Education Special Section Education
A Special Section of The Washington Diplomat
VOLUME 24, NUMBER 9
Trump Channels Obama in His Fight Against Islamic State In January, President Trump gave his defense secretary 30 days to come up with a plan to defeat the Islamic State. As far as anyone can tell, that plan has yet to materialize. In fact, the billionaire’s rhetorical flourishes aside, Trump has largely stuck to his predecessor’s script. / PAGE 6
WiSci Summer Camp Brings
Congress Braces for Fall Showdown With House Freedom Caucus Capitol Hill Republicans face a contentious autumn as they grapple with a backlog of daunting fiscal issues and an erratic president. But there is another unknown in this combustible mix: the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about three dozen combative conservatives ready to defy and derail their leadership’s plans. / PAGE 10
Ai Weiwei’s Lego Portraits Lack Soul Chinese artist Ai Weiwei misses the mark with Lego portraits of human rights activists that demean their struggles. / PAGE 32
Girls to Malawi to Break
Down BarrierstBY TERI WEST
memorable educational opportunity was sandwiched in between hosting nearly 100 high school-age these monumental achievements, girls from the U.S. and several she was selected to attend when African nations at WiSci Girls STEAM Camp the Malawi University of Rwanda. It was less than a in 2015 in (MUST) in the Southern African nation. Science and Technology month long and still in its pilot year, but it allowed Gebeyehu to work “I have always advocated with international leaders for women empowerment build a robot car and meet in in countries young women from around STEM, like mine, where a combination of extreme with big dreams like her. the world ases against poverty and deep bigirls creates a remorseless cycle of discriminations that WiSci (women in science), keeps girls from living up a summer camp that empowers to their full potential,” Gebeyehu interested in science, technology, girls wrote to engineering, the arts and (STEAM), recently wrapped math up its third consecutive year, this time SEE WISCI CAMP t PAGE 24
Burns Reflects on A World Of Threats |
Having worked with six presidents over his 27-year career, Nicholas Burns’s opinions still carry weight in this polarized political landscape. And the former ambassador — who was inspired to enter the Foreign Service by the Vietnam War — remains vocal about a range of threats, from Russia to the hollowing out of the State Department. / PAGE 4
People of World Influence R
edeat Gebeyehu grew up in Ethiopia where her parents spent most so that their children of their savings could attend the best schools they could afford. to learning landed her Her dedication a scholarship at a highly and has now brought selective academy in her all the way to California, South Africa where she attends Stanford University. A much briefer but no less
Managing the fraught relationship between China and Taiwan, which Beijing views as a renegade province, is an intricate dance, as Donald Trump found out when he stepped on China’s toes early in his presidency. But Stanley Kao, Taipei’s representative to the U.S., insists that Washington — and the world — can have strong ties with China while still engaging his democratic, dynamic island of nearly 24 million people. / PAGE 15
U.N.’s Guterres Manages Crises, Internal Battles This month, the U.N. General Assembly meets for its first session with António Guterres at the helm. The secretarygeneral has already begun to leave his mark on the sprawling bureaucracy, responding to humanitarian crises while managing a U.S. president who has repeatedly questioned the usefulness of the world body. / PAGE 12
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ON THE COVER Photo taken at Twin Oaks in D.C. by Lawrence Ruggeri of Ruggeriphoto.com.
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10 33 19
15 NEWS 4
People of World Influence Veteran Ambassador Nicholas Burns reflects on Russia, NATO, North Korea and Trump.
ISIS 2.0 Trump’s strategy to defeat the Islamic State sounds strangely familiar.
10 Obstructionists or Idealists? The House Freedom Caucus is set to roil an already-tense autumn on Capitol Hill.
U.N. Progress Report
Presidents and Protocol Off the cuff and gruff, Trump has tossed out the traditional protocol playbook.
Medical Can a blood test detect a range of cancers before they become fatal?
JET Momentum A Japanese teaching program marks 30 years of cross-cultural exchange.
WiSci summer camp brings girls to Malawi to break down barriers.
Secretary-General António Guterres navigates world crises and competing interests.
Ai Weiwei’s Lego portraits of human rights activists lack soul.
Hillwood showcases Marjorie Merriweather Post’s brilliant collection of jewelry.
15 Cover Profile: TAIWAN
Taiwan finds itself caught between a territorial China and a bellicose U.S. president.
AUMF Blank Check Will Congress rethink the sweeping powers it gave the president in the wake of 9/11?
40 Events Listing
47 Real Estate Classifieds
Under Septime Webre’s direction, Halcyon Stage aims to make D.C. a hub of creativity.
The Cuban Shuffle U.S.-Cuba ties backtrack amid Trump’s travel crackdown and embassy expulsions.
42 Diplomatic Spotlight
Dana Tai Soon Burgess and his dancers offer a moving tribute to the “Face of Battle.”
“Face of Battle” captures the human side of the war on terrorism. Halcyon Moment
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017 | 3
WD | People of World Influence
Defender of Diplomacy Veteran Ambassador Burns Reflects on Russia, NATO, North Korea and Trump by Ryan R. Migeed
Nicholas Burns celebrated his 17th birthday the day after the signing of the 1973 Paris Peace Accords that formally ended the Vietnam War. At his birthday party, he could hear the church bells of his hometown, Wellesley, Mass., ringing. “We were delivered of this terrible war,” he said, reflecting on the spark that ignited his interest in politics and foreign affairs. Much as the millennial generation came of age in the shadow of the socalled “war on terror,” Burns’s generation awoke into political consciousness in the churning cauldron of Vietnam. “The Vietnam War came into my life and everyone’s life in this country. And it really forced me as a 14-, 15-, 16-, 17year-old to begin to think more about the world.” In high school, Burns attended an anti-war rally headlined by actress Jane Fonda and activist Tom Hayden. But today, no one would consider Burns a lefty peacenik. The Harvard professor’s opinions carry weight in a polarized landscape. Having served first as an intern during the Carter administration, and then in the Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations — with a stint on former Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board from 2014 to 2017 — he is respected throughout Washington and across party lines. His 27-year diplomatic career exposed him to hotspots around the world. From 2005 until his retirement from the Foreign Service in 2008, Burns served as undersecretary of state for political affairs, the State Department’s third-highest career position, where he led negotiations on the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement; a long-term military assistance agreement with Israel; and Iran’s nuclear program. In addition, he was U.S. ambassador to NATO (2001-05), ambassador to Greece (1997-2001) and State Department spokesman (1995-97). Earlier, he worked for five years on the National Security Council as senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia affairs. Burns also served at the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem in the 1980s, as well as at the American embassies in Egypt and Mauritania. Today, in addition to teaching diplomacy and international relations at Harvard, Burns is director of the Aspen Strategy Group and senior counselor at the Cohen Group, and he writes a foreign affairs column for the Boston Globe. Even though he left diplomacy nearly a decade ago, his wide-ranging expertise is still called upon by policymakers in Washington. In recent months, he has testified before the Senate on Russian in-
4 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017
terference in European elections and on U.S. sanctions against Russia. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in her memoir “No Higher Honor,” recalled Burns as “one of the brightest young people in the Foreign Service” when she first encountered him while serving as director of Soviet and East European affairs at the National Security Council under President George H.W. Bush. Rice would ask Burns to be her deputy in 1990, and he would go on to succeed her as director for Soviet — and then Russian — affairs in 1991, after the Berlin Wall came down. President Clinton retained Burns as his point person for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia affairs while the United States adapted to a world without the Soviet Union. In the thawing of the Cold War, the possibility of a benign Russian partner had replaced a malignant communist archenemy. But relations between the U.S. and Russia have soured multiple times since then — stumbling after the failure of President Obama’s famed “reset” and reaching a new low in light of the investigations into whether President Trump’s team colluded with the Kremlin to discredit Hillary Clinton and win the 2016 election. “The relationship is as bad now as any time since 1985,” Burns lamented. That was the year Mikhail Gorbachev became premier of the Soviet Union after
R. Nicholas Burns
Photo: martha stewart / Harvard University Kennedy School BelfeR Center for Science and International Affairs
I’m very proud of the [U.S. Foreign] Service; we all are. It’s a national jewel. It’s the greatest collection of knowledge and insight into the world that the United States government has. R. Nicholas Burns former U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs
a period of political uncertainty and economic stagnancy. “He quickly changed the relationship, made it better, improved it through his policies glasnost and perestroika. Before that, we were in the darkest part of the Cold War,” Burns said. Glasnost was Gorbachev’s policy of increased government transparency; perestroika referred broadly to a series of economic reforms that loosened state controls over business and trade. Today, there are no green shoots like glasnost to offer optimism — despite a friendly, if highly controversial, rapport between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump that has landed the latter in hot legal water.
Throughout his campaign, Trump vowed to buck political orthodoxy and work with Putin to stamp out the Islamic State and find other areas of practical cooperation. As president, however, his rapprochement has been stymied by allegations of Russian meddling in the election and questions over Trump’s links to the Kremlin, which have triggered a special investigation led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller. Alarmed by Trump’s apparent coziness with Putin, Congress has also stepped in to tie the president’s hands. On July 25, the House voted overwhelmingly for a package of sanctions against Russia (as well as North Korea and Iran). Two days later, the Senate voted 98-2 to send the
measure to the president’s desk. Notably, the bill that Trump reluctantly signed into law drastically limits his own ability to relax the sanctions without congressional approval. In his Senate testimony in June, Burns supported moves to handcuff the president’s power to weaken sanctions on Russia. He also has said that Trump needs to openly address the cloud of suspicion hanging over him before he can move forward with his agenda, calling the Russia investigations an “albatross” around the administration’s neck. “I find it dismaying and objectionable that President Trump continues to deny the undeniable fact that Russia launched a major cyber attack against the United States, regardless of what party he launched it against,” he told senators, adding that if Trump “continues to refuse to act, it’s a dereliction of the basic duty to defend the country.” Despite the current tensions, Burns doesn’t discount the prospect of working with Putin in some areas. “We have to keep an open relationship with [the Russians], we have to keep talking to them. I think it’s good that President Trump has met [Putin]; he needs to meet him again. There may be issues that
we can cooperate on. We are both party to the Iran nuclear agreement. We both have interests in Afghanistan. We both should have an interest, although the Russians have been weak on this, in dealing with the North Korean nuclear crisis.” But he cautioned that the strategic interests of policymakers in Washington and Putin — a shrewd former KGB operative who is determined to revive Russian influence on the world stage — often don’t align. “There is no trust, we are in open conflict with each other in Eastern Europe, we have entirely different objectives in the Middle East and we have military forces, both of us, in close quarters in Syria,” Burns told us. “I don’t think Putin will change his policy in Europe while he’s president, so this could go on for another 10 years or so. And we have to have the moral strength and political constancy to contain him in Europe and not let him invade and annex a NATO-allied country the way he’s done with Ukraine,” he added. But Burns does not subscribe to the popular refrain that the U.S. and Russia are entering a new Cold War, although he says we are “experiencing memories of it.” “I don’t think that we’re seeing a repeat or a re-emergence of the Cold War,” Burns said. “The Cold War was the complete separation of two halves of Europe — a physical wall, ideological separation, complete economic separation for a while and relatively little trade for most of it, especially between the U.S. and the Soviet Union,” he explained. “And that’s not what we have now. But we are seeing a redivision of Europe by Putin, and that is a great danger.” By Burns’s count, the list of military aggressions by Putin since Russia invaded Georgia during a brief war in 2008 includes the perpetuation of a frozen conflict in Moldova; the annexation of Crimea; the invasion of eastern Ukraine and occupation of the country’s Donbass region; and the sustained “harassment” of the Baltic states. Putin is “trying to seek a zone to his south and west which he effectively controls. And that’s a re-division of Europe,” Burns concluded. “[W]e’ve got to contain that threat and draw a bright red line around the NATO states and tell Putin, ‘You can’t cross that line. This is NATO territory.’” Whereas past U.S. presidents have traditionally upheld this foreign policy consensus, Trump famously called NATO obsolete and repeatedly disparaged its members for not spending enough on their defense. To hear Burns, a former ambassador to NATO, speak about the security alliance, however, is like listening to a parent reminisce about his children. Having spent nearly half his life as a diplomat, Burns is not quick to emote — unless asked about the bloc coming to America’s defense after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In one of his first meetings with his fellow ambassadors at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Burns received a note from his Belgian driver saying only that “a plane has flown into the World Trade Center in New York.” Burns’s immediate reaction was that there might have been a medical issue with the pilot or bad weather. But moments later, the driver returned with a second note informing him that the Twin Towers had been hit again. It was a coordinated attack. “And then everyone around the table started getting phone calls and emails,” Burns recalled. He returned to the U.S. Mission and convened his senior staff. “We couldn’t reach anybody in Washington for many hours. So we had time to think about the ramifications for NATO.” David Wright, Canada’s ambassador to NATO at the time, called Burns and asked if the U.S. had considered invoking Article 5, the section of the NATO charter by which an attack on one member state is considered an attack on all. Burns told Wright he could support invoking
Photo: Kristyn Ulanday / Harvard University Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
R. Nicholas Burns, a 27-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service, now teaches at Harvard but remains active in foreign policy circles, recently testifying about Russia before the Senate.
Article 5 if all the NATO allies were in agreement. “We had to have consensus,” he said. Another challenge that day was confirming who, or what group, had committed the attacks. Officials did not want to prematurely point the finger. “A lot of us had suspicions, but President Bush didn’t actually name … Osama bin Laden [or al-Qaeda] that day,” Burns said. While Burns waited to get through to officials in Washington, he and NATO Secretary-General George Robertson worked the phones to prepare for the possibility of invoking Article 5. “We called around to every ambassador, most of them called home and by that night we met in emergency session. I had a pretty good idea that all the allies were with us,” Burns said. Finally, at 4 a.m. Washington time, he got through to Rice, his former mentor and now the national security adviser. She assured him that he had the president’s permission to move forward with the vote. “When I sat there as the American ambassador on one of the worst days in the history of the United States — 3,000 people dead, our capital attacked, New York attacked — to hear those ambassadors one by one say, ‘We’re going to defend you,’ it was a gratifying moment on behalf of our country, to feel the support of this great alliance,” Burns said. It was also the first time in its history that NATO invoked its mutual defense clause — to come to America’s aid, not Europe’s. To Burns, this is the value of alliances that he urges Trump to honor. “When President Trump denigrates and castigates NATO, and beats up the Europeans about not spending enough, I always think, ‘Yeah, but when the chips were down, they were with us and they’re still in Afghanistan with us.’ I know because I felt the immediate support of our allies on 9/11,” Burns said. Having dealt with thorny foreign policy dilemmas ranging from Iran’s nuclear program to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Burns has a bird’s-eye view of the threats keeping U.S. presidents up at night. He ticked off the probable list: North Korea, Syria, the “nightmare scenario [of] an evil terrorist group with weapons of mass destruction.” And then, with a chill, he adds, “The threat of pandemics.” He does not underestimate the destruction of the Syrian civil war, which he noted has destabilized Iraq, Turkey and other neighboring countries, fueled the rise of the Islamic State and contributed to the worst refugee crisis to hit Europe since World War II. “Iraq and Syria may never return to be unitary states, so we’re looking at a change of the map possibly in the Middle East,” he said. But pandemics are “really frightening,” he
warned, “because no border is going to stop a pandemic in the modern age, as we saw with Ebola, as we saw with SARS, as we saw with Zika. And there will be others.” At the moment, however, no threat is grabbing more headlines than the one emanating from North Korea, which has made steady progress in its nuclear weapons program. Having first met Burns at an event hosted by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, I asked him if the Trump administration is ready for a Cuban Missile Crisis moment. Some have compared those tense days to North Korea’s current race toward developing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to the
United States. According to an Aug. 8 report in The Washington Post, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that Pyongyang has produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could strike the U.S. mainland if placed on an effective ICBM, crossing a threshold that many experts had estimated was years away. In response to the report, Trump declared that North Korea “will be met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before,” if it attacks the U.S. The apparently unscripted warning echoed the dramatic fire-and-brimstone rhetoric for which Kim Jong-un and his regime are well known. Shortly afterward, Burns tweeted out President Theodore Roosevelt’s famed maxim: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” He also tweeted a link to an article in The Economist arguing that “there are no good options when it comes to dealing with North Korea, but blundering into war would be the worst.” Indeed, despite his harsh rhetoric, Trump faces the same set of unpalatable options that his predecessors did when it comes to the Hermit Kingdom. North Korea adamantly refuses to give up its nuclear weapons arsenal, which Kim likely sees as insurance against the type of regime change that befell Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. Burns told “CBS This Morning” in early August that he believes Kim views nuclear weapons as his “ultimate protection against any foe, most especially the United States.” Years of negotiations have failed to convince Kim otherwise. Most experts agree that a preemptive U.S. military strike on North Korea would spell disaster for the millions of South Koreans living in nearby Seoul who would face swift retaliation. That leaves the option of further isolating the reclusive state. In August, Trump’s adSee bu r n s • page 9
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WD | United States
ISIS Déjà Vu Obama’s Strategy to Defeat Terrorist Group Lives on Under Trump by Aileen Torres-Bennett
n January, President Donald Trump ordered his secretary of defense to come up with a draft plan within 30 days to defeat the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. As far as anyone outside of the White House can tell, the plan has yet to materialize. Trump isn’t exactly groping for an ISIS strategy, though. The billionaire’s colorful rhetorical flourishes aside, Trump has largely stuck to his predecessor’s script. In fact, there may be no official strategy under the new president. Instead, efforts that started under President Obama to dislodge the terrorist group from its sanctuaries in Iraq and Syria are continuing. While Trump has gone about trying to dismantle many of Obama’s policies, particularly his environmental and health care initiatives, he has chosen continuity when it comes to the Islamic State. All presidents want to put their personal stamp on the office, but Trump is maintaining the “by, with and through” strategy of the Obama administration that entails working with local partners in ISIS combat areas. Obama did not want a big U.S. footprint when he started going after the terrorist group, particularly in Syria. He was not interested in nation-building, and neither is Trump, which his “America first” approach has made abundantly clear.
Key Differences? The fact that Brett McGurk, who started working on counterterrorism issues under George W. Bush and served under Obama, is still around and now serving under Trump as the special envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS is the major signal that Trump has willingly, whether or not begrudgingly, inherited the Obama strategy. Now that he’s survived the purge of Obama appointees at the State Department and works for Trump, McGurk gets questions as to how Trump’s ISIS approach is different from Obama’s. McGurk declined to comment for this article, but he articulated the differences during an event at the Middle East Institute (MEI) July 27. He said there are four key changes that have been made under Trump. One is that Trump delegated tactical authority “to the lowest possible level” in the military. Defense Secretary James Mattis has stressed, however, that delegating authority to the lower levels will not alter the rules of engagement with regard to preventing civilian casualties. Second, the Trump administration has adopted a “surround, restrict, annihilate strategy,” said McGurk. The goal is to trap foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria and prevent them from returning home or migrating elsewhere to cause mayhem. Third, the administration has “really intensified outreach to the coalition and burden sharing.” According to McGurk, for every dollar the U.S. is spending on stabilization and humanitarian programs, there is about $3 from the 68-member coalition, and the administration seeks to grow that ratio in the coming months. Fourth, McGurk said work to sever the connections between the ISIS core in Iraq and Syria and its affiliates around the world is underway. He said that the coalition has shut down “critical financial nodes.” McGurk emphasized that the clearing-and-holding strategy against ISIS is successful. “They haven’t taken back a single speck of territory that we’ve taken,” he said. “This is very much a policy that is on track.” At a press conference in August, McGurk said stabilization is a key component to the ISIS strategy, mean6 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017
Photo: U.S. State Department
Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Brett McGurk provides an update on the military campaign to dislodge the terrorist group from Iraq and Syria, at a State Department briefing on Aug. 4.
They haven’t taken back a single speck of territory that we’ve taken…. This is very much a policy that is on track. Brett McGurk
special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS
ing that once the group is cleared from an area, work is done with the locals to create an environment that enables people — specifically, displaced Sunni Arabs — to return to their homes. Stabilization entails demining, rubble removal, basic electricity, sewage and water. What it does not entail is having the coalition run, for instance, hospitals or schools when an area is cleared, McGurk pointed out. “We’ve learned some lessons and we’re not very good at that, and also that is not our responsibility,” he said. “We will do basic stabilization.” Now that McGurk works for Trump, he’s naturally under pressure to attribute gains to the new boss, but the efforts in the counter-ISIS campaign can be traced back to Obama, particularly because McGurk helped birth them. The Obama administration also had stabilization led by local actors in mind, as opposed to nation-building from afar.
Tangible Results Since 2014, when ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his self-styled caliphate, the group has lost more than 60 percent of its territory and 80 percent of its revenue, according to an analysis released June 29 by
IHS Markit. “The Islamic State’s remaining caliphate is likely to break up before the end of the year, reducing its governance project to a string of isolated urban areas that will eventually be retaken over the course of 2018,” predicted Columb Strack, senior Middle East analyst at IHS Markit At the MEI event in July, McGurk laid out the progress of U.S. counterterrorist military activities since Bush. During the troop surge in Iraq in 2007, when McGurk was working in the White House with Bush on the project, the cost was 160,000 troops at an expense of $304 million a day and about $111 billion a year, as well as the lives of 904 Americans fighting in Iraq, McGurk said. Today, more territory has been cleared at the cost of $11 million to $13 million a day and about $3 billion a year, with dramatically less deaths on the battlefield, partly due to the air campaign strategy. Working with local partners, the U.S. has cleared 70,000 square kilometers that used to be controlled by ISIS, which includes 5 million people no longer living under the group’s control, said McGurk. The battle for Mosul is now complete, with coalition forces successfully recapturing the Iraqi city. Now, the battle over Raqqa is advancing in the coalition’s favor. About 45 percent of Raqqa has been cleared, McGurk said in August. Beyond Raqqa, there are concerns over ISIS territory in the Euphrates Valley, including the stronghold of Tal Afar in Iraq, which is now under siege by coalition forces. Defense Secretary Mattis recently referred to the Middle Euphrates River Valley between Iraq and Syria as the group’s “last stand.” Idlib Province in Syria on the border with Turkey is another major concern because it is a safe haven for alQaeda. It is a “huge problem,” said McGurk. The U.S. will See is is • page 8
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adding a political dimension to the military strategy.” This political element could be part of the stabilization strategy to foster the conditions in society that would diminish the appeal of joining terrorist groups. But it won’t be easy.
ISIS Continued • page 6
be in close discussions with Turkey on this issue, and the border might have to be sealed, he added. There’s also a small, persistent ISIS affiliate in the southwest on the border of the Golan. This pocket is progressively becoming isolated from the ISIS core in Raqqa, and the U.S. will be increasingly focused on that problem.
Weaknesses in Strategy The U.S. has been taking successful military action against ISIS, but the use of force comes with questions about the aftermath. Obama and Trump’s ISIS strategies both rely on local actors to help clear ISIS from areas and make sure it stays out. This opens up the vulnerability of depending on non-state actors, who are “more dependent in the long term on U.S. and Americanally military and financial assistance to provide them with the power and authority that is needed to govern the areas captured from ISIS,” wrote Nicholas Heras, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security working in the Middle East Security Program, in an email to The Diplomat. “If the local partners are not sufficiently supported well into the postISIS period, these local partners will have great trouble stabilizing territory taken from ISIS, which would then require even greater U.S. investment. It is a strategy that, if it works well, it limits the exposure of the U.S. military in volatile areas of the greater Middle East, but if it does not work well, it could doom the U.S. to repeat a strategy of on-again, off-again military operations and a more involved stabilization mission that is costlier and more troop-intensive than a short, sharp U.S. military ground operation with tens of thousands of U.S. troops would have been,” he wrote. Indeed, relying on local actors is fraught with pitfalls, especially in two countries riven by longstanding sectarian grievances. In Iraq, the Shiitemajority government will have to win back the trust of alienated Sunnis, many of whom preferred the Islamic State’s harsh rule over the chaotic, corrupt state of affairs in Baghdad, at least initially. Many Sunnis also still fear bloody reprisals by Shiite militias. Likewise, in Syria, the U.S. has largely relied on arming and training the Y.P.G., a group of battle-hardened Kurdish militia fighters, to rout the Islamic State. But Syrian Arabs and NATO ally Turkey adamantly oppose the prospect of Kurds occupying any liberated Arab territory, setting up potential clashes if the Kurds refuse to leave. The Kurds are just one of many actors jockeying for influence in Syria, which has morphed into a proxy war. As the Islamic State loses ground there, a dizzying constellation of powers — including the Syrian regime, Russia and Iran on one side, and rebels (mixed with al-Qaeda extremists) backed by the U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations on the other — are fighting to stake out territory ahead of any possible settlement.
Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Owen Kimbrel
Above, U.S. Marines fire mortars during a live-fire training mission at Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on Oct. 24, 2015. The training is part of Operation Inherent Resolve, a military campaign with over 60 coalition partners that aims to dislodge the Islamic State from Iraq and Syria, largely by assisting and building up local forces. Below, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi delivers remarks at a March 2017 meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS at the State Department. Iraqi troops, backed by U.S. forces, have made significant gains clearing the group, also known as the Islamic State, from Mosul and other parts of the country.
Photo: U.S. State Department
For the U.S., tackling the Islamic State in Syria inevitably requires working with Russia, even though relations have been strained since the U.S. imposed sanctions on Moscow — and despite the fact the two countries have differing visions of what a resolution to Syria’s civil war would look like. Russia continues to prop up its ally, President Bashar alAssad, who has solidified control over critical parts of the country thanks to Russian aerial bombings and Iranian Hezbollah fighters. Even though the White House has pulled back some of its support for U.S.-trained rebels and softened demands that Assad transfer power, it remains fundamentally opposed to the Syrian regime, with Trump even going so far as to strike against Assad’s forces. The looming question for the U.S. is: What is the endgame in Syria? Members of Congress are starting to ask this question, as the push to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which gave the president sweeping counterterrorism powers in the wake of 9/11, gains traction (also see story on page 17). “Even as the priority may rightly be put on reducing the threat of ISIS, one needs an endgame, one needs a
8 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017
sense of how, if ISIS is beaten back, there’s enough in place to prevent it from flaring up again,” Joshua Geltzer, a fellow at New America’s International Security Program who served from 2015 to 2017 as senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council staff, told The Diplomat. “It’s not clear that this administration has a plan and knows how it wants to interact with actors who have different visions for Syria. Al-Qaeda in Syria is a real and growing problem. That group has done a worrisome job of integrating into the local population. How is the administration thinking about dealing with that terrorist threat?” Any endgame in Syria and Iraq will have to involve a comprehensive strategy that addresses these countries’ deep-seated ethnic divisions and the structural governing failures behind them. It would also involve a massive reconstruction campaign to rebuild cities that have been reduced to rubble and try to reabsorb millions of refugees — a monumental undertaking for any nation. But critics say the current approach taken by both Obama and Trump, which focuses exclusively on defeating the Islamic State, is divorced from
the underlying factors that gave rise to the group in the first place, namely the lack of inclusive governance in Iraq and the political vacuum in Syria left by six years of civil war. The problem is compounded by the fact that Trump has emphasized hard power over soft power, moving to severely cut the State Department’s budget at a time when even the Pentagon’s top brass says diplomacy will be critical once victory on the battlefield is achieved. The U.S. must be involved politically in the countries where it fights ISIS, said Bilal Y. Saab, director of the Defense and Security Program at MEI. “You have to establish real partnerships with the host countries, whether in Iraq or other places — start pushing them to establish greater representation in politics and inclusion to stem the tide of terrorism. These are necessities. [The governments must] be inclusive, accountable, legitimate. We need to keep pressuring and pushing our partners. We have the leverage, but we won’t use it.” Saab explained that political pressure and partnership are not nationbuilding, which both Obama and Trump want to avoid. “It’s just about
Decapitating ISIS’s ranks and depriving the group of its self-proclaimed caliphate may not extinguish its appeal and endurance. Experts say the group will invariably evolve to adopt guerilla insurgency tactics, as fighters who are pushed out from one corner slip into another. Already, U.S. policymakers worry that the Islamic State is gaining a foothold in Afghanistan and establishing a presence in Southeast Asian nations such as the Philippines, although it remains unclear if Trump’s strategy extends beyond Iraq and Syria. The group has also proven to be surprisingly resilient. Despite losing over 60,000 of its fighters since 2014 according to U.S. estimates, ISIS retains an extensive network of operatives and supporters. Moreover, any aggressive U.S.-led military campaign in places such as Raqqa increases the risk of civilian casualties, which in turn could increase local resentment and feed the Islamic State narrative. And despite its significant battleground losses, the group has shown it can still launch spectacular attacks with few resources. As such, the threat of lone-wolf terrorism is likely to grow as ISIS territory shrinks, as evidenced by a spate of high-profile attacks over the last year in France, Belgium, Britain, Germany and, most recently, Spain that were inspired by the group. The Islamic State will also fight to maintain its appeal in the digital realm, where it pioneered online terrorist recruitment and radicalization. This propaganda war is another vulnerability of the Trump strategy, Geltzer said. For years, the countermessaging team in the State Department has struggled to blunt the Islamic State’s social media presence or disrupt its recruitment efforts. The audience that this messaging is trying to reach is perhaps not interested in hearing anything the U.S. has to say. Even if the U.S. succeeds in containing the physical space that ISIS occupies, perhaps even to the point where the group no longer seeks to claim territory, the threat of terrorist networks and their ideology will remain. Al-Qaeda in Iraq begat ISIS, which itself could produce another offshoot terrorist group. The goal of the U.S. is to rob terrorists of physical sanctuaries, but McGurk is under no illusion that total victory over terrorism is possible. He acknowledges that terrorists will remain a cellular network and “will try to pop up in other parts of the world,” which is why the global aspect of the coalition is important. “We cannot let the pressure off,” he said, and this vigilance must be long term, “really over the next 10 years. This is something that we will be engaged in for a very long time, but we have to do it in a sustainable way.” WD Aileen Torres-Bennett is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
Burns Continued • page 5
ministration successfully pushed through a tough round of U.N. sanctions that could curb North Korea’s annual earnings by up to a third. But the effectiveness of sanctions depends largely on enforcement by China, the North’s economic lifeline. China, however, is less concerned about a nuclear-armed North Korea than it is about possible regime collapse, a scenario that would flood its borders with millions of destitute refugees and place a reunified Korea — and U.S. ally — on its doorstep. That’s why some experts — and Beijing itself — have floated the idea that Washington should consider some of Kim’s demands, which include freezing U.S.-South Korean military exercises and negotiating without preconditions — a nonstarter for much of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. Ever the diplomat, Burns is not against engagement, even with someone as unpredictable as Kim. He argues that one of the challenges to slowing North Korea’s march toward becoming a nuclear power is that no American leader has met with the elusive young dictator. “So you can’t really assess what he’s capable of and what his intentions are and whether he’s rational, and whether you could work to avoid a crisis or to end one peacefully,” Burns said. He demurred on whether or not Trump himself is ready to handle such a moment. But he said that Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster are ready “because they’re seasoned, experienced, rational, pragmatic, informed people.” “I hope we don’t have this crisis,” Burns
said. But if we do, “I would hope that President Trump would handle a crisis like that with as much wisdom and reflection and professionalism and vision that President Kennedy employed in October 1962.” There is no doubt, however, of Burns’s faith in the Foreign Service to handle such a crisis. Having served in the country’s diplomatic corps for 27 years, he is fiercely loyal to its officers and its mission. Now, he has made defending diplomacy his next assignment. In March, he condemned the Trump administration’s proposed 31 percent cut to the State Department and USAID budget in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee (also see “Critics Say Trump’s ‘Skinny’ Budget Starves U.S. Diplomacy, Aid at Time of Heightened Need” in the May 2017 issue). “These proposed cuts are a slap in the face to our Foreign Service professionals. I have never seen morale so low and I started in the U.S. government as an intern in the Carter administration in the summer of 1980,” he told House lawmakers. “Every single member, Republican and Democrat, with the exception of Congressman [Dana] Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), opposed President Trump and said they thought it was short-sighted, that we have to have a strong State Department and AID [program] given all the problems we face in the world,” he told MSNBC afterward. “It was fascinating to see this mass Republican opposition to what the Trump administration is trying to do to State,” he told The Diplomat. “I’m very proud of the Service; we all are. It’s a national jewel. It’s the greatest collection of knowledge and insight into the world that the United States government has,” he said. “I hope Congress can stand up and block the budget cuts.” WD Ryan R. Migeed (@RyanMigeed) is a freelance writer based in Boston.
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WD | United States
Free to Disrupt? House Freedom Caucus to Inject Contention into Tense Autumn on Capitol Hill by John Shaw
ouse Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) face a very challenging autumn. They confront a backlog of daunting fiscal issues, relatively narrow Republican majorities in their respective chambers, virtually united Democratic opposition to their plans and a new president who is inexperienced, volatile and erratic. Speaker Ryan has an additional problem on his plate: the House Freedom Caucus, a group of about three dozen combative, often contentious, hardline conservatives who seem eager to ignore and even defy the wishes of the speaker and other Republican leaders on critical issues. As McConnell and Ryan concoct their fall strategies, they must consider the likely stance of the Freedom Caucus for a practical reason: If this group decides to oppose high-profile Republican initiatives, they are usually able to block them. Lawmakers, analysts and pundits still have not decided how to assess the members of the House Freedom Caucus. Some argue they are committed idealists who deserve respect. Others believe they are implacable obstructionists who deserve derision. But virtually everyone agrees they will be a significant force on Capitol Hill this fall. “The Freedom Caucus holds the balance of power in the House. Virtually every issue that is coming up this fall is something they care about,” said Stan Collender, a budget expert at the Qorvis MSLGROUP. “When they care about something, they are willing to go to the wall for it. They helped bring down the last speaker [John Boehner] and they are willing to bring down Speaker Ryan if he departs from their agenda. And Ryan understands this.” Congress returns to Washington in September with a lengthy to-do list that includes basic measures to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling, as well as more ambitious items such as overhauling the tax code and agreeing on an aid package to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. That doesn’t even include lingering hopes of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and enacting infrastructure legislation. The 2018 fiscal year begins Oct. 1, 2017. None of the 12 annual spending bills for 2018 were approved by Congress before it left for its August recess. These 12 spending bills allocate more than $1 trillion in discretionary funds that keep the federal government operating. Additionally, the statutory debt ceiling, which is now nearly $20 trillion, must be increased this autumn by Congress to allow the federal government to honor its obligations and pay its bills.
Photo: Office of Speaker Paul Ryan
The Freedom Caucus will be very important. They are more like a gang than a coalition. They operate in a no-compromise zone. They will probably be very disruptive this fall. Stan Collender executive vice president at Qorvis MSLGROUP
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent congressional leaders a letter requesting that Congress pass a “clean” debt ceiling increase by Sept. 29. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said the debt ceiling needs to be raised by mid-October to avoid serious disruptions. Rudolph Penner, a former CBO director and now a fellow at the Urban Institute, said he expects a “very scary” fall, with market-disrupting battles on both the debt ceiling and fiscal 2018 spending. “There are so many politically hard issues and so little consensus on budget and tax policy. I assume we’ll somehow get through this, but not without getting frightened on a regular basis,” Penner said. Alan Blinder, a former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and one of the U.S.’s leading economists at Princeton University, said he’s bracing for a “messy” autumn in Congress. He expects lawmakers to avert spending and debt ceiling meltdowns and ultimately approve “modest fiscal stimulus” through a tax cut package. “The sausagemaking in Congress will not be pretty to watch, but I think Republicans will probably be able to avoid total disaster,” he said. “They don’t have much choice.
10 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017
Republicans are everywhere in Washington. If the government shuts down or there’s a default, they would have no one else to blame but themselves.” The central players in the autumn drama on Capitol Hill will be Ryan and McConnell. Ryan is a high-energy 47-year-old lawmaker from Wisconsin who was the GOP’s vice presidential nominee in 2012 and became the House speaker in October 2015. He presides over an unruly and raucous House Republican caucus with several rival factions trying to drive the agenda. Republicans have a 240-to-194 majority in the House (with one vacancy). McConnell, a wily 75-year-old senator from Kentucky, has been the Senate Republican leader since 2006 and the Senate majority leader since 2015. He presides over a narrow 52-to-48 Republican majority in the Senate. McConnell is a respected GOP leader but his failure to secure the requisite 50 votes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in August triggered the fury of President Donald Trump, who unleashed scathing attacks on McConnell during a midAugust tweet-storm. Trump and his top economic team will be a critical part of the legislative
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), right, congratulates Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for becoming the new House speaker on Oct. 29, 2015. Like Boehner — who was brought down by the House Freedom Caucus — Ryan must now contend with the group of about three dozen hardline conservatives who refuse to bow to the demands of their GOP leadership.
drama. But they are wild cards, injecting uncertainty into an already complex situation. Trump has shown little understanding of the legislative process or the substance, let alone nuance, of most issues. His volatile temperament has shaken some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But he remains popular with his core Republican base so few lawmakers have openly defied him. Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, and Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, will be active in the fall negotiations. Mnuchin is expected to be pragmatic and Mulvaney is likely to be confrontational. Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, is expected to be an important behind-the-scenes negotiator for the White House. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California have signaled they will hold back in the opening weeks of the fall session, waiting to see what policies the GOP propose. But Schumer and Pelosi may ultimately emerge to broker and help pass spending and debt ceiling agreements to avert a fiscal meltdown. Republicans on Capitol Hill remain deeply divided, especially in the House, where rival factions jostle for ascendancy. The House Freedom Caucus is a critical part of this unruly mix. On Jan. 26, 2015, nine very conser-
vative members of the House Republican conference announced the formation of the House Freedom Caucus. The founding members were Scott Garrett of New Jersey; Jim Jordan of Ohio; John Fleming of Louisiana; Matt Salmon of Arizona; Justin Amash of Michigan; RaĂşl Labrador of Idaho; Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina; Ron DeSantis of Florida; and Mark Meadows of North Carolina. They said their main purpose was to advocate for limited, constitutional government. â€œThe House Freedom Caucus gives a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them. We support open, accountable, and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety and prosperity for all Americans,â€? they declared in their mission statement. Jordan of Ohio was the first chairman of the caucus and said it would be a â€œsmaller, more cohesive, more agile and more activeâ€? group of Republican conservatives. Meadows said in a statement at the time of the creation of the Freedom Caucus that it would â€œprovide a unified conservative voice in the House Republican Conference.â€? He added that he wanted to work with Republican leaders â€œto make the concerns of conservatives known as we work together to advance a pro-growth, limited government agenda in the House.â€? A study of the Freedom Caucus by the Pew Research Center in 2015 identified 36 members in the group. It noted that more than 70 percent of its members were first elected to the House in 2010 or later. On average, they are younger than the rest of the House GOP and many are veterans of the Tea Party movement. All are men. They want power shifted out of leadership to rank-and-file members. Membership to the Freedom Caucus is by invitation and the group seeks to act as a bloc on major issues. According to the caucusâ€™s by-laws, if 80 percent of Freedom Caucus members agree on an issue, the entire group will vote as a bloc on the matter. Each member is given two exemptions per Congress. Many of the Freedom Caucus members are part of the larger Republican Study Committee, which has about 170 members. Even though Republicans in the House hold a comfortable majority and could easily pass legislation without the support of Freedom Caucus members if a few Democrats joined them, they are loath to reach across the aisle in such a hyper-partisan environment. As a result, the House Freedom Caucus wields a disproportionate amount of power â€” a reality that former Speaker Boehner quickly came to realize. The House Freedom Caucus was a frequent thorn in Boehnerâ€™s side. Meadows even voted against Boehner to be speaker in January 2015 and later filed a procedural motion to â€œvacate the chair,â€? which was the first overt attempt to oust Boehner. Boehner eventually resigned as speaker on Sept. 25, 2015. The Freedom Caucus declined to support House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California to succeed him. Ryan eventually was elected to the post on Oct. 29, 2015, with the Freedom Caucusâ€™s assent but not full enthusiasm. The Freedom Caucus was heartened by the election of Donald Trump as president and by the retention of Republican majorities in Congress last November. Less than a month later, Meadows was elected chairman of the Freedom Caucus for a two-year term. Meadows, 58, is a smooth, affable lawmaker who represents North Carolinaâ€™s 11th congressional district. He was born in a U.S. Army field hospital in Verdun, France. His father was stationed there with his mother, a surgical nurse. Meadows attended high school in Florida and studied business management at the University of South Florida. He and his wife, Debbie, started a small sandwich shop in the North Carolina resort town of Highlands and then Mark moved into real estate. He worked in Republican Party politics at the precinct level and then ran in 2012 in the
Republican primary for a House seat. He won so lawmakers could stay in Washington and have a lot of CRs [continuing resolution stopwith 38 percent of the vote in a seven-person work on health, spending and tax issues. (Ryan gap spending bills] that keep the government Republican primary and easily won the general did not change the House schedule.) Freedom funded.â€? Penner of the Urban Institute also sees a conCaucus members also said they would support election that November. In his first year in the House, Meadows sup- increasing the debt ceiling only if the measure tentious fall. â€œThe best we can expect is mudported the government shutdown strategy of is linked to spending cuts, entitlement reforms dling through the budget and the debt limit and getting very limited health, tax and infrastrucsome House GOP conservatives in an effort to or ACA repeal. So what will happen this fall as Congress tries ture legislation. There is not going to be signifikill the Affordable Care Act (ACA). President Barack Obama refused to relent and after a 17- to fund the government, raise the debt ceiling, cant stimulus coming out of Washington in the overhaul the tax code, ad- foreseeable future,â€? he said. day government shutdown, Penner said a â€œbipartisan negotiation is baddress Harvey and return to Republicans backed down. ly neededâ€? to forge even a limited fiscal 2018 health care legislation? Meadows later acknowlNo one knows for sure, but spending agreement. But heâ€™s not certain this edged the GOPâ€™s strategy most analysts expect plenty will occur. â€œEven a very limited spending agreeto shutter the government ment might be an impossible dream. We may of high-stakes combat. failed to accomplish its â€œThe Freedom Caucus just stumble into a series of short-term CRs,â€? he central goal. will be very important. They said. â€œWith a new adminBlinder of Princeton said Republicans will are more like a gang than a istration coming in, the coalition. They operate in a likely cobble together legislation to fund the Freedom Caucus is ready no-compromise zone. They government and lift the debt ceiling so they can to go to work on day one will probably be very disrup- turn to their top priority: tax cuts. to help lead the fight to â€œMore than anything, Republicans want to tive this fall,â€? predicted Colgive Americans a voice in cut taxes. They will move heaven and earth to lender. their government,â€? MeadPhil Joyce, a fiscal policy cut taxes. What is likely to emerge from the Hill ows said after his election expert at the University of is tax cuts rather than anything that could reaas Freedom Caucus chairMaryland, believes the Free- sonably be called reform,â€? Blinder said. â€œAt the man. However, the group dom Caucus will play a large end of the rainbow, weâ€™ll probably get tax cuts. has not seen eye to eye role, especially on debt ceil- There is no consensus on what reform looks with Trump and congres- Republican Mark Meadows of North ing legislation. â€œThe Freedom like â€” or even what it means,â€? he cautioned, sional leaders on several Carolina was elected chairman of the Caucus seems determined not noting that his â€œback-of-the-envelope guessâ€? key issues, most notably Freedom Caucus for a two-year term. to have a clean debt ceiling. is that Congress will pass a tax cut package behealth care. They opposed the initial House Republican bill to repeal and They see the debt ceiling as something to use as tween $1 trillion and $2 trillion over 10 years. replace the ACA in March 2017, arguing that leverage to push their agenda not as legislation â€œThis is a large tax cut, but it will fall short of it did not go far enough to dismantle Obamaâ€™s that must be passed to protect the â€˜full faith and Trumpâ€™s boast of the largest tax cut in history. That might disappoint him.â€? signature domestic achievement and did not creditâ€™ of the U.S. government,â€? he said. Blinder expects the tax cut package to inâ€œAs long as bipartisanship is dead, and Demadequately reflect conservative goals. Ryan was forced to withdraw the bill and cobble together ocrats continue to oppose pretty much every- clude both business and individual tax cuts. â€œItâ€™s an alternative that eventually passed muster thing that Republicans do, and Republicans not politically possible for Republicans to only in the House but stalled in the Senate, where have a narrow majority in the Congress, the pass corporate tax cuts. They have to do both to McConnell was unable to balance the oppos- Freedom Caucus will be very important. They prevent a political revolt,â€? he said. WD ing demands of hardliners and moderate Re- can make a huge difference,â€? he added. â€œProbably the best we can hope for is to limp along John Shaw is a contributing writer publicans. The Freedom Caucusâ€™s opposition to the first from one deadline to the next. We will probably for The Washington Diplomat. Republican health care bill infuriated Trump. Just before the first vote was scheduled, Trump reportedly threatened Meadows at a White House meeting. â€œIâ€™m going to come after you, but I know I wonâ€™t have to because I know youâ€™ll vote yes,â€? Trump said. But Meadows opposed the first bill. After the bill was withdrawn, Trump hammered Democrats and the Freedom Caucus. â€œThe Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they donâ€™t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018,â€? he tweeted. Step inside a legendary revival at The Watergate Hotel, a luxurious Criticism of the Freedom Caucus has also urban resort located along the banks of the Potomac River. come from other House Republicans. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois wrote a stinging rebuke of the group in an essay in The New York Times on March 31. Kinzinger said the Freedom Caucus was merely a force of opposition O NE B EDRO O M S UIT E that refused reasonable compromises. It was Designed with todayâ€™s traveler in mind, offered reductions in essential health benefits that alienated some moderates, agreed to the our one bedroom suites expand to plan but then, according to Kinzinger, upped include multiple guest bedrooms. the ante by demanding to strip protections for people with pre-existing conditions and younger people on their parentsâ€™ health plans. â€œItâ€™s what they do,â€? Kinzinger wrote. â€œThey D I PLOMAT S UIT E move the goal posts, and once that happens, they still refuse to play. We are the Charlie These VIP suites come Brown party, hoping that this time, things will Č´WWHGZLWKODYLVKČ´QLVKHVVOHHN be different. But time and again, the Freedom furniture, and lush bedding. Caucus is Lucy â€” pulling the ball out from under us, let us take the fall and smiling to themselves for making a splash. Itâ€™s a cheap tactic, not a way to govern, and enough is enough.â€? P RES IDENT IAL S UIT E Meadows insists he is open to compromise, arguing this is a skill he learned during his real Our impressive Presidential estate career. In a speech at the National Press Suites have sweeping Club on July 24, Meadows said the Freedom waterfront views. Caucus is determined to repeal the ACA, cut government spending and pass substantial tax cuts. â€œThe American people are tired of gridlock,â€? he said, adding that Republicans must advance a bold agenda this fall. â€œWe must be very Contact Shirin Kooros at firstname.lastname@example.org aggressive with the tax cut,â€? he added. 2650 Virginia Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20037 In late July, Meadows and other members www.thewatergatehotel.com of the Freedom Caucus called on Ryan to dramatically scale back the Houseâ€™s August recess THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017 | 11
WD | United Nations
Progress Report U.N. Secretary-General Guterres Navigates World Crises and Skeptical White House by Ryan R. Migeed
n Sept. 12, the U.N. General Assembly will meet for its first session with António Guterres as secretary-general. Guterres, who began his five-year term on Jan. 1, has already started to make his mark on the organization, while responding to potential famines in Somalia, Yemen and South Sudan; the Syrian civil war; North Korea’s nuclear ambitions; an ongoing refugee crisis; and a U.S. president who has repeatedly questioned the usefulness of the world body. In addition to addressing a litany of global crises, Guterres must manage the nuts and bolts of an organization that’s home to 193 member states, tens of thousands of employees and a dizzying array of agencies and missions. Even the U.N.’s most ardent supporters admit the bureaucracy needs to be modernized and tackle black eyes, such as Haiti’s cholera epidemic, which was introduced by a contingent of U.N. peacekeepers. Even the choice of Guterres to head the world body — while generally praised — was met with disappointment from those who had hoped a woman would become the U.N.’s first female secretary-general. Guterres seems mindful of the issue. Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for Guterres, told The Diplomat that as part of the secretary-general’s agenda, the U.N. has set an institutional goal to achieve gender parity in its senior ranks and then across the organization. Guterres also has bolstered efforts to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic and elsewhere, a longstanding problem. A compact among member states addressing the issue and outlining common policies to prevent it is on the agenda for the September meeting. Guterres, a former U.N. high commissioner for refugees, also wants to make the world body more efficient, accountable and nimble. He has proposed decentralizing authority in the top-heavy bureaucracy, streamlining peacekeeping and other institutions, and increasing development funds by showing donors more verifiable results.
