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Hotels & Travel Special Sections INSIDE Hotels & Travel

A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat

VOLUME 25, NUMBER 7 Europe

Trump’s Transactional Approach Creates Rift With European Allies President Trump’s “America First” agenda seems to be putting allies like France and Germany last, as his transactional view of world affairs takes a wrecking-ball approach to the post-World War II architecture that the U.S. and Europe built. / PAGE 6

July 2018

JULY 2018



People Spir ofited World EvolutionInfluence Veteran bartender Sambonn Lek serves up classic cocktails at the St. Regis in D.C.

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Array of Drink Options in

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ambonn Lek isn’t your evhis magic preparing drinks. eryday bartender. Sure, he’s Lek, a Cambodian native happy to lend an ear whose to good father was an ambassador, does or bad news as he pours, mixes mind-reading and levitation, and shakes, but he’s and just as likely he can turn a $20 bill to wow with tricks as into two $10 he is to work bills — “but only at slow times. I


cannot do it when it’s busy,” he said. A few times he’s even played matchmaker.

‘Mr. Reset’ Warns of Russian Hot Peace SEE COCKTAILS • PAGE 27


| JULY 2018 | 25

Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, spearheaded President Obama’s famed (and failed) reset with Russia, only to encounter the full brunt of the Kremlin’s wrath. While he does not foresee a return to the Cold War, McFaul warns that we’re entering into a new “hot peace” with Russia. / PAGE 4


Amid Trade Tensions, U.S., China Enter New Era of Conflict Amid the current trade showdown with Donald Trump, China might be able to avoid a devastating trade war in the short term, but the long-term trajectory of Sino-American relations may be characterized by escalating tension, and potentially even a full-blown cold war. / PAGE 10


By the People, For the People A new citywide festival aims to bring life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to D.C. PAGE 30

With a penchant for profanity and outrageous remarks on everything from Viagra to Hitler, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been described as the Donald Trump of the East. But Ambassador Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez defends his famously un-PC president as a man of the people who gets things done. / PAGE 15

Diplomatic Spouses

Indonesia’s Couple Diplomacy Reshanty Bowoleksono, the wife of Indonesian Ambassador Budi Bowoleksono, has an intimate understanding of her homeland and how to promote it, having been a career diplomat herself for many years. / PAGE 31

Volume 25


Issue 7


July 2018

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Contributing Writers

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ON THE COVER Photo taken at the Embassy of the Philippines by Lawrence Ruggeri of

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Contents 15



Manila, Philippines








Colon cancer is on the rise, spurring new screening guidelines for young Americans.

At the Argentine Embassy, painting and photography play off each other.



PEOPLE OF WORLD INFLUENCE Michael McFaul talks about the latest Russian reset and a new “hot peace.”

6 TRANSATLANTIC FISSURES Trump’s transactional realpolitik alienates America’s European allies.




From old school to new flavors, D.C. bartenders booze it up in style.

10 GLOBAL VANTAGE POINT Trade tensions could usher in a new cold war between China and the U.S.




WHEN A CHILD IS TAKEN The Consular Corps of D.C. held a mock trial to shed light on international child abduction.

By The People pursues ideals and innovations with a new citywide festival.




COVER PROFILE: PHILIPPINES Donald Trump’s kindred spirit in the Philippines stirs up admonishments and admiration.

Indonesia’s Reshanty Bowoleksono balances work and family as a career diplomat.



NORDIC VANTAGE POINT Op-Ed: Cooperation is essential to preventing the next pandemic.


From bread to fire, the Folklife Festival offers a taste of Armenia and Catalonia.




“Dave” at Arena Stage offers up a much-needed dose of feel-good politics..



“Constructing MEXICO68” reflects on the lasting legacy of the 1968 Olympics.




WD | People of World Influence

‘Mr. Reset’ Former Ambassador McFaul Talks U.S.-Russia Relations and the New ‘Hot Peace’ BY AILEEN TORRES-BENNETT


ichael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador to Russia under President Barack Obama from 2012 to 2014, remains a busy man after leaving the circus of professional political life. I had been chasing him for an interview for several weeks before he finally had enough time to devote to talking. He was able to fit me in for a phone call during a car ride to the airport in mid-May. McFaul is on tour, heavily promoting his new book, “From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia.” I spoke quickly, feeling the pressure of time, but I was struck by McFaul’s relaxed tone as we were talking. His cool, open demeanor belies the stresses he experienced while working in Moscow as ambassador. Having built an academic career as a Russia expert, as well as personal ties to Russia from having lived there, McFaul was well prepared to advise Obama when he was tapped to leave his perch at Stanford University and join Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. McFaul eagerly moved into the world of high-level government during the Obama administration, orchestrating a new template for U.S.-Russia relations while at the National Security Council (NSC). The gist of the new strategy, famously called the “reset,” was to pull Russia closer to the U.S. orbit through greater cooperation on issues such as arms control, Afghanistan and Iran, while increasing Russia’s integration into the international community — for instance, by bringing it into the World Trade Organization (WTO). When Obama named him U.S. ambassador to Russia, McFaul thought he would continue the progressive work he had been doing inside the White House, but his efforts were thwarted from the start. The Kremlin began a smear campaign against the new ambassador as Vladimir Putin — having been in power since 1999 — was running for president again and dealing with a wave of pro-democracy protests. McFaul’s career-long focus on democracy promotion made him the poster child for accusations of foreign interference. A fluent Russian speaker who spent time as an undergraduate student in the Soviet Union, McFaul is a prominent scholar of Russian politics and democracy movements in the region, authoring books such as “Advancing Democracy Abroad: Why We Should, How We Can” and “Russia’s Unfinished Revolution: Political Change from Gorbachev to Putin.” Under Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, McFaul was able to move forward with the new reset policy from inside the White House. When Medvedev, Putin’s protégé and effective stand-in, gave way for Putin’s return to power in 2012, McFaul came under attack as Putin an-


University, his alma mater. Even now, he still gets no love from the Kremlin. In 2016, post-ambassadorship, he was officially banned from entering Russia. That doesn’t stop him from speaking out about Putin and U.S.-Russia relations in media appearances and commentaries for The New York Times, Politico and other news outlets, as well as in his new book. President Trump in a sense tried his own reset with Russia, repeatedly praising Putin on the campaign trail and pledging to work with him. But Trump’s own détente was quickly derailed when evidence surfaced that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to tilt the vote in favor of Trump over Hillary Clinton, who took a much harder line on Russia. Meanwhile, Trump’s “America First” platform has ushered in a period of U.S. retrenchment, leaving a void that other global players such as Russia and China are eager to fill. As the administration tries to avoid messy entanglements overseas and cracks down on trade and immigration, aggravating many of America’s traditional allies, Putin has seen his stature grow, both at home and abroad. Despite a climate of political suppression, Putin still enjoys high approval ratings and handily won presidential elections in March, leaving him in power for at least another six years. Although the U.S. under Trump has maintained sanctions against Moscow for annexing Crimea, the conflict in Ukraine remains at a standstill, with pro-Russian separatists controlling the southeast of the country. Meanwhile, Russia’s other provocations in the region — and Trump’s denunciations of NATO — have put Eastern Europe on high alert. And Putin’s intervention in Syria has left him the kingmaker in any resolution of that seven-year war, with ramifications for the Middle East and beyond. In this new era of great power competition with echoes of the Cold War, McFaul’s insights, gleaned over decades, remain as relevant as ever.

I guess the greatest disappointment was how the Kremlin and their media sources treated me, as if I was some usurper of the regime…. I didn’t expect that because I was Mr. Reset. I was about changing relations. MICHAEL MCFAUL former U.S. ambassador to Russia

tagonized him to win political points and maintain his iron grip on the Kremlin. The disinformation campaign against McFaul included accusations that he was a pedophile and a CIA agent working to overthrow the regime. The ambassador, who met with high-profile Putin critics shortly after his arrival, was harassed and vilified by pro-Kremlin press.

It all became too much for McFaul, a self-described lover of Russia who found himself hated by the powers that be. He resigned as ambassador and segued back into academia, to his family’s relief. Happily ensconced in California, he is currently the director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a political science professor at Stanford

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT: You were an academic before joining up with Obama. What made you decide to take that leap? MICHAEL McFAUL: I’d always been interested in policy issues as well as theoretical issues for many years. I worked in a think tank in Washington for a while. But to be honest, it was a phone call early in the campaign from Susan Rice. She was putting together an advisory team for his run for the presidency. She asked me if I wanted to join, and I said yes. She’s an old friend of mine from Stanford and SEE Mc FAU L • PAGE 45



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WD | Europe

Transatlantic Rupture Trump’s Transactional Realpolitik Alienates America’s European Allies BY AILEEN TORRES-BENNETT AND ANNA GAWEL


f U.S. President Donald Trump has a governing philosophy, it’s “America First.” His unconventional approach to politics lies in envisioning himself as a businessman and self-proclaimed dealmaker who sees international relations from a transactional perspective. Directed by Trump’s worldview, the U.S. has entered an isolationist period. The president has pulled back from major international agreements, such as the Paris agreement to mitigate climate change; the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would have created an economic check on China’s influence in the Asia-Pacific region; and the Iran nuclear deal that was to reintegrate Iran into the international community. In addition, NAFTA is now under the slog of renegotiation between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, while a potential onslaught of U.S. tariffs has alarmed countries from China to Brazil to Germany. This retrenchment has been felt perhaps most acutely in Europe, where Trump is taking a wrecking-ball approach to the post-World War II order that the U.S. and Europe built, turning longtime friends into frenemies.

G7 BECOMES G6+1 At the G7 Summit in Canada last month, Trump made his feelings for America’s traditional allies and neighbors painfully clear. He lashed out at the European Union and Canada for ripping off the U.S. on trade and freeloading on security. “We’re like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing and that ends,” Trump said at the summit, where he refused to sign a joint communiqué and skipped out of the meeting early to fly to Singapore for his tête-à-tête with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, a signal of where his priorities lie. Above all, the president stuck to his guns on trade, promising tariffs that could further widen the transatlantic rift. After an initial reprieve, Trump announced in May that he would impose a 25 percent duty on steel and a 10 percent duty on aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico. The EU called Trump’s move “illegal” and countered with tariffs of its own targeting U.S. exports of jeans, motorbikes and bourbon, symbols of American culture that strike deep into the heart of Republican territory. “I think the tariffs will be imposed and remain in place for a long time,” wrote Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, in an email. “I see neither the EU nor U.S. eager to negotiate. The real question is 6 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2018


We’re like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing and that ends. U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

whether Trump escalates further with auto tariffs or other measures.” Trump wants to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on foreign cars, which would hit German luxury cars the hardest and substantially ratchet up trade tensions. Angela Merkel, the usually restrained German chancellor, threatened retaliatory tariffs and declared, “We won’t let ourselves be ripped off again and again.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was equally combative, warning that “Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around” — to which Trump tweeted that Trudeau was “weak.” The question of weakness gets to the heart of Trump’s transactional worldview. The G7 fracas was just the latest example of the growing rupture between the U.S. and the EU, as Trump takes full advantage of the leverage that America wields to correct what he says is an unbalanced relationship — heavily tilted against U.S. interests. Ironically, the EU’s ability to push back may be limited because the relationship is indeed lopsided — but not necessarily in Europe’s favor.

INTERDEPENDENT TRANSATLANTIC TRADE In truth, the relationship is symbiotic,

although the balance of power is not always evenly distributed. Economically, the U.S. and EU are inextricably linked, forming the largest and wealthiest market in the world. As the 28 EU ambassadors to the U.S. pointed out in a recent op-ed in The Washington Post: “The transatlantic economy accounts for half of the global gross domestic product by value, which directly supports more than 15 million high-quality jobs and $5.5 trillion in commercial sales. And nearly one-third of the world’s trade in goods occurs between the E.U. and United States alone.” U.S. trade with the EU in goods and services totaled nearly $1.1 trillion in 2016, with the U.S. running a trade deficit with the EU of $92 billion that year, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. But a breakdown of the numbers reveals a more nuanced picture. While the U.S. had a trade deficit in goods with the EU (nearly $150 billion in 2016), it enjoyed a surplus in services exports to the EU ($55 billion). Trump has focused his ire on the imbalance in goods such as machinery and equipment, ignoring services like finance, travel and technology. EU officials argue that services — not goods — form the backbone of a modern

President Trump arrives at the G7 Summit in Canada, where he clashed with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other G7 leaders about tariffs, refusing to sign a final declaration agreeing on the need for “free, fair, and mutually beneficial trade.”

economy and, in fact, now employ more Americans than traditional manufacturing jobs, while Trump says a strong manufacturing base is essential to national security. Despite the overall U.S. trade deficit with the EU, the bloc remains America’s largest export market, buying nearly $270 billion in goods from the U.S. — more than twice the total U.S. exporters shipped to China — and over $230 billion in services. Meanwhile, the EU was the secondlargest supplier of imports to the U.S. in 2016, sending $416.4 billion of goods and services to the U.S., down 2.6 percent from 2015, but up 25 percent from 2006. Different sectors also produce different winners and losers. On agriculture, the EU comes out on top: U.S. exports of agricultural products to the EU totaled $11.5 billion in 2016, while EU agricultural exports came to $20.6 billion that year. But the U.S. wins out when it comes to foreign direct investment, with the EU investing $2.56 trillion in the U.S., versus $2.38 in the other direction. In fact, over 70 percent of all FDI into the U.S. comes from the European Union, a figure that has doubled over the last 15 years. Overall, tariffs between the U.S. and

EU are among the lowest in the world (averaging under 3 percent), although both sides are guilty of erecting barriers to protect their own businesses — the U.S. levies steep tariffs to shield its tobacco and cotton industries, for instance, while EU regulations fiercely guard its cars. Trump has slammed the EU for imposing a 10 percent tariff on U.S.-built cars, while the U.S. maintains a 2.5 percent tariff on EU passenger vehicles. He’s proposed slapping hefty tariffs on EU-made cars, but the protectionist measures could backfire by hurting U.S. car companies’ businesses abroad or the tens of thousands of Americans employed by foreign carmakers in states like Alabama and South Carolina. Likewise, Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum could mean higher costs for U.S. businesses that use these metals, such as construction and oil companies — costs that could be passed down to consumers on everything from beer cans to trucks.

Leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K. and U.S., as well as the European Commission, wave during a group photo at the contentious G7 Summit last month.


LIMITATIONS OF EU POWER Despite fears that a tit-for-tat trade war will only produce losers on both sides of the Atlantic, Trump has pressed ahead with his brinksmanship, exposing the vulnerabilities of a politically fractured 28-member bloc that’s historically been reliant on the U.S. for its security. The European Union is primarily an economic bloc, not a political one — a distinction laid bare by the tide of populist movements that have roiled the continent. Each EU member state is guided by its own self-interests, as the U.K.’s Brexit made clear, and members are sharply divided on issues such as migration and fiscal policy. Despite the rise of euroskeptic parties in their own countries, Germany and France, bulwarks

Shapiro argues that while Europeans have the economic and military might to band together, they prefer to rely on the U.S. for their defense rather than on each other because of their own internal disputes and distrust. Until the EU can overcome these differences and agree to collective goals, the U.S. will retain the upper hand.


of the EU, continue to champion the alliance, while countries like Hungary, Poland and, most recently, Italy have experienced a surge of antiimmigrant, nationalist parties that reject orders from Brussels. This polarization has prevented the EU from articulating a unified response to Trump’s economic broadsides and to other external threats such as Russia. Meanwhile, Trump’s repeated denunciations of NATO and praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin have alarmed many EU member states on Russia’s periphery. But the fact that the EU lacks a unified military and has traditionally relied on the U.S. for its defense puts it at a distinct disadvantage, argues Jeremy Shapiro


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of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “The simple answer is that Europeans need the alliance more than the Americans do. For Europe, the transatlantic alliance is its rock of stability in an otherwise ever-changing world and the foundation on which it has constructed European security and European integration,” he wrote in the May 15 article “Why Trump Can Safely Ignore Europe” for Foreign Affairs. “The United States does value the transatlantic alliance. It wants help on international security issues such as Afghanistan or Syria, and U.S. officials certainly enjoy proclaiming that the United States leads the world. But the reality is that the United States doesn’t need the European alliance for its own security,” he added.

Internal and external factors have constrained Europe’s response to Trump’s withdrawal from multilateral accords. European leaders largely shrugged off Trump’s widely anticipated decision to ditch the Paris climate agreement, vowing to forge ahead with the deal while biding their time for a change in America’s position. But Trump’s abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal struck a chord with the EU. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed in 2015 by Iran and the U.S., France, U.K., Germany, Russia and China to limit Iran’s nuclear buildup in exchange for sanctions relief. Iran has adhered to the terms of the agreement, allowing international inspections of its nuclear sites, relinquishing 98 percent of its uranium stockpile and mothballing most of its centrifuges. In return, Iran had tens of billions of dollars in its assets unfrozen, resumed selling oil on the global market and began inking business deals as sanctions were gradually lifted. But Trump walked away from the accord in May, jeopardizing its future. The president complained that the deal would eventually expire and failed to curb Iran’s ballistic missile program or its destabilizing behavior in the region. EU officials argued that the agreement was meant to focus solely on the nuclear problem and that separate issues would be better adSEE EU R OPEAN U N ION • PAGE 8

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European Union CONTINUED • PAGE 7

dressed by preserving the accord. The EU has reiterated its support for the Iran nuclear deal, but without the U.S., the deal is just a shadow of itself. That’s because Trump reinstituted what are known as secondary sanctions, which prohibit any companies that do business with Iran from accessing the U.S. financial system. While Brussels has considered activating socalled blocking statutes to shield European companies doing business in Iran from U.S. economic sanctions, the statutes have never been used. More importantly, no company is willing to risk being shut out of a $20 trillion market — whose currency is the standard in global financial transactions — just to do business with a rogue regime. So despite the EU’s vociferous objections, there is little it can do to salvage the deal, other than relying on China and India to appease Iran and hoping that Tehran doesn’t restart its nuclear program.

STILL AN INDISPENSABLE PARTNER Despite this asymmetric power dynamic, the EU retains significant clout, and Trump’s strong-arming can only go so far. The U.S. needs access to the vast EU market of 500 million consumers to promote American prosperity and guard against transnational threats. As the EU ambassadors noted in their Washington Post open letter: “Simply put, the E.U. invests more in the United States, buys more American services and employs more American workers than the other way


President Trump has proposed imposing tariffs of up to 25 percent on foreign cars, which would hit German luxury cars the hardest and substantially ratchet up transatlantic trade tensions.

around.” Trump’s tariffs have even galvanized EU members such as Germany, France and Britain to stick together by imposing countertariffs, filing legal challenges with the World Trade Organization and refusing to deal with Trump on a one-on-one basis. Trump also cannot push European allies to the breaking point because he needs their cooperation in countering emerging geopolitical threats posed by Russia and China, both of which stand to gain from transatlantic tensions. In fact, economists say Trump is missing a prime opportunity to team up with the Europeans to tackle China’s intellectual property theft and its cheap dumping of steel and aluminum — top complaints of the administra-

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tion. Yet Trump has reportedly gone so far as to insinuate that Europe poses a greater threat to the U.S. than China does because of its unfair trading practices. The comparisons to China have shocked EU officials, especially given the history of shared values and shared blood between the U.S. and Europe. Trump may discover how much he needs those bonds if a major crisis erupts. As past Obama officials have pointed out, when a crisis hits, whether 9/11 or the global financial recession, Europe is the first place America calls.

