statement designs by Christian Dior, Vivienne Westwood and burgeoning designer Naeem Khan, who would go on to dress first lady Michelle Obama. The George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum Through Aug. 6

Gateways/Portales What do D.C., Charlotte and RaleighDurham, N.C., and Baltimore, Md., all have in common? They are all urban areas, are all on the East Coast and all have experienced rapid growth in their “Latinx” populations, most with spurts beginning in the 1980s. “Gateways/Portales” explores the triumphs and struggles of Latinx migrants and immigrants through the lenses of rights and justice, representation and celebration. Anacostia Community Museum Through Aug. 6

José Gómez-Sicre’s Eye A half-century ago, Cuban-born curator José Gómez-Sicre took the reins of the OAS’s art program, thrusting himself into the rapidly expanding Latin American art world and bringing young, emerging talent to the OAS’s budding exhibition space. Impassioned by the arts, Gómez-Sicre planted the seeds of what is today considered among world’s finest collections of modern and contemporary Latin American and Caribbean art. The OAS will be celebrating the centennial of Gómez-Sicre’s birth throughout 2016, honoring his contribution to the legacy of the hemisphere’s art. OAS Art Museum of the Americas

of a woodland creature’s habitat, or the place of concealment. At the American University Museum, Sham has built one horizontal tunnel measuring 62 feet long and one vertical tunnel towering 36 feet high. “Escape” is one of a series of participatory sculptures, begun in the 1990s, meant to be experienced with all the body’s senses and to resonate socially. American University Museum Through Aug. 13

An exhibition of prints by Belgian photographer Carl De Keyzer of scenes in North Korea and Cuba consists of 60 large-scale photos. The Cuba photos were taken shortly after former President Obama’s 2014 speech inviting the relaxation of the communist island’s 56-year embargo. De Keyzer’s North Korean prints also were shot in 2015. The British-run Koryo Group, which organizes travel tours in North Korea, arranged for De Keyzer to spend more than 40 nights in North Korea, during which time the globally renowned photographer traveled to every single one of the country’s provinces. American University Museum Through Aug. 19

Tierras Ambulantes (Clay in Transit) Curated by Mexican artist Paloma Torres, “Tierras Ambulantes (Clay in Transit)” explores the work of seven sculptors who use clay as a means of returning to cultural roots and origins. The artists whose work is presented here build bridges between the past and present by creating contemporary pieces with such an ancient medium. Mexican Cultural Institute Through Aug. 20

America Collects EighteenthCentury French Painting

American artists of the early 20th century sought to interpret the beauty, power and anxiety of the modern age in diverse ways. Through depictions of bustling city crowds and breathtaking metropolitan vistas, 25 black-and-white prints in this exhibition explore the spectacle of urban modernity. National Gallery of Art Through Aug. 13

Through Sept. 3

The Urban Scene: 1920-1950

Escape: Foon Sham “Escape” showcases Foon Sham’s mastery of wood sculpture. To be within one of his vessel sculptures is to experience the palpable space

38 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JUly 2017

with more recent paintings. Lüpertz, who began painting in a postwar Germany dominated by American Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, has exhibited a preoccupation with the relationship between figuration and abstraction over the course of his career. Demonstrating this relationship through nearly 50 paintings, the exhibition at the Phillips includes important examples from Lüpertz’s “dithyrambic” pictures and provocative paintings of German motifs. The Phillips Collection

States of Being: Photographs of Cuba and North Korea by Carl De Keyzer

When Joseph Bonaparte, elder brother of Napoleon, arrived in the United States in 1815, he brought with him his exquisite collection of eighteenth-century French paintings. Put on public view, the works caused a sensation, and a new American taste for French art was born. T his exhibition brings together 68 paintings that represent some of the best and most unusual examples of French art of that era held by American museums and tells their stories on a national stage. National Gallery of Art

Through Aug. 6

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | July 2017

David Molander – Invisible Cities If home is a place where we ought to feel safe, how is this feeling visualized in our collective home — i.e.,

Through Dec. 10

Stories of Migration – Sweden Beyond the Headlines

Photo: Courtesy of the Artist

Sául Kaminer’s “Chamán (Shaman)” is among the works featured in “Tierras Ambulantes (Clay in Transit)” at the Mexican Cultural Institute.

the city? This question inspired David Molander to create scenes where small and large conflicts play out among different interests and processes. While we can choose to care about or ignore them, all of them play an important role in shaping the invincible cities that we call home. House of Sweden Through Sept. 3