Strong Voice at a Critical Juncture Guterres, 68, is the ninth secretarygeneral of the United Nations, succeeding Ban Ki-moon, who served from 2007 to the end of 2016. The selection of Guterres was historically unprecedented in its transparency. The 12 candidates shared their
Photo: U.N. / Tobin Jones
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres is received at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport with an honor guard during a March visit to Somalia.
U.S. involvement in the U.N. is critical. The U.S. has a leadership role to play in the United Nations. Stéphane Dujarric spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres
views on international issues and presented their visions in open meetings before the General Assembly. For the first time in the U.N.’s 70-year history, these internal proceedings were televised live. But as in past votes, the final arbiter of the decision-making process came down to the five veto-wielding permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, where Russia and the U.S. must agree on a consensus candidate. Historically, the secretary-general has come into the job hamstrung by the big world powers, often representing a safe compromise who won’t threaten U.S. or Russian interests. Still, Guterres is a high-profile name whose independence won’t be easily neutered. Born in Lisbon, Guterres was raised under the watchful eyes of dictatorship and spent extended periods in the countryside, where he grew to sympathize with the struggles of poverty. He began his career in public service when he was elected to the Por-
12 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017
tuguese Parliament in 1976. He served as a member for 17 years and went on to become prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002. Prior to his appointment as secretary-general, Guterres served as the U.N. high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) from 2005 to 2015, heading one of the world’s foremost humanitarian organizations at a time when the number of people displaced by conflict and persecution rose from 38 million to over 60 million. During his tenure, he called for better treatment of refugees by European nations, worked to secure funding for Syrian refugees and oversaw the most significant structural reform process in the agency’s history. This experience seemed to influence the Security Council’s decision in choosing a successor to Ban at the height of the worst refugee crisis to hit Europe since World War II. At the time, Lord Michael Williams, a former top U.N. official, praised the
choice, calling Guterres “extremely well-qualified.” “In selecting António Guterres, many members of the Security Council were acutely aware that migration and refugee issues are likely to continue to dominate the international agenda in the coming years,” Williams wrote in a blog post last year for Chatham House, a think tank in London. Dujarric told The Diplomat that Guterres’s experience as UNHCR “at a time of increasing numbers of refugees” informs how he approaches his new role. Dujarric described Guterres’ strategy for tackling the world’s challenges as “preventive diplomacy.” This “doesn’t just mean preventing conflict, but investing in development” such as good governance, climate readiness and community health, Dujarric said. Guterres has said that preventing conflict “means going back to basics — strengthening institutions and building resilient societies,” he wrote in a January Newsweek op-ed. “Since so many conflicts emerge from disenfranchisement and marginalization, it means putting respect for human rights at the center of national and international policy.” Refugees International, an advocacy organization based in Washington,
D.C., said Guterres is up to the task. “The secretary-general is very well-positioned to address humanitarian issues. As the former high commissioner for refugees, he understands humanitarian challenges. And as the former prime minister of Portugal, he appreciates that humanitarian crises must have political and diplomatic solutions,” said Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International, in a statement to The Diplomat. But Schwartz also said that Guterres needs more support from the U.S. to address humanitarian crises effectively.
Trump’s unilateral foreign policies have also cast a shadow over Guterres’s relevance, particularly when it comes to the secretary-general’s signature issue: refugees. The president’s travel ban on six predominantly Muslim nations and his efforts to curtail U.S. refugee admissions fly in the face of U.N. pleas that wealthy nations do more to help the world’s displaced. Trump also appears eager to bypass the U.N. and work directly with Russia to find a resolution to Syria’s six-year civil war. In a hacked January email released to Newsweek in August, Yousef Al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates ambassador in Washington, told the country’s U.N. representative on the eve of Trump’s inauguration that, “The U.N. won’t be very important for the next four years.”
PuShBAcK fROM whiTE hOuSE
A month after winning the 2016 election, President Donald Trump disparaged the U.N. in a tweet, calling it “just a club for cuTTiNg fATand wiThOuT lOSiNg MuSclE NOTE: Although every effort is made to assure your ad is free of mistakes in spelling people to get together, talk and have a good time. ” content it is ultimately up to the customer to make the final proof. Th e exchange may have been a joke, but Trump seemed to valiSome panned Trump’s choice for ambassador to the U.N., PhOTO: u.N. / VyAchESlAV OSElEdKO date the point when he unveiled his proposed budget for the fisNikki Haley, a South Carolina governor who lacked foreign afu.N. Secretary-general António guterres holds a press conference during cal 2018 year, which would cut funding to the State Department Theboth firstsides twooffaxed changes will be made at no cost to the advertiser, subsequent changes fairs experience. But she impressed senators on a June visit to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. guterres has faced an onslaught of by 31 percent and foreign assistance by about 29 percent. That the aisle in her confirmation hearings, and many Democrats will be billed at humanitarian a rate of $75 faxed alteration. Signed ads arealso considered approved. crisesper during his first year as secretary-general, while includes steep cuts to U.N. programs including climate change appreciated that she did not endorse across-the-board cuts to attempting to streamline the world body. and peacekeeping operations, where Trump wants to U.S. funding for the U.N. (Washington contributes roughly 22 check this ad carefully. Mark any changes to initiatives Please your ad. cap U.S. contributions to 25 percent, down from the current 28 percent of the U.N.’s core operating budget of $5.4 billion.) also making nice with foreign diplomats.” Since then, Haley has established a reputation as a firm adEven if Haley is an effective voice for the U.N., it remains to be percent. If the ad is correct and much fax to: “The figures presented would simply make it impossible for vocate for U.S. interests who doesn’t toe the Trump line. She sign seen how infl(301) uence 949-0065 she has over her boss. needs Despite changes interwas strident in her criticism of Russia long before the issue of national condemnation, Trump pulled America out of the land- the U.N. to continue all of its essential work advancing peace, The Washington 933-3552 Moscow’s meddling in the U.S. election became a legal head- Diplomat mark Paris climate(301) agreement, and he generally eschews the type development, human rights and humanitarian assistance,” Dujarric told The New York Times in May. ache for the president. She also has been vocal about human of multilateralism on which the U.N. was founded in 1945. The U.N. has already agreed to decrease its peacekeeping budrights abuses committed by North Korea and President Bashar Trump’s “America fi rst” doctrine has worried observers that Approved __________________________________________________________ al-Assad’s forces in Syria. he will sideline both the world body and Guterres, who, like his get by nearly $600 million to $7.3 billion for the upcoming year, ___________________________________________________________ Even though Haley has grabbed the U.N.Changes bully pulpit to de- predecessors, faces constant pressure by the five permanent Se- and Guterres himself does not seem opposed to winding down ___________________________________________________________________ fend human rights, she echoes Trump’s tough talk that the or- curity Council members to hew to their positions and fill the certain missions. “When it comes to conflict management, for example, Guganization needs to be leaner and less reliant on American tax- top ranks with their countrymen. payer money. She praised recent cuts to the U.N. peacekeeping Human rights advocates also accuse Guterres of staying si- terres and his advisers have signaled that they would like to budget and spearheaded efforts to reduce the U.N.’s footprint lent about abuses in favor of quiet diplomacy to resolve disputes spend more time on relatively small-scale but high-impact prein places such as Sudan’s Darfur region. As a fierce defender of such as the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen and sectarian fighting ventive diplomacy and mediation rather than the large but often Israel at the world body, she has also accused the U.N. of har- in South Sudan, often leaving it to his human rights commis- creaky peacekeeping missions the U.N. has deployed in troubleboring an anti-Israel bias. sioner, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, to denounce atrocities and auto- spots such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Su“Haley has done an impressive job of attacking and defend- crats. Supporters say Guterres can make more inroads mediat- dan,” wrote Richard Gowan, an associate fellow at the European ing the U.N. at the same time,” Richard Gowan of the European ing behind the scenes than publicly lecturing other countries, Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and U.N. researcher at Council on Foreign Relations told Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch but critics worry this approach sets a dangerous precedent, Columbia University, in a July 25 brief for ECFR. for an April 24 article. “She has convinced the Republican base especially in light of the Trump administration’s reluctance to SEE Gu T Er r Es • PAgE 14 that she is tough on the U.N. and is pushing for real cuts, while promote human rights.
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“The Secretary-General has devoted considerable time to trying to save this year’s Cyprus reunification talks and behind-the-scenes efforts to contain the crisis in Venezuela. He has put a lot of energy into South Sudan, too, but he has signaled that he believes that the African Union should play a greater role in leading stabilization missions on its continent,” Gowan wrote. “In terms of international development, Guterres has called for cutting back on duplication and pooling resources to make the U.N. more cost-effective and agile. If shrinking the organization’s global footprint is one key to his vision, the other is increasing his authority over its remaining operations.” Yet Gowan pointed out that Guterres faces the contradictory challenge of streamlining the U.N. while “Trump and his advisers have repeatedly expressed an interest in eviscerating it.” The puts the secretary-general in the odd position of trying to shrink the world body while protecting it from egregious cuts — all in an era of cascading humanitarian crises. “[Guterres] needs much greater support from key member states, especially the United States,” Schwartz said. “The U.S. government has traditionally been the most active and generous partner to the U.N. on humanitarian assistance and humanitarian diplomacy, but has recently demonstrated ambivalence about continuing to play that role.” A State Department press officer declined to respond directly, but reiterated Haley’s statement on World Refugee Day.
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301.933.3552 “The United States gives more humanitarian aid than any other country, but money alone is not enough — we must also work to end the conflicts that drive these people from their homes, while tearing apart their countries. We have lots of work to do at the U.N., but the world’s refugees and the countries that host them should know they can continue to count on the United States to lead,” Haley said in her June 20 statement. “[Guterres] has been spending a lot of time on ensuring that the relationship between the United States and the United Nations is a strong and productive relationship,” Dujarric told The Diplomat. “U.S. involvement in the U.N. is critical. The U.S. has a leadership role to play in the United Nations,” he added.
Areas of Cooperation Trump potentially realized the value of that role when the U.N. recently voted to slap a tough new round of sanctions against North Korea in response to its latest missile tests — the most tangible achievement the White House has produced so far in its efforts to curb Pyongyang’s rapidly accelerating nuclear weapons program. Another area where the U.S., especially under Trump, will likely want to cooperate with the U.N. is in countering terrorism and violent extremism. Here, Guterres is making strides, according to one expert. “I think he deserves a lot of credit for prioritizing the need to modernize the U.N.’s counterterrorism architecture,” Eric Rosand, a former senior counterterrorism official at the State Department who is now with the Brookings Institution, told The Diplomat.
14 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017
Rosand credits Guterres with managing the passage of a General Assembly resolution in June that established the U.N. Office of Counter-Terrorism headed by an undersecretarygeneral. But ensuring passage of the resolution required political deal-making that Rosand said “raised some negative attention.” Rosand said Guterres appointed a Russian, Vladimir Ivanovich Voronkov, to head the counterterrorism office to gain Russia’s support for the resolution. Paradoxically, Rosand said, the bargain allows Russia — a state that represses its civil society and supports the regime in Syria, which itself has sponsored terrorist groups — to dictate much of the U.N.’s counterterrorism policy. Even so, it “required a certain amount of political guts” for Guterres to open this office as one of his first initiatives, Rosand said. Having helped to develop and launch the Global Counterterrorism Forum, Rosand knows how difficult it can be to reach agreement on antiterror policies among many diverse states. Moreover, Rosand faults former SecretaryGeneral Ban for not doing enough to prioritize counterterrorism. Williams agreed with this assessment back in October 2016, when he wrote that “the U.N. has ceded ground on the critical issue of international security” under Ban. Rosand said that tackling global terrorism will require the U.N. to take a “whole-ofsociety, whole-of-government approach” that recognizes the root causes of terrorism and engages workers in the religious, health and development spheres who can “intervene before someone commits an act of violence.” Rosand urged Guterres to acknowledge the role states play in isolating certain segments of their populations and creating “deficits in ser-
vice delivery,” which breed resentment. “These are the connections [Guterres] needs to be making and the message he needs to be delivering,” Rosand said. A potentially larger problem looms for Guterres and the global community, however. The extent of U.S. cooperation on counterterrorism — or any host of issues — is being overshadowed by a more existential debate about the leadership roles of the U.S. and China under an isolationist American president. “The big question facing Guterres … is whether China will now replace the U.S. as the main guarantor of international cooperation,” Gowan told The Diplomat via email. Chinese President Xi Jinping appeared to relish Beijing’s growing international clout when he gave a forceful defense of free trade at the World Economic Forum in January 2017, the first appearance by a Chinese leader at the forum. After Trump signed an executive order pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, China reiterated its support for the agreement alongside the European Union and other U.S. allies. “[I]t is possible that Trump’s destructive tendencies will force Guterres and the U.N. to turn to China to keep multilateral bargains like the Paris accords alive,” Gowan said. Either way, the Trump effect on international politics and diplomacy cannot be underestimated. Asked about the loose ends Ban left that Guterres must now tie up, Gowan said: “The Ban era at the U.N. is now almost a distant memory because Trump has rewritten the diplomatic rulebook.” WD Ryan R. Migeed (@RyanMigeed) is a freelance writer based in Boston.
Cover Profile | WD
Delicate Balancing Act Rock and a Hard Place: Taiwan Finds Itself Between Territorial China and Bellicose Trump by Larry Luxner
n mid-June, Stanley Kao tossed a baseball — and ended up sparking a diplomatic incident. Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in an Atlanta Braves game against the Miami Marlins, Kao was proudly identified by a Braves’ TV sportscaster as “Stanley Kao, current ambassador of Taiwan to the United States.” A month before, the same thing happened at the start of a Major League Baseball game at Seattle’s Safeco Field, eliciting protests from China. “Recently, I was invited in my current capacity as leader of Taiwan’s delegation here for a meeting with [Secretary of State] Rex Tillerson of the global coalition with 68 other countries to defeat ISIS,” Kao said, referring to an acronym for the Islamic State. “China complained almost immediately after the State Department put the group picture on their website.” That’s because Kao is in fact the representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in D.C., Taiwan’s de facto embassy in the U.S. He’s not officially an ambassador, a diplomatic distinction that is crucial to China, which views the democratic, selfruled island of nearly 24 million people as a renegade province. Any perceived recognition of Taiwan as a sovereign entity is a red line for Beijing. So the Chinese were particularly infuriated when Donald Trump — barely a month after his November 2016 election victory — accepted a congratulatory phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, temporarily driving a wedge between the world’s two largest economies. “This was the first time in over 60 years that the leader of Taiwan and the leader of the United States had talked on the phone,” said Kao. “The last U.S. president to visit Taiwan was Eisenhower in 1953, and since then, no leader of Taiwan has had personal, first-hand contact.” Beijing immediately lodged what it called “stern representations” with the United States, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi accused Taiwan of “engaging in a petty action that cannot change the ‘one-China’ structure,” which dictates that countries recognize there is only one Chinese government. Under the somewhat ambiguous policy, the U.S., which formally switched relations from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledges China’s position that Taiwan is not a state but also says that the island’s status remains undetermined, taking a neutral stance on how the two sides resolve that status. This delicate balancing act has allowed Washington to maintain unofficial ties with Taipei and served as the bedrock of Sino-U.S. relations for decades. The election of Tsai Ing-wen in 2016
already had China on high alert. Unlike her predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, who spearheaded a rapprochement with China that led to increased economic and cultural ties, Tsai remains cool toward the mainland. While she has vowed to maintain the status quo and not push for independence, she has not endorsed the one-China policy and has defended her government’s right to engage world leaders such as Trump. Likewise, Trump was defiant after the call, tweeting: “Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call.” He then publicly mulled using the one-China policy as leverage to extract concessions from China’s communist rulers, sparking alarm among policymakers and even some Taiwanese that the moves might jeopardize the fragile peace in cross-strait relations. Trump eventually backtracked, acknowledging that the U.S. abides by the one-China policy. Yet his relationship with Beijing remains rocky and unpredictable. On the campaign trail, he blasted China for manipulating its currency and ruining the U.S. economy. After an April meeting at his Mar-a-Lago estate with President Xi Jinping, however, Trump had nothing but praise for his Chinese counterpart and conceded that the issue of North Korea was more complicated than he originally thought. But after Beijing apparently failed to curb North Korea’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon caPhoto: Lawrence Ruggeri
At the end of the day, the United States is the only country in the world that has committed to support Taiwan’s defense, so we certainly wish the U.S. success. We want whoever’s in the White House to succeed. Stanley Kao
representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office
pable of hitting the United States, Trump tweeted that he’d given up on China — only to boast a few weeks later that he’d convinced the Chinese to sign off on a tough package of U.N. sanctions that could slash North Korea’s annual earnings by a third. Taiwan seems to be along for the roller-coaster ride, although Kao is eager to downplay his government’s role in any diplomatic provocations. He likens the whole phone call imbroglio to an overblown “happy birthday” message. “From the very outset, nobody believed that the five-minute call repre-
sented anything dramatic, or even a major policy shift,” he contends. “The reality is that one phone call will not change the longstanding U.S. China policy whatsoever.”
Intricate Diplomatic Dance Yet the intricate dance of maintaining cross-strait relations dictates Kao’s diplomatic routine, down to who he speaks with to where he sleeps at night. Kao, 64, spoke to The Washington
Diplomat over tea and cookies at Twin Oaks — an 18-acre estate off Woodley Road that functioned as the official residence of Taiwan’s ambassador from 1937 until 1979, the year President Jimmy Carter switched U.S. diplomatic recognition to the People’s Republic of China. Born and raised in Taipei, Kao joined Taiwan’s Foreign Service in 1978. His first overseas assignment was in Washington as a junior officer; he came back years later as deputy chief of mission. Kao has also served in Atlanta, Boston, Kuala Lumpur, Geneva, Budapest and Rome. Despite his status as the chief of Taiwan’s mission here — and despite the fact that Twin Oaks hosts Washington’s largest single diplomatic party, with more than 3,000 guests regularly attending Taiwan’s annual “10-10” celebration in October — Kao cannot enjoy most of the State Department trappings that normally come with being an ambassador. “There’s no formal, official recognition, but still we try to conduct business as usual, based on the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 and the Six Assurances, which remain the bedrock of our robust See Taiwan • page 16 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017 | 15
Above, Taiwanese soldiers march at a cenotaph monument in Taipei. Below, soldiers performs drills during a rally.
Taiwan Continued • page 15
relationship in almost all areas,” Kao told us in his first sitdown interview with any U.S. media outlet since arriving in Washington a year ago. The Taiwan Relations Act assures that the U.S. will support the island’s defense and security needs and will maintain commercial, cultural and de facto relations with it. Former President Ma, speaking at the Brookings Institution in May, observed that this unique arrangement has made Taiwan the “most recognized, unrecognized government of the United States.” Along Taiwan’s road to recognition, there have been victories and setbacks, both large and small. Taiwan became a member of the World Trade Organization in 2002, but still has only observer status at the World Health Organization. Locally, in 2014, TECRO officials got diplomatic license plates for the first time ever. And on Jan. 1, 2015, Kao’s predecessor, Shen Lyu-shun, raised the Taiwanese flag over Twin Oaks for the first time since 1979 — in an emotional but low-key ceremony that was not televised to avoid antagonizing Beijing. The State Department did clarify at a later press briefing that “no U.S. government personnel attended the event in any capacity.” “Even now, there are certain policy constraints in how the U.S. government conducts its relations,” Kao said. “Twin Oaks has been standing here for 80 years, but since 1979, none of my 22 predecessors have lived here, even though this is my official residence. We are politely advised that no one can stay here overnight.” Still, TECRO’s Washington office employs about 60 people, with another 120 at 12 former consulates now called “economic and cultural offices” in Boston, New York, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco,
Above, the Taiwanese flag flies over Liberty Square in Taipei, a public plaza that honors Taiwan’s transition to democracy. Below, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, right, meets with Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes on May 20, 2016. Due to political pressure from Beijing, the number of countries with diplomatic ties to Taiwan has dwindled to 19 nations plus the Holy See — down from 30 in the early 1990s.
Honolulu and Guam.
Coming to Taiwan’s Defense By coincidence, our June 30 interview with Kao took place hours before the Trump administration announced its first arms sale to Taiwan — a $1.42 billion package that includes technical support for an early-warning radar system, missile components and torpedoes. Also that day, the U.S. Treasury Department announced it would sever financial ties with China’s Bank of Dandong, which the Trump administration claims is acting as a pipeline to support illicit North Korean financial activity. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the U.S.-Taiwan arms deal was long overdue. “Sales of defensive weapons, based on Taiwan’s needs, are a key provision of our commitments as laid out in the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances,” he said in a press statement. “And that’s why, as chairman, I have repeatedly called for regular sales to Taiwan — just like we would see with any other partner. A stable and prosperous Taiwan is good for the people of Taiwan, good for the stability of the Asia-Pacific region, and good for U.S. national security.” Yet Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the United States, sees things very differently. “U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and the sanctions against Chinese enterprises have damaged the basis and mutual trust between the two countries. It also contradicts the spirit and
16 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017
A light-rail train speeds through the busy streets of Taipei.
consensus of the two leaders’ meeting at Mar-a-Lago,” said Cui. In a press statement, his embassy said the weapons package “grossly interferes” in China’s domestic affairs and that “the Chinese side reserves every right to take further action.” Taiwan counters that it also has the right to take action to increase its self-defense, particularly in light of Beijing’s territorial ambitions in the disputed South China Sea and Pyongyang’s saber-rattling. Kao said Taiwan currently spends 2.2 percent of its budget on defense, though the long-term goal is 3 percent. “We want to develop our own defense capabilities,” he said. “During the Obama years, total arms sales were $18 billion. From what we have heard, there was one last package, and he wanted to leave that to the current administration to send a green light. Given Taiwan’s location and our diplomatic situation, we are very concerned about what’s going on in North Korea and the South China Sea.” Pyongyang’s nuclear program notwithstanding, he added, “the only country in the world that has territorial ambitions on our country is our distant neighbor across the street.” On July 25, Taiwan said it would defend itself after Chinese training exercises that brought fighter and recon-
naissance aircraft dangerously close to Taiwanese airspace. Kao said mainland China has no less than 1,600 missiles pointed at his country, even though “nobody in Taiwan has used the ‘I’ word” — independence — and “the great majority of people in Taiwan don’t want to do or say anything nasty against Beijing. We don’t want to give them any excuse.”
Whipping the Checkbook Back Out But the Taiwanese did vote into office a leader from the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party last year, following fears that the opposition Kuomintang party was getting too cozy with Beijing. Tsai’s election rankled China and revived the socalled “checkbook diplomacy” race for recognition whereby both sides compete for allies using aid and investment as a carrot. It is a battle where Taiwan is the decided underdog, going head to head against the world’s second-largest economy and a consumer base of over 1.3 billion people. Due to political pressure from Beijing, the number of countries with embassies in Taiwan has dwindled throughout the years. Today, only 19 nations plus the Holy See maintain diplomatic rela-
Photo: By 中華民國總統政府網站資料開放宣告 - http://media.president.gov.tw/ImageViewer. aspx?hl=&CID=229 / Wikimedia Commons Attribution
tions with Taiwan — down from 30 in the early 1990s — though TECRO has offices in more than 110 countries. “Even with no diplomatic recognition, we’re able to conduct ourselves as de facto diplomatic missions, promoting peace,” Kao said. “Life is not always fair. Some of this is cold, brutal reality, but we don’t bow to this pressure.” Yet the Taiwanese are no doubt feeling the squeeze as Beijing sets its sights on the remaining countries that recognize it over China. In 2007, Costa Rica became the first Central American nation to abandon Taiwan. In a classic case of checkbook diplomacy, then-President Oscar Arias announced he’d recognize China, which later built a new sports stadium in San José worth $100 million. But a year later, when Kuomintang’s pro-Beijing leader became president, China relaxed its aggressive efforts to isolate Taiwan. Since Tsai’s election in May 2016, however, Beijing has renewed those efforts with a vengeance, prompting both Panama and the tiny African nation of São Tomé e Principe to jump on the Beijing bandwagon.