RETURN TO REALPOLITIK Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) blasted Trump

for being unable to “distinguish between our allies and adversaries.” Yet whether friend or foe, Trump has no qualms about throwing American weight around to get others to bend to his will. The U.S. remains the world’s dominant superpower, and the Trump administration wants to keep it that way. This mindset is a significant shift away from the post-World War II architecture of multilateralism that the U.S. and Europe built based on liberal democratic ideals and free trade, which ushered in an unprecedented period of peace and stability. Instead, it marks a revival of realpolitik, which focuses on how states are motivated by practical self-interests, rather than morals or ideology. Realpolitik hinges on power: who has it, who exercises it and what are the repercussions of these power dynamics. Realpolitik sees international relations as a zero-sum game comprising winners and losers. This fits right into Trump’s all-or-nothing mentality. He’s not interested in honoring deals made by someone else (primarily former President Obama). He wants to make deals that he believes put the U.S. on top. Multilateral agreements don’t suit this style of thinking. Bilateral agreements, where Trump can tout the U.S. as the winner, do. A senior White House official described the Trump doctrine as “We’re America, Bitch,” according to a June 11 article by Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic. Another official likened this unapologetic approach to “No Friends, No Enemies,” inferring that the U.S. doesn’t owe its allies anything. “We have to explain to [Trump] that countries that have worked with us together in the past expect a level of loyalty from us, but he doesn’t believe that this should factor into the equation,” the official told Goldberg. During the Cold War, realpolitik dominated America’s rivalry with the Soviet Union, as

both sides engaged in an all-or-nothing battle gression and China’s growing power. Trade is a key part of the NSS paradigm, with for global supremacy. After the fall of communism, the U.S. became the world’s sole super- Trump arguing that his proposed tariffs are power and sought to spread democracy and based on national security concerns because manufacturing constitutes a core area of Amerimarket-driven capitalism around the world. Trump no longer sees the value of such efforts, can prosperity. It’s a dubious legal argument, echoing American voters’ concerns that the U.S. though — one that could open the floodgates has become the world’s policeman, “taking on for other nations to use security as a pretext the costs of global leadership and submitting to enact trade barriers, endangering the rulesitself to rules” with little to show in return, as a based international trading system that the U.S. helped forge. June 7 editorial in The Economist put it. But the magazine argues that pursuing a policy Personalized services for diplomats, international of “America Alone” is costlier in the long run. WESTERN WAKEUP CALL patients, and U.S. and non-U.S. citizens. “On the contrary, rules help deter aggressors, Clients Receive: shape countries’ behaviour, safeguard AmeriWhile the U.S. dukes it out with the EU in a tarcan interests and create a mechanism to help iff war, it still needs the bloc to counter Russia • A dedicated professional to accompany solve problems from trade to climate change,” it and China, two states that the new NSS calls out and guide you through your experience opined. as threats to U.S. power. • Appointment scheduling, With the Cold War seemingly confined to hisA. Wess Mitchell, assistant secretary of state for based on your preferences tory, a multi-polar world has risen in its place. European and Eurasian affairs, recently tried to In this complex new landscape, the U.S. has re- soften the edges of Trump’s bellicose rhetoric on • Complimentary language treated from its traditional role as a guarantor tariffs during a talk at the conservative Heritage interpretation of global stability; Russian President Putin has Foundation titled “The Transatlantic Bond: Pre• Medical cost estimates cemented his grip on power; Europe is riven by serving the West.” He laid out Trump’s foreign internal divisions; the Middle East is plagued by policy vision for Europe, emphasizing the need conflict; China has become a major global play- for continued cooperation in an era of big power er; and non-state actors such as the Islamic State competition. are upending conventional notions of warfare. The speech asserted that U.S. strength is the For the Trump administration, these challeng- foundation of the current world order and reafes mean a return to the great power competition firmed America’s longstanding relationship with To learn more, contact the program director at +1-202-715-5028 that defined the Cold War. Europe. It also pitted “the West” against Russia Instead of relying on the construct of post- and China. or World War II multilateralism, Trump espouses “Preserving the West cannot happen without a new National Security Strategy (NSS) based Europe,” Mitchell said, adding that “Europe is on four pillars: protect the homeland, promote our largest economic relationship.” American prosperity, peace is through break the West, he NOTE: Althoughpreserve every effort made to “Russia assure and yourChina ad iswant freetoof mistakes in” spelling and content it is ultimately up to the customer to make the final proof. strength and advance American influence. Ac- declared, arguing that Russia wants to splinter The firstcording two faxed will be at notocostand toshatter the advertiser, subsequent changes to thechanges White House, thismade is “a return it, while China wants to supplant it. will be billed at a rate of $75 per faxed alteration. Signed ads are considered approved. principled realism.” “The power of ideas” is necessary to blunt the Please check this China ad carefully. With regard to Europe, the White House has growing influence of Russia, and, from theMark any changes to your ad. three main goals, according to the NSS: corU.S. perspective, Iran, which the administration LEARN If the ad is correct sign and fax to: (301) 949-0065 needsMORE changes AT rect trade imbalances, get European partners to views as existential threats to liberal democracy. Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of the George Washington University Hospital. shoulder more of the financial(301) burden933-3552 for their The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. For language assistance, disability The Washington Diplomat Approved __________________________________________________ accommodations and the non-discrimination notice, visit our website. 180367 2/18 SEE E U R O P E A N U NI O N • PAGE 46 security under NATO and check Russian ag-

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WD | Global Vantage Point

‘Transactional Conflict’ Op-Ed: U.S.-China Rivalry Could Shape New Sino-American Cold War BY MINXIN PEI


or most observers of the unfolding trade war between the United States and China, the casus belli is the convergence of China’s unfair trade practices with U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist credo. But this reading misses a critical development: the demise of America’s decades-long policy of engagement with China. Trade spats are nothing new. When allies engage in such disputes — as the U.S. and Japan did in the late 1980s — it is generally safe to assume that the real issue is economic. But when they happen between strategic rivals, such as the U.S. and China today, there is likely to be more to the story. Over the last five years, Sino-American relations have changed fundamentally. China has increasingly reverted to authoritarianism — a process that culminated with the elimination of presidential term limits last March — and pursued a statist industrial policy, embodied by its “Made in China 2025” plan. Moreover, China has continued to construct islands in the South China Sea in order to change territorial facts on the ground. And it has plowed forward with its Belt and Road initiative, a thinly veiled challenge to America’s global primacy. All of this has served to convince the U.S. that its China engagement policy has utterly failed. Though the U.S. has yet to formulate a new China policy, the direction of its approach is clear. The latest National Security Strategy, released last December, and National Defense Strategy, released in January, indicate that the U.S. now views China as a “revisionist power” and is determined to counter Chinese efforts to “displace the U.S. in the IndoPacific region.” It is that strategic objective that underlies America’s recent economic maneuvers, including Trump’s extravagant demand that China cut its trade surplus with the U.S. by $200 billion in two years. In addition, Congress is about to pass a bill restricting Chinese investments in the U.S., and plans are being drawn up to limit visas for Chinese students who study cutting-edge science and technology at U.S. universities. The fact that the current trade spat is about more than economics will make it much harder to manage. While China might be able — with substantial concessions and a healthy dose of luck — to avoid a devastating trade war in the short term, the longterm trajectory of U.S.-China relations is almost certain to be characterized by escalating strategic conflict, and potentially even a full-blown cold war. In such a scenario, containing China would become the organizing principle of U.S. foreign policy, and both sides would view economic interdependence as an unacceptable strategic liability. For the U.S., allowing China continued access to America’s market and technology would be tantamount to handing it the tools to beat the U.S. economically — and then geopolitically. For China, too, economic disengagement and technological independence from the U.S., however costly, would be viewed as critical to stability and to securing the country’s strategic goals. Decoupled economically, the U.S. and China would have far less reason to exercise restraint in their geopolitical competition. To be sure, a hot war between the two nuclear-armed powers would remain unlikely. But they would almost certainly engage in an arms race that fuels overall global risk, while extending their strategic conflict to the



A Chinese soldier stands in front of a portrait of former Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong.

At least in the short term, the most likely trajectory of Sino-American relations is toward “transactional conflict,” characterized by frequent economic and diplomatic spats and the occasional cooperative maneuver.

world’s most unstable areas, potentially through proxy wars. The good news is that neither the U.S. nor China wants to become enmeshed in such a dangerous and costly cold war — one that would likely last decades. Given this, a second scenario — managed strategic conflict — is more likely. Under this scenario, economic disengagement would occur gradually, but not completely. Despite the adversarial nature of the relationship, both sides would have some economic incentives to maintain a working relationship. Similarly, while both countries would compete actively for military superiority and allies, they would not engage in proxy wars or provide direct military support to forces or groups engaged in armed conflict with the other party (such as the Taliban in Afghanistan or Uyghur militants in Xinjiang).

Such a conflict would certainly carry risks, but they would be manageable, as long as both countries had a disciplined, well-informed and strategically minded leadership. In the case of the U.S., however, such leadership is nowhere to be seen today. Trump’s erratic approach to China demonstrates that he has neither the strategic vision nor the diplomatic discipline to devise a policy of managed strategic conflict, much less a doctrine (like that created by President Harry Truman in 1947) to pursue a cold war. This means that, at least in the short term, the most likely trajectory of Sino-American relations is toward “transactional conflict,” characterized by frequent economic and diplomatic spats and the occasional cooperative maneuver. In this scenario, bilateral tensions will continue to mount, because individual disputes are settled in isolation from one another, based on a specific quid pro quo, and thus lack any strategic coherence. So, however their current trade spat plays out, the U.S. and China seem to be drifting toward longterm conflict. Whatever form that conflict takes, it will entail high costs for both sides, for Asia and for global stability. WD Minxin Pei, who has written for Project Syndicate since 2006, is a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College in California and the author of “China’s Crony Capitalism.” © Project Syndicate

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Confucius Institutes Bring China, U.S. Closer Together At a time when U.S.-China relations are as important — and as precarious — as ever, Confucius Institutes are promoting mutual understanding by both nations.

By Tom Michael Launched 14 years ago to promote the study of Chinese language and culture around the world, Confucius Institute programs support instructional language training and certification, and encourage increased research in China studies. Named for the famed Chinese philosopher and educator who lived from 551 to 479 B.C., more than 500 Confucius Institutes currently operate around the globe, with more than 100 branches teaching students Mandarin on American college campuses and public schools. Confucius Institutes are partnerships jointly funded by local educational institutions, Chinese universities, and the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing. The growth of Confucius Institutes in the U.S. reflects administration policy priorities of the past decade. In 2006, President Bush launched the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI) designed to strengthen national security and prosperity in the 21st century through education, especially in developing foreign language skills. In 2009, President Obama’s 100,000 Strong Initiative had a goal of encouraging 100,000 American students to study in China and learn Mandarin over a five-year period. Six years later, in 2015, his One Million Strong initiative aimed to have 1 million American students learning Mandarin. Confucius Institutes support these initiatives by connecting American educators to needed programs and resources. Backers of the U.S. institutes point out that Confucius Institutes have helped fill a gap in Chinese language study and student exchanges between China and the U.S. at a time when many American campuses are shrinking their humanities programs. In addition to their presence on more than 100 American college campuses, many Confucius Institutes are involved in teaching or teacher training for local K-12 schools. And the partnerships don’t work just one way. More than 1,300 Chinese students are currently enrolled at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, according to Ronnie Green, the university’s chancellor. “We see this as a dual exchange,” he noted at a recent forum hosted by the Confucius Institute U.S. Center and World Affairs Council-Washington, DC that featured former U.S. Senator and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “We see this as us placing our students in China, as well as providing an opportunity for our Chinese counterparts to be here in the U.S. We believe in the mission, we’re living that mission and we’re seeing success in this mission.” Hagel said that the world’s most successful people are often widely versed in other cultures and experiences, and the Confucius Institute’s programs provide those opportunities for young Americans. “The most important capacity in any successful person is to listen and learn — those are the dynamics of anyone who is successful in life and it’s a constant learning process,” Hagel added. “The more students can equip themselves with knowledge of other countries, other cultures and widen their horizons … the better. And I’m not sure we always do that very well.” The


Students from the Confucius Classroom at Calvin Smith Elementary school sponsored by Confucius Institute at University of Utah enjoyed Lion Dances at their school’s Chinese New Year celebration.

forum was filmed for an episode of the newly launched U.S. China Global Education Television Series. Some critics contend that the Confucius Institute aims to soften Western perceptions of communist China, squelch campus debate about Chinese policies and downplay allegations of human rights abuses in the country. But William Reeder, a former dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University in Northern Virginia who helped the school open a Confucius Institute on campus a decade ago, said that has not been his experience. Reeder, who is still a member of the George Mason faculty, said it’s not that George Mason’s administrators, professors and students don’t recognize differences between the U.S and China on trade, human rights and other issues. It’s just that they don’t dwell on them. “Geopolitical dynamics are real, human rights are real, but so is the peopleto-people exchange,” Reeder said. “We don’t deny these other dynamics, but they are not what this mission is about. And we have had zero interference or even suggestion of interference in academic programs or what we teach or whatever from the Confucius Institute operating on campus.” Reeder said the broad interest nationally in Confucius Institutes shows how appealing the partnerships are for American colleges and universities. “Many universities have a strong interest in China, Chinese students and partnerships,” Reeder said. “We viewed this as giving us a chance to partner with the Beijing Language and Culture University [the Chinese partner university to George Mason where Mason students can study abroad to learn Mandarin], and that partnership has been very, very successful. The program was meaningful and substantive.” Dennis Delehanty, a former State Department and U.S. Postal Service

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official who worked on international postal affairs, said he’s studied Mandarin off and on for years but said he didn’t become aware of the Confucius Institute until his daughter, who was studying at Haverford College outside Philadelphia, earned a year-long scholarship to study the language at Beijing Language and Culture University several years ago. After that, she remained in Beijing for three years, working for a company that helps Chinese high school students apply to top U.S. colleges and universities. Delehanty, who has since helped launch a Chinese literature group at George Mason University, said the cultural exchange offered by the Confucius Institute is second to none. “It’s a way to project culture and people-to-people communications and engagement around the world.” He also said it provides an authentic learning space for the growing number of young Americans interested in learning the Chinese language. Chinese courses are now offered at more than 4,000 primary and secondary schools in the country. “There are more and more young people studying Chinese, and the value for me is to have the opportunity or a place or venue to do deeper study of Chinese culture, particularly through the literature,” Delehanty said.

Collaborating with the University of Kentucky Gaines Center, UK Confucius Institute offers the “Young Leaders Understanding China Fellowship” for UK student leaders to experience China through an intensive study tour.

“really critical and crucial” and said that learning Mandarin is in Americans’ best interest. Curt Bramble, president pro tem of the Utah Senate, said Utah’s academic environment and economy have benefitted from the Confucius Institute partnerships. “In Utah, we are encouraging these educational exchanges for our professors at our colleges and universities,” Bramble said. “We welcome Chinese teachers to come to Utah both in secondary and higher education for educational exchanges and teaching sabbaticals. We think that is very positive.”

Confucius Institutes help meet the growing demand Young learners from Confucius Classroom at Adobe Bluffs Elementary School for high-quality Chinese lan- sponsored by Confucius Institute at San Diego State University experienced guage and culture courses, Chinese traditional noodle making. especially for individuals in Bramble noted the deep link between the communities that may not otherwise have access to these opportunities. American and Chinese economies and said the way to reach consensus Middle school student Kamila Carter, a child of deaf parents with a pas- on tricky issues such as trade is through communication and enhanced sion for learning languages, has been studying Chinese with support from cultural understanding. He said Utah leaders are intent on avoiding the Confucius Institute of San Diego State University. “The Confucius Institute “drama and conflicts” that exist at the federal levels between the U.S. and invited me to their Six Arts performances,” she said. “One of the perfor- China. mances this year was at SeaWorld for the Chinese New Year Celebration. This was my first experience as an emcee in which I used English, Chinese Official treaties are done at the national level, but economic development and American Sign Language. At first this was really scary but the more and providing a pathway for trade is the domain of the states,” Bramble I did it, it became easier. This summer the Confucius Institute is making said. “And it’s very appropriate for state legislatures to engage in this way. it possible for me to travel to China to experience the Chinese language We may have a different form of government, we may disagree on various and culture. I will stay with a host family in Linyi and I will have an opportu- philosophic principles of government, but whether we agree with China nity to visit Beijing and the Great Wall.” or not we better understand them and we better be able to build a relationship and have a way to peacefully coexist,” Bramble said. Another example is in Utah. Since the establishment of the first Confucius Institute there in 2007, more than 13,000 students have participated in As Reeder of George Mason University sees it, the Confucius Institute’s Chinese language classes. Supported by the Confucius Institute, Utah’s work in the realm of cultural understanding is indispensable, especially as dual-language initiative has become a leading program in American im- he looks at the long term in geopolitics. “My belief is that over the next 50 mersion language instruction, preparing Utahans to thrive in today’s glob- to 100 years, the two most important countries on the planet will be China al society. In a meeting with Utah students and educators earlier this year, and the United States,” Reeder said. “There is no reason not to work toSen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called the Confucius Institutes’ programming gether meaningfully.”


WD | Diplomacy

When a Child Is Taken Consular Corps of D.C. Holds Mock Trial to Shed Light on International Child Abductions BY KARIN ZEITVOGEL


he young American mother was distraught. A U.S. judge had just decided that her two small children should go back to Mexico, where their father lived. The children, both U.S.-born, had come to visit their mother during the summer, as stipulated in the divorce settlement between the parents. This wasn’t the first time they spent the school break with their mother before returning to Mexico, so the father had no hesitation about sending them again. But as the father waited at the airport to pick them up on the day they were supposed to arrive back in Mexico, he received a text message from his ex-wife. It was short and to the point: The kids were not coming back to Mexico. The father quickly filed a case under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The multilateral treaty signed in 1980 provides an expeditious method to return a child who has been internationally abducted by a parent in breach of another parent or guardian’s custody rights. In a U.S. court, the father’s lawyer argued that the children’s habitual residence was “unquestionably” Mexico and provided evidence that he had custodial rights over the 7-year-old twins. The mother’s lawyer claimed that the United States was the children’s habitual residence, that the father had consented to the children staying in the U.S. and that the mother feared for the physical and mental well being of her kids if they went back to Mexico. “There’s a drug war going on in Mexico,” she noted, adding that the U.S. offered better amenities and opportunities for her children. The judge, however, ultimately sided with the father and ordered the children to be returned to Mexico. The father gripped the arm of his lawyer and thanked her. The mother let out a gasp before hanging her head and weeping. Hague Abduction Convention cases are never easy, but, happily, this one was entirely made up and play-acted at the Czech Embassy in Washington, D.C. The aim of the mock trial was to provide the audience of diplomats and State Department officials with a better understanding of how the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction is supposed to work. The event was organized by the Consular Corps of Washington, D.C., a 50-year-old nonprofit organization that seeks to increase consular effectiveness in the U.S. through training events, such as the “trial,” networking opportunities and social gatherings. “The idea behind this mock trial was to show what the Convention represents. It’s a tool that’s useful to many different systems but is beset by preconceived ideas about how it works,” Suzanne Lawrence, special adviser for children’s issues at the State Department — and the “judge” who ordered the children to be sent back to Mexico — told The Washington Diplomat. “Some country officials think it’s going to encroach on their sovereignty in some way,” she continued. “At the beginning when we approach them — maybe because the U.S. has a lot of migration between itself and that country — officials will say, ‘All the U.S. wants is to get their kids back.’ But then they see that they’re disadvantaging their own citizens as they become left-behind parents. The Hague Convention gives parents a way to pursue



Ultimately, the children are the victims, and we owe it to them to have something in place that gives parents a way to navigate through these situations. SUZANNE LAWRENCE special advisor for children’s issue at the State Department

an international abduction case instead of leaving them to fend for themselves in the legal system of the country that their children have been taken to — if that’s even possible.” The Hague Abduction Convention currently has 98 member states. To obtain the return of a child through a Hague proceeding, a left-behind parent has to provide evidence that their child was habitually resident in one Convention country, and was wrongfully removed to or retained in another. They also have to show that the removal or retention of the child violated the parent’s custodial rights; that the Convention was in force between the two countries when the child was abducted or retained; and that the child is under the age of 16. The Hague Convention applies to children until they’re 16 because, well, you try taking a child who’s 17 and putting them on a plane against their will. Some countries will hear testimonies from children younger than 16 — in some cases as young as 5 or 6. Most countries that are party to the Hague Convention are also bound by the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which includes a clause on hearing the child’s opinion. Convention cases are heard by a judge from one of the countries of the parties involved. Although countries often believe judges will favor the parent who is a citizen of their country, “part of the beauty of the system is the trust between countries,” said Ignacio Goicoechea, the principal legal officer for

the Hague Conference’s Latin America and Caribbean region. “In the case of today’s mock trial, the Mexicans trusted that the U.S. judge would take the right decision and the U.S. judge trusted that the Mexican judge would, in future, be able to deal with the other topics that this family crisis encompasses. The judge was not seen as American but as a human being trying to take the decision that is in the best interests of the child.” In the United States, the Office of Children’s Issues at the Bureau of Consular Affairs leads efforts to prevent abductions and to respond when international abductions happen. U.S. officials helped secure the return of 215 children to the U.S. in 2017 and 230 in 2016, while 197 and 186 cases respectively in those two years were resolved without the child returning to the U.S. The number of abduction cases reported to the bureau has declined in recent years, in part because preventive measures, such as the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP) — under which a parent is alerted if the other tries to obtain a passport for a child without their consent — have proven highly effective. “I think the Convention itself is also a deterrent because it says there is a mechanism against international child abduction and retention, and it does work,” said Lawrence. But even when both countries have acceded to SEE ABDU C T ION S • PAGE 21

Cover Prof ile | WD

Trump’s Kindred Spirit The Other ‘No-Nonsense’ President in Philippines Stirs Up Outrage, Praise BY LARRY LUXNER


t’s hard to imagine a head of state who’s more outrageously confrontational, incendiary or vulgar than Donald Trump. Maybe that’s part of the reason Trump admires Rodrigo Duterte so much. Elected president of the Philippines in May 2016 with 38.5 percent of the vote, Duterte — who at 73 is one year Trump’s senior — raised eyebrows from the moment he moved into Manila’s Malacañang Palace. During a September 2016 press conference, he compared himself to Adolf Hitler, boasting that “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. We have 3 million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.” That same month, he called thenPresident Barack Obama a “son of a whore” for criticizing Duterte’s violent anti-drug campaign. The former mayor of Davao also bragged about once tossing a Chinese rape and murder suspect from a helicopter; publicly suggested that journalists “are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a bitch”; labeled Philip Goldberg, former U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, as gay (and also a “son of a whore”); and told shocked business leaders during a recent meeting that “when I take Viagra, it stands up.” And this past February, he famously ordered his soldiers to shoot female communist rebels in their vaginas — a threat that makes Trump’s “grab their pussy” remark tame by comparison. But Duterte’s actions speak even louder than his words. Under his presidency, an estimated 12,000 suspected drug dealers and users, including children, have been killed by police and police-backed vigilantes, according to Human Rights Watch. Duterte, who gained prominence for his “tough-on-crime” approach as the gun-toting mayor of crime-ridden Davao City, has openly bragged about personally killing three men suspected of kidnapping and rape. “And I’d go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble. I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill,” he reportedly told a group of business leaders in late 2016. One self-confessed former death squad member said he witnessed Duterte execute a government official with a machine gun in the early 1990s. In fact, when Trump and Duterte met in the Philippine city of Da Nang last November, Trump asked his host if the Philippines had reinstated the death penalty — a campaign promise

Duterte has made numerous times. The two leaders, described by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank as “brothers from another mother,” certainly have a lot in common. But just as Trump’s sledgehammer approach continues to be popular among his base, especially when it comes to issues such as immigration, Duterte’s bluntness remains popular with his supporters, many of whom are fed up with drugs, crime and corruption. That’s partly why Duterte’s chief defender in Washington, Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez, advises critics not to take his president’s off-the-cuff remarks too seriously. “There was some disagreement on human rights issues raised by the Obama administration. It was precipitated by a question asked by a foreign reporter trying to get the president’s goat. The president was angry that he was being lectured,” Romualdez explained in a recent interview with The Washington Diplomat. “Our president listens to advice, but he doesn’t like advice that’s given publicly through the media. This president is particularly sensitive to people trying to make a show of something,” said the ambassador, who himself used to be the CEO of Stargate Media Corp. and publisher


[O]ur president has made it clear that he didn’t become president to be proper and politically correct…. He became president because the people elected him to do what he promised. JOSE MANUEL “BABE” ROMUALDEZ ambassador of the Philippines to the United States

of People Asia Magazine (an affiliate of the Philippine Star). “But this administration is more prudent in the way it raises issues, and since Trump went to the Philippines, that relationship has changed dramatically.” In fact, Romualdez recalled that “when I presented my credentials to Trump, the first thing he told me was ‘your president sings like Frank Sinatra [a reference to Duterte’s on-stage performance during the November 2017 ASEAN Summit in Manila]. There’s friendship now. Our relationship has warmed up.” It certainly has. On June 12, the Philippine Embassy threw an ex-

travagant Independence Day party at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. Some 350 guests came out to celebrate the country’s 120th anniversary of independence from Spain, feasting on lechón asado (roast pork), sisig (pig head and liver) and other Filipino dishes that were prepared by embassy chef Abie Sincioco-Mateo (who won both the People’s and Judge’s Choice Awards at this year’s Embassy Chef Challenge for her pork sisig). According to the Philippine Star, the party at Trump Hotel didn’t cost Philippine taxpayers a cent because the cost was borne by private businesses like Asia

Brewery, PAL/Megaworld and other big companies. Absolutely not, as Romualdez himself suggested in a column for the Philippine Star back home. “The Trump hotel may have some political undertones because it is associated with the U.S. president,” he wrote, ignoring any mention of the 30 or so protesters waving anti-Duterte placards outside the hotel during the event. “But since several other embassies have also held their national day celebrations at the Trump hotel which were well-attended, I decided, why not do it there too?”