Linda Lasson – Black Thread, Images from Northern Sweden Exploring the lives of the Sami, Sweden’s indigenous people. Linda Lasson tells the stories of an exploited Northland and a displaced indigenous population through work that is archetypal contemporary poetry expressed as embroidery. The threads resemble drawings, and the graphic feel, mixed with the textile structure, exudes a sculptural aesthetic. House of Sweden Through Sept. 10

Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History Offering unparalleled insight into the German artist’s pioneering early practice, “Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History” showcases more than 30 paintings from Lüpertz’s formative years in the 1960s and ’70s, as he challenged the limits of painting and forged his own style amidst the unrest of postwar Germany. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Through Sept. 10

Revival Contemporary sculpture, photog-

raphy and video by women artists explores how arresting aesthetics and intense subject matter can spur the viewer into a transcendent encounter with a work of art. Rousing the spirit rather than simply tantalizing the eye, the 16 artists in this exhibition harness scale, technique and effect in photography and sculpture to reanimate deep-rooted emotions related to the human experience. National Museum of Women in the Arts Through Sept. 17

Yoko Ono: Four Works for Washington and the World The Hirshhorn celebrates the 10th anniversary of Yoko Ono’s iconic “Wish Tree for Washington, D.C.,” a living tree that invites visitors to tie a handwritten wish to its branches, with a summer of the Ono’s emotionally charged installations and performances. Starting June 17, visitors can make a wish at the Wish Tree, leave memories of their mother at the U.S. debut of “My Mommy is Beautiful,” a 40-foot participatory artwork that becomes a communal tribute to motherhood, and watch the newly restaged Sky TV for Washington, D.C., a 24-hour live feed of the sky outside, created in 1966 when Ono was living in a windowless apartment and longed for a glimpse of nature. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Through Sept. 23

Markus Lüpertz “Markus Lüpertz” explores the entirety of the prolific German artist’s five-decade career with a survey of his earliest works along

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 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. 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.


Events | Culture | WD

National Building Museum 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 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

DisCUssions Tue., July 25, 6:30 p.m.

Goethe Book Club: Alina Bronsky’s Broken Glass Park (Scherbenpark) Read and discuss works by contemporary German authors in this series hosted by the GoetheInstitut. All books can be read in recent English translation or in the German original; discussion will be in English. “Broken Glass Park” centers around a teenage girl living under extraordinary circumstances — her family migrates to Germany, where a pattern of violence ends with the murder of her mother at the hands of her stepfather. Goethe-Institut

MUsiC Through July 4

Serenade! Choral Festival: A JFK 100 Celebration Featuring 16 choirs from 12 countries, this annual festival, not in its seventh year, is part of the centennial celebration of John F. Kennedy’s birth. Each choir selected for this year’s annual festival comes from a country served by one of Kennedy’s enduring initiatives, the Peace Corps. Choirs from India, Northern Ireland, Panama, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Bulgaria, Latvia, Mongolia, Canada, Spain, China, and the United States give free performances throughout the D.C. area, including five concerts on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and a grand finale concert in the Concert Hall. For information, visit www. classicalmovements.com/dc.htm. Kennedy Center

and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. Tickets are $49 to $159 Kennedy Center Opera House

at the Evanston Conservatory of Music at the age of 4, performed his first piano concert at 7 and as a teenager in 1974, toured Europe both as a pianist and also in a vocal group alongside the Vienna Boys Choir. Admission is free; to register, visit http://acfdc.org. Embassy of Austria

July 19 to Aug. 13

The Mark of Cain

Sat., July 8, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sound Scene X: Dissonance “Sound Scene X” unites local audio artists and contributors from across the globe to transform the Hirshhorn into a sonic wonderland highlighting the unique sounds of D.C., centered on the theme of “dissonance.” Visitors will have the rare opportunity to: listen to the solar system in real time; play a veggie keyboard; build wind chimes from recycled materials; compose melodies based on body temperature; and construct a wall of silence. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

theater Through July 2

Jesus Christ Superstar Experience Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s stunning award-winning rock opera in a sleek, modern, environmental production. Please call for ticket information. Signature Theatre July 7 to 30

The Originalist Four-time Helen Hayes Award winner and distinguished D.C. actor Edward Gero reprises his role as Justice Antonin Scalia, in a “lively performance” that “lands the laughs, delivers the gravitas and at every turn makes you believe this tantalizing man” (The Washington Post). He is joined by former D.C. resident Jade Wheeler as a young, liberal law clerk who becomes a sparring partner for the conservative Justice, and Brett Mack as an eager Scalia devotee. Post-show conversations include journalists Nina Totenberg and Jess Bravin and actor Gero and playwright John Strand on July 19, as well as Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Artistic Director Molly Smith on July 22. Tickets are $40 to $90. Arena Stage