“China has always been the Panama Canal’s biggest customer,” Kao said by way of explaining why the Panamanian government turned its back on Taiwan after decades of bilateral friendship. “We felt hurt, so we expressed our strong indignation and deep regret. But even with this Panama setback, our government has continued to give back to the international community and play on Taiwan’s strengths as a beacon of freedom and democracy. We are not competing with China dollar for dollar. There’s no more diplomatic bidding wars; we don’t believe that’s the right thing to do.” To prevent Taiwan’s other Spanish-speaking allies from defecting, Tsai paid a January visit to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua — which together account for over 40 percent of the combined populations of the 19 countries that still have embassies in Taiwan. Ironically, Costa Rica remains Taiwan’s top Central American business partner by far, with bilateral trade consistently outpacing that of its See Taiwan • page 45
United States | WD
Blank Check? No U.S. President Has Wanted a New AUMF. Congress Is Starting to Disagree. by Aileen Torres-Bennett
even days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress passed a joint resolution that gave then President George W. Bush the goahead to use military force against the attackers. Since then, that resolution has been stretched to give the president sweeping powers in an open-ended “war on terror” that has expanded from al-Qaeda to groups that didn’t even exist in 2001. Called the “Authorization for Use of Military Force,” or AUMF, it specifically gives the president the power “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001” to prevent more terrorism by these groups. In October 2002, Congress passed a second AUMF, this time focusing on Iraq. It gave the president the authority to use U.S. military force in response to Iraq’s supposed stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction. The 2002 AUMF also cites Iraq as harboring terrorists, including al-Qaeda. These AUMFs continue to be in force, but the first AUMF is inching toward the congressional spotlight because it has been used to justify presidential-ordered counterterrorist military actions around the world far beyond its original scope. Calls to re-examine and update the law have grown louder in the wake of President Trump’s August announcement that he would boost troop levels in Afghanistan — America’s longest war — without specifying a timeframe or exact numbers. The further the 9/11 attacks recede into history, the more slippery the slope becomes for presidents relying on the AUMF to combat an ever-evolving array of terrorist threats.
Lone Voice Sixteen years ago, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (DCalif.) was the sole person who voted against the AUMF. “I voted against the 2001 AUMF because I feared it would set the stage for perpetual war,” she wrote to The Diplomat in an email. “Over the last sixteen years, this authorization has been used in fourteen countries, at least thirty-six times, to justify military action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, drone strikes in Yemen, bombing in Libya, indefinite detentions in Guantanamo Bay and warrantless wiretapping here at home. “The 2001 AUMF has become a blank check for endless war — and it’s past time for it to be repealed,” she wrote. Lee continues to push the issue, hoping to repeal the AUMF so that Congress can debate a new version. For years, lawmakers largely avoided the unpopular issue, leading to criticism that the body was shirking its responsibilities and outsourcing hard decisions on the fight against terrorism to the White House. But in the last few years, both Democratic and Republican members of the House and the Senate have slowly migrated to Lee’s side. The longstanding debate over repealing the AUMF got a recent shot in the arm, but it’s unclear whether enough momentum will build to get the job done. In June, Lee finally got through an amendment to
A flower rests at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress swiftly passed an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to go after the perpetrators. Since then, however, the law has been expanded in scope from al-Qaeda to groups that didn’t even exist in 2001.
The 2001 AUMF has become a blank check for endless war — and it’s past time for it to be repealed. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)
sunset, or put an end date to, the 2001 AUMF in the House Appropriations Committee. Rep. Tom Cole (ROkla.), the deputy majority whip, surprised the committee by supporting Lee’s amendment, as reported by Foreign Policy’s Robbie Gramer. “This is something where Congress has collectively avoided taking responsibility for years,” Cole said. “The Constitution is awfully clear … about where war-making authority resides. It resides in this body. And we’ve had leadership honestly on both sides that put off this debate again and again and again.” Even Lee seemed taken aback by the move, tweeting: “Whoa.” But then House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) removed the amendment from the defense appropriations bill. “Despite support for this amendment on both sides of the aisle, Republican House leadership stripped my amendment from the bill without a vote,” she wrote to The Diplomat. “This outrageous, underhanded and undemocratic maneuver underscores the unwillingness of House GOP leadership to fulfill their constitutional duty on matters of war and peace. The American people must demand more of our elected officials.” In July, the House Foreign Affairs Committee took on the subject in a hearing, where Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said in his opening statement that he does not support repealing AUMF until there is agreement on
how to move forward in governing the use of military force to combat terrorism. On the Senate side, Tim Kaine (D-Va.) has partnered with Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to introduce a bipartisan AUMF against the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and the Taliban. According to a Kaine spokesperson in an email to The Diplomat, this “bipartisan AUMF explicitly authorizes military action against the three terrorist groups, gives Congress an oversight role it currently lacks over who can be considered to be ‘associated’ with the terrorist groups and in which countries military action can take place, and provides a sunset of the authorization in five years with an expedited process to consider any extension. Lastly, it repeals the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs.”
Balance of Powers At the heart of the movement to repeal the AUMFs is the growing realization by members of Congress of the legislative branch’s constitutional role to constrain the executive’s military powers. This goes back to the founding fathers building checks and balances into the three branches of government, which is now playing out as lawmakers take a closer look at the sweeping counterterrorism authority given to presidents in the wake of 9/11. The president, as the Constitution states, is the commander in chief of the military. But the Constitution also gives Congress the power to declare war. The war on terror has spread to parts of the world and to terrorist groups that are outside the scope of the 2001 AUMF, which applies to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The emergence of the Islamic State during the Obama administration brought up the question of whether military force against the group (also known See AU MF • page 18 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017 | 17
AUMF Continued â€˘ page 17
as ISIS) would be covered under the 2001 AUMF or if new legislation was needed. Obama theorized that he did not need a new AUMF because he had the authority he needed in the 2001 law. In 2014, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee debated a new AUMF that would not have put geographical limits on military counterterrorist operations but would have prohibited ground troops and had a sunset provision of three years, with possible extensions. The effort to create this new AUMF was ultimately unsuccessful. â€œIt was less about content and language and more about creating the environment and the effort and inertia to move this forward,â€? Adam Sharon, a former Democratic communications director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told The Diplomat. â€œIt never was there in a sufficient way. It didnâ€™t become the kind of issue where everything stopped and it became the focus.â€? Nevertheless, some members of Congress are still concerned about presidential overreach. The Sept. 11 attacks happened under Bushâ€™s watch, so he was given swift authorization to go after al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Under Obama, the terrorist threat shifted, and Obama rationalized that the Islamic State, even
though it had a presence in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere, is an offshoot of al-Qaeda and, therefore, is covered by the 2001 AUMF. This rationale did not sit well with everyone. â€œThe years after 9/11, it was easier to say this is Taliban and al-Qaeda,â€? John B. Bellinger III, a presidential legal adviser during the Bush administration and a partner at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, told The Diplomat. â€œThe really big extension was the Obama administrationâ€™s legal conclusions that the 2001 AUMF applied to ISIS. That was reached in 2014. ISIS was not part of al-Qaeda, but Congress acquiesced.â€? Under the Trump administration, some experts argue that the AUMF is being stretched even further. The U.S. military fired on a Syrian jet in June because it had attacked the U.S.backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a rebel group ostensibly fighting the Islamic State. This retaliation, however, put the U.S. in direct conflict with the Syrian regime. â€œItâ€™s been a snowballing stretch of the 2001 AUMF to cover more persons, groups and even nations,â€? said Bellinger, who has been pushing for a revision of the law for more than five years and has testified about the issue before the Senate. The State Department sent a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in August justifying its latest actions in Syria as covered under the 2001 AUMF. The letter also states that the administration does not seek to revise or create a new AUMF. â€œThat is both legally suspect and
Hashing Out a New AUMF
Capitol Hill is seen against the Peace Monument in D.C. Some members of Congress have recently expressed interest in reviving the debate over the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that grants the U.S. president sweeping powers in the war against terrorism.
shortsighted,â€? said Bellinger. â€œItâ€™s very hard to continue to argue the 2001 AUMF provides the legal authority for the use of force we have today. â€œThe president has very broad powers to use military force as com-
mander in chief. But itâ€™s better both legally, and in terms of representative democracy, for Congress to authorize the use of force, and then the president is on stronger legal and political ground,â€? he added.
Congress is beginning to wrap its head around the possibility of a new AUMF, but there are several key issues to iron out. One is the degree of specificity for the groups to be targeted. Another is whether geographical limitations should be imposed. Yet another is whether ground troops should be allowed. Also, there is the question of whether there should be a sunset provision, and if so, for how long. Reaching consensus on these thorny issues is not easy now that the terrorist threat has morphed and could continue to change as time goes on. Obama did not want to be constrained militarily or geographically when going after the Islamic State, and when he invoked the 2001 AUMF, he had wide latitude to act against the group. The Kaine and Flake AUMF would target the Islamic State, alQaeda and the Taliban, impose geographical limits on military action and include a five-year sunset that could be extended. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is among the members of Congress eager to have the legislative branch exert its oversight role on the use of military force. He wrote to The Diplomat in an email that he would like to repeal the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs and â€œwould consider supporting an AUMF that provides strict geoSee AU MF â€˘ page 46
Radiant.Earth Hosts Mandela Washington Fellows
adiant.Earth is pleased to welcome two representatives from the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Beginning August through September, Mmoloki Morapedi from Botswana, and, Abdelaziz Elmi from Djibouti, will contribute to key strategy and technology development efforts at Radiant.Earth.
This is a true win-win. Weâ€™re providing this professional opportunity, but the experience, insights, and contributions of these two fellows stand to enhance much of what weâ€™re doing here at Radiant.Earth,â€? says Anne Hale Miglarese, Radiant.Earthâ€™s Founder and CEO.
Funded by the Gates Foundation and Omidyar 1HWZRUN5DGLDQW(DUWKLVDQRQSURÂżWRUJDQL]DWLRQ working to aggregate the worldâ€™s open Earth imagery and providing access and education on its use to the global development community. The team is currently developing an open imagery platform to facilitate better access to satellite data and tools. The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a United States (U.S.) government program, which aims to empower young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking opportunities. The Fellows, who are between the ages of 25 and 35, have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in
18 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017
their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries. Elmi and Morapedi are part of a larger group of 1,000 Mandela Washington Fellows that were hosted at 38 academic and leadership institutes across the U.S. this summer. These exceptional young leaders met in Washington, D.C., and 100 were competitively selected to spend six weeks in professional development training with U.S. nongovernmental organizations, private companies, and government agencies. Morapedi - who builds his own drones and WHDFKHVRWKHUVKRZWRĂ€\WKHPZLOOIRFXVRQ transforming captured drone imagery into a usable product for greater analytical insight of agricultural yield in Botswana, as well as explore and analyze available satellite, aerial and drone imagery data sets of the region.
application called H-Desk (Horn of Africa Drought Emergency System Knowledge-Base) for East African policy-makers to easily evaluate the extent of drought in their countries.
My experience as a Fellow is very exciting and inspiring. My goal is to provide real time information on the recurring drought problem for governments and aid organizations in East Africa. The training and career connections I am receiving is helping me march towards that goal,â€? says Elmi. You can join the conversation with #YALI2017. For inquiries and to learn more about Radiant. Earth, please contact Louisa Nakanuku-Diggs at Louisa@radiant.earth or (202) 596-3603.
I am learning a lot about imagery analysis that can help me better serve farmers with yield prediction in Botswana. This is a great opportunity IRUPHDQGFRQÂżUPDWLRQWRFRQWLQXHP\FDUHHU path. I can make a difference in my community using the technology of drones,â€? says Morapedi. Elmi will combine satellite imagery, with other mapping data to analyze information on the recurring drought problem in the Horn of Africa. He is currently building a hybrid web and mobile
Abdelaziz Elmi (left) from Djibouti and Mmoloki Morapedi from Botswana with their do-it-yourself solar eclipse viewer on August 21, 2017 in Washington D.C.
Caribbean | WD
Cuban Shuffle Havana’s Ties with U.S. Backtrack Amid Trump Travel Crackdown, Embassy Expulsions by Larry Luxner
AVANA — Even before news broke that the State Department had expelled two Cuban diplomats from the United States earlier this year following a bizarre “sonic attack” that reportedly sickened at least 16 Americans working at the U.S. Embassy and a Canadian colleague, relations between Washington and Havana had already soured. In late June, President Trump announced with great fanfare in Miami that he would roll back what he called the Obama administration’s “one-sided” opening to Cuba — a move widely expected to hurt Cuba’s economy in the long run while depriving nascent private businesses, especially in Havana, of an increasingly lucrative source of income: U.S. visitors. Even so, Trump didn’t break the diplomatic relations that President Obama restored after 55 years of hostility. Bilateral agreements on issues such as drug trafficking remain in place. Direct commercial flights continue to link Miami and other U.S. gateway cities to Havana, Santiago de Cuba, Camagüey and Holguín. In addition, cruise ships will be allowed to keep bringing American passengers to Cuba. Yet individual “people-to-people” travel to the island is to be prohibited, meaning P2P trips will only be allowed as part of licensed tour groups — and rules that previously worked on an honor system under Obama will now be more strictly enforced. Some analysts say that could have a devastating effect on privately run casas particulares (bed and breakfasts that welcomed individual tourists but don’t have the capacity to accommodate larger tour groups), forcing visitors to go to state-run hotels. Yet others question how much of an impact Trump’s policies will really have on this communist country only 90 miles off the tip of Florida, which is still under a sweeping U.S. trade embargo that only Congress, not the president, can lift. “I think it’s more bark than bite. He really didn’t reverse or cancel everything,” said Carlos Alzugaray, Cuba’s former ambassador to the European Union and a frequent commentator on U.S.-Cuban affairs. “Not a single agreement signed between the two governments has been repudiated by Trump. He has not reversed policies on Cuban-American travel or remittances. He has not really done a complete reversal on Obama’s policies on travel to Cuba, although it’s obvious he’s not facilitating things.” Alzugaray spoke to The Washington Diplomat from Havana’s Meliá Cohiba, a luxury hotel fronting the waterfront Malecón esplanade — about a five-minute taxi ride from the U.S. Embassy, which also looks out over the Strait of Florida. Further along the Malecón is Old Havana, a major tourist destination, as well as an aging cruise ship dock that now receives a growing variety of vessels ranging from the MSC Opera to Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas. The very idea of cruise ships disgorging hundreds of camera-toting Americans onto the crowded streets of colonial Havana would have been unthinkable even five years ago, when U.S. travel to Cuba was severely limited and embassies in each other’s capital cities were nonexistent. The dramatic change came on Dec. 17, 2014, when Obama announced he and Cuban President Raúl Castro would restore diplomatic relations, even with the U.S. embargo still in effect. The following year, the Cuban Interests Section in Washington was upgraded to an embassy, as was the U.S. Interests Section in Havana; until then, Switzerland had officially handled consular affairs. And in March 2016, Obama spent three days in Havana as the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba in
Photo: Larry Luxner
A 1950s-era Ford drives past the Empress of the Seas cruise ship docked in Old Havana, Cuba.
I think it’s more bark than bite…. [Trump] has not really done a complete reversal on Obama’s policies on travel to Cuba, although it’s obvious he’s not facilitating things. Carlos Alzugaray
former ambassador of Cuba to the European Union
88 years. Trump has no intentions to warm up to Cuba any time soon. He had little choice but to keep his campaign pledge to a relatively small but powerful bloc of antiCastro Cuban Americans in Florida who argued that the economic opening would only reward and enrich the Castro regime while doing little to improve human rights or life for average Cubans. The two countries’ fledgling bilateral ties took a turn for the worse in August, when the State Department announced it had expelled two Cuban diplomats from Washington after a series of unexplained incidents on the island that apparently left U.S. officials with potentially permanent hearing loss and mild brain injury. Published reports indicate that investigators believe sonic devices that produce non-audible sound were placed in or near the homes of U.S. Embassy officials with the intent of deafening them. Why Cuba would launch such an attack, especially in light of Obama’s rapprochement, remains a mystery. Other theories suggest eavesdropping technology may have gone awry or the devices might have been installed by a third country such as Russia. Cuba adamantly denies it has anything to do with
the injuries, although it hasn’t been shy about its disdain for Trump. After Trump’s speech rolling back Obama’s outreach, reaction in Havana was swift. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez called it a “grotesque spectacle” and warned that his country “will never negotiate under pressure or under threat.” José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Americas division, is certainly no apologist for the Castro regime. But he says Trump’s approach from the very beginning has been just plain dumb. “Reversing the Obama administration’s changes regarding Cuba policy is not going to improve respect for human rights on the island,” Vivanco said. “The unilateral sanctions imposed by Washington for more than half a century have been a total failure. To expect different results by going back to a policy that has not resulted in any serious significant improvement of human rights and democracy is ludicrous.” Trump’s new policies also restrict Americans from doing business in Cuba, particularly with entities linked to the Cuban military and intelligence services. Nevertheless, some U.S. businesses are already profiting from Obama’s opening. Giora Israel is senior vice president for port and destination development at Carnival Corp., which in May 2016 became the first U.S. company since the 1959 revolution to offer passenger cruises to Cuba. He said nothing has changed since Trump’s tightening of restrictions, at least in his own industry. “When then-candidate Trump was running for the presidency, he mentioned several times that if he became president, he’d want to reverse or cancel some of the regulations of the Obama administration,” said Israel. “It is now very clear that air as well as cruise travel will not be impacted. “We feel comfortable that cruising can and will continue, and we look forward to the inaugural sailing of See c u ba • page 22 THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017 | 19
WD | United States
An Undiplomatic President From Unrestrained Tweets to Unconventional Language, Trump Tosses Out Protocol Playbook by Stephanie Kanowitz
artisanship aside, we should all be able to agree that Donald Trump takes a nontraditional approach to the presidency. This is particularly evident in his communication style. To some, it’s a breath of fresh air. To others, especially foreign leaders accustomed to their counterparts strictly adhering to protocol, it, well, stinks. In the nine months since Trump assumed office, his style, often off the cuff and gruff, has left Americans and foreigners alike scratching their heads. For instance, there was the cringeworthy time he told French first lady Brigitte Macron, “You’re in such good shape.” And the time he told Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull “that is enough” during a phone conversation, and reportedly hung up. And the time Trump shoved his way past Dusko Markovic, the prime minister of Montenegro, during a NATO summit, igniting an internet firestorm. But Trump’s blatant disregard for the formalities of protocol has had more far-reaching consequences than serving as fodder for viral memes and late-night jokes. It has had serious policy implications that have hamstrung the president’s own agenda. Trump reportedly refuses not only protocol guidance from his emasculated State Department, but he also eschews policy background briefings before engaging world leaders, meaning he goes in brash and uninformed about the issues of the day, a potentially combustive combination. Trump’s perennial disregard to heed the advice of those around him has led to some inflammatory choices, such as Trump’s oddity-laced meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in May. The first oddity was the timing of the meeting, coming a day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who had been leading the investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian officials. Additionally, only Russian media was in allowed in the room. Most importantly — and most strangely — it was reported that during the meeting, Trump divulged highly classified intelligence allegedly from Israel when he boasted about knowing of an Islamic State plot. Another incident that raised eyebrows, especially in light of the Russia probes, was Trump’s hour-long private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G20 summit in Germany in July. During that interaction, the two leaders used a Kremlin translator and no U.S. national security staff were present. That leaves open the potential that Trump disclosed more classified information — and it’s a sharp break with protocol. Presidential historian Michael Beschloss told NBC News that the only other time he remembers
20 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017
Credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead
President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron walk past an honor guard during Trump’s July visit to France, where he told first lady Brigitte Macron, “You’re in such good shape,” a compliment that made many observers cringe.
He’s being so direct. It’s offending other people…. The world sees all this and then they think, ‘Oh my gosh. What’s going on in the administration?’ Pamela Eyring president of the Protocol School of Washington
a U.S. president leaving translation to a Russian was when Richard Nixon met with Leonid Brezhnev in 1972. More recently, Trump lobbed a volley of threats at Kim Jong-un reminiscent of the fire-and-brimstone hyperbole for which the North Korean dictator is frequently mocked. After a series of missile tests that raised fears about Pyongyang’s rapidly expanding nuclear weapons program, Trump warned he would rain down “fire and fury” on North Korea and later doubled down by bragging that the U.S. was “locked and loaded” for battle. The comments apparently weren’t cleared by Trump’s national security staff and sent top officials scrambling to tone down the rhetoric. Experts worry that empty, bellicose threats only make the president look weak, not strong. Already, there are reports that Pentagon officials and other top advisors have begun ignoring the noise emanating from the Oval Office, whether it’s Trump’s declarations on North Korea or his musings about invading Venezuela.
Constant Tweetstorm And we haven’t even gotten to the tweets, which are often factually wrong, grammatically frightening and make Trump appear more prepubescent than presidential. Some outsiders have been chagrined by the limited, colorful vocabulary in these 140-character missives — when was the last time anyone heard a U.S. president say “super-duper?” On a less humorous note, Trump’s tweets often create manufactured crises (whether it’s inflated inaugural crowd sizes or nonexistent White House wiretapping) that distract from his agenda or, as is the case with his shifting story on Russia, land him in legal jeopardy. And because Trump has said his tweets carry the weight of the presidency, diplomats and others are forced to take every word seriously. Even tweets that seem benign to many Americans still carry the power to affront and anger foreigners who are accustomed to more diplomatic restraint, such as the one Trump aimed at German
Chancellor Angela Merkel in May: “We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay FAR LESS than they should on NATO & military. Very bad for U.S. This will change.” On its surface, Trump’s tweet drew cheers from Americans who want to see numbers even out, but an incendiary tweet can burn bridges. For instance, should the United States want to increase NATO’s troop presence in Afghanistan, Germany, a longtime U.S. ally, may not be so willing to support the effort. Merkel responded to Trump’s tweet by saying, “The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over.” The reply, while tame by Trump standards, showed the potential for the president’s words to alienate even America’s closest allies. In a July 2 article, The Washington Post documented just how extraordinary Trump’s tweets are compared to other heads of state, who use social media to trumpet sanitized statements such as “We are truly blessed to live in this great country” (Canada’s Justin Trudeau) and “I send my warmest good wishes to Muslims in the UK and around the world celebrating the festival of Eid al-Fitr (Britain’s Theresa May). Trump’s supporters say his blunt talk cuts through the stilted social media bromides that most of the world tunes out. But critics say the president misses every opportunity to be presidential, thanks in part to his self-destructive tweeting See Pr oto c ol • page 22
Medical | WD
Catching Cancer Early Can a Blood Test Detect a Range of Cancers Before They Become Fatal? by Dennis Thompson
Researchers move ‘a step forward,’ assessing DNA fragments for colon, breast, ovarian and lung tumors
new genetic blood test might pave the way for detecting early stage cancers that often prove fatal when caught too late, a new study suggests. The test scans blood for DNA fragments released by cancerous tumors, explained lead researcher Dr. Victor Velculescu. By reviewing these DNA fragments for mutations found in 58 “cancer-driver” genes, the blood test detects many early stage cancers without rendering false positives for healthy people, said Velculescu, co-director of cancer biology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore, Md. The test detected stage 1 or 2 colon, breast, lung or ovarian cancers between 59 percent and 71 percent of the time when assessing 200 patients previously diagnosed with cancer, researchers found. “If we are able to detect cancer earlier, our chances of saving lives would be much higher,” Velculescu said. “The survival difference between late-stage and early-stage disease in these cancers accounts for over a million lives worldwide each year.” The test also proved capable of screening out cancer-free people. Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, called this “important research” that “moves us one step further down the path to developing a blood test that might find cancer earlier.” The ability to catch early-stage “We still need to improve the ovarian cancer is particularly sensitivity, but this is a step forneeded, Lichtenfeld said. Fewer ward. It is a proof of concept,” than one in five ovarian cancers Lichtenfeld said. “It is not a test are caught early, when the fivethat’s going to be available in year survival rate is greater than a clinical laboratory any time 90 percent. Most are detected soon.” after they’ve spread, and by then To develop a genetic blood test the odds of five-year survival are for cancer, researchers must find 40 percent or less, he said. ways to spot DNA mutations “Finding any marker in a linked to cancer while ignoring stage 1 ovarian cancer patient is natural and harmless mutations very important, because this is that regularly occur in humans, a tumor that usually presents at Velculescu explained. a much later stage,” Lichtenfeld Velculescu and his team desaid. veloped a genetic scan that esThe researchers also directly sentially “takes a fragment here tested cancerous tissue removed and a fragment there and uses from half of the 200 cancer paDr. Victor Velculescu it to create a picture of what the tients. They found that 82 percent co-director of cancer biology tumor DNA looks like,” Lichtenof the tumors contained mutaat the Johns Hopkins Kimmel feld said. “That’s what makes it tions that correlated with DNA Cancer Center so elegant.” fragments found in the person’s The research team assembled blood. a panel of 58 cancer-linked genes, and used their To check the blood test’s ability to weed out scan to look for tumor DNA fragments in the healthy people, the researchers also analyzed blood of 200 people known to have cancer. blood from 44 volunteers without cancer. No false Overall, researchers detected about 62 percent positives occurred. of stage 1 and 2 cancers. That equates to less than one false positive for The test specifically spotted early-stage colon more than 3.5 million letters of DNA sequenced, cancer 71 percent of the time, breast and lung can- since each separate test requires assessment of cer 59 percent of the time, and ovarian cancer 68 80,000 DNA base pairs associated with the 58percent of the time. gene screening panel, Velculescu said.