ENVOY IS MANILA’S THIRD IN D.C. NAMED ROMUALDEZ Romualdez, a Manila media executive who has never held political office, is president of the Manila Overseas Press Club and vice president of the Rotary Club of Manila. Unlike the man who named him SEE PHILIPPIN ES • PAGE 16 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2018 | 15


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing on Oct. 20, 2016.

Philippines CONTINUED • PAGE 15

ambassador, Romualdez thinks carefully before he opens his mouth to speak. But when he does, he expresses only admiration for Duterte. “I’ve met seven presidents and this one is totally different from any president we’ve ever had,” he said. “Any president is a product of his time. Donald Trump became president through the electoral system because voters are tired of the old kind of politics that go on here. Middle America wants to see some changes made, and they want him to talk that way. Duterte is saying the things many people want to say about their government, but they can’t say it because they don’t have a voice.” Asked about the vulgarities and sexual jokes, Romualdez paused for a moment. “I’m not going to justify anything that is said in that manner, but our president has made it clear that he didn’t become president to be proper and politically correct,” the ambassador said. “He became president because the people elected him to do what he promised. I think it’s clear that the language he uses is the language he’s been using all his life. Sometimes he controls himself, but it’s not going to change.” In effect, the Duterte presidency has split his nation’s 103 million people into two camps. “Duterte is a source of deep dissonance among Filipinos today,” Jessica Mendoza wrote in an April 6 article for the Christian Science Monitor. “Either he is leading the Philippines to ruin, paving the way for the demise of democracy and human dignity; or he is carving a violent path out of the mire of crime and corruption that has corroded the nation’s soul for

more than three decades, and shattering status quos along the way. In each side’s eyes, the other lives in a fantasy wrought of malice, ignorance, or some warped combination of both.” Romualdez said Duterte is especially popular with Filipino housemaids, laborers and others working in the Middle East and Asia who send back $26 billion a year in remittances, keeping the Philippines afloat economically. “I have gone with him on many occasions to address overseas workers in Japan, Laos and elsewhere,” said the ambassador. “We call these people heroes, but they’re not well treated. He really feels for them.” Romualdez is his country’s third ambassador to the United States with that surname. The first was the brother of the current envoy’s father (at the same time another brother was speaker of the House of Representatives). The second was a cousin of his father. But the family dynasty is not why he was selected to represent the Philippines in Washington, the ambassador said. “In the Philippines nowadays, there are no more name brands,” he said. “It’s perhaps because the president has read many of my columns and feels I’m the best person to communicate what his program is to a host country like the United States.” In fact, the first time Duterte offered Romualdez the job in September 2017, he declined. Later he said OK, but postponed the appointment because of upcoming eye surgery. “He asked me again in July last year, and I said, ‘Mr. President, I will do it for you.’ He responded: ‘Don’t do it for me, do it for the country.’”

‘WORST HUMAN RIGHTS CRISIS’ SINCE MARCOS REGIME Romualdez, who in November 2017 took over from



The Rockwell Center mixed-use development center sits among skyscrapers in Makati City in the Philippines.


President Trump meets with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during his trip to Asia last November.

his predecessor, the highly respected José E. Cuisía Jr., said Filipino-American relations are good, despite differences in many areas. “Generally, the relationship remains pretty solid,” he said. “Our military agreements are being followed. Our president has said that whatever defense treaty we have with the U.S., we will honor.” Despite the condemnation Duterte has received from other world leaders, back at home, the president retains wide swaths of popular support. His pledge to root out corruption, bridge the country’s vast inequality gap and streamline its notorious bureaucracy — instituting a nationwide complaint hotline, for instance — has been met with cheers. At the same time, Transparency International notes that corruption has actually spiked since Duterte took office. Most notably, as mayor of Davao for nearly 20 years, Duterte earned a reputation for his brutal drug crack-


Protesters demonstrate in front of the Philippine Consulate General in New York City in October 2016 to denounce President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs.

down that included allegations of death squads and extrajudicial killings. Duterte pledged to replicate those tough tactics as president, vowing to dump all drug traffickers in Manila Bay “and fatten all the fish there.” Romualdez insists that when Duterte talks about “killing” drug traffickers, it’s a misnomer. “When you say that, it sounds like you’re putting a

gun to their head,” he said, calling it instead an act of resistance or self-defense. “These drug traffickers are violent people, and when there’s a drug war, they kill each other,” he said. “There’s a lot of collateral damage. It’s a war and some of them may be innocent, but at the end of the day, it’s something that really needs to be done. This is what he promised the Filipino people.”

The ambassador justifies his government’s all-out war on drug dealers on the restive island of Mindanao because of the links he says exist between traffickers and terrorists. “Afghanistan became a center of terrorist activity precisely because of drugs. That’s how they fund themselves. It took our armed forces five months to finally quell that war. Their resources came from drug money; U.S. intel clearly showed that. “You’re assuming that human rights violations have already been committed. But what he did in Davao is what he’s going to duplicate. He cleaned up Davao from crime. It’s hyperbole when he says, ‘You make trouble here, I will shoot you.’ It’s actually the fear factor, which is normal for any strong leader to do. The drug war is where the stage was set. He’s a nononsense president.” Some streets were unsafe for pedestrians even during the daytime, he added, “because they were a drug den. Now they walk there at 2 or 3 in the morning.” Yet that campaign has come at an enormous cost, and experts disagree on whether Duterte’s tactics have actually resulted in fewer crimes or reduced drug consumption. According to Human Rights Watch, Duterte “has plunged the Philippines into its worst human rights crisis since the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s and 1980s.” The New Yorkbased group says his war on drugs, launched in June 2016, has claimed an estimated 12,000 lives of mainly poor urban dwellers, including children. “Duterte has vowed to continue the abusive antidrug campaign until his term

ends in 2022,” HRW noted in its latest World Report. “Throughout 2017 and the latter part of 2016, he engaged in harassment and intimidation of individuals and agencies tasked with accountability — including United Nations officials. In the face of mounting international criticism, the Duterte government has adopted a tactic of denying as ‘alternative facts’ well-substantiated reports by human rights and media organizations of high death tolls linked to the ‘drug war.’”

‘FAKE NEWS’ AND A WHITE HOUSE INVITATION It is perhaps ironic that Romualdez, a former media executive, says he has little patience with “fake news” — the kind Trump fumes about, and the kind the ambassador himself says distorts the truth, especially when talking about Duterte’s alleged human rights abuses. “We media people love intrigue; that’s how you get stories. So, you try to lure a person to say something so you can quote him. Our president has told journalists, ‘I don’t really care what you say.’ Sometimes media people have a tendency to think they’re God’s gift to the world. This president doesn’t really care. It also sends a signal: ‘You better write something that’s correct.’” He added: “If I could say the same things he does, I’d do it, but I’m wearing a different hat now. I created a few enemies when I was a columnist, so whenever I got threats, I used to tell them to take a number.” Trump has not only refused to criticize Duterte’s record on human rights but has gone out of his way to praise his friend, suggesting that the United States, too, should execute drug dealers. In April 2017, he even

Philippines at a Glance Independence Day June 12 (1898) Location Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam

Flag of Philippines

Capital Manila Population 103 million (July 2017 estimate) Ethnic groups Tagalog 28.1 percent, Cebuano 13.1 percent, Ilocano 9 percent, Bisaya/Binisaya 7.6 percent, Hiligaynon Ilonggo 7.5 percent, Bikol 6 percent, Waray 3.4 percent, other 25.3 percent (2000 census) GDP (purchasing power parity) $874.5 billion (2017 estimate)

GDP per-capita (PPP) $8,200 (2017 estimate) GDP growth 6.6 percent (2017 estimate) Unemployment 6 percent (2017 estimate)

Population below poverty line 21.6 percent (2017 estimate)

Industries Semiconductors and electronics assembly, business process outsourcing, food and beverage manufacturing, construction, electric/ gas/water supply, chemical products, radio/television/communications equipment and apparatus, petroleum and fuel, textile and garments, nonmetallic minerals, basic metal industries, transport equipment SOURCE: CIA WORLD FACTBOOK

extended a White House invitation to the Philippine president, though that visit has yet to materialize. “So many things are happening that people don’t see, but I see it,” said Romualdez. “The fear factor is so prevalent now because he doesn’t fool around with corruption. For example, he had a good personal friend who was the local government secretary. There was a smell of corruption, so he fired him right there in the cabinet meeting. He said, ‘I don’t want to see your face ever again.’ It’s sifted down to every level of government that this president is not going to tolerate any

form of corruption. “It all boils down to personal feelings,” Romualdez added. “When you’re a friend, you talk to me like a friend. When you start telling another president what to do, it’s not correct.”

SHIFTING ATTITUDES ON CHINA A number of issues still separate Washington and Manila — most notably Trump’s get-tough attitude toward immigrants, even those who are in the U.S. legally. The Philippine government warns that some 10,000 Filipinos might


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to city residents in 2009 in Davao, where as mayor he became popular for his tough-on-crime reputation but was also criticized for vigilante death squads that allegedly killed hundreds of people.

be affected if the Dreamers program, which allows undocumented immigrant children to stay legally in the United States, is rescinded. Hawaii would be especially hit hard; Filipinos in that state number about 209,000 and constitute 14 percent of the 50th state’s population. About a decade ago, Filipinos overtook the Japanese as Hawaii’s largest ethnic minority; they now make up nearly half of the state’s SEE PHILIPPIN ES • PAGE 18

ENTERTAIN WITH ALL THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS Creative Cuisine, Professional Service with a Dash of Flair







Despite robust economic growth, poverty and inequality remain endemic in the Philippines — issues President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to address.


foreign-born population. “We’re here to obviously assure our friends in Congress, the State Department, the White House and the Pentagon that our relationship is solid,” Romualdez said when asked whether he was worried. “Regarding immigration, obviously we’re expressing our concern. But every time I talk to these legislators, one thing I hear from them is the good reputation Filipino workers have in this country. I hardly ever hear anyone say they don’t like Filipinos.” Meanwhile, Romualdez predicted his country would see GDP growth of 6.7 percent this year, with even faster growth in 2019. The Duterte government plans to spend $175 billion on basic infrastructure over the next five years, and also aims to bring down the percentage of Filipinos earning less than a dollar a day from the current 24 percent to 14 percent by 2020. When it comes to foreign policy, perhaps the most glaring example of Duterte’s unpredictability is his relationship with China. Barely three years ago, Romualdez’s predecessor, Cuisía, warned that Beijing’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea were threatening the security of the entire AsiaPacific region. “Security continues to be a major issue in Southeast Asia, and the Philippines remains very concerned over the exacerbating tensions in our region,” said Cuisía, speaking at Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies right across the street from the Philippine Embassy. In contrast, Duterte — who’s been accused of being too lenient toward China — publicly declared in April that he loves Chinese President Xi Jinping. Yet only a month later, Duterte said he’d go to war with China if it unilaterally begins exploiting oil and gas resources in the South China Sea. Tensions worsened after reports of the Chinese military landing long-range bombers on their artificial islands for the first time. “Our government’s policy is to engage China,” said Romualdez. “Our president is practical enough to say we don’t have the arms or resources to fight a country like China — to go into the islands and say, ‘This is ours and we’re ready to die for it.’ The best thing is to engage them economically. Xi has been very generous in offering to help our country.” In fact, during an October 2016 trade mission to Beijing, Duterte declared that “there are three of us against the world: China, Philippines and Russia.” It was during that same visit that the Philippine president famously announced his “separation” from the United States — a declaration Romualdez plays down. “Obviously, people will have to accept that China will become a powerhouse. Russia is now flexing its muscles,” he said. “In our case, we don’t have any real fight with any of these countries. We just have to talk to them. This is what we call an independent foreign policy. It’s time for us to start doing things we feel are good for us.” Romualdez added: “The bottom line is we don’t want to be taken for granted. Respect is very important for any nation. People won’t respect you if you have no respect for yourself.” WD Tel Aviv-based journalist Larry Luxner is news editor of The Washington Diplomat. 18 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2018



New Philippine Rare Disease Act Could Serve as Model for Asia T

he Philippines may trail wealthier ASEAN member states in terms of direct foreign investment, per-capita income and life expectancy, but when it comes treating people with rare diseases, this nation of 103 million inhabitants strives to be the best in the region. In fact, it’s the only country in Southeast Asia that has passed specific legislation to protect citizens who have rare disorders like muscular dystrophy, pulmonary hypertension, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis and Angelman syndrome. Dr. Carmencita Padilla is founding chair of the Philippine Society for Orphan Disorders and chancellor of the University of the Philippines in Manila. She says the Rare Disease Act of 2016 — approved by Congress after years of intense lobbying — is a singular accomplishment in a part of the world not known for doing much on behalf of the estimated 8 to 10 percent of adults who suffer from a rare disease. “The Philippines is still a developing country, and this was not a government priority. In fact, we had very little government support,” said Padilla, who set up her nonprofit society in 2006. “It was difficult to convince the Ministry of Health to even provide a budget for patients.” Padilla spoke at the 2018 World Orphan Drug Congress USA, held in late April at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel in Oxon Hill, Md. Her presentation, “How a Newly Passed Rare Diseases Act is


Dr. Carmencita Padilla has pioneered efforts to protect Filipinos with rare diseases.

Unlocking an Emerging Market’s Commercial Potential,” was one of 15 on the status of rare diseases in other countries including Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa and Sweden. She said the 2016 law is a sequel to the Newborn Screening Act of 2004. “Because of the difficulty in getting the government engaged, the law provided for insurance coverage of newborn screening as of December 2017,” she said. In fact, newborn screening facilities now exist on more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines. Yet there are only 10 geneticists in the entire country — and 2 million babies are born every year. “We are saving newborns from mental retardation and death, but because of the increasing number of patients with rare diseases of all ages, we had to start working on how we’re going to get the

government interested in paying for their care.” In the Philippines, a rare disease is defined as any condition that affects no more than 1 in 20,000 patients. That compares to the 28-member European Union, which uses 1 in 2,000, and the United States, where a rare disease is anything afflicting fewer than 200,000 people. Yet part of the problem is that attention is always given to diseases such as tuberculosis or diabetes that affect large numbers of people. In addition, there is fierce competition for money; millions of Filipinos could be immunized against a contagious disease for the cost of treating 100 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) babies with Spinraza — a therapy developed by Biogen that costs $750,000 the first year and $375,000 every year thereafter. This ultra-expensive drug

isn’t even available in the Philippines. However, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea have all approved the treatment to treat SMA. The fight to get the Rare Disease Act passed took eight years, noted Padilla, whose organization joined the Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health in collecting 500,000 signatures to finally get the legislation passed. “The law itself provides the framework for access to treatments by patients with rare diseases. It is comprehensive, integrative and sustainable,” she said. “The law provides access to health information and medical care, including medication for their conditions. It is not yet national, though. What we’re waiting for now is that every hospital will give us the lists of patients who have been diagnosed with rare diseases.” “We have genetic counselors working with us,” said Padilla, the first clinical geneticist in the Philippines. She did her training at Children’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia. “Our goal is to some day have a genetic counselor on every island in the Philippines.” The pediatrician added: “I need more government engagement. This law is different because it’s not only about access to treatment. It also provides schooling and education. But I still believe that coverage and access through insurance will be my key for success.” WD — Larry Luxner

Nordic Vantage Point | WD

Deadly Complacency Op-Ed: Public, Private Sectors Must Work Together to Manage Next Pandemic BY NORWEGIAN AMBASSADOR KÅRE R. AAS


he 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was a wake-up call — a stark reminder of how vulnerable our societies can be to epidemics of infectious diseases. At the time of this writing, there is a new outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We were not ready in 2014. I hope the measures and tremendous efforts put in place recently in the DRC will be enough to stop the outbreak this time. The health workers risking their lives every day to prevent further spread of this disease deserve our deepest gratitude and respect. History has taught us that there will be future deadly global pandemics. We therefore need to invest in better tools, effective early detection and a more robust global response system. The key to avoiding massive loss of life is the timely availability of vaccines. Modern human mobility, globalization and demographics increase the risk of disease transmission locally, regionally and globally. Populations expand into previously uninhabited territories and are exposed to new animals. Civil unrest, conflict and lack of access leave certain areas particularly PHOTO: REBECCA MYERS / CDC vulnerable. The effects of pandemics are devastating on During the 2014-16 Ebola epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deployed health teams to border crossings human lives and development. This is not just a in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. A more limited outbreak of Ebola was recently reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo. health issue but also an economic issue — and a security issue. For Norway, global health is a priority. We see health as crucial for economic growth and achievement of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. The Norwegian government has focused on knowledge-based and innovative multilateral health initiatives and partnerships with institutions such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and the Global Financing Facility (GFF). This A main challenge is that there is no market There is also a need for rapid-response vaccine comes in addition to our direct support of UN- for vaccines to fight epidemics. Nothing is driving platforms to produce safe, effective vaccines when AIDS and the World Health Organization. industry to create vaccines for diseases we cannot new threats emerge, and we need rapid developThis work has contributed to saving millions of anticipate. Therefore, only a public-private part- ment and deployments of these drugs. children’s lives and protecting people’s health by nership could address that market failure. CEPI partners with the private sector, working increasing vaccination in lower-income countries. As a first step, CEPI focuses on the diseases with a variety of technologies and innovative apNorway has built robust partnerships Lassa fever, Nipah virus infection and proaches to develop, test and release new vaccines with the U.S. government, industry, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in a matter of months, rather than years. academia and philanthropy. I had the (MERS). They have been chosen based The United States has a unique depth of scipleasure of visiting the Bill & Melinda on the relative risk of an outbreak oc- entific and technical expertise. CEPI already colGates Foundation in Seattle earlier curring, their transmissibility and the laborates with several U.S.-based companies, for this spring, and discussed our sucfeasibility of developing vaccines. The instance to advance the development and manucessful cooperation on global health. selection process has also benefited from facture of vaccines against Nipah and MERS. NorWith the financial backing of close collaboration with the WHO and way strongly encourages the U.S. government to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundascientific experts. engage in the coalition. tion; Wellcome Trust; Germany; JaCEPI works with pharmaceutical I hope for a strong and coordinated global efpan; and Norway, the Coalition for KÅRE R. AAS companies to push promising vaccine fort to prevent new pandemics — and I hope it Epidemic Preparedness Innovations ambassador of Norway candidates through trials. This enables won’t take another global wake-up call to make (CEPI) was launched in January 2017 to the United States a more rapid deployment. Vaccines de- that happen. WD at the World Economic Forum. Norveloped with the group’s support will be way provided 1 billion Norwegian krone (around available to those who need them the most. Price Nordic Vantage Point is a series of columns $124 million) in support of the first phase of CE- should not be a barrier. written by Kåre R. Aas, who has served as Norway’s PI’s work, and has since increased its contributions These are the threats that we already know ambassador to the U.S. since September 2013, prior by another 600 million Norwegian krone ($74 about and where “just in case” vaccines are need- to which he was political director at the Ministry million). ed. But what about new viruses that show up? of Foreign Affairs in Oslo.

History has taught us that there will be future deadly global pandemics…. The key to avoiding massive loss of life is the timely availability of vaccines.