Photo: C. stanley PhotograPhy

Edward Gero stars as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in “The Originalist,” which runs July 7 to 30 at Arena Stage.

early 1970s. Penned by “House of Cards” writer Sarah Treem, the drama transports you to a time before Roe vs. Wade, before the Violence Against Women Act and before women had anywhere to turn in times of distress as it tells the story of Agnes, a single parent who has turned her quiet B&B into one of the few spots where a woman on the run can seek refuge. Tickets are $35 to $45. Andrew Keegan Theatre Through July 9

Broken Glass Theater J stages “Broken Glass,” one of the only plays by Arthur Miller to directly incorporate Jewish characters and history. In Miller’s riveting drama, Sylvia Gellburg has suddenly, mysteriously, become paralyzed from the waist down. Neither her husband, a self-denying Jew, nor her doctor can figure out why. Set in Brooklyn throughout the rampage of Kristallnacht in 1938, this play confronts our assumptions about being American, being married and coming to terms with one’s own identity. Tickets start at $37. Edlavitch DCJCC Through July 9

The School for Lies

July 7 to 9

“The School for Lies” transforms Molière’s 17th-century classic “The Misanthrope” into a modern satire crafted in vicious couplets and outrageous gags, creating a baroque comedy of manners brimming with contemporary slang. Please call for ticket information. The Shakespeare Theatre

Salomé – National Theatre Live

July 11 to Aug. 6

An occupied desert nation. A radical from the wilderness on hunger strike. A girl whose mysterious dance will change the course of the world. This charged retelling turns the infamous biblical tale on its head, placing the girl we call Salomé at the center of a revolution. Tickets are $20. The Shakespeare Theatre

Cabaret

Through July 8

Step into the infamous Kit Kat Klub and leave your troubles outside. As part of its 50th anniversary, the renowned Roundabout Theatre Company presents “Cabaret,” the scintillating Tony winner about following your heart while the world loses its way. Tickets are $59 to $149. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater

Mark Damisch

When We Were Young and Unafraid

Through July 16

Mark Damisch is an American concert pianist who began studying organ

This powerful play takes you inside a shelter for women on the run in the

The spirited, romantic, and beloved

Fri., July 7, 12 p.m.

The Sound of Music

musical will thrill once again with its Tony, Grammy, and Oscar-winning score in this brand new production, directed by three-time Tony winner Jack O’Brien. Tickets are $39 to $169. Kennedy Center Opera House July 18 to Aug. 20

Rodger’s & Hammerstein’s ‘The King and I’ Set in 1860s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam

Synetic Theater’s newly devised work is a neo-surrealist distillation of human history, seen through the eyes of Cain, the world’s first criminal. As Cain makes his bloody “mark” in every corner of the world, we see that the conflict between progress and morality are ever present — a function of humanity’s need to create civilization through uncivilized means and attempt to touch the face of God. Tickets start at $35. Synetic Theater July 23 to 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 Through Aug. 13

The Second City’s Almost Accurate Guide to America: Divided We Stand Who better to comment on the state of our nation than the comedians who mock it best? The Second City returns for another summer of uproarious irreverence on America’s divided political climate. Tickets are $49 to $65. Kennedy Center Theater Lab Sun., July 30, 7 p.m.

Esther, Sweet Esther Based on the well-loved Biblical story, “Esther, Sweet Esther,” is a light and witty, two-act operatic musical about the heroic and faithful Jewish maiden who, after becoming the Queen of Persia, risks her life to save her people. The Broadway and Hollywood theatrical team of Jeremiah and Wendy Ginsberg bring the romantic biblical story to the stage, featuring the first Syrian opera singer, Lubana Al-Quntar, as Esther in the cast of 11 talented performers. Tickets are $90 or $175; for information, visit www.esthersweetesther. eventbrite.com. National Press Club

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THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULy 2017 | 39


WD | Culture | Spotlight

Diplomatic Spotlight

July 2017

Passport DC 2017 Cultural Tourism DC’s annual Passport DC international showcase celebrated its 10th anniversary in May with a recordbreaking lineup of over 100 embassy open houses, in addition to various street festivals, performing arts and other events throughout the city. The popular month-long series of events, which regularly draws tens of thousands of visitors, is an international feast for the senses, highlighting the food, drink, music, dance, dress and traditions of dozens of nations.