The survival difference between latestage and earlystage disease in these cancers accounts for over a million lives worldwide each year.
Photo: Antonio Corigliano / Pixabay
Despite these promising results, researchers need to validate the blood test in larger studies, Velculescu said. More work also needs to be done to improve the detection rate, Lichtenfeld added. “These tests were not able to detect 100 percent of the cancers,” he said.
LEARN MORE: For more on the genetics of cancer, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute at www.cancer.gov/ about-cancer/causes-prevention/genetics. Finally, cancer doctors must discuss what will be done when technology evolves to the point that such tests regularly find tumors that aren’t lifethreatening, Lichtenfeld said. In some cases, treatment to remove the cancer could be worse than leaving it alone. “What’s going to be so important is to be able to distinguish cancers that will hurt people versus cancers that may not have long-term impact on survival,” Lichtenfeld said. The report appears in the Aug. 16 issue of the W journal Science Translational Medicine. D Dennis Thompson is a HealthDay reporter. Copyright © 2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017 | 21
Cuba cONTiNuEd • PAgE 19
Carnival’s Paradise,” Israel added. “Later in the fall, Holland America will also go to Cuba. All the products we are selling are in strict adherence to the letter and spirit of what people-to-people travel is.” Meanwhile, says Alzugaray, “the hardliners here in Cuba are more than happy to have Trump and not Hillary in the White House. Obama made them uncomfortable because he was a ‘good imperialist.’ For them, it’s better to have a clearly bad imperialist.” Alzugaray, 74, served at Cuban diplomatic missions in Addis Ababa, Brussels and Montreal before becoming an independent political analyst and a self-described “old wise guy.” He insisted Cuba won’t dump its socialist system under pressure from Washington — regardless of what Trump threatens or does. “What’s up for grabs is the pace of reform. There is a struggle. Our economic situation is not very good, and it’s complicated by Venezuela,” he told us. “But Cuba is not going to change anything under pressure, or as part of a deal. Those things are our sovereign decision.” But people whose livelihoods depend on tourism are clearly concerned. “The U.S. has again put restrictions on travel, so we don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Orestes Larios,
who runs an art gallery in downtown Camagüey, Cuba’s third-largest city. “Only groups can come, not independent travelers, so it’s going to be a lot more difficult now.” Christopher Baker, a travel journalist, tour leader and Cuba expert, said that Trump’s new policies, which have not taken effect yet, actually cut both ways. “Group travel operators should benefit, as the potential business siphoned off by independent travel this past year will no longer have that capacity,” he explained. “However, many companies will have to rethink their itineraries to avoid Gaviota hotels,” he added, referring to hotels belonging to Gaviota, an arm of GAESA, which is controlled by the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces. “However, since individuals will no longer be permitted to travel outside a P2P group travel, for which all U.S. citizens qualify, trip operators will need to also fly groups in and out of Cuba together,” Baker noted. “But the overall effect will no doubt be a large reduction in the overall number of U.S. visitors, and airlines will scale back their service accordingly. Cruise companies should be unaffected, although they may need to tighten up their onshore programs to adhere to the P2P regulations.” Rabbi Sunny Schnitzer of Maryland’s Bethesda Jewish Congregation has been to Cuba 17 times since his first humanitarian visit there in December 2003. In an ironic way, he says the new regulations will help him fill future group trips to Cuba because they pro-
hibit individual travel by Americans to Cuba — unless they fit into one of the approved categories. “That’s good for me, because it means more donations for the Jewish community since people have to go as a group,” said Schnitzer, president of the nonprofit Cuba America Jewish Mission. “The bad part is, if you’re taking a group of 20 or 30 people, you can’t stay in 16 different casas particulares. You have to stay in hotels, and that takes money from small businesses and the new Cuban middle-class economy. That was the whole idea, and that’s all shut down now.” He added that Trump’s new travel policy won’t really hurt the Castro regime, because “GAESA, the military wing that runs all big hotels like the Nacional and the Presidente, is already spinning them off from military control to a separate agency.” No one knows how long the embattled Trump will remain in office, or if and when the White House might again decide to shift course on its current Cuba policy. “What I hope for is that it doesn’t last long, because the liberalized policy was good for Cubans,” said Schnitzer. “This only hurts the small people. The government still gets what they want and need. Most Cubans are poor, and this was a ray of hope.” WD Larry Luxner is the Tel Aviv-based news editor of The Washington Diplomat and former publisher of CubaNews. He spent six days in Cuba on a reporting trip in early July.
An American flag flies outside the u.S. Embassy in havana.
Protocol cONTiNuEd • PAgE 20
habit. After bloody clashes broke out between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va., in August, the president’s failure to call out the KKK, neo-Nazis and alt-right groups drew widespread criticism. After blaming “many sides” for the rioting, it took Trump two days to specifically denounce racism. He was quicker to attack the African American head of Merck Pharmaceuticals, who resigned from the president’s American Manufacturing Council following the violence, than he was in condemning the hate groups behind the rally. “I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement,” Trump said in his defense. Yet this newfound judiciousness was all the more curious given Trump’s rapid-fire penchant for tweeting 140-character observations on everything from “Morning Joe” host Mika Brzezinski’s “bleeding” cosmetic surgery to attacks on his own staff or fellow Republicans in Congress (the same ones he’ll need to pass legislation). In fact, the very same day that he urged caution before criticizing hate groups, Trump had to take down a tweet showing a train running over a CNN reporter. (The following day, he repeated his assertion that “both sides” were responsible for the violence, reigniting the firestorm his aides had hoped to quell.) “Half his tweets show utter weakness. They are plaintive, shrill little cries, usually just after dawn,” wrote the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan in a scathing July op-ed. “The president’s primary problem as a leader is not that he is impetuous, brash or naive. It’s not that he is inexperienced, crude, an outsider. It is that he is weak and sniveling.
PhOTO: lARRy luxNER
cREdiT: OfficiAl whiTE hOuSE PhOTO By ANdREA hANKS
Sen. Tom cotton (R-Ark.), left, and Sen. david Perdue (R-ga.), right, flank President Trump as he announces his support for a bill to roll back legal immigration to the u.S. on Aug. 2.
It is that he undermines himself almost daily by ignoring traditional norms and forms of American masculinity.” Yet Trump also won the election by ignoring those norms. While his poll numbers have sagged, Trump’s base still relishes a fight, whether it’s with the #fakenews or global elite. Trump also pioneered the notion that any press is good press. The former reality TV star has shrewdly used social media to commandeer the news cycle, with the media salivating over every tweet. Trump’s instincts have helped him defy not only convention, but also predictions. Despite the near-certainty among pundits and pollsters that Trump’s blunt talk would appall voters, the billionaire still wound up in the White House. Whether he succeeds there is another matter. But today, without question, Trump’s way of speaking is the most distinct of any U.S. president. To his fans, he is a straight shooter who eschews formal diplospeak in favor of relating to the masses. To his critics, his unfiltered thoughts are unintelligible and childish at best, dangerous and dishonest at worst. Either way, the president has tossed out the traditional protocol playbook in favor of uncharted diplomatic terrain.
22 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMBER 2017
Merriam-Webster defines “protocol” as “a code prescribing strict adherence to correct etiquette and precedence (as in diplomatic exchange and in the military services).” It evolved out of the tradition of treating visitors with hospitality and has grown to play an important role in brokering communications among world leaders. That’s why the recent string of breaches puts the United States and its foreign relations in a precarious position. One reason for Trump’s missteps may simply be his inexperience. “President Trump doesn’t have any government or military experience,” said Pamela Eyring, president of the Protocol School of Washington. “I think that’s a disadvantage for him, because as you know, he’s very much a businessman, a CEO…. He didn’t know these types of protocol, what I consider government and diplomatic protocol.” Additionally, every president goes through a learning curve when it comes to protocol. “Very rarely does anyone enter the position knowing the chapter and verse,” said Leslie Lautenslager, president of Protocol and Diplomacy International - Protocol Officers Association and former assistant chief of protocol and special assistant to the secretary of state. She cited President George H.W. Bush as an exception because he’d been exposed to protocol as vice president under President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s and as CIA director in the late 1970s, among other top-ranking positions. Shortly after President Barack Obama took the oath of office, for instance, his wife, Michelle, put her arm around England’s Queen Elizabeth II even though touching the queen is off limits. To be fair, the queen also wrapped her arm around the then-first lady. This kind of protocol breach is OK, Lautenslager said. “It was not meant as an insult,
it was not meant for anything to be inappropriate,” she said. “It was genuinely the warmth that she was showing somebody that she had a rapport with on that occasion, but it was a breach of protocol so to speak in that ‘thou shalt not touch the queen.’ But you come into the position and you don’t necessarily instinctively know that.” Another reason for Trump’s mistakes may be that the chair in the Office of the Chief of Protocol at the State Department has sat empty since Jan. 20. In July, he appointed Michael Karloutsos acting chief of protocol with the mission of “creating an environment for successful diplomacy,” according to the office’s website. Meanwhile, the Obama political appointees, including former Protocol Chief Peter Selfridge, have departed, along with a cadre of career professionals who have retired or changed jobs. However, that doesn’t mean the Trump administration has not been without protocol guidance, Lautenslager said. “Just because we don’t have a chief of protocol in place does not mean we don’t have a very vibrant, very dedicated, very professional staff of protocol officers,” she said. Presidents often take several months or longer to name their protocol chiefs in the face of more urgent priorities. The office also has career employees whose jobs don’t rely on appointments, Eyring noted. “When he’s traveling abroad, don’t think no one’s advised him on the protocol,” she said of the president. “Like any head of state, they sometimes do what you tell them they should do and sometimes they don’t.”
‘gREASE, gluE ANd wAllPAPER’ “My ideal way of describing people in protocol is three words: grease, glue and SEE Pr OT Oc OL • PAgE 45
Education a Special Section of The Washington Diplomat
phoToS: © Rodney RaSCona 2017
WiSci Summer Camp Brings Girls to Malawi to Break Down Barriers •
by TeRi WeST
nearly 100 high school-age girls from the u.S. and several african nations attended WiSci girls STeaM Camp at the Malawi university of Science and Technology this august as part of a public-private partnership that empowers girls interested in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STeaM).
edeat Gebeyehu grew up in Ethiopia where her parents spent most of their savings so that their children could attend the best schools they could afford. Her dedication to learning landed her a scholarship at a highly selective academy in South Africa and has now brought her all the way to California, where she attends Stanford University. A much briefer but no less memorable educational opportunity was sandwiched in between these monumental achievements, when she was selected to attend WiSci Girls STEAM Camp in 2015 in Rwanda. It was less than a month long and still in its pilot year, but it allowed Gebeyehu to work with international leaders in STEM, build a robot car and meet young women from around the world with big dreams like her. WiSci (women in science), a summer camp that empowers girls interested in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM), recently wrapped up its third consecutive year, this time
hosting nearly 100 high school-age girls from the U.S. and several African nations at the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) in the Southern African nation. “I have always advocated for women empowerment in countries like mine, where a combination of extreme poverty and deep biases against girls creates a remorseless cycle of discriminations that keeps girls from living up to their full potential,” Gebeyehu wrote to See Wi S c i c a mp • page 24
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMbEr 2017 | 23
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WiSci Camp ConTinued • page 23
The Diplomat. “WiSci was a confirmation that education is the tool that can help break the pattern of gender discrimination.”
WiSCi CoRe VaLueS WiSci is just like any other summer camp. Groups of 10 are split off with different counselors, friendships are formed in dorms late at night — except that the girls hail from seven different countries, six of which are developing African nations — and they spend their days working with global leaders in STEM. It’s a partnership between groups from the public, private and nonprofit sectors that intends to empower a demographic that is often told that STEM careers aren’t for them. The initiative is led by the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign, the U.S. State Department and Intel Corp., who are the founding partners, along with sustaining partner Google. NASA, the nonprofit World Learning and other groups contribute as well. Nearly all the costs are covered, and days are packed with a combination of hands-on lessons taught by representatives of partner groups and counselor-led leadership training. Campers learn about coding and app development, engineering and robotics, microand molecular biology, satellite mapping and sustainable development. During the final portion of the camp, the girls are divided into groups of four and tasked with creating a project that uses a skill they learned at WiSci to address a social issue or development challenge in their home community. Gebeyehu’s team thought up a “hightech dustbin” to attack pollution.
WiSci was piloted in 2015 in Rwanda followed by Peru in 2016. This year, youth in Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Liberia, Tanzania, Zambia and the U.S. were eligible to apply, and 1,200 did. “We’re looking for the girl who has an interest in STEM but maybe those classes aren’t offered at a higher level at her school or maybe she’s not able to go to the afterschool club because she needs to start her job when she leaves high school in the afternoon,” said Bailey Leuschen, an officer of the U.N. Foundation’s Girl Up campaign. “That was the camper that we were targeting that … this would be the experience of a lifetime for.” The program also connects the girls with mentors who can continue to guide them once the camp is over. Representatives are available for office hours so that the girls can visit in their free time and develop relationships. Gabriela González, deputy director of the greater Americas region at Intel, one of WiSci’s corporate implementers, has attended WiSci all three years. As a role model for the campers, she doesn’t simply want be an example, but also tries to connect with each participant on an individual level. She feels deeply invested in all of the girls and in her company’s commitment to social responsibility. “The projects that they put together are literally just outstanding,” she said. “They are, for lack of a better word, visionary in their sense of community and responsibility as a citizen of the global community and also as girls. Girls who have power. Girls who see themselves as not just a second-class citizen but as women who can be the bosses at big corporations, the women that can go and start their own companies, the women that are going to lead their country to the next century.”
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I have always advocated for women empowerment in countries like mine, where a combination of extreme poverty and deep biases against girls creates a remorseless cycle of discriminations that keeps girls from living up to their full potential.
student at Stanford University and alumna of the 2015 WiSci Girls STEAM Camp in Rwanda
ability of female students graduating with a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree in a science-related field is 18 percent, 8 percent At the 2017 WiSci Girls STEAM Camp in Malawi, campers learned about coding and app development, and 2 percent, respectively, while the percentages for male students engineering and robotics, micro- and molecular biology, satellite mapping and sustainable development. are 37 percent, 18 percent and 6 percent. Girls in developing countries have the added obstacle of obtainthat this wasn’t the path for her, said Penny Rheingans, director of the Center ing an education in the first place. In 2015, approximately 89 million for Women in Technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County youth over the age of 11 in sub-Sahara Africa did not attend school, according (UMBC). to the World Bank. Geographical inaccessibility of schools, especially for youth That’s true in both developed and developing nations. In one Girl Up discus- living in rural areas, as well as school fees and gender discrimination contribute sion at WiSci, many girls spoke about being discouraged from pursuing STEM to this long-running challenge. as young children, Leuschen said. “That manifests in child marriage and families with limited resources choosSTEM education is fairly gender balanced in U.S. elementary schools. In ing to send their sons to school and not their daughters,” Leuschen said. middle school, however, society’s traditional concepts of gender roles begin Once women do enter professional positions in technology, they often concreeping in, dissuading girls from pursing science and technology while steer- tinue to be marginalized by a male-dominated culture, colloquially referred to ing them toward subjects more commonly associated with women, namely the as “brogramming.” humanities and social sciences. From there the split only deepens, continuing “It’s sort of a locker room culture, and that can be a very uncomfortable culthrough university studies and the careers that follow. ture for women,” Rheingans said. Women are well represented in the life sciences. They earned more than 58 Companies are increasingly fostering diversity initiatives. Google, for exampercent of U.S. bachelor degrees in the biosciences in 2014, according to the ple, has employees instruct classes at historically black colleges and universities, National Science Foundation. That same year, however, they made up only 19.8 encouraging participation in computer science and providing a potential pipepercent of bachelor degrees in engineering and 18.1 percent of those in com- line into positions at the company. puter science. Girls Up cites one study conducted in 14 countries showing that the probSee W iS c i Camp • page 26 Photo: © Rodney Rascona 2017
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WiSci Camp Continued • page 25
Mulanje and brought them to a tea plantation to learn about the local industry. They also visited Green Malata, an organization that provides vocational training for young locals to equip them with marketable skills, including courses in renewable energy and information technology. “It really complemented the hard skills that the girls were learning in the classroom and really allowed them to see firsthand how STEAM projects can affect real lives,” camp director Jessica Ellerbach of World Learning said. Throughout the two weeks, the girls bonded deeply, whether they were from a rural town in the U.S. or an African village with little internet access. Some of the AmeriPhoto: © Rodney Rascona 2017 can participants were of African er struggled to raise her alone, having her attend a free public school and later placing her in an orphanage. descent and had the opportunity to discuss their culture with their African peers. Despite the circumstances, Chipeta thrived. An astronaut, the U.S. ambassador to Malawi and “I became the president of my class,” she said. “Donors from the United States would come and visit, women leaders in Africa’s tech industry came and and one day one of the donors was interested in my spoke. Malawi’s first lady was at the camp’s closing talent and gave me a scholarship to learn at Mzuzu ceremony. “I don’t think anyone really knows what Malawi (or International Academy.” She described her fellow WiSci campers as fam- Africa for that matter) is going to be like until they get ily. One day she hopes to be able to give back to her here,” Kansas City’s Ruby Rios, 17, wrote in a Girl Up orphanage and support other girls who can’t afford blog. “There are so many stereotypes and ideas about what people and the scenery are like that it was difschool. She wants to make her mother proud. Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries and ficult for me to know what I was walking into until I stepped off the plane.” has been severely impacted by the AIDS epidemic. She learned about the similarities and differences Indications of progress are small but happening, such as an increase in the legal age of marriage from between her and her African peers through conversa15 to 18 last February. Considered the “warm heart of tions and close friendships with girls in her cohort. Africa,” WiSci has found the country and campus to She learned that some girls have to travel hours to get to school every day and that many can also sing along be a welcoming host. The counselors led the girls on a hike at Mount to Ed Sheeran tunes word for word just like her.
The Southern African nation of Malawi, often described as the “warm heart of Africa,” hosted the third edition of the WiSci Girls STEAM Camp.
But as evidenced by the sexist memo that circulated around the company’s headquarters in early August, such initiatives aren’t without pushback. James Damore, at the time a Google software engineer, sent out a manifesto suggesting that underrepresentation of women in technology is because “abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes” and that diversity initiatives at tech companies are therefore discriminatory. The controversy exposed the larger problem of sexism in Silicon Valley, as a spate of harassment and discrimination complaints emerged against venture capitalists and tech giants such as Uber, Microsoft, Tesla and others. Like many other industries where leadership positions are dominated by white men, as they have been for decades, women and people of color often struggle to be taken legitimately. Meanwhile, far off in Malawi, 98 girls were too preoccupied by days packed with projects to concern themselves with Damore’s grievances.
‘Warm Heart of Africa’ One of this year’s campers is Promise Chipeta, a 15-year-old from Malawi who is interested in creating cosmetics and learning about entrepreneurship. “I will use this time wisely,” she wrote on the Girl Up blog about her two weeks at WiSci. “I want the world to know that I am an intelligent girl.” Chipeta’s father died when she was 6, and her moth-
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Looking Ahead There isn’t a single solution to remedying the underrepresentation of women in tech. It’s smaller initiatives that elevate individual girls and women that will eventually add up to significant progress, Rheingans said. Programs like WiSci are just one example. The center that Rheingans directs at UMBC is another. The university’s Center for Women in Technology (CWIT) provides students with an empowering and supportive community as they pursue degrees in technology. They participate in seminars, mentorship sessions and networking events and live in dorms with their peers. While the majority of CWIT participants are women, it is not gender exclusive, with the belief that males can be allies who will advocate for women once they are seated in the technology industry. Some students choose UMBC over bigger-name universities just because of CWIT, Rheingans said. Another sign of progress is a new computer science Advanced Placement course intended to attract high school students who are underrepresented in technology. The curriculum incorporates applications of the material rather than simply instruction on how to code. When the exam was offered for the first time last May, female participation in AP computer science was up 135 percent, according to Code.org. As for the future of WiSci, a representative of the State Department’s Office of Global Partnerships said that the prospects of Congress approving two more years of
Photo: © Rodney Rascona 2017
funding for the government’s contribution to the program look promising and that female empowerment is a fairly bipartisan issue. Every year, the camp leaves a group of young women equipped with the foundation they need to enter a world where the glass ceiling remains stubbornly high. At Stanford, Gebeyehu has found her most challenging academic trial yet, as she tackles rigorous coursework in a new country, but she said it has been a supportive institution and a great place to learn. She studies human biology and African studies and hopes to enhance medical systems in the developing world and empower women in sub-Sahara Africa. How did WiSci change her? “I feel a sense of mission in creating a change,” she said. And that’s just one camper’s story. WD Teri West is an editorial intern for The Washington Diplomat.
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THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | september 2017 | 27
WD | Education | Cultures
Japanese Bonds JET Program Celebrates 30 Years of Cross-Cultural Exchange •
by Morgan Caplan
cross-cultural exchange allows for a better understanding of foreign cultures through education and immersion. For 30 years, the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) has been able to achieve just that by bringing in more than 60,000 foreigners — including 32,000 Americans — to live, work and teach in schools and government offices throughout Japan.
Photo: Embassy of Japan
To mark the 30th anniversary of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET), over 250 alumni came to D.C. in August for a three-day celebration.