WD | Medical

Alarming Rise As More Young Americans Diagnosed with Colon Cancer, New Guidelines Lower Screening Age to 45 BY AMY NORTON


ost people should now begin colorectal cancer screening at age 45, say new guidelines that were spurred by the rising rate of the disease among younger Americans. For years, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and other medical groups have advised people at average risk of colon and rectal cancer to begin screening at age 50. Earlier screening has been reserved for people at increased risk. But the ACS is now changing that advice — a shift largely driven by the fact that colorectal cancers are increasingly being diagnosed in younger Americans. Media personality Katie Couric, a longtime advocate in the fight against colon cancer, applauded the move. “I have seen firsthand the dangers of early onset colon cancer. My late husband, Jay Monahan, was just 41 when he was diagnosed more than 20 years ago,” she said in a statement. “Doctors have noticed an alarming trend — an increase in people like Jay, under age 50, being diagnosed with the disease,” Couric added. “I’m thrilled that the American Cancer Society has responded and revised its guidelines, lowering the recommended age to start screening to 45.” Just last year, an ACS study found that since the mid-1990s, colon cancer rates among Americans ages 20 to 54 have been steadily inching up, by between 0.5 percent and 2 percent each year. Rectal cancer has risen more rapidly, by 2 percent to 3 percent per year. Someone born in 1990 now has twice the risk of colon cancer, and four times the risk of rectal cancer, as someone born in 1950, the new report noted. “It’s going up at a pretty alarming rate. And we don’t know why,” said Dr. Andrew Wolf, who led the ACS guidelines development group. “Everyone wants to say that it’s the obesity epidemic, poor diet and lack of exercise,” Wolf said. “But those things do not fully explain the rise.” And, since most people do not start colorectal cancer screening until age 50, changes in screening rates would not account for the increase among younger Americans, he added. However, it’s not certain that screening at age 45 will save more lives, according to Wolf. Clinical trials are the “gold standard” for proving that — and most trials of screening have not included people younger than 50. But the ACS commissioned a “modeling” study in developing the new guidelines. It used existing data to estimate the effects of screening at age 45. The conclusion was that earlier screening had a better “benefit-risk ratio” than screening at age 50. Americans ages 45 to 49 do have a lower rate of colorectal cancer than those ages 50 to 54 — at about 31 cases per 100,000 people, versus 58 per 100,000. But, the ACS said, the higher rate among people in their early 50s is partly because they have more early cancers detected through screening. So, the true risk of the disease among people in their late 40s may actually be similar. The risks of screening, meanwhile, are low, Wolf said. Those hazards are mainly confined to colonoscopies, which can, rarely, puncture the colon wall or cause significant bleeding. But those low odds would be even lower in young-



It’s going up at a pretty alarming rate. And we don’t know why.

DR. ANDREW WOLF, University of Virginia School of Medicine

er people, Wolf explained. Plus, he added, colonoscopy is only one of the options for screening. Others include a yearly stool test looking for hidden blood or a DNA-based stool test done every three years. The ACS is not recommending any particular approach. “The choice should be based on what tests are available and the patient’s personal preferences,” Wolf said. “People should be informed of all their choices.” Guidelines from other groups still recommend age 50 as the screening starting point for most people. They do, however, advise earlier screening for certain people at heightened risk, such as those with a strong family history of the disease. The American College of Gastroenterology already recommends that black people begin at age 45, due to their relatively higher risk. The group is in the process of updating its screening guidelines, a spokesperson said.

LEARN MORE: The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on colon cancer at

Earlier this year, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City launched a program for colon cancer patients younger than 50. One goal is to research the reasons for the rising incidence, said Dr. Andrea Cercek, an oncologist at Sloan Kettering. She said rates are not only increasing among people in their 40s, but also among those in their 20s and 30s (though the incidence at those ages remains low). So, screening at age 45 does not address the whole issue, Cercek noted. To her, there is a key message for people of all ages: “If you do develop persistent gastrointestinal symptoms, lasting longer than a few days, don’t dismiss them,” Cercek said. Some red flags include a persistent change in bowel habits; abdominal pain or cramping; stool that is dark or has visible blood; and unintended weight loss. In a young person, Cercek noted, gastrointestinal symptoms likely stem from an infection or other non-cancerous condition. “But the point is to have it checked out,” she said. If it is colorectal cancer, early detection makes a huge difference. “It’s very curable when we catch it early,” Cercek said. WD Amy Norton is a HealthDay reporter. Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Abductions CONTINUED • PAGE 14

the Convention and have an agreement between them, the deterrent effect is not strong enough to prevent a child from being abducted. Take the case of Sean Goldman, for instance, one of the best-known international abduction stories to Americans, thanks to his father David’s unrelenting battle to get his son back. Sean’s mother took him to Brazil when he was 4, ostensibly for a holiday, but on arriving in her native country, filed for divorce from his American father, David. The mother remarried and, a few years later, died in childbirth. When David flew to Brazil to try to bring his son home, his former in-laws fought to keep the boy in the South American country. After five years of legal battles and some $700,000 in legal and travel expenses, David Goldman finally got his son back. Goldman is now focusing on providing his son with as normal of an adolescence as a kid should have, and on supporting other parents who find themselves in the same legal minefield as he did when Sean was illegally taken by his mother. While the Hague Convention has been in force between Brazil and the United States since 2003 — a year before Sean Goldman was abducted — Brazil is one of

several countries that are generally noncompliant with the terms of the Convention, according to the 2018 annual report on international child abduction issued by the State Department. At the start of 2017, there were 20 open child abduction cases between the U.S. and Brazil. Eight new cases were brought during the year, bringing the total number of cases to 28. Of those, only 12 were resolved. In 2015, left-behind parent Christopher Brann recounted in a Washington Post opinion piece how he found himself in a very similar situation to David Goldman. Brann and his wife were in the process of divorcing when she asked in 2013 if she could take their son, Nico, who was almost 4, to Brazil for her brother’s wedding. Not wanting to cut Nico off from his mother’s family, Brann agreed to the trip, “but only after making sure we had a travel agreement, signed by our lawyers and filed with the Texas court, requiring my wife to return. I knew I had done everything I could to protect my son, and I prayed he would be back safe in my arms in three weeks’ time,” Brann wrote. Two and a half years later, he was still waiting, even though the State Department, Brazil’s Central Authority on child abduction and the office of the Brazilian attorney general all agreed that Nico had been taken illegally to Brazil and that, under the Hague Convention, he had to be returned to the U.S. Bucking those opinions, Bra-


Ignacio Goicoechea of the Hague Conference’s Latin America and Caribbean region makes an argument during a mock trial hosted by the Consular Corps of Washington, D.C., at the Czech Embassy to give diplomats and State Department officials a better understanding of how the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction is supposed to work.

zilian judge Arali Maciel Duarte blocked the child’s return in July 2015. “The judge agreed that my son was ‘illicitly’ taken. Yet she claimed Nico was ‘well settled’ in Brazil even though I filed my case within two months of Nico’s abduction. The Hague Convention says a return cannot be denied on these grounds unless the left-behind parent delays more than a year before filing a case,” wrote Brann. Nico’s Brazilian grandparents were arrested when they flew to the U.S. in February 2018. In May, a jury in Houston found them guilty of aiding in an international kidnapping but acquitted them of con-

spiracy charges. Nico and his mother, meanwhile, remain in Brazil. Although Brazil may seem something of a poster child for noncompliance with Hague Convention rules, it is far from the worst offender. India had 104 abduction cases in 2017, of which only 16 were resolved and four closed. “The competent authorities in India demonstrated a pattern of noncompliance by regularly declining to work with the Department of State toward the resolution of pending abduction cases,” the State Department’s annual report says. “While the Indian government repeatedly met with U.S. officials to discuss abduction

cases, thus far, it has failed to take concrete steps to resolve pending cases.” Brann and Goldman’s cases are far from unique. As Brann described in his op-ed in the Washington Post in 2015, “I am merely one of 763 American parents whose children were illegally taken to 66 different countries and who are struggling to secure their return,” he wrote. “If the U.S. government cannot secure the return of Nico, no left-behind parent has any hope.” The Hague Convention seeks to make sure that countries involved in a child abduction case respect the decisions and judicial system of the other country. “If countries didn’t trust each other and tried to take decisions on their own, it would be like going back to the Middle Ages,” said Goicoechea. In spite of the difficulties with noncompliance, the nearly 100 countries that are party to the Hague Convention on international child abduction are “an overwhelmingly positive vote that this is one of the best tools for people to resolve these very complex, very sensitive and emotional issues,” said Lawrence. “Ultimately, the children are the victims, and we owe it to them to have something in place that gives parents a way to navigate through these situations.” WD Karin Zeitvogel (@Zeitvogel) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.


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Defense Attaché Col. Ilham Akbarov, left, listens as Ambassador of Azerbaijan Elin Suleymanov speaks.


Below, a table is arranged for breaking the fast for guests observing the holy month of Ramadan.

Fêtes Its

Centennial The Embassy of Azerbaijan Hosts Centennial Celebration of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic The Embassy of Azerbaijan hosted a lavish reception for the Centennial of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic at Washington’s iconic Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. Some 1,000 guests were in attendance for a festive celebration of the establishment of Azerbaijan on May 28, 1918, which also marked the creation of the first-ever republic with a predominantly Muslim population. Over the years, the Azerbaijan Republic Day reception has become one of the best-attended and liveliest national day celebrations in Washington.

Ice sculptures depict Baku’s most famous symbols, the ancient Maiden Tower, below, and the ultra-modern Flame Towers, left.

Photos by Sergey Kolupaev

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks about the U.S.-Azerbaijan strategic partnership.

Ambassador of Azerbaijan Elin Suleymanov and his wife Lala Abdurahimova.

Ambassador of Bahrain Shaikh Abdulla Bin Rashid Al Khalifa congratulates Ambassador Suleymanov.


Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director at the National Security Council Fiona Hill reads President Trump’s congratulatory letter.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Bridget Brink speaks. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, National Security Council Senior Director Fiona Hill, Secretary of the District of Columbia Lauren C. Vaughan and Ambassador of Azerbaijan Elin Suleymanov.

______________________________________ ______________________________________

Secretary of the District of Columbia Lauren C. Vaughan reads a proclamation from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declaring May 28, 2018, the Azerbaijan Republic National Day in Washington, D.C.

Co-chair of the Congressional Azerbaijan Caucus Bill Shuster and Congressman Henry Cuellar offer a Congressional Recognition to Ambassador Elin Suleymanov.

Ambassador Elin Suleymanov leads a toast to many more centuries of Azerbaijan’s independence and U.S.-Azerbaijan partnership.

The Air Force Ceremonial Quintet prepares to perform.

Ladies of the Washingtonbased Silk Road Dance Company graciously perform colorful Azerbaijani dances.

The Baku-based Rhythm Dance Group presents an energetic program of Azerbaijani dances and drums.

The Oklahoma National Guard delegation presents Ambassador Elin Suleymanov with a proclamation from Gov. Mary Fallin declaring May 28, 2018, as the Azerbaijan National Day in the state of Oklahoma.

Celebration incuded an elaborate birthday cake.

The Baku-based Rhythm Dance Group Ladies of the Washington-based Silk Road Dance Company

Above, guests demonstrate unique Azerbaijani dancing skills. Right, guests enjoy the reception and international music mix on the dance floor. SPONSORED CONTENT


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Hotels & Travel A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat

July 2018

Spirited Evolution Imbibe in Style with an Array of Drink Options in D.C. Hotel Bars •


ambonn Lek isn’t your everyday bartender. Sure, he’s happy to lend an ear to good or bad news as he pours, mixes and shakes, but he’s just as likely to wow with tricks as he is to work

his magic preparing drinks. Lek, a Cambodian native whose father was an ambassador, does mind-reading and levitation, and he can turn a $20 bill into two $10 bills — “but only at slow times. I

Veteran bartender Sambonn Lek serves up classic cocktails at the St. Regis in D.C.



cannot do it when it’s busy,” he said. A few times he’s even played matchmaker. SEE COCKTAILS • PAGE 27 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2018 | 25


Sampling of the D.C. Area’s Hottest Cocktails Whether you’re on Team Traditional or Team Trendy, there’s a cocktail for you in the D.C. area. Here’s a sampling of old-school favorites and spirited new concoctions: SAM I AM

My Shot Vodka Punch schnapps Lemon-lime soda Cherry vodka Grenadine

AT THE ST. REGIS 923 16th St., NW Grab a drink and a show as Lek works his magic — both literally and figuratively.

Angelica Spicy tequila Lime Cane sugar P.O.M.

Sam I Am ($8) 1 and 1/5 oz. Citron Vodka 3/4 oz. amaretto 3/4 oz. sour mix 3/4 oz. simple syrup 1 oz. cranberry juice

Eliza Vodka Lime Pineapple Cassis granite

Shake Serve up with up glass Garnish with lime wedge

Lafayette Brandy Bourbon Balsamic lavender Bitters

SOUND-AGED SPIRITS AT QUADRANT 1150 22nd St., NW washington-dc/dc/dining/quadrant Mendenhall uses a specially made homogenizer that applies vibrations of sound energy to create spirits in hours that taste like they’ve been aged five to 10 years. The addition of wood chips helps mimic the flavor profiles of traditional spirits aged in casks. The alcohol is available in two-ounce pairs ($18-$20). Bourbon Style #1 120-proof, nine-year-old Kentucky bourbon that has been sound-aged Bourbon Style #2 A seven-year-old Kentucky bourbon sound-aged with American Oak chips soaked in a 10-year port Whiskey Style #1 A 90-proof Tennessee sour mash whiskey sound-aged with French Oak chips soaked in sherry Rye Style #1 A 100-proof, four-year-old American rye-style whiskey sound-aged with French Oak chips soaked in cognac

MINT JULEP AT THE WILLARD INTERCONTINENTAL WASHINGTON 1401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW This drink helped put the historic hotel on the map. In 1851, statesman Henry Clay introduced the cocktail for the first time outside Kentucky at the Willard’s iconic Round Robin Bar. Since then, it’s become the hotel’s signature drink, with 20,000 served each year.


The Fireside Chat at Bourbon Steak is prepared tableside and served with a Year of the Dog cigar. Mint Julep Maker’s Mark Kentucky bourbon Sugar Branch water/soda water Mint leaves Crushed ice





2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW dining/restaurantsbourbon_steak

2650 Virginia Ave., NW In honor of the local run of the wildly popular “Hamilton: An American Musical” at the Kennedy Center Arts through Sept. 16, the iconic Watergate is offering four themed cocktails for $16 each and an optional add-in called My Shot.

Two drinks ($19) called the Jefferson and the Hamilton battle for popularity, much as their namesakes, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, disagreed on the approach to governing under George Washington’s presidency. Quill bartender Sophie Szych drew inspiration for the Jefferson from the gardens of the former statesman’s Monticello estate. The Hamilton ties Caribbean ingredients such as coffee and coconut with American tastes.

Neisson Rhum Agricole Coconut Espresso bean, blueberry, lemon zest syrup Shaken and served in a martini glass

Fireside Chat ($125) High West Campfire Whiskey English breakfast tea Walnut butters

Kahuna Kevin ($46, serves two) Hennessy V.S.O.P. Ron Zacapa 23 Lime juice Apricot liqueur Housemade falernum Ginger syrup Absinthe

Ketel One Botanical Grapefruit & Rose Strawberry-Infused Capitoline Tiber Vermentino chardonnay Prosecco

The Hamilton

Grab a taste of the Pacific, pair your drink with a cigar or give a nod to “Hamilton” with three drinks on the menu at Bourbon Steak’s brick-walled patio.

Prepared tableside and served with a Year of the Dog cigar

The Jefferson

Rolled and served in a red wine glass


The Hamilton at the Watergate Hotel Hamilton Bourbon Amaro Averna Italian liquor Bitters

Lit on fire, tableside, and served in custom mugs by tiki artists

A Ting with a Sting at Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons

A Ting with a Sting ($17) Ting, a Caribbean grapefruit soda Rum Served in a mini beach-wood barrel mug

It’s like being a little kid…. “I don’t play with Legos any more. I play with fruits and vegetables and spirits and putting those things together, and it’s exciting.

Cocktails CONTINUED • PAGE 25

For instance, there was the man who asked him how he could approach a fellow bar patron. “I say, ‘Don’t worry, sir. I’ll take care of it,’” Lek told us. “I say, ‘Showtime!’ and then I say, ‘Sir, do you mind sitting next to the lady over lead mixologist at the Ritz-Carlton Quadrant Bar and Lounge there? That way I can show one time. I don’t want to show twice.’” After he was done, the two started talking and eventually married. But not all his tricks involve sleight of hand. Lek collects business cards and until 2008, he mailed 3,000 holiday cards every year. After the recession hit, he switched to sending e-cards. Additionally, if a woman at the bar is celebrating her birthday, he gifts her a scarf from Cambodia. “They remember this small thing I do for them,” he said. Lek, 66, came to Washington in 1974. He worked for a few months as a dishwasher at the now-closed Blackie’s House of Beef before taking another dishwashing job at the Golden Ox, which promoted him to bar-back. “I wrote down whatever the bartender does — let’s say, how to make gin and tonic,” Lek said. So, when the bartender didn’t show up, he easily moved into the position. The Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1975, and the State Department offered Lek the chance to earn a green card and attend hotel management school. In April 1976, Lek accepted a position as bartender at the Mayflower Hotel’s now-closed Town and Country Lounge. A few years later, “they asked to promote me to beverage manager. I said, ‘No, I love my bartending,’” Lek recalled. In 1980, he became head bartender instead — and a beloved Washington institution, serving up drinks at the Mayflower until 2012. That year, Lek went to Cambodia to work with his nonprofit Sam Relief Inc., which he founded in 1999 with money his mother had left him to use to help the country’s poor when she died in 1998. The organization Mixologist Christopher Mendenhall at the Ritz-Carlton’s Quadrant Bar and Lounge uses a sonic wave machine to create spirits has built 27 schools and 349 wells, delivered 128 tons in hours that taste like they’ve been maturing for years. of rice to hospitals and awarded more than 100 college scholarships. In April, Lek returned to Washington as a bartender at the St. Regis, Washington D.C., where he serves his signature Sam I Am drink, which he created in 1980. But mostly he considers himself an old-fashioned bartender serving tried-and-true recipes. “I like the old school better. Old-school, they THE DRAGONFLY do it the proper way,” Lek said. AT THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL But Lek’s old-school magic is not the only game in town. A younger gen1330 Maryland Ave., SW eration of bartenders is shaking things up with an innovative, experimental approach that treats cocktails as a form of high art. About a mile away from Lek’s elegant watering hole at the St. Regis, Created by bartenders at this 400-room Christopher Mendenhall combines technology, culinary tricks and alcohol hotel, the Dragonfly cocktail was so popular in a way that’s earned him the title of lead mixologist at Quadrant Bar and as part of the Chinese New Year menu this Lounge, a craft cocktail bar at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. The difyear that it returned to become a part ference between “bartender” and “mixologist,” he said, is in the creativity. of the summer cocktail menu. “But if you ask me, I’ll tell you I’m a bartender,” said Mendenhall, 38, who’s worked at Quadrant since it opened in 2015. The Dragonfly At the end of May, it began offering bourbon and whiskey aged using 1/2 oz. Bombay Gin sound wave technology. Growing demand for those spirits led him to look 1 and 1/2 oz. cucumber sake for ways to speed up the process of making them. “The thing about bourbon 1/2 oz. peach schnapps and whiskey is they’re not like vodka and gin. You can’t make it in a couple 1/2 oz. grapefruit days. It takes time. It takes years to mature and become what it is,” Menden1/2 basil springs hall said. One grapefruit triangle His research led him to a machine that uses sonic waves to create spirits in hours that taste like they’ve been maturing for years. Garnish with pomegranate and basil “We take existing whiskeys and we hit it with our magic wand,” he said. Still, “There’s no replacement for time. What we’re really able to do with this machine is show you characteristics of time.” CRAFT COCKTAILS The Dragonfly The intersection of creativity, tradition and science is the future of barAT ROSEWOOD at the Mandarin Oriental tending, he said. With the recent resurgence in the popularity of cocktails, 1050 31st St. NW mixologists are working hard to keep up with the demand. “It got to this point where now we’re trying to one-up each other and find a crazy ingredient. We’re finding Arctic ice and unicorn tears in the rainforSince they appeared on the spring menu at the bar in this Georgetown hotel, three est,” Mendenhall quipped. “That’s not sustainable, so I personally feel that drinks have been especially popular. Between April 1 and May 30, the bar sold 229 Agua the science world is the next turning point of the mixology world. With Frescas, along with 381 Rhubarb Mules and 307 Spicy Guavas. Each costs $16. these devices becoming more available to bars and restaurants, if we fold this third aspect in, we can make almost anything.” Agua Fresca He draws inspiration for his cocktail menu from the culinary world. For 2 oz. bourbon/rye Shake well instance, the bar’s most popular drink is the Smoked Old Fashioned, made 1 oz. lime juice Double strain with bourbon, house-made smoked syrup, cherry bitters and cedar smoke. 1 oz. tamarind syrup Add 3 oz. ginger ale and ice It’s served with warm mixed olives soaked in the same wood chips used to 1/2 oz. cream de cassis Glass: Collins make the drink. Couple of dashes of orange bitters Garnish: Mint “It’s like being a little kid,” Mendenhall said. “I don’t play with Legos any more. I play with fruits and vegetables and spirits and putting those things SEE COCKTAILS • PAGE 28 together, and it’s exciting.” WD CHRISTOPHER MENDENHALL

Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2018 | 27

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1600 King St., Alexandria, Va. Calling on Prince fans, bartender Niko Chauvet created this riff on a margarita ($16) in honor of his grandmother, who was a fan of the late musician.