Around the World Tour On May 6, over 100 embassies from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe opened their doors as part of the Around the World Embassy Tour, while on May 13, the European Union featured its annual A Shortcut to Europe, with open houses at the missions of the EU’s 28 member states. Traditional dancers outside the Embassy of Azerbaijan. Ambassador of Azerbaijan Elin Suleymanov.

Photos: Patricia McDougall

Ambassador of Haiti Paul Altidor and Cultural Tourism DC Embassy Liaison Jan Du Plain. At left, visitors tour the Embassy of Haiti.

Native attire at the Embassy of Kazakhstan.

The Embassy of Morocco offered henna painting.

Dancers pose with visitors at the Embassy of Kazakhstan.

Cultural Tourism DC Embassy Liaison Jan Du Plain, Ambassador of South Africa Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu and his wife Nomaswazi Christina Mahlangu.

Bolivian dancers perform in a parade.

Visitors pose at the European Union Delegation to the U.S. during the EU’s Shortcut to Europe day.

40 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JUly 2017

Ambassador of Peru Carlos Pareja and his wife Consuelo Salinas.

The Embassy of India served traditional cuisine.

Visitors pose in front of handmade crafts at the Embassy of Botswana.

Visitors use a Passport DC map to tour dozens of embassies.

Ambassador of Benin Hector Posset and his wife.

Photo: U.K. in the U.S.

Photo: EU Delegation to the U.S.

The Mexican Cultural Institute participated in the Around the World Tour.

The Embassy of Malaysia featured musicians and colorful native attire.

Native Omani fashions on display at the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center.

During the EU open house showcase at the British Residence, U.K. Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch, center, and guests put on red noses on Red Nose Day, started by the British charity Comic Relief.

Photo: U.K. in the U.S.

The British Residence opens its doors for A Shortcut to Europe.


Spotlight | Culture | WD

Events DC Embassy Chef Challenge

Embassy Chef Challenge Preview at Indonesia

Events DC and Cultural Tourism DC presented the ninth annual Embassy Chef Challenge at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center on May 24. Over two dozen embassies from Azerbaijan to Greece to Singapore competed for the Judge’s and People’s Choice Awards. The Judges’ Choice Award went to first-time participant Morocco, whose chef, Moha Fedal, prepared Marrakesh tangia featuring lamb shoulder sealed in a clay jar. The People’s Choice Award went to Haiti’s Cynthia Verna, who served shrimp with plantain chips and an aioli of fine herbs.

Indonesian Ambassador Budi Bowoleksono held a dinner at his residence to preview the Embassy Chef Challenge, part of Cultural Tourism DC’s Passport DC. Over two dozen embassy chefs competed as part of the challenge, which was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Photo: Jane Pennewell

Eric A. Moses, senior vice president of Events DC, presents the People’s Choice Award to chef Cynthia Verna of Haiti.

Embassy Chef Challenge judges Valeria Barriga of Telemundo and Xavier Deshayes, executive chef of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Paul Cohen, Kimberly Gantt and Erik A. Moses, senior vice president and managing director of sports and entertainment for Events DC.

Photos: Embassy of Indonesia / Cultural Tourism DC

Akosua D. Okyere-Badoo, minister at the Embassy of Ghana; Malena de Madalengoitia, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Peru Agustín de Madalengoitia; and Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Ghana Ernest-B. Asare-Asiedu.

Photo: Jane Pennewell

Chef Moha Fedal of Morocco celebrates winning the Judges’ Award. Lael Mohib, wife of the Afghan ambassador; chef Samad Noori of the Embassy of Afghanistan; Ambassador of Indonesia Budi Bowoleksono; his wife Reshanty Bowoleksono; Erik A. Moses, senior vice president of Events DC; and Andrew Gelfuso of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Ambassador of Sri Lanka Prasad Kariyawasam, right, and his team serve Sri Lankan cuisine.

The Embassy of Bolivia serves up a singani cocktail.

Iván Hernandez of the World Bank, Carla Portalanza of the Embassy of Ecuador and her parents Maria Zambrano and Gustavo Portalanza.

Guests fill the atrium of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for the ninth annual Embassy Chef Challenge.

Ambassador of Indonesia Budi Bowoleksono and his wife Reshanty Bowoleksono, whose embassy presented serepeh chicken with coconut vegetables wrapped in a piti cracker.