What began as an English fellows program in Japan’s Ministry of Education in the 1980s evolved into an expansive effort to bring foreigners from 40 nations to work in Japanese cities, towns and villages, helping Japan foster stronger and more resilient relations with countries worldwide. “JET participants have brought the outside world to schools and communities all over Japan and have touched the lives of millions of people,” former Japanese Ambassador to Peru Masahiro Fukukawa said in an email to The Diplomat. To mark the program’s anniversary, over 250 JET alumni came to D.C. in
28 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | September 2017
August for a three-day celebration that included a reception at the Japanese Residence. At the reunion, 46 of the 47 Japanese prefectures were represented, and attendees spanned every year of the program since 1987. “Since 1987, JET has been the premier people-to-people program between the United States and Japan,” said William F. Hagerty IV, the recently arrived U.S. ambassador to Japan, in a statement. “Nearly 32,000 American JET program participants have contributed tremendously to strengthening the U.S.-Japan relationship, which is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said. “JET alumni have in-
tegrated into communities, promoted language education, and gained valuable skills and cultural insights through grassroots exchange.” “The positive feeling that this grassroots exchange fosters between community members and JET participants is an important element of the friendship and cooperation that exists between Japan and the United States,” Fukukawa added. With its global reach, the JET Program is one of Japan’s most recognized cultural ambassadors. Participants immerse themselves in Japanese culture while gaining tangible skills in areas such as public speaking and team management,
JET participants have brought the outside world to schools and communities all over Japan and have touched the lives of millions of people.
former ambassador of Japan to Peru
said Fukukawa, now an advisor for the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR), which partners with JET. Through this program, participants serve in public and private schools across Japan as assistant language teachers, helping students learn English; some also work as interpreters and translators. The program is highly competitive. Typically, 4,000 to 5,000 applicants apply from the U.S. and approximately 1,000 are selected. Contracts last one year, with participants working roughly 35 hours a week. the contract is up, additional to and NOTE: Although every effortAft is er made to assure yourmany ad isstay freeforofan mistakes in two spelling three years, although participants are limited to a maximum stay of content itfive is years. ultimately up to the customer to make the final proof. Fukukawa noted that many participants choose to extend phoTo: eMbaSSy of Japan their initial one-year contracts, especially after they’ve made connecThe first two faxed changes will be made nocommunities. cost to the advertiser, subsequent changes tions within their local at host “JeT participants have brought the outside world to schools and communities all over Japan and will be billed at a rateOnce of $75 per faxedcomplete alteration. ads are considered participants theirSigned term, Fukukawa focuses on fiapproved. nd- have touched the lives of millions of people,” says former Japanese ambassador to peru Masahiro ing employment for those who decide to remain in Japan. His efforts fukukawa, now an advisor for the Council of Local authorities for international Relations, which career fairs andany facilitating internship opportuni- partners with the Japan exchange and Teaching program (JeT). Pleaseinclude check developing this ad carefully. Mark changes to your ad. ties. “Thfax ere to: are(301) always949-0065 more internationalneeds citizens who want to par- out new recruits. In his overseas trips, he asks Japanese embassies, If the ad is correct sign and changes ticipate than there are open positions,” he said. “The five-year limit consulates and JETAA alumni chapters to spread the word about the allows new participants to come have their own unique experiences program. The Washington Diplomat 933-3552 and broaden(301) the exposure of Japanese communities to citizens and “JET participants receive a once-in-a-lifetime chance to immerse cultures of the world.” themselves in a local Japanese community,” Fukukawa said. “They “As a Pakistani American, my students never knew that someone learn to approach challenges from new directions and step up as leadApproved __________________________________________________________ could be from 2 places,” said Saad, a JET alum who worked in Ka- ers and independent people.” WD Changes ___________________________________________________________ gawa for two years, on the group’s website. “When I joined the com___________________________________________________________________ munity in my prefecture, I was ‘adopted’ by two Japanese moms. My Morgan Caplan is an editorial intern for The Washington Diplomat. ‘J-Moms’ came to visit my family in Michigan. The experience came full circle.” Alumni of the government-sponsored program return with Japanese language skills that they often use in their work, particularly with international organizations. Alumni have worked in places such as the U.S. State Department, American universities, businesses and nonprofits. Alumni are also critical to the program’s success and appeal. In the U.S. alone, there are 19 JET Alumni Association (JETAA) chapters. Worldwide, tens of thousands of alumni form an extensive network that helps participants pursue their career paths. “Alumni are found in diverse fields from business and diplomacy to fine arts and journalism, where they have had both direct and indirect impacts on the U.S.-Japan relationship,” said USJETAA Executive Director Laurel Lukaszewski. “Their efforts certainly contribute to strengthening the friendship between Japan and the United States,” Fukukawa said. DISCOVER THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF! JET continues to grow and attract a robust group of applicants. FuSt. Timothy’s School is a girls boarding and day school kukawa said he’s seen demand go up, especially with the 2020 Tokyo located in Stevenson, Maryland. The school Olympic Games. This year specifically, the program has become so popular that approximately 5,200 people will join from 46 countries offers the world-renowned International Baccalaureate — that’s 200 more than last year. Diploma Program (dp) for grades 11 and 12 Fukukawa joined CLAIR as an executive consultant in 2014. With and Middle Years Program (myp) for grades 9 and 10. his background as a former ambassador, Fukukawa works to seek
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Brilliant Gem A decadent exhibition that revels in sparkle and shimmer showcases the impressive jewelry amassed by Marjorie Merriweather Post, the 20thcentury cereal heiress and renowned art collector who chose gems and jewelry with the same care she did art. / PAGE 33
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Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has suffered beatings, persecution and imprisonment. So his decision to portray fellow human rights activists as lifeless Lego portraits spread across the floor at the Hirshhorn Museum feels like an unintended insult rather than an honor for these courageous men and women who have risked their lives across the world. / PAGE 32
Dance Dana-Style Dana Tai Soon Burgess, the Smithsonian’s first choreographer-in-residence at the National Portrait Gallery, uses movement to explore the psychological impact of war on soldiers. / PAGE 34
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Ai Weiwei’s 2014 “Trace” installation is seen on display at San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island.
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WD | Culture | Art
No ‘Trace’ of Reason Ai Weiwei’s Lego Portraits of Human Rights Activists Lack Dignity or Soul •
BY BRENDAN L. SMITH
Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn THROUGH JAN. 1, 2018 HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN INDEPENDENCE AVENUE AND 7TH STREET, SW
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n the Hirshhorn Museum, lifeless Lego portraits of 176 human rights activists have been spread across the floor in a misguided exhibition that feels like an unintended insult rather than an honor for these courageous men and women who have risked their lives across the world. Chinese artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei has suffered beatings, government surveillance and imprisonment by the Chinese government, so his demeaning portrayal of fellow activists who have faced similar persecution is mystifying. In an ironic twist, Ai’s rapid ascent in the fickle art world has occurred largely because of the persecution he has faced, which has provided an imprimatur about the relevance of his artwork that is sometimes undeserved. Ai was imprisoned for 81 days in China in 2011 on bogus charges, and he was banned from traveling abroad until 2014, so he missed his first major exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum in 2012, which offered a compelling mix of sculpture and installations. His current exhibition titled “Ai Weiwei: Trace at Hirshhorn” is a retread of the least intriguing work from Ai’s 2014 exhibition at the infamous Alcatraz federal prison that is now a major tourist attraction in San Francisco. The Lego portraits were planned by Ai and constructed by dozens of assistants at Alcatraz Island during his ban from international travel. With autocrats and dictators wreaking havoc and raining bloodshed across the world today, art that personifies the struggle for human rights is vital, but this exhibition doesn’t deliver that message with any heart or soul. The Lego portraits are complemented by two graphic wallpapers. Together, the massive installation spans 700 feet around the entirety of the museum’s secondfloor galleries, taking advantage of the building’s unique circular architecture. Some of the Lego portraits depict famous activists, such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Edward Snowden, while others aren’t well-known, including imprisoned Bahraini activist Naji Fateel. In a significant oversight, less than 10 percent of the featured activists are women. Many people have fond childhood memories playing with Legos, those idyllic afternoons spent building castles with moats or planets populated by aliens and robots. But using a child’s toy to depict persecuted human rights activists is insensitive and ineffective. The static, boxy portraits look like low-resolution pixelated images because Ai wanted them to resemble surveillance photos, but their humanity also has been erased. The portraits vaguely resemble these courageous activists, but their soulless images and vacant stares don’t stir any empathy or outrage. They are just disembodied plastic faces cast onto the floor. The activists are identified only by their names in the portraits, and a video screen in the corner of each gallery provides paltry information, listing little more than their home country, criminal charges and prison sentences. We learn nothing about their daily lives, their struggles or any successes gleaned from their tireless efforts. In a video at the end of the exhibition, Ai said he chose Legos because they represent a simple language that is recognizable to everyone. While the planning took some time, he said the Lego portraits are “very, very easy and clear, and you almost cannot make a mistake.” Creating the Lego version of paint-by-numbers portraits may be very easy, but it clearly was a mistake in this case. The floor also is a demeaning place to feature activists who have sacrificed their lives or freedom. Viewers must literally look down on these men and women who have become a bumpy carpet that is in constant danger of being trampled on. Many Muslim activists are depicted and placing their images on the floor adds another layer
32 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMbEr 2017
PHOTO: CATHY CARVER
“Trace,” an installation at the Hirshhorn by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, at left, depicts iconic human rights figures as Legos sprawled across the floor.
of insult. In the Arab and Muslim world, shoes are considered unclean and showing the sole of your shoe to someone, even by casually crossing your legs, is an insult. Muslims remove their shoes before entering a mosque in a sign of respect and deference. So why would Ai think the floor was a proper place to feature Muslim activists who have suffered torture and imprisonment? It displays a stunning level of ignorance PHOTO: COURTESY OF AI WEIWEI STUDIO or indifference, even if it was unintended. At the entrance to the exhibition, an ornate gold-colored wallpaper features interlocking images of handcuffs, surveillance cameras and the bird logo for Twitter, which is banned in China but used by Ai and other activists to reach a worldwide audience. The Hirshhorn proclaimed Ai had created a new wallpaper specifically for this exhibition that wraps around all of the galleries, but it’s just a black-and-white version of the gold wallpaper that has been shown before at other museums. Any power contained in the wallpaper’s free speech message is undermined by seeing the same golden design featured on socks, scarves and travel cups for sale in the museum gift shop. Capitalism has co-opted protest. PHOTO: CATHY CARVER Ai’s work has always depended more on stunt and spectacle than contemplation, including photos of himself breaking ancient Chinese vases or flipping off the White House and other institutions of power. But he sometimes hits one note, such as the dangers of surveillance, so many times in different exhibitions that it fails to resonate. Ai is a courageous and outspoken figure who speaks truth to power in a repressive society, and his contributions as an activist ultimately may be as important as his artwork. The Hirshhorn has staged some excellent exhibitions this year, including the blockbuster Yayoi Kusama exhibition that illustrated the depth of her work beyond the wildly popular Infinity Mirror rooms. That exhibition ran for three months, but the Hirshhorn has unfortunately hopped onto the art world bandwagon by devoting six months and an entire floor to this Ai exhibition, sacrificing half a year and an enormous amount of prime artistic real estate that could have been better used by many other artists. WD Brendan L. Smith (www.brendanlsmith.com) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat and a mixed-media artist in Washington, D.C.
Jewelry | Culture | WD
Dazzling Display Hillwood Showcases Marjorie Merriweather Post’s ‘Spectacular Gems and Jewelry’ •
BY MACKENZIE WEINGER
Spectacular Gems and Jewelry from the Merriweather Post Collection THROUGH JAN. 1, 2018 HILLWOOD ESTATE, MUSEUM AND GARDENS 4155 LINNEAN AVE., NW
(202) 686-5807 | WWW.HILLWOODMUSEUM.ORG
decadent exhibition that revels in sparkle and shimmer showcases the impressive jewelry amassed by Marjorie Merriweather Post, the 20thcentury cereal heiress and renowned art collector with a fascinating diplomatic connection. Post’s third husband Joseph Davies served as U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union during the late 1930s in the run-up to World War II, and her experience living there spurred her deep, passionate interest in collecting pre-revolutionary Russian art. “Spectacular Gems and Jewelry from the Merriweather Post Collection,” an exhibition highlighting her interest in and eye for jewelry, will be on display at Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens through Jan. 1, 2018. While Post’s status as a collector of imperial Russian and 18thcentury French art is widely celebrated, her position as one of the greatest jewelry collectors of the 20th century is less so. As a wealthy jewelry connoisseur, she acquired beautiful pieces of both historic importance and contemporary fashion. As the exhibition details, Post was not merely interested in sporting the latest baubles, but in assembling a collection of gems and jewelry with the same care she did art. Post did not come back from Russia with as much jewelry as she did art, according to Kate Markert, Hillwood’s executive director, “but what she took was really notable.” This exhibition takes jewelry as art seriously, and any skeptics will leave convinced of the same after studying the intricate, sparkling brooches, necklaces and diadems from Post’s stunning collection. It also serves as an effort by Hillwood to reunite pieces from Post’s collection that were given away or sold over time with items that remain at the estate. The show displays 50 pieces of exquisite jewelry that were once owned by the heiress, and visitors are able to see how her famous eye for art translated into the jewelry realm with historic as well as commissioned pieces from some of the biggest 20th-century jewelry firms, including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Harry Winston and Verdura. The curator for “Spectacular,” Liana Paredes, died in March after an illness and had long been working on this project, along with research into the gems and elaborate jewelry that Post once owned. This exhibition was Paredes’s “brainchild,” Markert Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweathnoted, and it grew out of work connected to a major er Post amassed a spectacular Cartier exhibition and her interest in jewelry that grew collection of jewels that are now on from then on. display at the Hillwood Museum. “Despite the sumptuousness of Post’s jewelry, her collection conveys a thoughtful and nuanced message that goes beyond mere dazzle and glitz,” Paredes wrote in the exhibition’s accompanying publication. “In addition to being spectacular, Post’s collection is unique. Her vision was novel in that she saw jewelry not only as objects for personal adornment, but also as works of art worthy of display. She recognized the importance of jewelry in the world of artistic design and purposely retained
Among the pieces of jewelry in Marjorie Merriweather Post’s lavish collection are, from clockwise top: an antique ruby and diamond necklace circa the 19th century; a Harry Winston turquoise and diamond necklace; a Van Cleef & Arpels “Marquerite” ruby and diamond brooch; and a Cartier emerald and diamond brooch. PHOTOS: COURTESY HILLWOOD ESTATE, MUSEUM & GARDENS / BY SQUARE MOOSE INC.
many of her pieces for the public’s future enjoyment and access.” The section dedicated to historic jewelry is a particular delight. Visitors can see pieces with remarkable Russian connections, such as the ruby and diamond set of jewels that was reputedly made for the Duchess of Oldenburg, a daughter of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna and the granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I. Other highlights include the impressive diadem and diamond necklace given from Napoleon to his second wife, Marie Louise of Austria. The turquoise and diamond tiara, an early 19th-century piece, originally had emeralds, but they were taken out and repurposed. In the mid-20th century, Van Cleef & Arpels replaced them with turquoise. The jewelry firm then “cannily loaned it to Marjorie Post to wear” at a Red Cross Ball, Markert noted. Post later bought the piece and gave it to the Smithsonian. And all of the tiaras in the historic section are “fabulous,” Markert said, pointing out an antique floral tiara from the 1830s with diamonds set “en tremblant.” “If you look at it really closely, each one of those flowers has a little tiny spring behind it so they all shimmer independently of each other,” Markert said of the piece, which Davies gave to Post in the 1930s. “She loved it and she definitely wore it.” The exhibition also focuses on Post’s commissioning and collection of important pieces during the 20th century, and the breadth of her selections conveys her thoughtful approach to jewelry, Markert noted. In 1927, for instance, she was commissioning Cartier to make a brooch in the style of a piece of jewelry famous during the Louis XVI period — and yet she was not stuck in the past, as seen in a Cartier diamond and ruby bracelet she had from 1929 that is “pure deco,” Markert said. “Spectacular” offers visitors a deep look into the interests of one of the 20th century’s most fascinating art collectors with an exhibition that celebrates the way history, personality and opulence can collide in a shimmering spectacle. WD Mackenzie Weinger (@mweinger) is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMbEr 2017 | 33
WD | Culture | Dance
Moving Tribute Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dancers Give Life to ‘Face of Battle’ •
hile most of us saunter through museum exhibitions, perhaps pausing at works of particular interest, Dana Tai Soon Burgess dances among art — literally. Juggling jobs as the Smithsonian’s first choreographer-in-residence at the National Portrait Gallery and as a State Department cultural ambassador, Burgess uses movement to tell stories from another, more animated perspective. Most recently, as part of the Portrait Gallery exhibition “The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now,” Burgess created the dance “After 1001 Nights,” which explores the psychological impact of war on soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. “Traditionally I think we see museums as kind of a ‘look at the artwork and step on, look at another piece and step forward,’” said Burgess, who founded the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company, the preeminent modern dance company in the D.C. region, 25 years ago. “There’s not this interactive quality and there isn’t a conversation that is inherently built into the tradition of artwork at a museum. What this allows is one more way for audiences to engage with the exhibition, to think about the exhibition, to see how another art form can be inspired by another art form.” In short, dance gives the art a living element. And Burgess strives to incorporate as much real-life emotion and conflict into his works as possible. Before starting a new project, he conducts intensive research. For example, to create “After 1001 Nights,” which the company performed July 8, he consulted with curators in addition to social workers, psychologists and veterans of the Iraq and Afghan wars. The dance features a soldier looking back at his younger self and trying to come to grips with what he saw and did in war. The choreography was informed by interviews Burgess conducted with veterans “who talked about PHOTO: TOM WOLFF everything from the boredom during long periods of waiting to the sounds of war to coming face to face with their own mortality,” Burgess recalled. While he and his company of 10 dancers were creating the piece, they held open rehearsals alongside “The Face of Battle” exhibition, which is on view until Jan. 28. People came back each week to see how they were progressing, providing a look not only at the exhibit, but also at the choreographic process, Burgess explained. “There’s this really great ripple effect. There’s this dialogue that’s constantly going on,” he said. The choreographer’s “laboratory is the dance studio, because when you’re in that studio experimenting with and creating phrases — just like a writer, a phrase becomes a sentence, a sentence becomes a paragraph, that’s how movement functions — we have to have very specific themes, variations, gestures that represent very specific references and characters so that people can recognize them,” Burgess said. And that recognition is what makes dance an ideal cultural envoy, too. Since working with the State Department for more than 20 years on cultural exchanges, his company has performed, taught or lectured in 30 countries including Cambodia, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Israel, Jordan, South Korea, Latvia, Mexico, Pakistan and Venezuela. On average, they spend 10 to 14 days in each country. “It’s really about building friendships within that community,” Burgess said. “It’s not just about performing, but it’s about spending time with young artists, spending time with professional artists. It’s about speaking to general audiences about the creative process and about arts in America.”
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BY STEPHANIE KANOWITZ
Through these exchanges, he’s found that dance eliminates communication barriers. For instance, when the company did a lengthy residency in Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt, about 10 years ago, they were able to teach contemporary and modern dance classes without any issues, he said. “Dance is a fundamental language,” said Burgess, who retired from the stage in 2006. “Even if the verbal language is different, we all acknowledge movement as a communicator, and all cultures dance and all dance for the same reasons, whether that’s to celebrate a sense of their own community, to celebrate a relationship with the divine, to celebrate stage performance or have social dances…. Those communicators are so universal that they’re really perfect for cultural exchanges.” As the company celebrates its 25th anniversary, Burgess is proud of embracing common denominators across different cultures. “We have stories that all cultures engage with and live through. Those are stories of love, of doubt, of betrayal, of happiness,” he said. “We just have a few stories in humanity and they just keep getting retold over and over and over again in lots of different ways.” Burgess, the son of an Irish-German-Scottish father and KoreanAmerican mother, often examines issues of cultural “confluence,” identity, assimilation, acceptance and PHOTO: JEFFREY WATTS what it means to be a “hyphenated Dana Tai Soon Burgess, at left, choreographed person” — someone who is of mixed “After 1001 Nights,” which explores the psychoethnic or cultural heritage (also see logical impact of war on soldiers returning from “Moving Collaboration with the Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the National Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance ComPortrait Gallery exhibition “The Face of Battle: pany” in the April 2014 issue of The Americans at War, 9/11 to Now.” Diplomat). When he founded the company, which had seven dancers at the time, his motivation was to “create dancers that reflect our American landscape, that tell the universal stories,” and this mission has not wavered. What’s changed is how the company has grown, Burgess said. “And with growth of an organization, what occurs is you can have a higher-quality level of production and design, of dancer, so I think that’s the difference.” A native of Santa Fe, N.M., whose parents were visual artists, Burgess always knew he wanted to be involved in the creative process, likening choreography to a canvas and a dancer’s movement to brushstrokes. “It has always made sense to me to respond to visual art and portraiture LEARN MORE: through movement,” he said. “I feel really at home in a museum, almost more at home than in a dance studio.” For more information, Burgess came to D.C. when he was dancing professionvisit www.dtsbdc.org ally on the East Coast, and the city’s own culture appealed to him. “I remember just taking days and days and days on end just walking through different exhibitions and museums and thinking, ‘Wow! This is just open to the public.’” Bringing everything full circle, Burgess’s own portrait hangs in the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent exhibition. Catch the company on Dec. 7 and 10 performing a new dance based on the gallery’s “One Life: Sylvia Plath” exhibition, which reveals how Plath came of age as a writer in the 1950s and early 1960s. Burgess will also be at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater on June 15 to 17, 2018, when the company performs a world premiere and dances from its 25-year repertoire. Additionally, he teaches dance classes at Glen Echo Park until the fall. WD Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | september 2017 | 35
WD | Culture | Art
Conflicted Portrait ‘Face of Battle’ Examines Human Side of War on Terrorism •
The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now THROUGH JAN. 28, 2018 NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY 8TH AND F STREETS, NW
(202) 633-8300 | WWW.NPG.SI.EDU
BY MACKENZIE WEINGER
“The Face of Battle” features an array of works such as, from top: Louie Palu’s print of Canadian medic Marie Gionet, 31, after a patrol in Afghanistan; “Sleeping Soldier” by Tim Hetherington; and “Up and Down, Not Across” by Stacy L. Pearsall.
rooms, heartrending images of the way families have preserved these spaces almost as frozen monuments powerful exhibition at the to those they lost. As Gilbertson Smithsonian’s National Porwrote about this work, the purpose trait Gallery explores the hu“is to honor these fallen — not simman dimension of modern ply as soldiers, marines, airmen, and warfare through the lens of six contemseamen, but as sons, daughters, sisporary artists in a remarkable, poignant ters, and brothers — and to remind fashion that feels both urgent and timeus that before they fought, they lived, less. and they slept — just like us — at “The Face of Battle: Americans at home.” War, 9/11 to Now” features an array Each section of this exhibition is of photographs, drawings and paintessential viewing. The work of Hetings that seek to explore the impact of herington, who was killed covering combat on participants and those who the 2011 Libyan war, offers visitors a remain at home. This show highlights moment to reflect on timeless images six talented artists — Ashley Gilbertof soldiers in camaraderie with his son, Tim Hetherington, Louie Palu, sensitive, intimate portraits of serStacy Pearsall, Emily Prince and Vinvicemembers in Afghanistan. cent Valdez — who have sought in their With Palu’s work, “he’s trying to own ways to assess America’s military get us past being desensitized to involvement since Sept. 11, 2001. As photojournalism, and to really look the country marks the 16th anniverat the human in these photographs,” sary of the 9/11 attacks this month, the according to Moss. “He evokes empaexhibition serves as a timely reminder thy through his portrayals.” PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE ARTIST / ©LOUIE PALU of the human toll that the open-ended “He knows these men and women war on terrorism has extracted on tens of thousands he was embedded with very well,” she added. “He of Americans, even as that war fades from the daily can smell them, he can hear their snoring when headlines. he looks at their photographs. He really wanted to “The main point of this show is to create a conbring their humanity to the forefront.” nection between the visitor and these men and The work of Pearsall — an Air Force photographer women who have served us and served our counand Bronze Star recipient who has worked in more try, and make sure they’re not forgotten and they’re than 42 countries, including three tours in Iraq — is recognized and honored,” National Portrait Gallery a reminder of the idiosyncrasies of war, as moments associate curator of painting and sculpture Dorothy of terror punctuate long stretches of boredom and Moss told The Washington Diplomat. waiting. The museum wanted to feature artists who were The show also features other types of media, inPHOTO: COURTESY TIM HETHERINGTON TRUST / © TIM HETHERINGTON “really concerned with the experience of cluding Valdez’s video installation in honor of families, the young men and women who his friend John, who committed suicide before were reintegrating into life after service, his second tour of service, and the pencil-drawn those who had experienced post-traumatportraits by Prince of thousands of fallen solic shock, and what that was like for their diers. “American Servicemen and Women Who friends and community,” she said. Have Died in Iraq and Afghanistan (But Not As a part of the museum’s “PortraiIncluding the Wounded, nor the Iraqis, nor the ture Now” series, which spotlights new Afghanis)” is a remarkable, ongoing project by developments in the genre, the curators Prince that starkly sketches the profound loss “thought it was the right time to address that comes from long-term war. this topic — and in fact, it would be irre“At this point, all of us know someone who sponsible not to,” Moss said. has served or have a family member who has “As a history, art and biography museserved,” Moss said. “There is a deep connection um, we felt that it was really important to between the visitors and what they’re seeing on address the human experience of the onthe walls.” PHOTO: COURTESY OF THE ARTIST / © STACY L. PEARSALL going conflicts, that our country has been That is reflected in the exhibition’s comment at war now for quite awhile,” she said. “We as curators wanted to look at book, which is “just overflowing with emotional responses from visitors, the human dimensions of that.” many of whom thank people they know who have served,” she said. The exhibition’s title is in honor of military historian John Keegan’s inFilled with images that linger long after visitors step outside the musefluential book “The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the um, this show is a moving, essential experience for anyone in Washington, Somme,” a work that shifted the focus from generals and strategy to the D.C., where the politics of war often obscures its personal costs. As Moss bloody reality of those fighting on the battlefield. In this show, that empha- said, “the faces become seared in your mind.” WD sis is reflected in the art on display, which delves deeply into the personal experiences of ordinary soldiers. Mackenzie Weinger (@mweinger) is a contributing writer In one section, visitors come face to face with portraits of empty bed- for The Washington Diplomat.