Rhubarb Mule 2 oz. vodka 1 oz. rhubarb syrup 1/2 oz. Aperol 3/4 oz. ginger syrup 1/2 oz. lime juice

Purple Rain Basil-infused Espolon Reposado tequila St-Germain Agave nectar Lime juice Muddled blackberries

Shake with ice until chilled Top off with ginger ale Glass: Collins Garnish: Rhubarb stick


Spicy Guava


2 oz. Tequila Blanco 1 oz. guava puree 1 Thai chili 3/4 oz. lime 1/2 oz. simple syrup Shake, then add ice and shake again Double strain Top off with 1/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Glass: Rock Garnish: Thai chili

1310 New Hampshire Ave., NW This $16 cocktail is made with ingredients from the restaurant’s rooftop garden. What Did You Do?

Purple Rain at Brabo at the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa


needs cha

Bulldog Gin Cointreau Kumquat syrup

What Did You Do? at Firefly at Kimpton Hotel Madera

Lime-basil syrup Lime — Stephanie Kanowitz

Culture arts & entertainment art

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The Washington Diplomat





July 2018 events


By The People, a new international arts and dialogue festival in D.C. organized around the theme of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” aims to promote empathy, build bridges and spark a civil discourse at a time when the nation’s discourse is anything but. / PAGE 30

BY THE PEOPLE Maya Freelon’s “Reciprocity Respite & Repass” installation is featured in By The People.




Two for One

Feel-Good President

Reshanty Bowoleksono, the wife of Indonesian Ambassador Budi Bowoleksono, has an intimate understanding of her homeland and how to promote it, having been a career diplomat herself for many years. / PAGE 31

Would America’s political polarization go away if the country elected an average, unassuming guy as commander in chief? “Dave,” a musical comedy based on the 1993 motion picture, plays out this assumption, with feel-good results. / PAGE 34

DIPLOMATIC SPOTLIGHT Passport DC / Embassy Chef Challenge and Galas Galore! / PAGE 40 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2018 | 29

WD | Culture | Festivals

Life, Liberty, Happiness By The People Pursues Ideals, Innovations in New Citywide Festival •



new international arts and dialogue festival — themed around America’s founding ideals — has arrived in Washington, D.C., with grand ambitions to shake up the city’s arts scene and status. By The People, held across over a dozen locations from June 21 to 24, was designed to showcase an array of performances, art installations and speakers with a particularly Washington bent. Inspired by the theme of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” the festival aims to promote empathy, build cultural bridges and spark a civil discourse at a time when the nation’s discourse is anything but. It hosted dozens of artists, speakers, musicians and dancers — with most events almost entirely free to the public. And unlike many other festivals, the featured events By The People showcased dozens of innovative events, including were anything but conventional. concerts by groups such as DuPont Brass, above, Georgia Saxelby’s Highlights included an augmented reality art hunt; “To Future Women” installation, below, and performances by knitting and crocheting sculptures that paid homcompanies such as Xia Jun Hong Kong Ballet. age to nurses; an interactive installation that mimicked a prison cell; mindfulness workshops that let participants become artists; a 20-year time capsule of letters written to the next generation of women; discussions where people were randomly paired with strangers or explored topics such as whether true human connection can be found online; and a nontraditional dance performed inside a 17-foot U-Haul truck. Last summer, Halcyon, a nonprofit organization with a stage series and arts incubator to its name, gathered together a group of arts leaders to discuss the idea of bringing this type of event to D.C. “We just mentioned we thought it was high time PHOTO: JOE GIBSON that D.C. had its own international arts and dialogue festival, and we found nothing but agreement,” Halcyof pop-up performances, a diverse line-up of speakLEARN MORE: For more information, on co-founder and CEO Kate Goodall told The Washers and “nice little surprises at every site,” she said. visit ington Diplomat before the festival kicked off. “We all A driving question behind the creation of the felt this rising tide of this true creative arts scene in festival itself was how to catalyze conversation, she D.C., that is more than just a stop between New York added. “How do we get people who may not have and Miami, with so many unique assets and free museums.” run into each other before to talk to each other? People from Ward 3 to Ward 8? The festival taps into the “bubbling cauldron and increasing energy around the From different parts of the world?” arts here,” Goodall noted. By The People looks to the driving idea of “life, liberty and the pursuit of hapThe question, then, was what such a festival would look like. Two main pieces piness,” with organizers framing the conversations and the arts with that powerful emerged: one, that the festival should be as accessible as possible, and two, that giv- phrase from the Declaration of Independence in mind. en the location in the capital of the United States, it would need to be a festival that Goodall said that while the festival has borrowed certain things from major inhighlighted and created “substantive connections and building bridges,” she said. ternational festivals, like the Aspen Ideas Festival, Art Basel and SXSW, the goal “Everyone who is involved has sought to accomplish that through arts, dialogue was to make something special to D.C. and community activities,” Goodall noted. “Really, we wanted to start with the idea, if D.C. has an international arts and With those two ideas in mind, the creators crafted a schedule of largely free dialogue festival, what does that look like? Certainly one way we’re deviating from events, with just a few scattered ticketed performances on the lineup. A free shuttle those other festivals is that it’s free and inclusive — we really wanted to focus on was arranged to bring people between all the sites, stretching across every quad- that,” she said. rant of the city. Names like Nick Cave, Neko Case, Imran Qureshi, BalletX and It’s an ambitious undertaking for the first year of a four-day arts extravaganza, more hit the lineup, with dozens of other singers, artists, dancers and lecturers which had a number of sponsors and partners including the Smithsonian, the D.C. from around the world dotting the impressive array of events associated with the government, Lyft, Whole Foods and others. citywide festival. “We want to see how it goes in the first year,” Goodall told The Diplomat. “It’s The iconic, recently renovated Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building stands been a really fun challenge to launch a festival like this, with this kind of magnias a hub, but organizers wanted to make sure the festival stretched beyond the tude, in one year.” National Mall, so “we had a base of operations in every quadrant,” Goodall said, “The hope is that this is something that appeals to everyone and has a compowith other key locations including Union Market and the Washington National nent that everyone can find interesting, even if they don’t love the whole thing,” Cathedral. she added. “We’ve really tried to create layers, so people can come as families or on From projections created by up-and-coming artists to the Smithsonian’s “Sol- their own, from out of town or from D.C.” WD stice Saturday” on June 23 that had most museums keeping their doors open until midnight, the festival sought to “create this osmosis” for visitors, Goodall said. Mackenzie Weinger (@mweinger) is a contributing writer There was an augmented reality piece of art at each of the five main hubs, an array for The Washington Diplomat.


Diplomatic Spouses | Culture | WD

Couple of Diplomats Indonesian Wife, a Career Diplomat, Talks Tolerance, Raising Son and Rock Music •



eshanty Bowoleksono, the wife of Indonesian Ambassador Budi Bowoleksono, has an intimate understanding of her homeland and how to promote it, having been a career diplomat herself for many years. She served in the Indonesian Permanent Mission in Geneva from 1994 to 1998 and was assigned from 2013 to 2016 to Indonesia’s Permanent Mission to the U.N. in New York. While in Indonesia, she served as secretary to the foreign minister in the Organization Planning Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the Directorate General of Multilateral Affairs. She has taken three “Our son Lebdo was born in leaves of absence. “First was Geneva Geneva. When we were back in when I had my baby, and the second was Jakarta, he was five months old. Kenya when my husband was ambassaIn Austria, he was 6 years old and dor in Nairobi from 2008 to 2010, and learning to speak German. Back in this posting to Washington is my third,” Jakarta, studying English was comBowoleksono said. pulsory. Now, Lebdo is studying acBut she continues to tell Americans countancy at Virginia Tech,” where about her Southeast Asian island nahe is a third-year student. “We talk tion, which comprises the largest archialmost every day.” pelago in the world, boasts hundreds of Despite the constant traveling distinct ethnic and linguistic groups and and moving, Bowoleksono said is home to the largest Muslim-majority having a child didn’t interfere with population on the planet. her diplomatic career. “I was always While Indonesia has had problems together with my child. I sincerely with Islamic extremism and high-proand freely wanted to be with him. file terrorist attacks, Bowoleksono says Children leave, regardless of our her country of over 260 million is still work. Then we live alone. But thank known for its religious tolerance. God our son is quite close to us.” “Eighty-five percent of our people are Over the years, the family has Muslim. Our people are also Catholic, shared many hobbies together, inPHOTO: GAIL SCOTT Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and those cluding sports. “We played tennis, who just believe in God. We don’t dis- Reshanty Bowoleksono, wife of Indonesian Ambassador Budi Bowoleksono, top right, badminton, running, skiing, biking turb each other. We celebrate all the has served in various diplomatic postings herself, including Indonesia’s Permanent Mission and walking,” Bowoleksono said, holidays. It’s between you and God. in Geneva and in New York. noting that today, she and her husThis is what my parents taught me. It is band often walk from the residence the beauty of tolerance,” she said during on Tilden Street to Chinatown, an interview in the sitting room of the resiGeorgetown and the White House via the dence, which features a picture of the family Rock Creek paths. with former President Barack Obama, who Like many Indonesians, the whole famspent his early years in Indonesia. ily also loves music and plays many instru“We have so many differences,” she added, ments. RESHANTY BOWOLEKSONO noting that while the country is unified by “My husband plays the guitar and bass wife of Indonesian Ambassador Budi Bowoleksono a national language (Bahasa), “we have 700 but he’s not very patient. He stops playing different languages and 300 ethnic groups.” when the song gets hard. My son, when he She encourages Americans to make the long trek to familiarize themselves was 5, was a drummer, at first hitting with chopsticks. Now he plays the guitar with Indonesia’s diverse culture. She noted that the country is 24 hours away and piano. He’s been playing the piano since he was 10 years old until univerwhether you fly through Europe, the Middle East or Japan. “Tourists don’t un- sity.” derstand. They come for a couple of days. You have to stay for at least two weeks Bowoleksono herself plays the Indonesian angklung, a popular traditional and a month is better,” Bowoleksono told us. “You must go to Jakarta, Bali and instrument made of bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. The tubes are Central Java. Indonesia is hot and beautiful. Because of the rainy season, the carved to have a certain pitch, which make for a unique sound when played as best time to go is October to April.” part of an ensemble. When Bowoleksono was in college, her parents wanted her to become a Despite their shared love of music, Bowoleksono joked that she doesn’t necmedical doctor. “My father was a district attorney and my mother was an econ- essarily share the same tastes as her husband. omist. But I wasn’t accepted in medical school. I like biology — to cut up frogs, “That’s the problem. He likes rock music and I like R&B,” this good-natured fish, birds — but not chemistry. Instead, I was accepted to study politics and wife said, noting that she does like Simon & Garfunkel and Bob Dylan but othinternational relations.” erwise isn’t a fan of hard rock. “I hate his music — you can’t sing it, only shout it. That career path led her to love, although it wasn’t necessarily love at first Rock music is a big deal in Indonesia. He and our son love to go to big concerts. sight. I never know why he likes rock. I can’t answer why I married this person,” she “My husband and I knew each other when we both worked at the Ministry quipped with a wry smile. of Foreign Service. I sat in the front and he was in the back. Our friends kept One reason may be that he’s good in the kitchen. “When I was growing up, putting us together. We had a couple of dates and then he said, ‘Marry me.’ I cooking was my hobby, my first career. My mother was a very good cook. I had didn’t say yes but he asked me all the time. I didn’t like him because he smoked, only one brother but five sisters. Today, I like to clean up. My husband does the mostly cigars. I think he was looking for someone to have fun with. About a shopping and the cooking.” WD year later he asked me again and I said yes. We got married … and he stopped Gail Scott is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. smoking,” she laughed.

We have so many differences…. It is the beauty of tolerance.


WD | Culture | Festivals

Culture on the Mall From Bread to Fire, 2018 Folklife Festival Offers Taste of Armenia and Catalonia •


The Smithsonian Folklife Festival JUNE 27 TO JULY 1 AND JULY 4 TO 8 NATIONAL MALL WWW.FESTIVAL.SI.EDU/


ith stone carvers, winemakers, puppeteers, bakers and even towers of human people dotting the National Mall, visitors to this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival have the unique chance to revel in the cultural offerings of both Armenia and Catalonia without leaving Washington this summer. Hundreds of artisans, musicians and cooks are bringing their talents to the 2018 Smithsonian Folklife Festival to celebrate and explore Armenia, a country at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, and Catalonia, in Spain’s far northeastern corner. The event — on the Mall from June 27 to July 1, and again from July 4 to July 8 — offers Washingtonians the opportunity to sample the gastronomy, crafts and songs of these two locales. The festival has exhibited living cultural heritage every summer in D.C. for decades, with organizers long working with the diplomatic community to curate the event, festival director Sabrina Lynn Motley told The Washington Diplomat. “This is the thing I think is so wonderful — we work with embassies quite closely,” she said. “The festival since its inception in 1967 has worked with over 100 countries and in every instance we’ve had some engagement with embassies both here and abroad.” This year, she noted, “has been exceptional” in terms of strong partnerships with the ambassadors. With the “Armenia: Creating Home” program, the diplomatic community served a critical role. Motley said U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard M. Mills Jr. and Armenia’s ambassador to the U.S., Grigor Hovhannissian, “are committed to cultural diplomacy in a way that is inspiring.” “It’s also practical,” she said. “They understand how it can really serve to strengthen ties between the two countries, and how it can improve and really lift up the profile of the artisans and artists that we work with. “When we talk about cultural heritage and cultural sustainability and the role of both of those in the lives of people and communities, they get it,” Motley added. Given the events in Spain and Catalonia’s situation in particular — the separatist led-regional government in Catalonia made a failed bid to declare independence last year and tensions remain high — Motley acknowledged that the festival had to be “more nimble and flexible in how these relationships worked.” “We have good, strong partners with the cultural ministry there,” she said. “The diplomatic relationships are a bit more complicated, but we’ve worked with all to figure out how best to work with partners in Catalonia.” With “Catalonia: Tradition and Creativity from the Mediterranean,” the festival organizers honed in on the creativity that has kept the distinctive culture of the region vibrant in the face of a history of suppression. The festival, which highlights everything from Armenia’s winemaking to the popularity of fire in Catalan culture, celebrates both traditional and contemporary life. “We’re not a political festival … but we’re not naïve; we know politics are a part of cultural life,” Motley said. “But our goal is to showcase the cultural life of communities.” The festival is not only a showcase, but also an immersive experience. For example, visitors can learn to make Armenian staples such as breads, cheeses and barbecued meats (khorovats). They can toast Armenian wines and learn about the recent discovery of a 6,100-year-old winery in an Armenian cave and how winemakers in that region are reinvigorating the industry. Likewise, admirers of Catalan culture can not only sample traditional donuts, for example, but also explore how local cooperatives have built thriving businesses and how the local Mediterranean diet has fed innovative gastronomy. The can also directly engage Catalan builders and craftspeople who will demonstrate techniques such as arranging mosaics (trencadís) and stacking stone without mortar





The 52nd Smithsonian Folklife Festival showcases Armenia and Catalonia with highlights such as stone carver Bogdan Hovhannisyan, seen at top working on a khachkar (cross-stone) in his workshop in Vanadzor, Armenia; an examination of a 6,000-year-old winery discovered in Armenia, above right; and demonstrations by Joan Farré, who uses traditional Catalan basket-weaving techniques to create modern shapes.

to construct walls. With a marketplace showcasing artisans’ crafts — where visitors can purchase everything from breads to embroidery made before their very eyes — the festival allows practitioners to display and discuss how they sustain their cultural output. “This year’s festival is looking at cultural heritage enterprise, which is the way local food production, music, crafts and heritage tourism really do strengthen communities,” she said. “And not only by securing livelihoods, but also promoting intergenerational communication and transference of knowledge and all the sorts of ways that cultural heritage industry can strengthen communities.” The Folklife Festival often pairs together nations, regions, states or themes that don’t seem to relate on the surface, something that visitors may think when they see Armenia and Catalonia on the lineup. But that dissonance just helps reinforce the notion of cultural exchange at the heart of the festival, Motley said. “The festival frequently highlights cultures or countries or occupations where people are like, ‘Wait, what does one have to do with the other?’ Part of it, there’s something very powerful in hearing people share their stories directly,” Motley said. “I can go on the Mall and hear this artisan from a part of Catalonia or Armenia, and I can see the work, but I can also ask them questions and learn from them what they do. “People learn the specifics, but they also think about their own lives, make connections, ask questions and go back and explore. And, plus, they’ll have fun, really good food and great music in the evenings,” she added. “It’s going to be a really exciting 10 days on the Mall.” WD Mackenzie Weinger (@mweinger) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

Art | Culture | WD

Dual ‘Perspectives’ At Argentine Embassy, Photographer and Painter Collaborate to Create New Vision •




hen viewing any abstract artwork, everyone interprets a different emotion and understanding of the piece, like a Rorschach inkblot test. “Perspectives” at the Embassy of Argentina art gallery celebrates the subjective, highly individual reactions that art inspires, as well as the multilayered interplay of different art forms. The exhibit showcases the overlapping work of Argentinian painter Franco Lippi and Argentinian photographer Luis Falduti. Lippi’s large-scale paintings fill the walls of the gallery with their bold and dizzying swirls and splotches of black, gray, white and rust, which walk the line between dreamscape galaxies and volatile explosions. Between the large paintings are Falduti’s black-andwhite photos. At first glance, the images appear as if they were taken from NASA space cameras that zoomed in on ethereal constellations of stars or the pockmarked surfaces of planets. But upon closer examination, we see that the photographs are in fact close-up depictions of Lippi’s paintings. The photographs bring out details in Lippi’s paintings that might otherwise be overlooked, with the aim of exposing the enigmatic layers and hidden messages in his work. The resulting interplay of painting and photography explores the ephemeral colors and vast, complex compositions portrayed in Lippi’s world, which is rediscovered and redefined through Falduti’s lens. The side-by-side display demonstrates the power of collaboration, as photography and painting complement each other, rather than competing with the other. “They could be landscapes of my soul,” said Lippi, who attended the exhibition opening, about the inspiration behind his paintings. “They could be journeys through the cosmos. They could be a combination of factors — my inner sort of conscious.” The collaboration between the two artists was not originally planned. Lippi’s paintings were initially created for a separate exhibit in Italy that was then transferred to a museum in Buenos Aires. This is where Falduti was invited to take photographs of the paintings. “I thought he was going to take a picture of the whole work,” recalled Lippi. “But no. He took shots of the paintings. He took fragments of the painting. He went into the smaller areas of the paintings, seeing areas that I hadn’t even discovered, creating a completely new concept that I, the artist, had not seen.” Falduti, who spoke at the D.C. debut via Skype, explained the process behind his photography. “When I take a photograph of an abstract painting, I see another image and what I want to do is show you what I see in it,” he said. Experimenting with photography runs in Falduti’s blood. His father was a photographer who would give Falduti overexposed negatives to draw, paint and scratch on when he was as young as 4 years old. Falduti would then make homemade slideshows out of his creations. The intricate images in the cur-


At left, painter Franco Lippi (also seen below) and curator Alfredo Ratinoff talk to photographer Luis Falduti via Skype at the opening of the exhibition “Perspectives” at the Embassy of Argentina.


rent exhibit are reminiscent of overexposed or destroyed PHOTO: MARITZA GUELER / EMBASSY OF ARGENTINA film slides. After seeing Falduti’s work, Lippi wanted to create a show highlighting both the photos and his paintings together. When he initially proposed a show combining photography and painting, “people said, ‘Are you crazy? This is not going to work,’” Lippi recalled. “They are two different mediums. It’s not going to look right. And I said, ‘No, they are going to complement each other. They are going to blend together.’” They do just that, seamlessly. “Perspectives” is a cohesive show that is also a study in contrasts, with the photos enhancing the detail of the paintings while at the same time standing on their own merit. Curator Alfredo Ratinoff admitted that he had his doubts when he was first approached about the idea. “But then I saw the combination of the two bodies of work [and] I thought this is amazing, because the two of them working together is creating a synergy.” WD Nicole Schaller is an editorial intern for The Washington Diplomat. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2018 | 33

WD | Culture | Theater

Presidential Switch ‘Dave’ at Arena Stage Shows a More Gentile, Feel-Good Side of Politics •


Dave FROM JULY 13 TO AUG. 19 ARENA STAGE 1101 6TH ST., SW (202) 554-9066 | WWW.ARENASTAGE.ORG


hat is the answer to America’s current political nightmare of divisiveness and dishonesty? Would these problems all just go away if the country elected an average, unassuming guy as commander in chief? “Dave,” a musical comedy based on the 1993 motion picture written by Gary Ross and starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver, plays out this assumption, with feelgood results. Through a series of events, the character Dave Kovic, a kind-hearted high school teacher, Abe Lincoln enthusiast and presidential look-alike, is hired by the Secret Service as a stand-in for the real president, Bill Mitchell, when the president falls ill under less than “presidential” circumstances. Dave is thrust into the Oval Office to avoid a national scandal and must find a way to gain the trust and love of the American people — and the first lady. “Dave ends up being a beacon of positive change in the White House,” explains actor Jonathan Rayson, who plays the vice president in Arena Stage’s world premiere, which runs from July 13 to Aug. 19. “No matter what side of the aisle you are in the world of politics, many times people feel unheard, feel they can’t make a difference and aren’t represented. This show speaks to coming together for the greater good, no matter your political beliefs,” Rayson told The Washington Diplomat. Set in Arena’s Kreeger Theater with Tina Landau as director, “Dave” stars Drew Gehling (“Waitress,” “Jersey Boys”) as both President Bill Mitchell and the title role. “Dave” is being produced in association with Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, the Donners’ Co. and Larger Than Life Productions. “The story of ‘Dave’ is the stuff of musical theater perfection. Like a wonderful fairytale, it helps us explain the world — in this case the world of Washington politics — giving us the escapist tools yes, but also reminding us of the better angels embedded in us all,” said Arena Stage Executive Producer Edgar Dobie. “It is joyful and hopeful and reassuring all at the same time. If it is all in the timing, then we timed this one right!” The play indeed points to many parallels to today’s politics. For one, the president is a callous womanizer and his substitute must go undercover to clean up the White House’s public image. “The show took on a different shape when the new [Trump] administration came in,” Rayson said. “We bumped up the relevance of the show to today’s political climate. We have the president tweeting where you don’t know what are facts and what are ways to spin the facts so the administration looks good. We even have someone in the administration filing for impeachment. These are things not introduced in the original film, to echo what is happening today.” The decision to make the original script a musical allowed the creators to bump up the comedy and drama of the play, Rayson


“Dave ends up being a beacon of positive change in the White House,” says actor Jonathan Rayson, left, who plays the vice president in Arena Stage’s world premiere of “Dave.”

added. “The characters sing out the inner workings of their thoughts and feelings that they wouldn’t overtly say to the audience. Making this show a musical raises the emotions of the characters and introduces silliness to the piece,” he said. Rayson said that the play turns today’s dirty politics on its head and adds gratifying fantasy

to the equation. “It’s a lot of fun,” he told us. “It’s just what the country needs right now and the play is so appropriate to Washington audiences. It’s also a love story … a feel-good piece about people coming together for the common good.” Unlike today’s toxic atmosphere in Washington, for a few hours at least within the four walls of a theater, this production will prove that politics can indeed be funny and heartfelt. WD Lisa Troshinsky is the theater reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.