A Celebration of Global Fashion

Guests sample food at an exclusive tasting prepared by five embassy chefs participating in this year’s Embassy Chef Challenge.

From left, Stephen Ball, director of business development at Events DC; Ambassador of Indonesia Budi Bowoleksono; and Jan Du Plain of DuPlain Enterprises.

From left, chef Francis Otoo of the Embassy of Ghana; chef Jan Van Haute of the Embassy of Belgium; an assistant chef; chef Elmer Gutíerrez of the Embassy of Peru; chef Galih Kuntobaskoro of the Embassy of Indonesia; his assistant Sulastri; and chef Samad Noori of the Embassy of Afghanistan.

The Raíces Hondureñas Folkloric Group was presented by the Embassy of Honduras.

The opening celebration of Passport DC highlighted global fashion ensembles at Macy’s Metro Center from nations such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Botswana, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Kosovo, Malawi, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Ukraine. Photos: Patricia McDougall

Andrew Gelfuso of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Cultural Tourism DC Executive Director Steven Shulman and Jerome Barry, founder of the Embassy Series.

Ambassador of Indonesia Budi Bowoleksono is presented with a chef’s coat by Erik A. Moses of Events DC. “To appreciate a culture,” Bowoleksono said, “you must acquaint yourself with its cuisine.”

Ambassador of Honduras Jorge Alberto Milla Reyes, second from right, poses with embassy staffers.

The Embassy of Kenya displays native fashions.

Marie Eugenia Alvarez, cultural attaché at the Embassy of Guatemala, and Jan Du Plain, Cultural Tourism DC embassy liaison. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JUly 2017 | 41


WD | Culture | Spotlight

Diplomatic Spotlight

July 2017

Refugees International 38th Anniversary Dinner

Diplomacy Meets the Arts at Monaco

Refugees International (RI) presented its 38th Anniversary Dinner at Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium to highlight the plight of the 65 million people displaced by conflict and persecution around the world. The dinner, which was attended by 500 people and raised over $900,000 for the D.C.-based advocacy group, honored Syria’s White Helmets and other humanitarians fighting to raise awareness of the global refugee crisis.

Ambassador of Monaco Maguy Maccario Doyle held an intimate ladies luncheon at her residence on May 25 to discuss the topic of how diplomacy can further the arts. Guests included several female ambassadors as well as prominent women involved in the local arts scene. As a parting gift, guests received a Coravin wine system, which pours wine without pulling out the cork.

Photo: Refugees International

Photo: Refugees International

Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Çitaku talks about her experiences being uprooted from her home during the Balkan Wars at the RI Dinner.

House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) addresses the crowd.

Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Citaku, Ambassador of Luxembourg Sylvie Lucas, Ambassador of Monaco Maguy Maccario Doyle and Ambassador of Hungary Réka Szemerkényi. Photo: Refugees International

Jehad Mahameed of Syria’s White Helmets celebrates Refugees International’s McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award with Jordan’s Queen Noor and fellow White Helmet volunteers Manal Abazeed and Mounir Mustafa.

Samer Asfour of the Embassy of Jordan, Willee Lewis and Ambassador of Jordan Dina Kawar.

Honoree Hassan Shire of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project; Ambassador of Luxembourg Sylvie Lucas; Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Çitaku; and Ambassador of Somalia Ahmed Isse Awad.

Photo: Refugees International

Former U.S. Ambassador Walter Cutler, Didi Cutler, Isabel Vital and Ambassador of Portugal Domingos Fezas Vital.

Marie Royce, wife of House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.); Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Çitaku; and Ambassador of Albania Floreta Faber.

Yasmine Pahlavi, Mariella Trager, Kathleen Biden, Gabriela Sigala and Marisol Lamadrid.

Arwa Sawan of Alhurra TV, Refugees International Board Chair Eileen Shields-West, Jayne Vesser and Lendita Haxhitasim of the Embassy of Kosovo.

Author Kati Morton, wife of the late Richard Holbrooke, presents an award named in Holbrooke’s honor to Hassan Shire, executive director of Defend Defenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) and chairman of the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network.

Andrea Garcia-Planas and Dania Kibbi of the Embassy of Peru.