36 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMbEr 2017
Art | Culture | WD
D.C.’s Halcyon Moment Under Webre’s Direction, Halcyon Stage Aims to Make Capital a Hub of Creativity •
BY MACKENZIE WEINGER
nonprofit organization inside a magnificent, stately 18th-century home aims to be a “creativity well in the middle of Georgetown, just rippling out through D.C. and the world,” according to Halcyon co-founder and CEO Kate Goodall. And with former Washington Ballet Artistic Director Septime Webre on board as the curator and producer of Halcyon Stage, the group is well on its way to shaking up D.C.’s art scene. Halcyon Stage — what Webre describes as “an interdisciplinary suite of public performances, intriguing conversations, immersive experiences and educational programs” — got its start this year with five months of shows running the gamut of cabaret to classical raves to pop-up concerts. The artistic series is a key part of the nonprofit group’s objective to “catalyze emerging creatives who are seeking a better world,” he said. Along with its stage series, Halcyon hosts residency programs for emerging social entrepreneurs through its Halcyon Incubator and for new artists focused on social change with its Halcyon Arts Lab (also see “Halcyon Incubator Hopes to Be Home to Next Great Idea” in the September 2015 issue of The Washington Diplomat). The 18th-century Halcyon House was purchased in 2011 by Drs. Sachiko Kuno and Ryuji Ueno, the founders of the S&R Foundation. The husband-and-wife biotech moguls from Japan (who have since divorced) were longtime arts supporters who burst onto the Washington scene by buying not one but two of the most expensive properties in the city: the historic Evermay mansion, purchased for a reported $22 million, followed shortly afterward by Halcyon House, which sold for $11 million. “All of what we’re doing is informed by making the world a better place. That’s a specific part of our mission,” Webre told The Washington Diplomat during a recent sit-down interview in the Georgetown mansion Halcyon calls home. “Most arts organizations are informed by the art form. Art has another aspect to it, a lens, and that lens is applied when I’m building a program that’s holistic. And what’s been fun for me is to try to do that in a way that’s not preachy.” No one would accuse Webre of creating a lineup that’s preachy. From “Stravinsky Rave: The Rite of Spring Dance Party” in collaboration with The Experiential Orchestra; to a contemporary ballet set to the music of Amy Winehouse and indie band Beirut; to a chilling performance based on Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”; to a series of cabaret performances, Halcyon blasted onto the scene in 2017 with a set of thought-provoking and innovative programs. “When we are producing work that is traditionally in PHOTO: THEO KOSSENAS / MEDIA 4 ARTISTS a theater setting, we’re producing it in unorthodox ways,” Septime Webre he said. “It’s a little sexy and a little sassy and actually with a message.” And the group has no plans to let up. There will be some programming this fall, followed by a mini-festival in February about creativity throughout Latin America. “We expect to have performances, food events and some dialogues, and we’ll be reaching out to some ambassadors and thinkers on Latin creativity who will be part of that process,” Webre said. But the most significant part of Halcyon’s artistic future will come next summer, with a big festival launching in June. The goal is to create something akin to the Aspen Ideas Festival — and to make D.C. the “place to be at that moment,” according to Webre. “We believe in a festival format. When you have things abutting each other from one night to the next, there’s a kind of logic to that juxtaposition. It’s how we live life. We live life with disparate experiences abutting each other from one moment to the next,” he said. “The festival will be, to some disagree, illustrative of and metaphorical of those chance and designed experiences that are both uptown and downtown, smart and pop, refined and a bit trashy — they’re all of those things.” Halcyon, which also hosts residency programs for artists and social entrepre-
PHOTO: ELLIE VAN HOUTTE
Halcyon Stage aims to push the boundaries of artistic expression. In May, it presented “Halcyon Stage Pop-Up @ Union Market: Explosive Ballet & Beirut,” above, part of a series of free pop-up concerts designed to allow audiences to find beauty in unexpected places. In March, it launched “Halcyon Stage @ Dock 5,” debuting with a warehouse performance called “Stravinsky Rave: Rite of Spring Dance Party,” at left.
neurs, has big plans for D.C. Along with its investment in emerging creative types, “we also knew that we wanted the public to think about and PHOTO: MARK ALAN ANDRE be committed to creativity around us, and the way it changes the world in a good way,” Webre said. With that mission at the heart of the organization, it naturally led to the creation of Halcyon Stage, which aims “to foster a dialogue about the nature of creativity in the 21st century and to be more public about it,” he added. Webre, coming from 17 years helming the Washington Ballet, has another gig on top of curating Halcyon Stage: He’s the new artistic director of the Hong Kong Ballet. With his passport on standby, Webre says he is ready for the bi-continental life as he brings his artistic vision to two cities 8,000 miles apart. “I have basically two gigs — my focus is Halcyon Stage’s artistic direction, and I’m going to moonlight as the Hong Kong Ballet artistic director,” he said with a laugh. “I will be bi-continental, and I’m looking forward to the upgrades at the airport lounge.” From Halcyon Stage to the organization’s incubator for entrepreneurs to its residency for artists, Halcyon has laid the groundwork from its Georgetown mansion to try to fulfill its ambitious mission for D.C. “It certainly seems that there’s a lot of artists who are trying to figure out how to stay here and have livelihoods here and not move to New York or L.A. At the same time, you’ve got this undercurrent here of facilitators and stakeholders who are coming to the realization they can be part of that process. That’s really where I think we have a bit of expertise — how do you create a healthy, thriving ecosystem?” Goodall said. Halcyon, she said, can be a key part of making D.C. an “international arts city that isn’t just a stop between Miami and New York and that has its own identity.” “I do think a portion of that is this mission-mindedness, that social impact piece. Certainly, that’s what D.C. brings to the table, and the levers you can pull by being here. And it’s also got these amazing assets other cities wouldn’t even dream of,” she said. “There are so many good things about this city, but it needs an infusion of the right kinds of energy and support, and I think that’s where Halcyon can certainly play a role.” WD Mackenzie Weinger (@mweinger) is a contributing writer THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMbEr 2017 | 37
WD | Culture | Film
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | September 2017
*Unless specific times are listed, please check the theater for times. Theater locations are subject to change.
English The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz Directed by Ted Kotcheff (Canada, 1974, 120 min.) Richard Dreyfuss stars as Duddy Kravitz, the younger son of a working-class Montreal Jewish family and a man of serious ambition in this dark comedy. AFI Silver Theatre Mon., Sept. 4, 1:10 p.m.
Baby Driver Directed by Edgar Wright (U.K./U.S., 2017, 113 min.) In this stylish, action-packed crime drama, a talented young getaway driver relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. When he meets the girl of his dreams, Baby sees a chance to ditch his criminal life and make a clean getaway. But after being coerced into working for a crime boss, he must face the music when a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom. Atlantic Plumbing Cinema
Battle of the Sexes Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (U.K./U.S., 2017, 121 min.) This true story follows the 1973 tennis match between world number-one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs. Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., Sept. 22
The Big Sick Directed by Michael Showalter (U.S., 2017, 119 min.) Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail connects with grad student Emily after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents (English and Urdu). Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema
shaped thousands of minds, but now the unthinkable looms: what would retirement mean? Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., Sept. 15
Directed by Aisling Walsh (Ireland/Canada, 2017, 115 min.) An arthritic Nova Scotia woman works as a housekeeper while she hones her skills as an artist and eventually becomes a beloved figure in the community. Angelika Pop-Up Opens Fri., Sept. 1
Directed by Amanda Lipitz (U.S., 2017, 83 min.) “Step” is the true-life story of a girls’ high school step team set against the background of the heart of Baltimore. These young women learn to laugh, love and thrive — on and off the stage — even when the world seems to work against them. AFI Silver Theatre Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema West End Cinema
Atomic Blonde Directed by David Leitch (U.S., 2017, 115 min.) An undercover MI6 agent (Charlize Theron) is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents. Atlantic Plumbing Cinema
now has shops and department store concessions in over 20 countries and still creates every shoe. Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., Sept. 29
Photo: Melinda Sue Gordon / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Emma Stone stars as tennis legend Billie Jean King, left, and Steve Carell plays Bobby Riggs in “Battle of the Sexes.”
Birth of the Dragon Directed by George Nolfi (China/Canada/U.S., 2017, 103 min.) Set against the backdrop of 1960s San Francisco, “Birth of the Dragon” is a modern take on the classic movies for which Bruce Lee was known, including the legendary showdown between Lee and kung fu master Wong Jack (English and Mandarin). Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., Sept. 1
Columbus Directed by Kogonada (U.S., 2017, 100 min.) A Korean-born man finds himself stuck in Columbus, Indiana, where his estranged architect father is in a coma. The man meets a young woman who wants to stay in Columbus with her mother, a recovering addict, instead of pursuing her own dreams. Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Dolores Directed by Peter Bratt (U.S., 2017, 95 min.) Dolores Huerta is one of the most important, yet least known, activists in the fight for racial, class and gender equality in American history. She was an equal partner co-founding the first farm workers union with Cesar Chavez, but her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized. Landmark’s Theatres Opens Fri., Sept. 15
Dunkirk Directed by Christopher Nolan (U.S./U.K./France/Netherlands, 2017, 106 min.) Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, Canada and France
38 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | September 2017
are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II. AFI Silver Theatre Angelika Mosaic Angelika Pop-Up Atlantic Plumbing Cinema Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema
Gook Directed by Justin Chon (U.S., 2017, 94 min.) Two Korean American brothers run their late father’s shoe store in a predominantly African American community of Los Angeles, where they strike up a unique friendship with an 11-year-old African American girl in the buildup to the “infamous” L.A. riots (English and Korean). Atlantic Plumbing Cinema Opens Fri., Sept. 1
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
organization in the U.S. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy. Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., Sept. 22
Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards Directed by Michael Roberts (U.K., 2017, 89 min.) “Manolo” is the in-depth portrait of legendary fashion designer Manolo Blahnik and how his extraordinary dedication to his craft led him to become the world’s most famous luxury shoemaker. Growing up on a remote Spanish Canary island, Manolo made shoes out of sweet wrappers for lizards that he caught in his family’s garden. After opening his first store in London in 1973 and coming of age in fashion capitals such as Paris and New York, Manolo
Directed by Joshua Z. Weinstein (U.S., 2017, 82 min.) Set within the New York Hasidic community in Brooklyn, “Menashe” follows a kind but hapless grocery store clerk trying to maintain custody of his son Rieven after his wife, Lea, passes away. Since they live in a tradition-bound culture that requires a mother present in every home, Rieven is supposed to be adopted by the boy’s strict, married uncle, but Menashe’s Rabbi decides to grant him one week to spend with Rieven prior to Lea’s memorial, giving the father a final chance to prove to his skeptical community that he can be a capable parent (English and Yiddish). Angelika Pop-Up Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema
School Life Directed by Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane (Ireland/Spain, 2017, 99 min.) This observational documentary follows a year in the lives of two inspirational teachers at Headfort, the only primary-age boarding school in Ireland. For nearly half a century, this husband and wife have
The Trip to Spain Directed by Michael Winterbottom (U.K., 2017, 110 min.) After jaunts through northern England and Italy, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on another deliciously deadpan culinary road trip. This time around, the guys head to Spain to sample the best of the country’s gastronomic offerings in between rounds of their hilariously off-the-cuff banter. Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema Landmark’s E Street Cinema
Tulip Fever Directed by Justin Chadwick (U.S./U.K., 2017, 107 min.) In 17th-century Amsterdam, a married woman (Alicia Vikander) begins a passionate affair with an artist hired to paint her portrait during the height of “tulip mania.” The lovers gamble on the booming market for tulip bulbs as a way to raise money to run away together. Angelika Mosaic Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., Sept. 1
Directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk (U.S., 2017, 98 min.) A decade after “An Inconvenient Truth” brought climate change into the heart of popular culture comes the riveting and rousing follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution. Cameras follow former Vice President Al Gore as he continues his tireless fight traveling around the world training an army of climate champions and influencing international climate policy. West End Cinema
Kingsman: The Golden Circle Directed by Matthew Vaughn (U.K./U.S., 2017) When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman’s journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy
Photo: Duncan De young / Sony Pictures Classics
Sally Hawkins is a solitary arthritic artist, left, who has an unlikely romance with hardened reclusive bachelor Ethan Hawke in “Maud.”
Film | Culture | WD
Viceroy’s House Directed by Gurinder Chadha (U.K./India/Sweden, 2017, 106 min.) In this lavish, sweeping historical epic, Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey”) stars as the last Viceroy of India. He and his wife (Gillian Anderson) arrive at Delhi’s palatial Viceroy’s House in 1947 to oversee handing the country back to its people, negotiating with Hindu, Sikh and Muslim leaders as conflict erupts and two independent nations are carved out of the subcontinent. West End Cinema Opens Fri., Sept. 8
Victoria and Abdul Directed by Stephen Frears (U.K./U.S., 2017, 112 min.) Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim. Angelika Mosaic Opens Fri., Sept. 29
Zuzana: Music Is Life Directed by Peter Getzels and Harriet Gordon Getzels (Czech Republic/U.S., 2017, 83 min.)
The Decline of the American Empire (Le déclin de l’empire Américain) Directed by Denys Arcand (Canada, 1986, 101 min.) When University of Montreal academic Rémy and his wife gather with friends at a country retreat, conversational topics quickly turn to sex. While the male contingent prepares dinner, trading stories of sexual escapades and infidelity, their female counterparts tell their own tales at a nearby gym. AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Sept. 3, 1 p.m.
The Demons (Les demons) Directed by Philippe Lesage (Canada, 2015, 118 min.) While 1980s suburban Montreal is blighted by a series of kidnappings targeting young boys, 9-year-old Felix is busy finishing his school year. As the peripheral knowledge of these abductions begins to permeate Felix’s fragile consciousness, his
AFI Latin American Film Festival N
ow in its 28th year, the AFI Latin American Film Festival starring Penélope Cruz; Argentina’s showcases the best filmmaking from Latin America and, acclaimed 2016 Oscar selection with the inclusion of films from Spain and “The Distinguished CitiPortugal, celebrates Ibero-American cultural zen”; “The Untamed,” the LEARN MORE: Photo by Hernan Herrera connections. latest from Cannes prizeFor more information, visit This year’s selection of films will once winning Mexican director Jean Jean stars in www.afi.com/silver/laff/. “Woodpeckers (Carpinteros).” again include numerous international film Amat Escalante; the U.S. festival favorites, award winners, local box premiere of the Portuoffice hits and debut works by promising new talents. guese colonial drama “Joaquim”; and the Sundance-debuted Highlights include the North American premiere of CannesDominican prison romance “Woodpeckers” with lead actor Jean debuted Colombian drama “The Dragon Defense”; “The Queen Jean in attendance. of Spain,” Fernando Trueba’s Spanish answer to “Hail, Caesar!” The festival runs Sept. 14 to Oct. 4 at AFI Silver Theatre.
his very presence unleashing old family tensions. AFI Silver Theatre Wed., Sept. 13, 7 p.m.
Mollenard Directed by Robert Siodmak (France, 1938, 105 min.) Salty gun-running sea captain Mol-
munity in 1930s Paris) foreshadows his later Hollywood film noirs. After several young women answer a personal column and vanish without a trace, the flics recruit taxi-dancer Adrienne Charpentier to go undercover and respond to the ad. National Gallery of Art Sat., Sept. 2, 1:30 p.m.
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Tayla Solomon leads the “Lethal Ladies of BLSYW” in the film “Step.”
This is the triumphant story told by Zuzana Ruzickova, 90, and how she became a world-famous harpsichordist and interpreter of Bach in Czechoslovakia, despite three years in concentration camps and forty years of communist persecution. Edlavitch DCJCC Wed., Sept. 13, 8:30 p.m.
French After Love (L’économie du couple) Directed by Joachim Lafosse (France/Belgium, 2017, 100 min.) After 15 years together, Marie and Boris have decided to separate. However, Boris refuses to move out of the family home that Marie shares with their 8-year old twin daughters. Both sides refuse to budge in this painfully intimate, intensely fascinating drama about the emotional and financial complexities of a separation and the end of a long love story. The Avalon Theatre Wed., Sept. 20, 8 p.m.
imagined demons slowly start to mirror an increasingly nightmarish reality around him. AFI Silver Theatre Wed., Sept. 6, 7:30 p.m.
I Killed My Mother (J’ai tué ma mere) Directed by Xavier Dolan (Canada, 2009, 96 min.) Wunderkind Xavier Dolan burst onto the world stage at age 20 with this daring semi-autobiographical feature about an angry young man growing up, coming out and navigating a near-matricidal relationship with his single mother. AFI Silver Theatre Mon., Sept. 11, 7 p.m.
Directed by Valérie Müller and Angelin Preljocaj (France, 2016, 112 min.) Polina is a dedicated young ballet student in Russia, rigorously trained from an early age by a perfectionist instructor. After being accepted into the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet, she decides that she wants something different, impulsively following her free-spirited French boyfriend to the south of France to join a dance company led by a brilliant choreographer (Juliette Binoche) who is creating challenging new works (French and Russian). Landmark’s E Street Cinema Opens Fri., Sept. 1
Hungarian lenard dives into dizzying intrigues, bar battles, and confrontations with nemesis Bonnerot, yet cherishes the camaraderie of his crew and loves the allure of the East. National Gallery of Art Sat., Sept. 2, 4 p.m.
1945 Directed by Ferenc Török (Hungary, 2017, 91 min.) It’s August 1945 − the war is over, and an uneasy, humid stillness
pervades a small Hungarian village longing for a return to normalcy. But when two Holocaust survivors arrive, the town eyes them with suspicion. Are they here to reclaim stolen land? To open a competing pharmacy? Will they expose the villagers’ wartime crimes and complicit silence? Edlavitch DCJCC Wed., Sept. 13, 6:30 p.m.
Korean The Handmaiden Directed by Park Chan-wook (South Korea, 2016, 145 min.) A crook-turned-servant falls for the heiress she had originally schemed to swindle in this audacious, visually sumptuous and highly erotic period piece (Korean and Japanese). AFI Silver Theatre Fri., Sept. 1, 12:30 and 9:45 p.m., Sun., Sept. 3, 7:30 p.m.
Mandarin I Am Not Madame Bovary (Wo bu hi pan jin lian) Directed by Dajun Zhang (China, 2016, 128 min.) After being conned by her exhusband, Li Xuelian is immersed in a long legal battle and is ready for retribution in this coldly comic
revenge thriller. AFI Silver Theatre Sun., Sept. 10, 5:20 p.m., Wed., Sept. 13, 9:05 p.m.
Turkish Cat (Kedi) Directed by Ceyda Torun (Turkey/U.S., 2016, 79 min.) Hundreds of thousands of Turkish cats roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely. For thousands of years they’ve wandered in and out of people’s lives, becoming an essential part of the communities that make the city so rich (screens with “Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul”). Goethe-Institut Thu., Sept. 28, 6 p.m.
Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul Directed by Fatih Akin (Germany/Turkey, 2005, 90 min.) Award-winning director Fatih Akin and bassist Alexander Hacke take viewers on a journey through Istanbul, the city that bridges Europe and Asia, and challenge familiar notions of East and West (Turkish, German, Kurdish and English; screens with “Cat”). Goethe-Institut Thu., Sept. 28, 7:45 p.m.
My Uncle Antoine (Mon oncle Antoine) Directed by Claude Jutra (Canada, 1971, 104 min.) Claude Jutra’s evocative portrait of a boy’s coming of age in wintry 1940s rural Québec has been consistently cited by critics and scholars as the greatest Canadian film of all time. AFI Silver Theatre Sat., Sept. 9, 12:30 p.m.
It’s Only the End of the Word (Juste la fin du monde)
Pièges (Personal Column)
Directed by Xavier Dolan (Canada/France, 2016, 99 min.) A terminally ill playwright returns from Paris to his family in smalltown France after a 12-year absence,
Directed by Robert Siodmak (France, 1939, 111 min.) This commanding pulp-fiction piece directed by Robert Siodmak (who belonged to a German-exile com-
Anastasia Shevtsova plays a young Russian ballerina who follows her dreams of dancing to France in “Polina.” THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | september 2017 | 39
WD | Culture | Events
Events Listings *Unless specific times are listed, please check the venue for times. Venue locations are subject to change.
ART Sept. 2 to Jan. 7
Scraps: Fashion, Textiles and Creative Reuse
pendent United Arab Emirates-based initiative established to manage, preserve and exhibit Arab art. American University Museum Sept. 5 to Dec. 17
I Am: An East-West Arts Initiative Organized by Caravan
Textile and apparel manufacturing is one of the most polluting industries in the world. This exhibition explores the work of innovative designers taking a lead in sustainability and reducing waste in the design process. The George Washington University Textile Museum
“I Am” spotlights the insights and experiences of Middle Eastern women as they confront issues of culture, religion and social reality in a rapidly changing world both in the Middle East and West. American University Museum
Sept. 3 to Jan. 28
Before the 45th | Action/ Reaction in Chicano and Latino Art
Edvard Munch: Color in Context
Sept. 5 to Dec. 29
Through Sept. 4
This display of 60 works examines how Southern California-based Chicano and Latino artists worked tirelessly in an effort to shed light on the economic, political and social injustices faced over the past four decades. Concentrating on various themes and ideas, the exhibition highlights the diverse approaches taken by these artists to communicate their individual and community needs. Mexican Cultural Institute
David Molander – Invisible Cities
Thu., Sept. 7, 5:30 p.m.