History | Culture | WD

More Than a Game ‘Constructing MEXICO68’ Reflects on Lasting Legacy of 1968 Olympics •




he recent Pyeongchang Winter Olympics made headlines for the historic rapprochement of North and South Korea that may have led to a diplomatic breakthrough on the North Korean nuclear dilemma. The 2008 Summer Games in Beijing represented China’s global coming-out party. The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi were marred by allegations of widespread corruption in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Like the highs and lows that athletes experience during competition, each Olympics comes with its own highs and lows. Some make history, such as the Gold Medal-winning performance of African American track star Jesse Owens in Germany’s 1936 Games, which shattered the myth of Nazi supremacy. Others, such as the 2004 Olympics in Athens and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, leave behind a dubious legacy of wasted dollars and unused stadiums. Many Games simply disappear from our collective memory. Despite the controversies that often surround the Olympics and questions about whether hosting such a costly endeavor is even worth it nowadays, the international competition remains a point of pride for many nations whose name is forever attached to it. To honor the 50th anniversary of the first Latin American Olympics, the Mexican Cultural Institute is hosting an exhibition, “Constructing MEXICO68,” that takes visitors through a journey of the places built for the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City that endure to this day. “I feel a great admiration and amazement for Mexico ’68,” said Carolina Borja, cultural director of the Patronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C., which played a pivotal role in the Games. She cited “the work behind the Olympic Games, the cultural and sport programming and the legacy that the event has left behind, which is still alive today, such as the Route of Friendship.” The Route of Friendship, or Ruta de la Amistad, refers to an urban gallery of 22 monumental sculptures commissioned for the Games that were created by artists from five continents. The sculptures are spread out along a 10-mile route that united distant Olympic venues and grace the esplanades of three stadiums. Patronato Ruta de la Amistad A.C. has worked to preserve the sculptures and today, the route is a major highway and an example of how the innovative design and architecture built for the Games remains relevant — unlike in other cities where the infrastructure built for the Games proved to have little use once the Olympic flame was extinguished. Design and function were a large part of the ’68 Games. Not only were existing structures adapted, the city also rapidly constructed new and more modern facilities to accommodate the diverse sporting events. The goal was to create structures that were both practical and ground-breaking. “Architecture was unique because the venues were built to identify, distinguish and project the architectural, technical and organizational capacity of the country,” said Javier Ramírez Campuzano, director of the Archivo Pedro Ramírez Vázquez Archive and vice president of Patronato Ruta de la Amistad. “The intent of the project was to build, equip and train personnel to operate facilities in only 27 months.” It was a deeply personal and patriotic effort. Mexico became the first developing nation to ever host an Olympics. According to Campuzano, the objective was to demonstrate Mexico’s ability to fulfill the world’s expectations with dignity and efficiency. “I personally enjoy the last gallery where American artist Todd William’s work is showcased,” said Campuzano. That gallery displays early pictures of the construc-


“Constructing MEXICO68,” takes visitors on a journey of the places built for the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City that endure to this day.

tion of the Magic Circle and a letter from the Olympic Organization Committee telling Williams that his work would be included in the Route of Friendship. “I enjoy viewing the correspondence. It gives a peek into how art commissions were organized 50 years ago, before e-mail and the internet,” Campuzano said, noting that the various sculptures erected for the 1968 Games speak to the power of cultural exchange in public art. But the 1968 Games did not go off without controversy. Just 10 days before the start of the Games, students protested against the use of funds to build stadiums over social programs and reform. The army fired on the protesters, killing over 200. The clashes, part of the Mexican Student Movement of 1968, left a shadow of repression that would continue to haunt the

country for years to come. Yet the Games also represented a new chapter for Mexico and the region. “1968 was a relevant year worldwide and Mexico ’68 played an important role in history,” Borja said. There were a number of firsts associated with the Games: It was the first to be staged in a Latin American country and the first in a Spanish-speaking country; it featured the first live TV transmission in color and the first woman to light the Olympic cauldron (Enriqueta Basilio); and it instituted the first anti-doping program and the first international press center. In addition, it was the first time that the Olympic Organizing Committee was composed solely of Mexicans, and the ’68 Games marked a return to the Greek ideal of a cultural and athletic Olympiad. The exhibit is filled with “visually exciting imagery that serves as a testimony of going beyond expectations,” Borja said. “Mexico exceeded in all aspects during the 1968 Olympic Games and left a living legacy of design, architecture and art for future generations.” WD Kate Oczypok (@OczyKate) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | JULY 2018 | 35

WD | Culture | Film

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

CANTONESE Colour of the Game Directed by Kam Ka-wai (Hong Kong, 2017, 104 min.) Simon Yam stars in this underworld drama as Wallace, a veteran gang member given the job of bumping off the spoiled son of a mob patriarch. When Wallace and his gang are ambushed during the job, he realizes that the whole thing was a setup and sets out to find the mole who betrayed him. Freer Gallery of Art Sun., July 15, 2 p.m.

Concerto of the Butterfly Directed by Fung Chih-Chiang (Hong Kong, 2017, 95 min.) A street punk kidnaps the girlfriend of a rising pop star — only to discover that she is the one and only Hit Girl, an internet singing sensation. Captive on a remote fishing boat, she tries to pass the time and calm her captor through music lessons. Freer Gallery of Art Sun., July 22, 2 p.m.

Our Time Will Come Directed by Ann Hui (China/Hong Kong, 2017, 130 min.) One of “China’s cinematic treasures” (The New York Times), this award-winning film brings to life the resistance movement that arose when Japan occupied the island during World War II. Its story centers on legendary revolutionary Fang Lan, as she changes from humble schoolteacher to a leader in the movement (Cantonese and Japanese). Freer Gallery of Art Sun., July 29, 2 p.m.

Paradox Directed by Wilson Yip (Hong Kong/China, 2017, 99 min.) Louis Koo plays a widower battling his way through the Thai underworld to find his kidnapped daughter. His ferocious fight scenes take full advantage of the film’s seedy seaside locale (Cantonese, English and Thai). Freer Gallery of Art Fri., July 20, 7 p.m.

Shock Wave Directed by Herman Yau (Hong Kong/China, 2017, 118 min.) In one of 2017’s biggest hits in Hong Kong, Andy Lau stars as JS Cheung, a bomb disposal expert who is thrown into the biggest job of his career when a maniac wires the city’s massive Cross-Harbour Tunnel to explode — an attempt to avenge his brother’s imprisonment at JS’s hands years before. Freer Gallery of Art Fri., July 13, 7 p.m.

Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight Directed by Alan Lo

THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | July 2018 Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

(Hong Kong, 2017, 107 min.) Inspired by a cult novel, this film sets a pack of ne’er-do-wells and slackers against hordes of hungry undead, created by a giant stuffed chicken whose eggs cause people’s head to explode. Freer Gallery of Art Fri., July 27, 7 p.m.

Directed by Morgan Neville (U.S., 2018, 94 min.) For over 30 years, Fred Rogers, an unassuming minister, puppeteer, writer and producer, was beamed daily into homes across America. In his beloved television program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” Fred and his cast of puppets and friends spoke directly to young children about some of life’s weightiest issues, in a simple, direct fashion. AFI Silver Theatre Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema

ENGLISH American Animals Directed by Bart Layton (U.K./U.S., 2018, 116 min.) “American Animals” is the unbelievable but entirely true story of four young men who attempt to execute one of the most audacious art heists in U.S. history. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema

The Worker’s Cup

Book Club Directed by Bill Holderman (U.S., 2018, 104 min.) Four lifelong friends have their lives forever changed after reading “50 Shades of Grey” in their monthly book club. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema

Damsel Directed by David and Nathan Zeller (U.S., 2018, 113 min.) In the Wild West, an affluent pioneer ventures across the American frontier to marry the love of his life. As his group traverses the west, the once-simple journey grows treacherous, blurring the lines between hero, villain and damsel. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Dark Money Directed by Kimberly Reed (U.S., 2018, 99 min.) This political thriller examines one of the greatest present threats to American democracy: the influence of untraceable corporate money on our elections and elected officials. The film takes viewers to Montana — a frontline in the fight to preserve fair elections nationwide — to follow an intrepid local journalist working to expose the real-life impacts of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., July 20

The Death of Stalin Directed by Armando Iannucci (U.K./Canada/France/Belgium, 2018, 107 min.) Moscow, 1953: when tyrannical dictator Joseph Stalin drops dead, his parasitic cronies square off in a frantic power struggle to be the next Soviet leader in this uproarious, wickedly irreverent satire. West End Cinema

Eating Animals Directed by Christopher Dillon Quinn (U.K./India/Germany/China/U.S., 2018, 94 min.) How much do you know about the food that’s on your plate? Based on the bestselling book by Jonathan Safran Foer and narrated by co-producer Natalie Portman, “Eating Animals” is an urgent,



Steve Buscemi as Krushchev, Adrian McLoughlin as Stalin, Jeffrey Tambor as Malenkov, Dermot Crowley as Kaganovich and Simon Russell Beale as Beria star in “The Death of Stalin.”

eye-opening look at the environmental, economic and public health consequences of factory farming. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema

First Reformed Directed by Paul Schrader (U.S., 2018, 108 min.) Reverend Ernst Toller is a solitary, middleaged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. When a pregnant parishioner asks him to counsel her husband, a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past, and equally despairing future, until he finds redemption in an act of grandiose violence. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Generation Wealth Directed by Lauren Greenfield (U.S., 2018, 106 min.) Acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield puts the pieces of her life’s work together for in an incendiary investigation into the pathologies that have created the richest society the world has ever seen. Landmark’s Cinema Opens Fri., July 27

Isle of Dogs Directed by Wes Anderson (U.S./Germany, 2018, 101 min.) This animated adventure follows Atari Kobayashi, a 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by executive decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog. West End Cinema

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Directed by J.A. Bayona

(Spain/U.S., 2018, 128 min.) It’s been three years since theme park and luxury resort Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs out of containment. When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire reunite to mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event. Angelika Mosaic Angelika Pop-Up Atlantic Plumbing Cinema

Leave No Trace Directed by Debra Granik (U.S., 2018, 109 min.) A father and his 13-year-old daughter are living in an ideal existence in a vast urban park in Portland, Oregon, when a small mistake derails their lives forever. Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., July 6

McQueen Directed by Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui (U.K., 2018, 111 min.) Alexander McQueen’s rags-to-riches story is a modern-day fairy tale, laced with the gothic. Mirroring the savage beauty, boldness and vivacity of his design, this documentary is an intimate revelation of his McQueen’s own world, both tortured and inspired. Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., July 27

Nancy Directed by Christina Choe (U.S., 2018, 87 min.) A lonely 35-year-old becomes increasingly convinced she was kidnapped as a child. When she meets a couple whose daughter went missing 30 years ago, reasonable doubts give way to willful belief. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Ocean’s 8 Directed by Gary Ross (U.S., 2018, 105 min.)

Every con has its pros. Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) gathers a crew of eight women to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala in this suspenseful and humorous criminal adventure. Angelika Mosaic Angelika Pop-Up Atlantic Plumbing Cinema Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema

RBG Directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West (U.S., 2018, 97 min.) At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But without a definitive Ginsburg biography, the unique personal journey of this diminutive, quiet warrior’s rise to the nation’s highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans—until now. Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Sicario: Day of the Soldado Directed by Stefano Sollima (U.S./Italy, 2018, 122 min.) In the drug war, there are no rules — and as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the U.S. border, federal agent Matt Graver calls on the mysterious Alejandro, whose family was murdered by a cartel kingpin, to escalate the war in nefarious ways. Angelika Mosaic Atlantic Plumbing Cinema

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist Directed by Lorna Tucker (U.K., 2018, 83 min.) This intimate and inspiring portrait showcases Dame Vivienne Westwood — punk rock’s Grande Dame, agent provocateur, doyenne of British fashion, eco-activist and one of the most influential cultural originators in recent history. Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Directed by Adam Sobel (Qatar, 2018, 92 min.) Inside Qatar’s labor camps, African and Asian migrant workers building the facilities of the 2022 World Cup compete in a football tournament of their own. Angelika Pop-Up

The Yakuza Directed by Sydney Pollack (U.S./Japan, 1974, 112 min.) Former private-eye Harry Kilmer (Robert Mitchum) knows a lot about Japan — and the gangsters who keep an iron grip on its gambling, prostitution and protection rackets. And he knows there’s one thing powerful mobsters respect: greater power. AFI Silver Theatre Tue., July 3, 4:45 p.m., Wed., July 4, 4:45 p.m.

FRENCH Le Cercle Rouge (The Red Circle) Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville (France/Italy, 1970, 140 min.) The random trajectories of three men takes on the weight of existential fate as Alain Delon, just out of the slammer, starts settling scores; prisoner Gian Maria Volontè escapes custody of a police officer and makes a daring escape from a moving train; and alcoholic ex-cop Yves Montand momentarily regains his pride and sobriety when called upon to perform as a professional, even if this time it’s in a criminal enterprise. AFI Silver Theatre Mon., July 2, 2 p.m., Tue., July 3, 2 p.m.

Un Flic (A Cop) Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville (France/Italy, 1972, 98 min.) Richard Crenna is a Parisian nightclub proprietor with a booming sideline in robbery and gangsterism. Alain Delon is a police detective who frequents Crenna’s night spot, to keep tabs on the suspicious coming and goings, and to make time with Crenna’s alluring mistress, Catherine Deneuve. AFI Silver Theatre Mon., July 2, 7 p.m., Thu., July 5, 7 p.m.

Film | Culture | WD

The Guardians Directed by Xavier Beauvois (Switzerland/France, 2018, 138 min.) An affecting human drama of love, loss and resilience unfolds against the backdrop of World War I as the women of the Paridier farm, under the deft hand of Hortense, the family’s matriarch, must grapple with the workload while the men, including two sons, are off at the front. West End Cinema

GERMAN A German Youth (Une Jeunesse Allemande) Directed by Jean-Gabriel Périot (France/Switzerland/Germany, 2015, 93 min.) In the 1960s, the conflict between the state and the Red Army Faction caused major turmoil in Germany. It not only led to an increase of violence in the population, but also to a war in media coverage. In his first feature-length film, the French director Jean-Gabriel Périot shows the different perspectives of the film scene of the era by placing archival material in a cinematic montage alongside clips from movies and documentaries (German, French and English). Goethe-Institut Wed., July 11, 6:30 p.m.

My Name Is Victoria Directed by Sebastian Schipper (Germany, 2014-15, 140 min.)


“My Name Is Victoria” pulls viewers into a unique adventure. In a single take, a group of would-be tough guys and a young Spanish woman wind their way through a long Berlin night. Goethe-Institut Fri., July 27, 6:30 p.m.



Sansho the Bailiff

The Cakemaker Directed by Ofir Raul Graizer (Israel/Germany, 2017, 104 min.) Thomas, a young and talented German baker, is having an affair with Oren, an Israeli married man who dies in a car crash. Thomas travels to Jerusalem seeking answers. Keeping his secret for himself, he starts working for Anat, his lover’s widow, who owns a small café. Although not fully kosher and despised by the religious, his delicious cakes turn the place into a city attraction (Hebrew, German and English). Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., July 6

ICELANDIC Under the Tree

starts as a typical spat between suburban neighbors unexpectedly and violently reaches a boiling point, soon spiraling out of control. West End Cinema Opens Fri., July 13

Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi (Japan, 1954, 124 min.) When an idealistic governor disobeys the reigning feudal lord, he is cast into exile, and his wife and children are left to fend for themselves in this monumental, empathetic expression of human resilience in the face of evil. Freer Gallery of Art Wed., July 11, 2 p.m.

SWEDISH Crisis Directed by Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1945, 93 min.) A small-town piano teacher is shocked by the arrival of her foster daughter’s real mother, whose young lover soon follows and causes further disruption. National Gallery of Art Sat., July 7, 2:30 p.m.

Directed by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson (Iceland/France, 2018, 89 min.) 6.875 in. A man accused of adultery and forced to move in with his parents. While he fights Frenzy (Torment) for custody of his 4-year-old daughter, Directed by Alf Sjöberg he is gradually sucked into a dispute (Sweden, 1944, 101 min.) between his parents and their neighbors This film charts the ill-fated romance beover an old and beautiful tree. What


tween painfully adolescent Jan-Erik and older, alcoholic widow-turned-hooker Bertha, whose lover is Jan-Erik’s sadistic Latin teacher “Caligula” (Swedish and Latin). National Gallery of Art Sat., July 7, 12:30 p.m.

To Joy Directed by Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1950, 98 min.) Two violinists playing in the same orchestra fall in love and get married, but they fail to synchronize in real life. National Gallery of Art Sat., July 28, 2 p.m.

Music in Darkness Directed by Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1963, 87 min.) When aspiring pianist Bengt is blinded in an accident, he loses the familiar comforts of his life. Despite his anguish, music restores him, bringing him closer to the lower-class Ingrid. National Gallery of Art Sat., July 14, 4 p.m.


A Ship to India

Directed by Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1949, 79 min.) A movie director is approached by his old math teacher with a great movie idea: the Devil declares that the Earth is hell. The director rejects the idea, but subsequent events in the life of a writer and a young prostitute he loves seem to prove the math teacher’s idea (screens with “Thirst”). National Gallery of Art Sun., July 22, 4 p.m.

Directed by Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1949, 98 min.) Sailor Johannes Blom returns to his homeport, after seven years at sea, to find that Sally, the girl he has been thinking of while away, is completely despondent in this fractured ménage à quatre. National Gallery of Art Sat., July 14, 2 p.m.

It Rains on Our Love Directed by Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1946, 95 min.) Two strangers with troubled pasts meet in a train station, spend a night together, and decide to start a new life, but their idyll is interrupted when they are forced to confront the coldly repressive society around them. National Gallery of Art Sat., July 7, 4:30 p.m.

Port of Call

Secrets of Women (Waiting Women)

Directed by Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1963, 100 min.) A suicidal factory girl out of reformatory school, anxious to escape her overbearing mother, falls in love with a sailor who can’t forgive her past (Swedish and German). National Gallery of Art Sun., July 15, 4 p.m.

Directed by Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1961, 107 min.) n a summer house in the Stockholm archipelago, three wives recount an adventure from their marriages while awaiting their husbands’ return (Swedish and French). National Gallery of Art Sun., July 29, 4 p.m.

Summer Interlude Directed by Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1954, 96 min.) A ballet dancer recalls a relationship she once had during an idyllic Swedish summer and the poignant aftermath of her loss of this love. National Gallery of Art Sat., July 28, 4 p.m.

Thirst (Three Strange Loves) Directed by Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1949, 88 min.) The rarely screened “Thirst,” an early Bergman milestone, was one of the first works to demonstrate his trademark delving into the human spirit. Adapted from short stories by actress Birgit Tengroth, the plot follows a failing marriage but focuses principally on the inner torments of a trio of female characters damaged by past liaisons (screens with “Prison”). National Gallery of Art Sun., July 22, 4 p.m.



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WD | Culture | Events

Events Listings *Unless specific times are listed, please check the venue for times. Venue locations are subject to change.