The Washington Diplomat managing editor Anna Gawel; Director of the Smithsonian Office of International Relations and Global Programs Molly Fannon; Ambassador of Monaco Maguy Maccario Doyle; Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Citaku; Director of the Phillips Collection Dorothy Kosinski; Ambassador of Luxembourg Sylvie Lucas; Shahin Mafi of Home Health Connection Inc.; author Caitriona Palmer; Vice President of International Programming and Dance at the Kennedy Center Alicia B. Adams; Deputy Chief of Mission of the Monaco Embassy Lorenzo Ravano; Ambassador of Hungary Réka Szemerkényi; Head of the French Paintings Department at the National Gallery of Art Mary Morton; and philanthropist Rose Carter. Deputy Chief of Mission of the Monaco Embassy Lorenzo Ravano, center, talks with Director of the Smithsonian Office of International Relations and Global Programs Molly Fannon, left, and author and journalist Caitriona Palmer.

King’s Day at Netherlands

Ambassador of the Netherlands Henne Schuwer and his wife Lena Boman, right, welcome Lendita Haxhitasim of the Embassy of Kosovo to the Dutch King’s Day reception held at the Royal Netherlands Embassy.

Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Luxembourg Véronique Dockendorf, left, talks with Deputy Chief of Mission of the Dutch Embassy Joanneke Balfoort.

42 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JUly 2017

Photos: Royal Netherlands Embassy

Ambassador of the Netherlands Henne Schuwer welcomes guests to the Dutch King’s Day reception.

Former Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), right, speaks with a guest.

Mary Morton, curator and head of the French Paintings Department at the National Gallery of Art, left, talks with Dorothy Kosinski, director of the Phillips Collection.


A Celebration of Women Diplomats The Women’s Foreign Policy Group (WFPG) hosted its annual Celebration of Women Diplomats on May 23 at the Embassy of Luxembourg, with over a dozen ambassadors and deputy chiefs of mission in attendance. For over 20 years, WFPG has promoted the voices of women in foreign policy by highlighting the contributions of women leaders through global issues programs and mentoring.

Chargé d’Affaires of the Estonian Embassy Marki TihhonovaKreek, WFPG President Patricia Ellis and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Paraguayan Embassy Wilma Patricia Frutos Ruíz.

Ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Lou-Anne Gilchrist, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of TimorDeborah Sigmund of Innocents at Risk and Ambassador of St. Kitts Leste Natercia Coelho da Silva talks with Ambassador of Ireland Anne Anderson. and Nevis Thelma Phillip-Browne.

Photos: Megan Bright / WFPG

Women ambassadors and deputy chiefs of mission pose for a group photo.

WFPG President Patricia Ellis, Ambassador of Finland Kirsti Kauppi, Ambassador of Ireland Anne Anderson, Ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis Thelma Phillip-Browneand Ambassador of Niger Hassana Alidou.

Chargé d’Affaires of the Libyan Embassy Wafa Bugaighis talks with Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Luxembourg Véronique Dockendorf.

Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Singapore Sheryl Shum talks with Ambassador of Finland Kirsti Kauppi.

WFPG President Patricia Ellis, Ana Luisa Flore Fajer of the Embassy of Mexico and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Spanish Embassy Cristina Fraile.

Ambassador of Ireland Anne Anderson addresses guests.

Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Luxembourg Véronique Dockendorf talks with Deputy Chief of Mission of the Costa Rican Embassy Alejandra Solano Cabalceta.

WFPG President Patricia Ellis and Ambassador of Jamaica Audrey Marks.

International Student House Spring Garden Party Diplomats joined students for the International Student House’s annual Spring Garden Party on May 4. Resident scholars from 26 nations met with ambassadors and other guests to discuss their international studies. The International Student House of Washington, DC (ISH-DC), established in 1936, has provided a diverse international community of nearly 10,000 graduate students, interns and visiting scholars from 130 countries with an exceptional residential experience in the heart of D.C.

Photo: Derek Parks / ISH-DC

ISH-DC Board Member Sherry Migdail talks with Ambassador of Nicaragua Francisco Obadiah Campbell Hooker.

Timo Hainala of Finland, former U.S. Ambassador Walter Cutler, Tamara Büchel-Brunhart of the Embassy of Liechtenstein and ISHDC Executive Director Tom O’Coin. Photo: Derek Parks / ISH-DC

Photo: Derek Parks / ISH-DC

ISH-DC resident scholars Alex Beck and Cameron Peek from the United States, Lisette Oosterveen from the Netherlands and Mimi Price from the United States.

Deborah Dunham, President of THIS for Diplomats Liz Klass and Susan Jacobs.

Photo: Derek Parks / ISH-DC

ISH-DC resident scholars Jonathan Eigege from Nigeria, Fatimá Gomez from Spain, Atem Malak from South Sudan and Rose Twagirumukiza from Rwanda.