ART July 1 to Nov. 25

Water, Wind, and Waves: Marine Paintings from the Dutch Golden Age The Dutch rose to greatness from the riches of the sea. During the 17th century, water was central to their economic and naval successes, but was also a source of pleasure and enjoyment. This exhibition explores the deep, multifaceted relationship the Dutch had with the water, including their gratitude for the sea’s bounty and their fear of its sometimes destructive power. National Gallery of Art July 6 to 30

City, Unfamiliar Landscape: Works by Three Korean Contemporary Artists This group exhibition showcases painting and mixed media works that reexamine the evolving, complex urban spaces that are home to an increasing number of people worldwide, by three contemporary Korean artists. Presenting about 30 works of unique technique and visual expression, these three artists share a common theme of the city as a communally owned space that is also a haven for individual lives. Korean Cultural Center

Patrick Hamilton of Chile share a penchant for using common materials such as rubber tires, metal fencing, spackling knives and soccer balls. Lightly treated and often simply rearranged or reordered, Escobar and Hamilton’s found objects are transformed from commercial products into newly aestheticized artworks that also provide ideological critiques of globalization and its effects. OAS Art Museum of the Americas

This spotlight exhibition features 16 prints and a tapestry by painter and printmaker Hung Liu that invites viewers to explore the relationship between Liu’s multi-layered paintings and the palpable, physical qualities of her works on paper. Her multifaceted body of work probes the human condition and confronts issues of culture, identity and personal and national history. National Museum of Women in the Arts Through July 8

Cézanne Portraits Bringing together some 60 examples drawn from collections around the world, this is the first exhibition devoted to the famed post-impressionist’s portraits. The revelatory exhibition provides the first full visual account of Paul Cézanne’s portrait practice, exploring the pictorial and thematic characteristics of his works in the genre, the chronological development of his style and method, and the range and influence of his sitters. National Gallery of Art

Transformers: New Contemporary Latin American Sculpture by Darío Escobar and Patrick Hamilton The conceptual sculptures on display in this exhibition explore similar themes through each artist’s distinct aesthetic and thought process. Separately and together, Darío Escobar of Guatemala and

Through Aug. 15

Tomb of Christ Be virtually transported to Jerusalem and discover the fascinating history of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in an immersive 3-D experience unlike anything you’ve seen in a museum before. Groups will be able to virtually visit the church and learn about its storied history and enduring mysteries. National Geographic

Vanishing Traditions: Textiles and Treasures from Southwest China For centuries, minority cultures in southwest China have donned elaborate textiles, jewelry, and accessories for community celebrations. Dazzling festival costumes new to the museum’s collections explore traditions now endangered by modernization. The George Washington University Textile Museum Through July 13

Perspectives Franco Lippi and Luis Falduti use photography to temporally expose the enigmatic layers of Lippi’s paintings to disclose its hidden messages. The aim of these two artists is to re-enact the complete chain of events in which a painter and a photographer collaborate, creating two separate bodies of work, each from his own point of view, that still allows both to reveal the essence of the other. Embassy of Argentina July 15 to Jan. 6, 2019

Sense of Humor Humor may be fundamental to human experience, but its expression in painting and sculpture has been limited. Instead, prints, as the most widely distributed medium, and drawings, as the most private, have been the natural vehicles for comic content. Drawn from the National Gallery of Art’s collection, this exhibition celebrates this incredibly rich though easily overlooked tradition through works including Renaissance caricatures, biting English satires, and 20th-century comics. National Gallery of Art July 20 to Nov. 25

Bound to Amaze: Inside a Book-Collecting Career Curator Emerita Krystyna Wasserman assembled NMWA’s collection of more than 1,000 artists’ books over a 30-year period. This focus exhibition celebrates her vision and features 20 notable artists’ books from the museum’s expansive collection. National Museum of Women in the Arts Through July 29

Through July 8

vast visual record of their historical and archeological legacy. In the process, they experienced an enormous amount of change, developing from tiny agricultural communities and the first regional centers of power to eventually becoming masters of politics, war and the jungle Mexican Cultural Institute

Through July 9

Through July 8

Hung Liu in Print


40th Anniversary Exhibition of the Washington Calligraphers Guild Visitors encouraged to mine ideas expressed through surrealism and the work of surrealist poets as inspiration. This is a complement to “Visions” on the second floor, in which four artists blend realistic components with fantastical elements and imagery, creating distinct



Bora Jin’s “Tower of Desire – Reflection” is among 30 works that examine the evolving, complex nature of urban spaces in “City, Unfamiliar Landscape” at the Korean Cultural Center.

and dream-like environments. Music Center at Strathmore Through July 29

To Dye for: Ikats from Central Asia With their brilliant designs, ikats are among the most distinct fabrics produced in Central Asia. Not surprisingly, ikats caught the attention of contemporary designers, most notably Oscar de la Renta. This exhibition brings together about 30 of the finest historical Central Asian ikat hangings and coats from the Freer|Sackler collections, as well as seven of Oscar de la Renta’s iconic creations, to explore the original use and function of these dazzling fabrics and the enduring appeal of their extraordinary designs. Freer Gallery of Art Through Aug. 5

Do Ho Suh: Almost Home Korean-born Do Ho Suh (b. 1962) is internationally renowned for his immersive, architectural fabric sculptures that explore the global nature of contemporary identity. “Do Ho Suh: Almost Home” will transform the museum’s galleries through Suh’s captivating installations, which recreate to scale several of his former homes from around the world. Through these works, Suh investigates the nature of home and memory and the impact of migration and displacement on an individual’s sense of self. Smithsonian American Art Museum Through Aug. 5

The Prince and the Shah: Royal Portraits from Qajar Iran In our age of social media and selfies, it may be difficult to grasp the importance of painted portraits and studio photographs in 19th-century Iran. During this time, known as the Qajar era, rulers such as Fath-Ali Shah, a contemporary of Napoleon, and Nasir al-Din Shah, a contemporary of Queen Victoria, used portraiture to convey monarchical power and dynastic grandeur. Through a selection of about thirty works from the Freer

and Sackler collections, this exhibition explores how Persian artists transformed modes of representing royalty and nobility. Freer Gallery of Art Through Aug. 5

Sharing Images: Renaissance Prints into Maiolica and Bronze Inspired by the acquisition of the important William A. Clark maiolica (glazed Italian ceramics) collection from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, this exhibition brings together some 90 objects to highlight the impact of Renaissance prints on maiolica and bronze plaquettes, the two media most dramatically influenced by the new technology of image replication. National Gallery of Art Through Aug. 10

Intimate Cartographies: An Approach to Interpersonal Relationships This contemporary photography features outstanding artists from OAS member states Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Venezuela, as well as OAS permanent observer states Italy and Spain. Cartography and photography are similar in that they both originate from a natural reality. But this representation is not exact; it is subjective. The images in this exhibition hold a subtle informative quality, closely connected with the lyrical documentation of Walker Evans, “where many of his landscapes were not documented but created by him.” Art Museum of the Americas F Street Gallery

Featuring baseball-related historical objects and artifacts from Japan, the exhibition will trace the history of the sport in Japan, from its introduction and rapid transformation into Japan’s national sport, as well as explore the fascinating history of sports exchange and “baseball diplomacy” between Japan and the U.S. — avenues of contact that have fostered friendship, goodwill, and reconciliation between the two nations. Japan Information & Culture Center Through Aug. 12

Does the Body Rule the Mind, or Does the Mind Rule the Body?

To celebrate the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game coming to D.C. this summer, the Japanese Embassy presents an exhibit that celebrates the bonds between the U.S. and Japan forged through the game of baseball.

1968: A Time of Uproar in Europe and the U.S. Riots in Washington, D.C., violent protests in Berlin, a national strike in Paris and the brutal end of the Prague Spring: The year of 1968 was shaped by protest movements and an atmosphere of massive change. On the 50th anniversary of the protests, the Goethe-Institut highlights these historic events with a photo exhibition, offering a view into the movements in these four major cities. Goethe-Institut Through Aug. 24

In the Library: The Richter Archive at 75

“Does the body” is the museum’s first live performance exhibition, introducing the newest generation of American artists who blend the avant-garde legacy of performance art with pop culture, presented together for the first time. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

In celebration of the 1943 arrival of the George M. Richter Archive of Illustrations on Art — the founding collection of 60,000 photographs that formed the nucleus of the department of image collections — this installation presents the history and development of the photographic archives of the National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art

Through Aug. 12

Through Aug. 31

Ralph Steadman: A Retrospective Celebrating the career of one of Britain’s most important graphic artists of the last 50 years, this collection of more than 100 original artworks will take viewers on a journey through Ralph Steadman’s wide-ranging career, from sketches created in the 1950s, to book illustrations, to present-day work. Steadman is famous for his long collaboration with the writer Hunter S. Thompson, most notably providing the illustrations for “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and helping to create what has since become known as “Gonzo” journalism. American University Museum

Through Aug. 10

A New League: Shared Pastimes and the Story of U.S.-Japan Baseball

Through Aug. 24

Through Aug. 15

Mayas: Spaces of Memory Documenting Mayan sites throughout Mexico, photographer Javier Hinojosa clearly and forcefully reflects the intimate relationship that exists between the jungle and the Mayas. Over the centuries the Mayas populated, developed and tamed the jungle, leaving behind a

Constructing Mexico68 To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the first Latin American Olympic games, this exhibit takes audiences through a simple and concrete exploration of the sporting venues built for the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics and their constant connection to design and urban art. The development of competition sites for the Olympics’ diverse sporting disciplines required not only the adaptation of existing structures, but also the rapid construction of new, modern and functional facilities. In these new spaces, it was possible to implement the use of an applied architecture that met both the needs of the audience and the functional requirements of each sporting event that occupied it. Mexican Cultural Institute Through Sept. 3

World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean The first major traveling exhibition dedicated to the arts of the Swahili coast reveals the diverse interchanges that

Events | Culture | WD


break down barriers between Africa and Asia in a space that physically connects the Smithsonian’s African and Asian art museums. The Swahili coast, where East Africa meets the Indian Ocean, has long been a significant cultural, diplomatic and commercial intersection for Africa, Asia and Europe for millennia. “World on the Horizon” offers audiences an unprecedented opportunity to view over 160 artworks brought together from public and private collections from four continents. National Museum of African Art

Fri., July 6, 6 p.m.

title Winners of the 2016 City of Barcelona Award, vocalist Maria Arnal and guitarist Marcel Bagés beautifully blend old and new sounds together. Kennedy Center Millennium Stage Sun., July 8, 5 to 8 p.m.

An Evening with Gourmet Symphony: Musical World’s Fare at the Arts and Industries Building

Through Sept. 9

Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia Approximately 60 works, drawn from the collection of Miami-based collectors and philanthropists Debra and Dennis Scholl, spotlight nine leading Aboriginal Australian women artists. The artists are from remote Aboriginal communities across Australia, and the subjects of their art are broad, yet each work is an attempt to grapple with fundamental questions of existence, asking us to slow down and pay attention to the natural world. The Phillips Collection Through Sept. 16

Baselitz: Six Decades The first major U.S. retrospective in more than 20 years of Georg Baselitz, one of Germany’s greatest living artists, marks the artist’s 80th birthday. With more than 100 works, including iconic paintings, works on paper, and wood and bronze sculptures, highlighting every phase of Baselitz’s six-decade career from the 1950s to today, this milestone exhibition features work never before seen in the U.S. and cements Baselitz’s reputation as one of the most original and inventive figurative artists of his generation. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Through Sept. 16

Heavy Metal – Women to Watch 2018 Over 50 works made from silver, copper, bronze, pewter, aluminum and more highlight contemporary women artists working with a variety of metals and techniques to create pieces such as wallsize installations, exquisite jewelry and reinventions of familiar objects. National Museum of Women in the Arts

Mon., July 16, 6:45 p.m.

Enjoy a night of fine cuisine, wine and music with Gourmet Symphony in the historic Arts and Industries Building. After the Centennial Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia — the first World’s Fair held in America — many of its displays were donated to the Smithsonian, and some of the proceeds from the exposition were used to build the structure. Inspired by that historic connection, both the menu and the program celebrate the intersection of ethnic backgrounds. Tickets are $225; for information, visit Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building

Making Sense of Climate Change

Fri., July 18, 8 p.m.


The romantic comedy “Other Life Forms” by D.C. playwright Brandon McCoy runs through July 7 at the Keegan Theatre.

Through Sept. 23

Form and Function: The Genius of the Book Dive deep into one of the world’s greatest technologies: the book. Discover a history beyond what’s printed on the page, seen in the structure, craftsmanship and beauty of this often-overlooked marvel. Folger Shakespeare Library Through Nov. 12

Mark Bradford: Pickett’s Charge For his first solo exhibition in D.C., acclaimed artist Mark Bradford debuts a monumental site-specific commission inspired by Paul Philippoteaux’s 1883 cyclorama depicting the Battle of Gettysburg. Covering the curved walls of the Hirshhorn’s Third Level Inner Circle, “Pickett’s Charge” presents 360 degrees of abstracted historical narrative. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Through Dec. 25

Visionary: Viewpoints on Africa’s Arts More than 300 works of art from the museum’s permanent collection are on view within this exhibition. Working in media as diverse as wood, ceramics, drawing, jewelry, mixed media, sculpture, painting, photography, printmaking, and video, these works of art reflect the visionary ideas and styles developed by men and women from more than half

of Africa’s 55 nations. The installation is organized around seven viewpoints, each of which serve to frame and affect the manner in which African art is experienced. National Museum of African Art Through Jan. 6, 2019

Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen Trevor Paglen is an award-winning artist whose work blurs the lines between art, science and investigative journalism to construct unfamiliar and at times unsettling ways to see and interpret the world. This is the first exhibition to present Paglen’s early photographic series alongside his recent sculptural objects and new work with artificial intelligence. Smithsonian American Art Museum Through Jan. 13, 2019

Fabergé Rediscovered Designed to delight and surprise, the treasures created by the firm of Carl Fabergé have inspired admiration and intrigue for over a century, both for their remarkable craftsmanship and the captivating stories that surround them. The fascination with Fabergé continues to uncover new discoveries about the storied jeweler to the tsars and his remarkable creations. This exhibit unveils recent research and explore how the 2014 discovery of a long-lost imperial Easter egg prompted new findings about Hillwood’s own collection. Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens Through Jan. 21, 2019

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man


“Man with the Flag” is part of “Pickett’s Charge” by Mark Bradford.

Each year in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, a city of more than 70,000 people rises out of the dust for a single week. During that time, enormous experimental art installations are erected and many are ritually burned to the ground. Cutting-edge artwork created at Burning Man, the annual desert gathering that is one of the most influential events in contemporary art and culture, will be exhibited in the nation’s capital for the first time this spring. Renwick Gallery


Meet the first discoverers of human-induced climate change and understand how greenhouse gases cause temperature changes around the globe. Explore why Americans are so divided in their views on climate change as scientist Bert Drake follows the path from climate-change skepticism in the 20th century to denial in the 21st (session one of a three-session evening course). Tickets are $45; for information, visit www. S. Dillon Ripley Center Mon., July 23, 6:45 p.m.

Tesla: The Man, the Mystery and the Inventor of the Modern Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was a magnificently bizarre genius. He was strikingly handsome and impeccably dressed; he was germophobic and never shook hands. In his later years, he only ate white food and conversed with pigeons. Tesla, a Serbian immigrant, invented the radio, the induction motor, the neon lamp and the remote control. But his strange persona kept getting in his way. Drawing on his new book, Richard Munson shines a light on the man behind the legend. Tickets are $30; for information, visit S. Dillon Ripley Center Thu., July 26, 6:45 p.m.

World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech Franklin Foer, national correspondent at The Atlantic, sits down with Melissa Chiu, director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, for a discussion about the vexing issues posed by the growing power of “big technology.”Together they explore the tension between technology and privacy with which everyone who has a digital life has to deal. Tickets are $30; for information, visit www. S. Dillon Ripley Center

Juanes Hailing from Colombia, this Latin superstar leaves audiences roaring with praise night after night with hits like “Me Enamora,”“La Camisa Negra,” and “Fuego.” Tickets are $40 to $80. Wolf Trap Sat., July 28, 8:15 p.m.

National Symphony Orchestra: The Best of Wagner’s Ring A quartet of internationally renowned Wolf Trap Opera alumni join with the NSO to perform memorable and exhilarating moments from Wagner’s epic “Ring Cycle.” Tickets are $25 to $60. Wolf Trap Sun., July 29, 8 p.m.

Yanni A musical phenomenon, Yanni is a rare artist whose music transcends geographical borders and touches people of all races and nations. Tickets are $35 to $85. Wolf Trap Tue., July 31, 10:30 a.m.

Semilla Cultural Bomba! Afro-Puerto Rican Music and Dance Join Semilla Cultural for traditional Bomba and Plena music, and learn the history that shaped Puerto Rico’s rich musical culture. Tickets are $8; all ages welcome. Wolf Trap

THEATER Through July 7

Other Life Forms Roommates Ben and Jeff couldn’t be more different. Ben is a struggling journalist who can’t get anything to go his way. Jeff is a successful researcher who

glides through life with little resistance. At Jeff’s insistence, they both give online dating a try. Ben meets Molly and the results are volatile, while Jeff meets Leslie and they make a connection. Over the course of the evening, a truth is revealed that sets in motion a series of hysterical and illuminating events. Tickets are $45. Andrew Keegan Theatre Through July 8

Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot Amid mystical forests and grand castles, “Camelot” tells a strikingly familiar tale of a leader’s integrity, courage and empathy — a chronicle of the struggle for civilization and goodness in a world accustomed to violence and hate. Please call for ticket information. Shakespeare Theatre Company July 11 to Aug. 12

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz A wizard stuck in a land far away from home; a Scarecrow tied to a pole; a Tinman rusted in a forest; and a Lion afraid of his own shadow. Join Synetic Theater’s brand new adaptation of one of the most important cultural texts of the 20th century, L. Frank Baum’s American masterpiece “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”Tickets start at $35. Synetic Theater July 13 to Aug. 19

Dave From a Tony and Pulitzer Prize Awardwinning creative team and adapted from the Oscar-nominated film, “Dave” tells the story of high school teacher (and presidential lookalike) Dave Kovic, who is hired by the Secret Service as a stand-in for the commander-in-chief. Tickets are $40 to $90. Arena Stage July 15 to 21

Gounod: Roméo et Juliette Two young lovers decide to take fate into their own hands after feuding families, bad timing and fatal mistakes tear them apart. Gounod’s music soars in this French Romantic twist on Shakespeare’s most celebrated love story. Tickets are $36 to $92. Wolf Trap Through July 22

Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations Don’t miss this electrifying new musical about “the greatest R&B group of all time.”With their signature dance moves and harmonies, they rose to the top of the charts, and their moving story still resonates five decades later. Tickets are $59 to $159. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater July 31 to Aug. 26

The Color Purple With a soul-raising score of jazz, gospel, ragtime, and blues, this joyous American classic has conquered Broadway in an all-new “ravishingly reconceived production that is a glory to behold” (The New York Times). Tickets are $69 to $149. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater


WD | Culture | Spotlight

Diplomatic Spotlight

July 2018

Passport DC 2018

Embassy of Kenya

It was another successful year for Cultural Tourism DC’s Passport DC international extravaganza. Celebrated annually in May, which is International Cultural Awareness Month in the nation’s capital, Passport DC features programming by 70 embassies and various D.C. cultural institutions. In 2017, more than 200,000 people enjoyed the popular embassy open houses, street festivals, performances, exhibitions, workshops and more. A particular highlight was the Around the World Embassy Tour on May 5, with over 50 embassies offering the public traditional cuisine, dances, karate demonstrations, henna demonstrations, fashion shows and other global experiences — including for the first time this year a welcoming ceremony at the Chinese Embassy. PHOTOS: PATRICIA MCDOUGALL

Embassy of Kosovo

Embassy of Sri Lanka

Embassy liaison Jan Du Plain and Ambassador of Haiti Paul Altidor, center, welcome guests to the Haitian Embassy.

Cultural Tourism DC Board Member Michael Akin, Ambassador of China Cui Tiankai, Jan Du Plain and Cultural Tourism DC Board Chair Tim Cox attend the invite-only welcoming ceremony at the Chinese Embassy.

Embassy of Azerbaijan

Embassy of South Korea

Embassy of Brazil

Embassy of Morocco

Embassy of China

Embassy of Morocco

Embassy of Bolivia

Embassy of Cameroon

Embassy of Guatemala

Embassy of Peru


Embassy of China

Embassy of China

Embassy of Bolivia

Embassy of Malaysia

Ambassador of Belize Daniel Gutierez and his wife Erin Ryan welcome visitors.

Spotlight | Culture | WD

Busting the Sisig Myth Of all the Filipino dishes known to foreigners, it seems sisig has fast replaced pork adobo, pancit and lumpia in popularity — as seen in Philippine Embassy chef Abigail “Abie” Sincioco-Mateo’s double win at this year’s Embassy Chef Challenge. According to the Center for Kapampangan Studies of the Holy Angel University in Pampanga, the word sisig appeared in a Pampango-Spanish dictionary published in 1732. It was defined then as a salad served with a vinaigrette. During that era, it was common for women to nibble on fresh fruits or vegetables dipped in vinegar and salt in the early stages of pregnancy, to satisfy a craving for something sour (lihi in Filipino). As the pregnancy progressed, the expectant mother would be fed a concoction of boiled pig’s ears, again soaked in vinegar. The cartilage was believed to help make the growing fetus’s bones stronger. How it became a favorite appetizer among menfolk on a drinking spree is anybody’s guess. This is the sisig babi (pork) served for

by Claude Tayag

centuries — simply boiled pig’s head, sliced and flavored with sukang sasá (nipa palm vinegar,) onions, salt, black pepper and chili. Today, no respectable Filipino eatery worth its fat (pun intended) is without sisig, that yummy cholesterol-laden Pampango appetizer served on a sizzling plate. The present-day sisig is an example of how one person can steer the culinary landscape of a locality and then the world. Aling Lucing Cunanan of Angeles City in the Philippines is credited with having invented the modernday version in the early 1970s, doing a makeover on the boiled sisig soaked in vinegar. At the time, Cunanan was just one of a dozen barbeque vendors by the city’s railroad track, selling basically grilled chicken and pig parts. According to her daughter Zenaida, one evening her mother accidentally burned an order of pig’s ears on skewers. But instead of throwing it away, she chopped it up and served it like the boiled sisig, flavored with vinegar, claiming it as the “new” version of the centuries-old recipe. It became an instant hit with

the locals, and this grilled version became known as Aling Lucing’s sisig. Another Angeleño, Benedict Pamintuan, opened his own beer garden called Sisig Benedict, giving Aling Lucing’s grilled sisig a new presentation by serving it on a hot skillet for an added crunchy finish. But even back then, the sizzling sisig was only popular among locals and the accidental tourist. In 1980, my brothers Mario and Abong, together with my cousin Dan Tayag, opened Trellis Restaurant in Quezon City. Among other Pampango delicacies, they also served sizzling sisig, adding chopped boiled chicken liver to their version.

serving it over potato fries, burritos and tacos. Nowadays, it seems that just about anything chopped and served on a sizzling plate is called sisig. But nothing beats the real deal, in all its pork fat glory! Claude Tayag is a renowned Filipino artist, food writer and chef who won the Peoples’ Choice Award for the Philippine Embassy at the 2016 Embassy Chef Challenge.