Isabel Vital, Ambassador of Portugal Domingos Fezas Vital, ISH-DC Executive Director Tom O’Coin and journalist Roland Flamini.

ISH-DC Board Member Ambassador Philip Wilcox and Ambassador of Sri Lanka Prasad Kariyawasam.

ISH-DC resident scholars Pepe Zhang of China and Nicolas Marquez of Uruguay.

Ambassador of South Africa Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, ISH-DC Board Member Kathryn Mann Horlick and Nomaswazi Christina Mahlangu.

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JUly 2017 | 43


WD | Culture | Spotlight

Diplomatic spotlight Jim Totten, Shannon Finney, Monique Blyther and Jin Kim.

The Washington Chorus Ball

‘Ali and Nino’ Screening the 2016 film “ali and nino,” based on the renowned book by Kurban said, screened at the naval heritage Center on May 16 in an event co-hosted by the embassies of azerbaijan and georgia. the film, directed by academy award winner asif Kapadia, is a love story between an azerbaijani Muslim and a georgian Christian set amid the upheaval of World War i.

the Washington Chorus held its annual ball on May 2 at the Washington national Cathedral under the patronage of British ambassador sir Kim Darroch. the evening began with a behind-the-scenes bell tower and reception, followed by dinner, a concert and dancing in the nave of the cathedral. the event celebrated the legacy of Music Director Julian Wachner and his final season. The Washington Chorus President Lauren Cook, right, and Matthew Geist.

Photos: Kate oCZyPoK

Antonio Brillembourg, Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg of the Stragtegic Investment Group, Jamie Craft and Robert Craft of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.

Alex Effendi of the U.S. Department of Justice, Maxine Pagliano and Gary Pagliano of the Library of Congress.

The Washington National Cathedral is lit up for the Chorus Ball.

July 2017

Tessa and Grant Morris of Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP.

Karen Dixon, Rhona Friedman, Don Friedman and Nan Schaffer.

Photos: eMBassy oF aZerBaiJan

Lala Suleymanov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan Elin Suleymanov, Anna Matsukashvili and Ambassador of Georgia David Bakradze.

Bloggers Ashley Hafstead and Lacey Faeh. Fuad Al Mughairi, Farah Al Mughairi, Ambassador of Oman Hunaina Al Mughairi and Ambassador of Kazakhstan Erzhan Kazykhanov.

NMWA 30th Anniversary Gala the national Museum of Women in the arts (nMWa) hosted its 30th anniversary spring gala in late april. the evening’s theme was inspired by women artists — past and present — represented in the museum’s diverse collection. luminaries from Washington’s diplomatic, governmental and social communities came to recognize museum founder Wilhelmina Cole holladay. Proceeds from the gala support the exhibitions and programs that make nMWa the leading museum dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women in the visual, performing and literary arts. Photos: Kate oCZyPoK

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks Aurelia Skipwith and Leo Giacometto.

Gala chairs Cindy Jones, Amy Baier, Kristin Cecchi and Jamie Dorros.

Trustee Betty Dettre, event planner Timothy Albrecht and former NMWA President Gladys Lisanby

Dr. Samia Burton and former Congressman Dan Burton (R-Ind.).

Dragon Boat Festival

Dr. William Hughes, Ann Hughes, Dr. Ned Snyder, Dot Snyder, Robin Stiner and John Stiner.

Ramez Rayyes of Christian Dior Couture, Nikki Chay, Marc Cohen, Lauren Cohen and Trina Sams-Manning of Christian Dior Couture.

Art collector Christine Suppes and NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling.

Jack Weiss and Denise Littlefield Sobel.

Stanley Kao, representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) to the U.S., welcomes guests to the 16th annual Dragon Boat Festival, a two-day festival held along the Potomac River. Photos: teCro

Don Clark, Dawn Clark and Arthur Coia admire a piece of art for the silent auction depicting the Last Supper with powerful women, all wondering where Jesus (the man) is.

44 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULy 2017

Catherine Graham admires a piece of art.

Michelle Keber, Aubrey Hong and Veronica Lopez.

Andrea Mitchell and Alem Tebeje peruse the silent auction items.

Rowers participate in the 16th annual Dragon Boat Festival sponsored by the Taiwan-U.S. Cultural Association.