Sisig has come to life all its own. Practically every establishment now has its own version. It is served with raw egg that will cook on the hot plate (making it now a dish to be eaten with rice,) or is mixed with, of all things, mayonnaise! For the more health-conscious, cholesterol-free variants have been concocted out of bangus (milkfish), squid, tuna, shrimp, tofu or chicken. And in the U.S., food trucks are PHOTO: KAVEH SARDARI

Embassy Chef Challenge

Philippine chef Abigail “Abie” Sincioco-Mateo, left, won both the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice Awards.

The 10th anniversary Embassy Chef Challenge, held May 17 in conjunction with Passport DC, offered Washingtonians a taste of the world at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The friendly competition, hosted by Events DC and Cultural Tourism DC, pitted chefs from over 25 embassies spanning the globe from Bangladesh to Colombia to Liechtenstein to Mauritius. The event also featured music and dance performances from Brazil, Cameroon, Ghana, Italy, Panama, Slovakia and others. Chef Abigail “Abie” Sincioco-Mateo of the Embassy of the Philippines won the People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice Awards for her pork sisig (see article above). Second place in both the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice categories went to chef Francis Otoo of Ghana for his lamb jollof rice. Meanwhile, the second-place Judges’ winner was chef Jouvens Jeans of Haiti for his kabrit kreyol served with Haitian cinnamon water, while People’s Choice second place went to chef Alex Salgado of Colombia for his coconut shrimp with pancetta and heart of palm ceviche. PHOTO: KAVEH SARDARI PHOTO: KAVEH SARDARI

Chef Alex Salgado of Colombia.


The Best Beverage Award presented by Pepsi was given to the Embassy of Barbados for its Drunken Bajan Lemonade made by mixologist Philip Antoine and chef Creig Greenidge.



Ambassador of Colombia Camilo Reyes, embassy liaison Jan Du Plain and and the cultural attaché for the Embassy of Bolivia.



Chefs Moha Fedal, Cynthia Verna and Xavier DeShayes served as judges.



The Best Dressed Embassy Award presented by Macy’s was given to Faycal Zahraoui of the Embassy of Morocco.



WD | Culture | Spotlight

Diplomatic Spotlight

July 2018

2018 Phillips Gala The Phillips Collection went down under for its 2018 gala, with Australian Ambassador Joe Hockey and his wife Melissa Babbage serving as diplomatic chairs of “Marks Made: Ancestral Lands under Australian Skies.” The annual fundraising event draws over 400 guests to dine amid the artworks of the museum founded by Duncan Phillips. The dinner celebrated Australian Aboriginal culture in advance of the Phillips exhibition “Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia.” Afterward, guests headed to Dock 5 at Union Market for the “Contemporaries Bash: Bondi Beach,” an after-party inspired by Sydney’s world-famous beach.

Ambassador of Australia Joe Hockey and Director of the Phillips Collection Dorothy Kosinski. PHOTO: PAUL MORIGI


Ambassador of Australia Joe Hockey, gala honoree and philanthropist Debra Scholl, investment banker Melissa Babbage and gala honoree Dennis Scholl, a prominent art collector.


Ambassador of Mexico Gerónimo Gutiérrez Fernandez and Irasema Infante of the InterAmerican Development Bank.


Gala hosts Sonny and Kay Kapoor, formerly of AT&T and now CEO of Arya Technologies.


Ambassador of Switzerland Martin Dahinden and Anita Dahinden.


Gala honorary chair Mirella Levinas and Phillips Board Chairwoman Dani Levinas.



Isabel Fezas Vital and Ambassador of Portugal Domingos Fezas Vita.

Empress Farah Pahlavi and philanthropist Annie Totah.


Diane Rehm and gala co-chair George Vradenburg.

Jesse Wald of the State Department and Anna Morris.

Ethan Matthews and Katie Hall were among the 700 young professionals at the Bondi Beach Bash.

Mary Bradshaw and Donald Hooker.

Puru Trivedi of the Meridian International Center and his wife Kriti Doval.


Biva Ranjeet and Philippa Hughes.

The Bondi Beach Bash featured DJ-curated music, Australian-inspired bites and a fun beach vibe.

Danielle Polebaum of the State Department and Lauren Shea.

Nancy Butzmann, Blake Ramsey and Isabel Murray.

Refugees International Anniversary Dinner

NMWA 2018 Gala The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) hosted its annual black-tie gala in the museum’s great hall and mezzanine, with honorary chairs Ambassador of France Gérard Araud and Pascal Blondeau. Legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz received the NMWA Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Arts. The evening’s theme featured French flair inspired by the museum’s spring exhibition, “Women House,” which came to NMWA from La Monnaie de Paris.

Actor Spencer Garrett, CNN’s Dana Bash, Amy Sturtevant of RBC Wealth Management and Peter Sturtevant of the School Counseling Group.


The National Museum of Women in the Arts Annual Gala is the museum’s largest fundraising event of the year.

Gala co-chairs (in white) pose for a photo: Amra Fazlic, Jayne Visser, Grace Bender and Amanda Polk.

Refugees International held its 39th anniversary dinner at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium to encourage policymakers to do more to help the record 68 million people around the world who have been displaced by conflict or persecution. “Our mission is quite simple. It’s to bring the voices of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons to the halls of political power,” said RI Eric Schwartz, noting that the group has advocated for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, internally displaced persons in Nigeria and Somalia, and victims of war in Syria and Iraq.

Ambassador of Portugal Domingos Fezas Vital and his wife Isabel Fezas Vital served as the dinner’s honorary chairs.

Kristin Cecchi and John Cecchi of IDI Residential.

Gala co-chair Jayne Visser, photographer and honoree Annie Leibovitz and Jamie Ribman of the Marconi Group. Gwen Miller, artist Micheline Klagsbrun, Ken Grossinger of Democracy Partners, Trey Blanchard and Ann Marie Etergino of RBC Wealth Management.

Emily Bierman and Carolyn Bedrosian Nagy, both of Sotheby’s.

Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International, presents Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) with the group’s 2018 Congressional Leadership Award.

Refugees International honored the work of Hamdi Ulukaya, a Kurdish immigrant from Turkey who founded Chobani, the number-one-selling Greek Yogurt brand in the U.S.

Writer and human rights advocate Kati Marton presents Hala al-Sarraf, executive director of the Iraq Health Access Organization (IHAO), with the Richard C. Holbrooke Leadership Award, named in honor of Marton’s late husband.

Diane Schaefer and Anne Rosenau of Cushman & Wakefield.

Anne Jacoboski and attorney Mary Margaret Scharf.

Bernie Weiss, Janyse Weiss and Estee Portnoy.

Artist Gina Adams, NMWA Board President Winton Holladay and President of the Friends of Cancer Research Board Marlene Malek.

Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards The Arab American Institute Foundation (AAI) held its 20th anniversary Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala at the JW Marriott Hotel to promote coexistence and inclusion in all walks of life. Since 1999, the Gibran Awards have honored those whose work and vision embrace and embody the ideals of the great poet who hails from Lebanon — compassion, justice and endurance.


Honorees pose for a photo: American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero; former U.S. Ambassador and President of the Arab Gulf States Institute Marcelle Wahba; Irish Senator Frances Black; and chef José Andrés.

Ambassador of Jordan Dina Kawar talks with AAI Deputy Director Omar Baddar. Neal Abid, director of the Arab American Community Center in Orlando; Maher AbdelQader, president of the Arab American Association of Engineers/Architects – Tristate; AAI Communications Director Jennifer Salan; and Ambassador of Tunisia Fayçal Gouia.

Award-winning actor Sam Waterston welcomes guests.


Ambassador of Liechtenstein Kurt Jaeger, right, joins guests at the Refugees International anniversary dinner.

Ambassador of Portugal Domingos Fezas Vital, this year’s honorary chair, joins last year’s honorary chair, Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Çitaku. Ambassador of Lithuania Rolandas Kriščiūnas and Refugees International Board Chair Eileen Shields-West.

Prevent Cancer Foundation Spring Gala On May 16, the Prevent Cancer Foundation hosted its 24th annual spring gala to advance the foundation’s mission of saving lives through cancer prevention and early detection. Over 1,000 guests converged on the National Building Museum, including 30 members of Congress, as well as diplomats and leaders in the business community, for the gala, which raised $1.7 million for the foundation.

Gala co-chairs Angela Riemer, left, and Rai Downs, right, join Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who was honored for increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health.

Gouri Mirpuri, Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Carolyn “Bo” Aldigé, TV designer David Tutera and Ambassador of Singapore Ashok Kumar Mirpuri. The Mirpuris served as honorary patrons of the gala.

Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Carolyn “Bo” Aldigé and WUSA-TV9 anchor Andrea Roane, who served as emcee.



WD | Culture | Spotlight

Diplomatic Spotlight

July 2018

Polish Centennial Concert

Royal Wedding at Britain Over 500 guests came out to the British Residence on May 19 to mark the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, an American actress who is now the duchess of Sussex. “The interest, excitement and support from Americans for the royal wedding has been extraordinary, demonstrating the depth of friendship, warmth and affection between our two countries. The British people are thrilled that Prince Harry is marrying an American,” British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch said.

The National Philharmonic ended its 2017-18 season with the June 2 musical celebration “100th Anniversary of Poland’s Independence,” attended by over 1,500 guests. Conducted by world-renowned Polish Maestro Mirosław Jacek Baszczyk, the concert featured music composed by Poland’s greatest musicians, performed by some of today’s leading vocalists and musicians, including Brian Ganz on the piano. The concert was accompanied by an exhibit detailing the historical events surrounding Poland’s rebirth in 1918.

British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch talks to Mary Jordan of The Washington Post, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Sally Priebus.

British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch, Director of the White House National Economic Council Larry Kudlow and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Chair of the National Philharmonic Board Todd Eskelsen and Ambassador of Poland Piotr Wilczek, who said he was “glad that we can share with you our musical heritage.”


Lady Vanessa Darroch, British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch, Lucy Holding and Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.).

British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch talks with former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk, artistic director of the Silesian Philharmonic, guest conducted the concert. PHOTOS: DOMINIK MIKOŁAJCZYK

British Embassy Social Secretary Amanda Downes and Capt. Wayne Reynolds.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was among the 500 guests at a royal wedding reception hosted by the British Embassy.

Undersecretary for Finance and Administration of the Smithsonian Albert G. Horvath, Charmaine Horvath, molecular physiologist Robin Davisson, British Ambassador Sir Kim Darroch and Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton.

IFE-INFO Salon The Institute for Education (IFE) hosted FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for an INFO Salon at the residence of French Ambassador Gérard Araud. In typical French fashion, guests were greeted with chilled champagne and an array of amuse-bouche on the terrace in gorgeous May weather. Pai discussed the use technology and data to cut the costs of certain government services and highlighted his commitment to closing the “digital divide” between people with access to technology and those without.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Ambassador of South Korea Cho Yoon-je, IFE founder and CEO coach Kathy Kemper, Sunae Woo and Ambassador of Singapore Ashok Mirpuri. President of the National Philharmonic Leanne Ferfolia and Elzbieta Chłopecka Vande Sande, a member of the National Philharmonic Board of Directors.


Ambassador of Albania Floreta Faber, Ambassador of the Czech Republic Hynek Kmoníček and Shahin Mafi, founder and CEO of Home Health Connection Inc.


Juliet Eilperin of The Washington Post, Jennifer Griffin of FOX News, Ambassador of Estonia Lauri Lepik and Ambassador of Albania Floreta Faber.

Baritone Tyler Duncan; soprano Esther Heideman; mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wór; and pianist Brian Ganz.

THE DIPLOMAT: What advice would you give the current U.S. ambassador to Russia?


Oxford. When we won, there was a bit of musical chairs and dancing around, and it wasn’t clear what job I would be offered. When I was offered Russia policy at the NSC, I thought it was an opportunity of a lifetime to work for a guy I had grown to deeply admire, so I dragged my family from paradise. THE DIPLOMAT: What was your perspective on Russia while you worked for Obama? How did that compare with Obama’s perspective? And how did the interplay of your two views manifest itself in U.S.Russia relations during your White House tenure? McFAUL: I just spoke to the president last week. But let me go back to 2009. Because I wasn’t in Washington or Chicago, I did not know him well. I did travel with him once in August 2008 on the campaign trail after Russia intervened in Georgia. That first impression made a big impression on me. I got to learn that he’s a very intellectual guy. He wanted to talk about big ideas. He didn’t want someone telling him what to do. He wanted to understand the conflict. We talked, just the two of us and [campaign strategist] David Axelrod on his plane, about the nature of international relations, not just Russia. He engaged in that in a very intellectual, sincere way. When I got to the White House, we ran a very formal process, the interagency process. I chaired the interagency policy committee on Russia at the assistant secretary level. That was where we formulated the ideas of the reset. Then we got the president to endorse the policy. Obama thought very similar to the way I did. There was hardly any daylight, both on substantive issues and analytic framework. I think that’s why it was so easy to work with him. THE DIPLOMAT: Under Putin, Russia is an autocracy disguised as a democracy. Yet many Russians, including young people, approve of Putin. Why do you think that is? McFAUL: It’s good to start with the beginning of his time. He was chosen by [former Russian President Boris] Yeltsin. He was barely known to anybody in 1999 when he became prime minister. People will say there was a demand for a strong leader, [but] that was not the way he started his career. Over time, he developed some ideas, but he rolled back checks and balances on presidential power. It’s easy to be popular when you control all television, the parliament and limit what civil society can do to you. Over 18 years, it becomes hard for anyone to imagine another leader. There’s no one else on the campaign trail. There is no young, charismatic


Secretary of State John Kerry, accompanied by U.S Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, right, and Russian Chief of Protocol Yuriy Filatov, left, tours Red Square during his visit to Moscow on May 7, 2013.

leader. It’s important to remember that he doesn’t run against major competition. I think about my son’s basketball team playing against the Golden State Warriors — it’s obvious who’s going to win. He has rallied support around the flag, like all leaders do when they go to war. If you watch Russian TV, Russia went to war not against Ukraine but against us. That was the messaging. There is a rallying around the flag. THE DIPLOMAT: What do you see as your greatest achievement as U.S. ambassador to Russia? McFAUL: I was mostly playing defense as ambassador. When I was at the White House, there was the New START [Strategic Arms Reduction] Treaty [and] Russians in the WTO. We really got a lot accomplished. When I became ambassador, we were playing defense on those issues. Putin didn’t want to engage with us. Putin didn’t want New START, missile defense had fallen through, there were conflicts over [National Security Agency leaker Edward] Snowden, USAID, etc. I helped take the edges off those things. Greatest achievement: demonstrating openness and the ability to engage directly with Russian society. I don’t think many other ambassadors did as much in that domain as I did. I had the advantage of a Twitter account. That was brand new. I also spoke Russian. I didn’t need a translator. I had already lived in Russia for several years over my time as an academic. I knew thousands of Russians already. I wasn’t brand new to Russia. This was an important part of public diplomacy. There were little things. We reduced down to 30 the number of days it took to get a visa. I believed the more Russians travel to the U.S., the better. It’s crept up to 250, and I heard even 300, days to get a visa.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul joins Secretary of State John Kerry as they meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on May 7, 2013.

THE DIPLOMAT: What was your greatest disappointment as ambassador? McFAUL: I guess the greatest disappointment was how the Kremlin and their media sources treated me, as if I was some usurper of the regime, that I was sent by Obama to overthrow him [Putin]. That was a propaganda effort that started even before my first day at the embassy. Channel One did a big hit piece on me. I didn’t expect that because I was Mr. Reset. I was about changing relations. I arrived at a time when Putin was insecure about his power. He came after me that way. It was personal. I regret that was an image of me that so many Russians still have. It’s false. It’s disinformation, but it stuck because Putin controls the media. It’s hard to counter that effort. THE DIPLOMAT: The Cold War seems more pertinent than ever with evidence that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. What does this say about the new world order? McFAUL: My book is called very deliberately ‘From Cold War to Hot

Peace.’ I use the phrase ‘hot peace’ to echo the Cold War. It’s not a return to the Cold War. Some of the problems we face today are even harder than in the Cold War. Russians — it’s brand new they meddled in our elections. That did not happen in the Cold War. Same with annexation. We thought annexation was returned to the dustbin of history in World War II. Other elements are similar but different. We have reduced the number of nuclear weapons in the world during the Cold War, but we are in a qualitative arms race with Russia. The ideological dimensions [of the Cold War] may appear over — the battle between communism and capitalism, freedom, however you phrase it — but from Putin’s perspective, there is a new ideological fight, and he considers himself to be leader of a world conservative family values movement as defined by him against the liberal, decadent West. So, it’s not the same dimensions of ideological struggle, but it is an ideological fight. He’s invested hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in this fight through thought control — TV, etc. Today’s hot peace is worse than the latter decades of the Cold War.

McFAUL: I did get a chance to speak to Ambassador [Jon] Huntsman. He called me graciously to seek my advice. I advised dual-track diplomacy. Engage with the government if you can. Continue to seek avenues to cooperation. Remember you’re there to serve the U.S.’s interests, not to have a good relationship with Russia. That’s diplomacy. [The point of diplomacy] is not to improve relations. It’s to advance U.S. interests. People mistake it for having dinner parties. I already see him [Huntsman] doing engagement directly with the Russians, not just government. That’s a very important part of diplomacy today. In an age of instant communications, the job of an ambassador is to do direct diplomacy. [The practice of acting] after receiving a cable from D.C. is diminishing. Public diplomacy must be a bigger part of the portfolio. THE DIPLOMAT: Now for the lighter stuff. What was it like living in Spaso House, the U.S. residence in Moscow? Any memories you’d like to share? McFAUL: Spaso House was fantastic. I urge anyone to look up the virtual tour. It’s an early 20thcentury mansion. Our entire house in Stanford could fit in the chandelier room. Incredible staff. We were treated like royalty. Part of the job of ambassador is to host fabulous parties — having [American jazz pianist] Herbie Hancock performing in your house, having the NBA over. We had 22,000 guests in our two years at Spaso House. We were told by the staff that we set a world record. It was a terrific thrill to live there, especially on July 4. It was a highlight to celebrate our culture, history and heritage. Those were great days. THE DIPLOMAT: What’s life like after the ambassadorship? McFAUL: I have a fabulous life. I’m a tenured professor at Stanford. I live in California, where I love [the place I live]. I have a very diversified portfolio. It would be shameful to complain about my job. I gotta say, I do miss being ambassador. I enjoyed every minute — there were a few I didn’t enjoy — but for the most part, it was a fantastic job. The honor to represent the country I love in another country I love was an experience of a lifetime. I would be deceiving you if I pretend I didn’t miss it from time to time. WD Aileen Torres-Bennett is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.

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European Union CONTINUED • PAGE 9

Mitchell said Europe needs to take these geopolitical challenges seriously, starting with its defense. Like past administrations, Trump wants allies to pay more for their collective security. Only the U.K., Estonia and Greece hit the previously agreed-upon target of spending 2 percent of GDP on NATO defense in 2017. The U.S. remained the largest defense spender in the military alliance, at 3.57 percent of its GDP. “Europeans cannot expect Americans to care more about their security than they do,” Mitchell said. But he sweetened his criticism by noting that as a whole, NATO has increased defense spending by 5.1 percent and that 26 allies have contributed to NATO missions in Afghanistan and elsewhere. For its part, the U.S. is tackling the Russia challenge head-on, Mitchell

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said. That includes beefing up U.S. contributions to NATO to shore up Europe’s eastern flank, diversifying Europe’s energy grids, strengthening cyber tools to debunk Russian propaganda and engaging Ukraine and Georgia. At times, Mitchell even waxed poetic about U.S.-European relations. “After World War II, our grandparents’ generation laid the foundation for future Western security and prosperity through Atlantic cooperation,” he said. Today, “we must view the West as a community of democratic nations united by history, culture and shared sacrifice” to counter a resurgent Russia and a rising China. Yet Mitchell’s defense of the transatlantic alliance doesn’t exactly square with Trump’s repeated snubs and attacks on Europeans while he courts Russia and China and cozies up to authoritarian regimes in Egypt, Turkey and elsewhere. Mitchell himself seemed to single out engagement with Central and Eastern European nations — many of which have embraced xenopho-


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bic, anti-establishment policies — while pointedly leaving out Western stalwarts such as Britain, France and Germany. The omission reinforced perceptions that Trump has little need for

Europe’s old guard. But this cold shoulder is nothing new. Washington and Brussels have clashed numerous times over the years, notably during the Iraq War. Still, experts worry that the current feuds over

Iran, Russia, China, trade, defense and climate change could herald a deeper, more permanent estrangement. Yet others point out that in many of these same areas, American and European interests still converge — and the fundamentals on which the transatlantic alliance was built will outlast whoever occupies the Oval Office. Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, writing in a June 6 op-ed for The New York Times, conceded that Europe needs to learn to “act on our own.” But he added that “Europe should, in a way, be grateful to President Trump. His decisions have made us realize that we need to depend on one another. Europe must now do everything in its power to protect the trans-Atlantic bond, in spite of today’s mood.” WD Aileen Torres-Bennett is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. Anna Gawel (@diplomatnews) is managing editor of The Washington Diplomat.

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July 2018  

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

July 2018  

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