The Phillips Gala “Maifest: A Spring Celebration of German Art and Culture,” inspired by the traditional German celebration of the arrival of spring, was the theme of this year’s annual gala to benefit the Phillips Collection. In honor of the museum’s longstanding relationship with the German Embassy — which includes the current “Markus Lüpert” exhibition — the evening celebrated the artistic exchange between the U.S. and Germany. Dinner at the museum was followed by the Contemporaries Bash: Berlin Underground, a night of cocktails, music, food, fashion, and dancing at Dock 5 at Union Market that attracted over 700 of the city’s young professionals.

Photo: Paul Morigi

Photo: Pepe Gomez

Dinner tables were set among the artwork in the Phillips Collection.

Ambassador of Germany Peter Wittig and his wife Huberta von Voss-Wittig served as the evening’s diplomatic chairs.

Photo: Paul Morigi Photo: Paul Morigi

Phillips Collection Director Dorothy Kosinski and gala host Kay Kapoor of AT&T.

Photo: Paul Morigi

Gouri Mirpuri and Ambassador of Singapore Ashok Mirpuri.

Photo: Paul Morigi

Gala honorary chair Diane Rehm and honoree George Vradenburg of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s.

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) talks to Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Debbie Meadows.

Photo: Paul Morigi

Isabel Fezas Vital and Ambassador of Portugal Domingos Fezas Vital. Photo: Pepe Gomez

Dinner tables were set among the artwork in the Phillips Collection.

Mirella Levinas and Phillips Board Chairman Dani Levinas.

Photo: Paul Morigi

Phillips Collection Director Dorothy Kosinski talks with Huberta von Voss-Wittig and Ambassador of Germany Peter Wittig.

Photo: Paul Morigi

Photo: Paul Morigi

Amit Chanana and Sarah Roth.

Erica Wang and Katherine Koleski of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

Mila Shelehoff, manager of global design at Marriott International, Mary Kopper of the International Center for Research on Women and author Philip Kopper.

Caitlyn Hupman, Remy Kauffmann and Kate Ernest.

Barbara Loh and University of Maryland President Wallace Loh.

Allison Glasser of the Truth Initiative and Michael Coursey.

Rowan O’Neil, Christine Cannon and Stephen Hrutka.

Haley Smith and Dana Zelman of the Federal Communications Commission. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JUly 2017 | 45


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riValry With inDia, Crisis in Qatar Archrival India would beg to differ. Delhi remains frustrated that Islamabad has not done more to bring the Pakistani perpetrators of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed over 160 people to justice. Since the bloody British partition of the subcontinent in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought four wars, three of them over the disputed territory of Kashmir. Some 50,000 people have been killed over the last 70 years on both sides of the 700kilometer “line of control” separating the Indian- and Paki-

46 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULy 2017

the people there. This is a human catastrophe. People are being killed, maimed and blinded. There’s not enough attention being paid to this,” Choudhry complained. “All these atrocities have been highlighted and documented by The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Economist.” Meanwhile, a top U.S. military official recently warned that India’s policy to “diplomatically isolate” Pakistan increases the risk of a conventional conflict leading to a nuclear exchange. Gen. Joseph Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee in mid-March that attacks in India from Pakistan-based terrorists and India’s reaction increases the “likelihood for miscalculation by both countries. This, he said, is especially troubling “as a significant conventional conflict between Pakistan and India could escalate into a nuclear exchange, given that both are nuclear powers.” Votel, whose U.S. Southern Command overseas the Pentagon’s operations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, said that to date, “the Pakistan military and security services have not taken lasting actions against” the Haqqani network despite repeated

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calls to “improve security in the FATA border region.” With all the talk of “diplomatic isolation” and state-supported terrorism, before wrapping up our interview, we asked Choudhry — who has served as a diplomat in both Qatar and Iran — how the Saudi-led isolation of Qatar, in which several Gulf states cut diplomatic, trade and transport links with the wealthy emirate over its alleged financing of terrorist networks, would affect the balance of power in the Middle East. We also wondered if Pakistan, which despite recent tensions with Iran still has relatively good relations with all countries involved, might help to defuse this latest crisis. “Pakistan has taken the position that the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran should be resolved through dialogue and mutual accommodation. To that end, my government is ready to play any role, and we have not broken ties with any country in the region,” Choudhry replied. “At this point, we need better understanding, better tolerance and harmony. The ugly head of ISIS [Islamic State] is still there. We must all remain more tolerant and understanding of each other against this common enemy.” WD Larry Luxner is the Tel Aviv-based news editor of The Washington Diplomat.


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The Washington Diplomat is an independent, monthly newspaper serving the Washington D.C. international and diplomatic community with regular...

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