In the second half of the 19th century, advances in physics, electromagnetic radiation theory and the optical sciences provoked new thought about the physical as well as the spiritual world. Aspects of that thought are revealed in this exhibition of 21 prints that considers the choice, combinations and meaning of color in light of spiritualist principles. National Gallery of Art
If home is a place where we ought to feel safe, how is this feeling visualized in our collective home — i.e., the city? This question inspired David Molander to create scenes where small and large conflicts play out among different interests and processes. While we can choose to care about or ignore them, all of them play an important role in shaping the invincible cities that we call home. House of Sweden Through Sept. 4
Linda Lasson – Black Thread, Images from Northern Sweden Exploring the lives of the Sami, Sweden’s indigenous people. Linda Lasson tells the stories of an exploited Northland and a displaced indigenous population through work that is archetypal contemporary poetry expressed as embroidery. The threads resemble drawings, and the graphic feel, mixed with the textile structure, exudes a sculptural aesthetic. House of Sweden Sept. 5 to Dec. 17
Between Two Rounds of Fire, The Exile of the Sea: Arab Modern and Contemporary Works from the Barjeel Art Foundation This exhibit showcases a diverse selection of works, grouped around the theme of technologies in conflict. The works come from the collection of the Barjeel Art Foundation, an inde-
Tragedy and Hope of Lidice To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Lidice tragedy, the Delegation of the European Union, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Czech Republic, presents the exhibition “Tragedy and Hope of Lidice.” As retaliation for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich in 1942, the village of Lidice was razed to the ground and 340 villagers were murdered. The exhibition presents an overview of this tragedy as well as a selection of recent winning artwork from the International Children’s Exhibition of Fine Arts Lidice commemorating the child victims. To register, email info@ euintheus.org. Delegation of the European Union Sept. 7 to Dec. 10
Witnesses by Anna U Davis Anna U Davis is known for her bold, colorful, graphic mixed-media work, where she explores her fascination with gender relations. This exhibit examines the notion of personality traits that are often classified as either good or bad — from curiosity, passion and jealousy to maturity, independence and insecurity — delving into where these features stem from. House of Sweden Sept. 7 to March 4
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: The Utopian Projects Spanning 1985 through present day, this survey comprises more than 20 of
40 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | September 2017
the Kabakovs’ maquettes, whimsical models, for projects realized and unrealized, including monuments, allegorical narratives, architectural structures and commissioned outdoor works. Opening nearly 30 years after the Hirshhorn hosted Ilya Kabakov’s first major U.S. exhibition, these intricate creations invite the viewer into their surreal world in miniature and offer a rare glimpse into the duo’s artistic process. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Sept. 8 to 29
Evolving Five American artists from The Drawing Room collective use a variety of creative media to reflect on their early youth in Korea, through the evolving lens of their present lives settled in the United States. Using fabric, sculpture, collage and visual art that blends Korean and Western materials, “Evolving” exudes the liveliness of these artists’ childhood memories as well as their individual struggles and progress since, evolving from immigrant to American in different environments. Like a majority of Korean Americans, who number nearly 2 million today, Dong Kyu Kim, Sueim Koo, Stephanie S. Lee, Jin Cho, and Jayoung Yoon were born in Korea and later transitioned to life in the United States. Each takes a unique approach to their art, drawing on familiar tensions between joy and hardship, tradition and modernity, in equal measure. Korean Cultural Center Sept. 8 to Oct. 28
Brilliant Dilletantes (Geniale Dilletanten) “Geniale Dilletanten” was the deliberately misspelled title of a concert that took place at Berlin’s Tempodrom in 1981. But over the years since then, it has come to represent an artistic scene in West and East Germany during the mid-1980’s, an era of upheaval in which people in all the arts experimented with new ways of expression. Rather than persisting with the cause of world revolution, energies were channeled into achieving alternative ways of life. By adopting German rather than English as the language for song lyrics and band names, the protagonists of this new scene set themselves apart from the mainstream, giving credence to the movement’s claim to be representing a radical new departure. Goethe-Institut Through Sept. 10
Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History Offering unparalleled insight into the German artist’s pioneering early practice, “Markus Lüpertz: Threads of History” showcases more than 30 paintings from Lüpertz’s formative years in the 1960s and ’70s, as he challenged the limits of painting
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | September 2017 and forged his own style amidst the unrest of postwar Germany. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Through Sept. 10
Revival Contemporary sculpture, photography and video by women artists explores how arresting aesthetics and intense subject matter can spur the viewer into a transcendent encounter with a work of art. Rousing the spirit rather than simply tantalizing the eye, the 16 artists in this exhibition harness scale, technique and effect in photography and sculpture to reanimate deep-rooted emotions related to the human experience. National Museum of Women in the Arts
Sept. 21 to Oct. 29
Spain’s Eleven & Estrada Design Kitchen This double exhibition on design and food by Spanish designer Manuel Estrada serves as a framework for the “Eat Spain Up!” program about the gastronomy of Spain. “Spain’s Eleven” is a photogrphaic journey across Spain’s geography through its most relevant foods, from cheese and wine to olive oil, its fish preserves or its coveted ham. “Estrada Design Kitchen” explores the Spanish designer’s conceptual work at pulling apart the everyday elements of food we take for granted, transforming them into works of art. Former Residence of the Spanish Ambassador Through Sept. 23
Sept. 15 to Oct. 14
Home + Discordance + US
“Markus Lüpertz” explores the entirety of the prolific German artist’s five-decade career with a survey of his earliest works along with more recent paintings. Lüpertz, who began painting in a postwar Germany dominated by American Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, has exhibited a preoccupation with the relationship between figuration and abstraction over the course of his career. Demonstrating this relationship through nearly 50 paintings, the exhibition at the Phillips includes important examples from Lüpertz’s “dithyrambic” pictures and provocative paintings of German motifs. The Phillips Collection
Solas Nua, in collaboration with New York University, Washington, DC, presents this exhibition that explores the idea of the U.S. as a place of “home.” Typically, the word home conjures up an image of warmth, welcome and a place of safety. However, for some that image does not fully hold true; some are less welcome than others, some are less equal and some are less safe. NYU Washington DC Through Sept. 17
Yoko Ono: Four Works for Washington and the World The Hirshhorn celebrates the 10th anniversary of Yoko Ono’s iconic “Wish Tree for Washington, D.C.,” a living tree that invites visitors to tie a handwritten wish to its branches, with a summer of the Ono’s emotionally charged installations and performances. Starting June 17, visitors can make a wish at the Wish Tree, leave memories of their mother at the U.S. debut of “My Mommy is Beautiful,” a 40-foot participatory artwork that becomes a communal tribute to motherhood, and watch the newly restaged Sky TV for Washington, D.C., a 24-hour live feed of the sky outside, created in 1966 when Ono was living in a windowless apartment and longed for a glimpse of nature. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Sept. 17 to Jan. 28
Posing for the Camera: Gifts from Robert B. Menschel A selection of some 60 photographs in the National Gallery’s collection made possible by Robert B. Menschel are on view in an exhibition that examines how the act of posing for a portrait changed with the invention of the medium. Featured works come from the early 1840s — just after photography was invented — through the 1990s. National Gallery of Art
Through Sept. 30
From Sinbad to the Shabab Oman: A Seafaring Legacy Sail the high seas alongside some of history’s most famous explorers and navigators — Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta and Ahmad Ibn Majid — and visit different Omani ports of call. Each leg of this journey will explore Omani history, Omani mariners and the Omani vessels they sailed. By interweaving the stories of these explorers with items from Omani ships and shipbuilding, this exhibit explores the history of Omani seafaring over the last millennia. Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center Through Oct. 29
Equilibrium: Fanny Sanín This spotlight exhibition, featuring five paintings and more than 30 preliminary drawings by Fanny Sanín, invites viewers into the artist’s meticulous, intuitive process, as she creates compositions of geometric forms with precisely defined fields of color. National Museum of Women in the Arts Through Nov. 17
wrongs of the art world to painter Edna Reindel’s tough World War II riveters, to vintage feminist comic books — it’s the celebration of the Wonder Women! Explore images of the powerful woman, real and fictional, in a wide-ranging selection drawn from the special collections and artists’ archives of the Betty Boyd Dettre Library and Research Center. National Museum of Women in the Arts Through Dec. 10
Stories of Migration – Sweden Beyond the Headlines Migration is old news. It has helped shape countries and the world. But the current situation is unprecedented: More than 65 million people around the world have been forced to leave their homes. Migration is also an integral part of the history of Sweden; in today’s population, one in six was born in another country. Since the 1930s Sweden has been characterized by more immigration than emigration, including offering refuge to people fleeing war and political unrest. This exhibition aims to add new perspectives to the story of Sweden and migration and give insights into the current situation in the country. Beyond headlines of chaos and collapse, beyond politics and public authorities, there are people who try to build a life in a new country. House of Sweden Through Dec. 13
Matthias Mansen: Configurations German-born artist Matthias Mansen creates large-scale woodcuts that explore abstraction and figuration. He advances the tradition of woodblock printing by transforming pieces of scavenged wood— discarded floorboards or fragments of abandoned furniture—into printing blocks, which he progressively carves and recarves. National Gallery of Art Through Jan. 1
Spectacular Gems and Jewelry from the Merriweather Post Collection For centuries, extraordinary gemstones have been the centerpieces of stunning jewelry made to adorn royalty, aristocracy, high society and Hollywood stars. Over 50 pieces that once belonged heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, one of the greatest jewelry collectors of the 20th century, will tell the story behind some of the remarkable stones and the jewelry into which they were transformed. Hillwood Esttae, Museum and Gardens Through Jan. 15
Architecture of an Asylum: St. Elizabeths 1852-2017
From the Guerrilla Girls righting the
Established by Congress in 1855 as
Events | Culture | WD
the Government Hospital for the Insane, St. Elizabeths is widely considered a pioneering psychiatric facility. The hospital is a prime example of the “Kirkbride Plan” for mental health hospitals, which promised to help patients with a specialized architecture and landscape. This exhibition traces St. Elizabeths’ evolution over time, reflecting shifting theories about how to care for the mentally ill, as well as the later reconfiguration of the campus as a federal workplace and a mixed-use urban development. National Building Museum Through Feb. 17
Painting Shakespeare Discover the paintings collection at the Folger — its stories, its glories and Shakespeare’s power to inspire visual artists. From humble oil sketches to international masterpieces, this exhibition presents kids and adults alike, with a sometimes surprising, and always eye-catching, view of the man and his works. Folger Shakespeare Library Through June 24, 2018
Jim Chuchu’s Invocations The museum is the first institution to acquire and display Kenyan multimedia artist Jim Chuchu’s mesmerizing suite of video projections, in which two distinct videos loop in succession and follow the structure of initiation rituals. Surrounded by Chuchu’s pulsing house beats and evocative imagery, viewers are invited to contemplate the separations and releases that shape our individual and collective identities. National Museum of African Art
DANCE Sat., Sept. 2, 8 p.m.
BOLO (Bridge of Togetherness) KanKouran’s 2017 production, Bolo, will take audiences on an unbeliebably breathtaking journey into the influence that African dance and culture has had on contemporary dance styles, and how today’s choreographers are now reaching back to bring an African influence into their work. Tickets are $20 to $25. GW Lisner Auditorium Wed., Sept. 13, 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Daybreaker: Take Back Your Morning. Wake Up and Dance Daybreaker is an early morning dance movement in 16 cities around the world. The event at the House of Sweden (i.e. Swedish Embassy) in Georgetown starts with a one-hour yoga + fitness experience on the rooftop, then guests dance with reckless abandon for two hours before work in Alfred Nobel Hall. Live performance and secret surprises are also included. For tickets, visit www. daybreaker.com/city/dc/. House of Sweden Sat., Sept. 16, 8 p.m.
Gipsy Kings Featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo The Grammy-winning band behind
“Bamboleo” celebrate over 25 years of flamenco, salsa and pop fusion perfection in the party-starting spirit of the south of France. Tickets are $40 to $65. Wolf Trap Sat., Sept. 16, 8 p.m.
Tango Opera – Maria de Buenos Aires PASO performs Maria de Buenos Aires - Astor Piazzolla’s genre-bending tango opera with its hauntingly beautiful music and surrealistic lyrics. Tickets are $45. GW Lisner Auditorium
DISCUSSIONS Thu., Sept. 7, 6 p.m.
The Eagle and the Trident: U.S.-Ukraine Relations in Turbulent Times Ukraine has struggled to establish itself as a democratic state since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Since then Ukraine has encountered multiple conflicts within the country, including the annexation of Crimea by Russia. What methods can Ukraine utilize to recover from its current conflict? How effective is the support from the U.S. in stabilizing Ukraine? The World Affairs CouncilWashington, DC presents Ambassador Steven Pifer for a conversation on his book “The Eagle and the Trident.” For information, visit www.worldaffairsdc.org. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Thu., Sept. 7, 6:45 p.m.
The Silver Way: China, Spanish America and the Birth of Globalization, 1565-1815 Centuries before London and New York rose to international prominence, a trading route was established between Spanish America and China that ushered in a new era of globalization. The Ruta de la Plata, or Silver Way, began with Andrés de Urdaneta’s discovery in 1565 of the tornaviaje (“return route”), between the Philippines and Acapulco. It soon catalyzed economic and cultural exchange, integrated world financial markets, engendered the first global currency in the Spanish milled dollar, led to the rise of the first “world city” in Mexico and established Manila as the primary Asian hub. In collaboration with the Mexican Cultural Institute and the Embassy of the Philippines, Spain arts + culture hosts a presentation by Peter Gordon, co-author of “The Silver Way,” along with Margaret Myersof of the China and Latin America Program at the Inter-American Dialogue and Tatiana Seijas of Pennsylvania State University. To register, visit www. spainculture.us/city/washington-dc/. Former Residence of the Spanish Ambassador Wed., Sept. 13, 7 p.m.
How Did Ordinary Citizens Become Murderers? In the Holocaust era, countless ordinary people acted in ways that aided
the persecution and murder of Jews and other targeted groups within Nazi Germany and across Europe. The museum’s current special exhibition, “Some Were Neighbors: Collaboration & Complicity in the Holocaust,” examines one vexing question: What prompted average people to commit extraordinary crimes in support of the Nazi cause? To register, visit www. ushmm.org. U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Wed., Sept. 13, 6 p.m.
The Vienna Philharmonic 1942-2017: 175 Years of Political, Social and Music History In 2017 the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra commemorates its 175th anniversary. This lecture examines the distinctive structures of the orchestra, its relations with the most famous composers and conductors of their times, the role of its musicians and its affiliations with the different political regimes between the Habsburg Empire, National Socialism and the Republic of Austria. To register, visit http://acfdc.org. Embassy of Austria
FESTIVALS Mon., Sept. 4, 12 to 8 p.m.
Carifesta This free Caribbean music and arts festival celebrating Caribbean-American heritage highlights 28 nations and is the largest presentation of English-, Spanish-, French- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean culture on the East Coast. The festival will feature live bands, cultural dances, an international food court, craft village, beer garden and more. For information, visit www.carifesta.com. Ronald Reagan Building Woodrow Wilson Plaza Fri., Sept. 8, 3 to 9 p.m.
Awesome Sommerfest – Chill Out @GoetheDC Learn about the work of the GoetheInstitut, participate in activities and end the day with some of D.C.’s rad punk bands. Activities include German speed courses, the “Brilliant Dilletantes” exhibition, karaoke, button and bag upcycling stations, a photo booth with 80s costumes, short films and a scavenger hunt. Goethe-Institut Sept. 12 to Nov. 2
Mutual Inspirations Festival 2017 The 2017 Mutual Inspirations Festival pays tribute to Gregor Mendel, the father of modern-day genetics, his scientific achievements, and the vibrancy of his homeland by bringing science and the arts alive through over 20 events in the nation’s capital. Festival highlights include the symposium “Mendel’s Peas and Today’s Genes” at Georgetown University on the ethical issues and possibilities of modern genetics; lectures by Director of the Mendel Museum in Brno Ondrej Dostal, Villanova University Professor of
Astronomy and Astrophysics Edward Guinan, and renowned geneticist and holocaust survivor Renata Laxova; a garden concert in the U.S. Botanic Garden with U.S. Mandolin Champion Radim Zenkl; a performance of the Libor Smoldas Organ Trio mixing jazz, blues, soul and funk at the Kennedy Center; the U.S. premiere of Lenka Lichtenberg’s album “Masarykinspired” inspired by the folk music of Moravia; a “Great Experimenters” film series at the National Gallery of Art showcasing the early works of Czech filmmakers; and the exhibition opening of “Czech Scientists and Their Inventions” at the Czech Embassy. For more information, visit www. mutualinspirations.org. Various locations Sept. 21 to Oct. 29
Eat Spain Up! This month-long program of activities explores Spain and its regions through its foods, its traditional cuisine and its new gastronomic innovation. The cultural initiative includes exhibitions, discussions, screenings, lectures and much more, accompanied by tastings of regional foods and wines, iconic and avantgarde Spanish dishes. For information, visit visit www.spainculture.us/ city/washington-dc/. Former Residence of the Spanish Ambassador
MUSIC Tue., Sept. 5, 6:45 p.m.
Ulises Eliseo Piano Recital The Mexican Cultural Institute hosts Mexican musician and composer Ulises Eliseo for an evening of contemporary piano compositions, with songs from his album “Opus 1.” To register, visit www.instituteofmexicodc.org. Mexican Cultural Institute Tue., Sept. 5, 7 p.m.
Swedish Quintet Jaerv The award-winning Swedish quintet Jaerv presents extroverted, vigorous and heartfelt folk music with influences from both jazz and pop music. Together, the five members have created a homogeneous, vivid sound that has established Jaerv on the folk music scene as well as in many other forums. To register, visit http://www. swedenabroad.com/en-GB/Embassies/Washington/Current-affairs/ Events/. House of Sweden Wed., Sept. 13, 6:45 p.m.
Homage to Eva Ybarra The Mexican Cultural Institute honors Mexican-American accordionist Eva Ybarra for her receipt of an NEA National Heritage Fellowship. Ybarra, the “Queen of the Accordion,” is one of only a few professional women accordionists in conjunto music. Conjunto originated in the late 19th century in working-class communities along Texas-Mexico border and is distinct to that region. To register, visit www. instituteofmexicodc.org. Mexican Cultural Institute
Tue., Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m.
Members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam
Don Juan’s salvation. Tickets are $45. GALA Hispanic Theatre Wed., Sept. 13, 6:45 p.m.
The Embassy Series presents three outstanding artists in an exciting trio of clarinet, violin and piano from the Netherland’s most renowned orchestra — the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra based in Amsterdam — in the elegant Residence of the Netherlands ambassador. Tickets are $195, including buffet, wine and valet parking (black-tie optional); for information, please visit www.embassyseries.org. Netherlands Residence
Lorca: The Endless Light
This classic tragedy will be modernized by Scena Theatre’s modern interpretation, drawing parallels between the political turmoil of ancient Rome to that in present-day Washington, D.C., and featuring an international cast. Tickets are $40 to $45. Atlas Performing Arts Center
Tania, a very pregnant Ph.D. candidate, and Pablo, her rising attorney husband, move next door to Virginia and Frank, a deep-rooted D.C. couple with an impeccably trimmed backyard. But when a questionable fence line puts a prize-worthy garden in jeopardy, neighborly rivalry escalates into an all-out border dispute, challenging everyone’s notions of race, privilege and where to draw the line on good taste. Tickets are $40 to $90. Arena Stage
Through Sept. 2
Sept. 22 to Oct. 22
Sept. 1 to 24
Big Fish Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest, boasts incredible, larger-than-life stories that thrill everyone around him — most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. But their son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales in this production by the Keegan Theatre based on Daniel Wallace’s acclaimed novel. Tickets are $55. Andrew Keegan Theatre Sept. 5 to Oct. 8
The Arsonists The world may be starting to burn, but our Everyman has it all under control. He’s a respected member of his community with a loving wife and a flourishing business, so surely the arsonists will spare him. As an upstanding citizen, he’s even happy to do his civic duty by opening his home to two new guests, but when they start filling his attic with drums of gasoline, will the fire hit too close to home? Written by Swiss playwright Max Frisch as a reflection on the rise of both Nazism and Communism, “The Arsonists” has uncanny new relevance today in light of the rise of populist nationalism around the globe. Tickets start at $34. Woolly Mammoth Theater Company Sept. 7 to Oct. 1
Don Juan Tenorio In this contemporary adaptation of Don Juan Tenorio, the legendary lover pursues his vampiric impulses until he is redeemed by love. Remaining true to the language of José Zorilla, Nando López has distilled the story to its essence. He has combined characters and made them more complex, with the women, in particular, being stronger and more multifaceted, and the young Doña Ines is ultimately
This show celebrates Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garciá Lorca with jazz compositions, exploring the tensions between love and death, desire and repression, with Lorca’s female characters taking center stage. To register, visit www.spainculture. us/city/washington-dc/. Former Residence of the Spanish Ambassador Sept. 15 to Oct. 22
Death of a Salesman Willy Loman’s career is over. During a pivotal 24 hours, he reflects on his life as a father, husband and traveling salesman. Truth and lies intermingle as Willy tries to reconcile the optimism of his youth with his unfulfilled dreams. As the full force of reality crashes down on him, he places his last hope of success in his two sons in Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic. Tickets are $20 to $64. Ford’s Theatre Sept. 26 to Oct. 29
The Lover & The Collection STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn returns to Harold Pinter’s gripping realm of doubt and disquiet to direct a double bill of short plays, considering how we construct our own realities, which truths we tell and which lies we choose to believe. In “The Collection,” a jealous husband confronts a rival, whom his wife may or may not have met. In “The Lover,” a married couple calmly plans for their scheduled infidelities. Please call for ticket information. Shakespeare Theatre Company Through Oct. 8
A Little Night Music In 1900 Sweden, on a magical night that smiles three times, an aging actress, a married virgin, a sex-starved divinity student and a buffoonish count find themselves hilariously tangled in a web of love affairs. Winner of four Tony Awards, Stephen Sondheim’s glorious musical masterpiece returns to the Signature stage in a brand new production directed by Eric Schaeffer and featuring award-winning DC actors Holly Twyford and Bobby Smith. Please call for ticket information. Signature Theatre
THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | september 2017 | 41
WD | Culture | Spotlight
Canada Day 2017
For this year’s Bastille Day celebration at the Embassy of France, Comite Tricolore went to the Big Easy for inspiration. The New Orleansthemed bash included music by Don Vappie’s creole jazz quintet; spicy gumbo and an array of specialties prepared by renowned local chefs; silent auction; dancing and a DJ. Because New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz and holds the title of the most Francophone of the U.S. cities, Comite Tricolore highlighted this eclectic city on the eve of its 300th birthday. All profits benefited the charitable programs of the Comite Tricolore/Tricolore Committee, which has been active in our community for over 30 years.
The Embassy of Canada on Pennsylvania Avenue threw a big party for the country’s 150th birthday on July 1, featuring live music and a broadcast of the ceremonies in Canada’s Parliament. Over 1,000 attendees turned out to enjoy highlights such as an East Coast Kitchen Party featuring New Brunswick’s own Samantha Robichaud, a renowned fiddler; a balloon and bean bag toss for children; a “Canada 150” photo booth and temporary tattoo station; ice cream truck and traditional poutine; and the singing of “O Canada” by Julia Eaddy of the embassy’s Canadian Defence Staff Liaison Office. Guests enjoy French wines.
Photo: Embassy of France
Photo: Embassy of France
Tents were set up outside the French Embassy.
Photos: Embassy of Canada
Deputy Chief of Mission of Canadian Embassy Denis Stevens welcomes guests.
Photo: Embassy of France
A classic Citroen was parked outside the French Embassy.
Photo: Embassy of France
Guests pose for photos in front of the statue outside the French Embassy, also known as La Maison Française.
Photo: Embassy of France
Guests linger around the fountain outside the French Embassy. Participants included chefs from Stratford University. Photo: Embassy of France
Traditional New Orleans dishes were served.
Photo: Embassy of France
Christopher Flynn of Access Industries and Connie Xiao.
Photo: Embassy of France
Tickets from Air France were among the raffle prizes.
Bridget Foltz and Alina Klimova.
Photo: Embassy of France Photo: Embassy of France
Guests dance to Don Vappie’s creole jazz quintet.
42 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | September 2017
Michele Fleming and interior designer Sydnye Pettengill.
Spotlight | Culture | WD
Moroccan National Day Recently arrived Ambassador of Morocco Princess Lalla Joumala welcomed hundreds of guests to the Organization of American States on July 31 to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the enthronement of King Mohammed VI. Joumala, a cousin of the king, previously served as Morocco’s ambassador to the U.K. and is the country’s first female ambassador to the U.S. Photos: Embassy of Morocco
Montenegrin National Day The Embassy of Montenegro celebrated its National Day and the country’s accession to NATO on July 13 at the Library of Congress, with special guest Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others in attendance.
Ambassador of Montenegro Nebojsa N. Kaluderovic welcomes guests. Diane Jones, Ambassador of Morocco Lalla Joumala, her husband Muhammad Reza Nouri Esfandiari and former National Security Advisor Gen. James Jones.
Hilary Geary, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Ambassador of Morocco Lalla Joumala.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Board Chairman of the Alliance for Peacebuilding Robert J. Berg; President and CEO of the Bridges Institute Vivian Lowery Derryck; Ambassador of Rwanda Mathilde Makantabana; Ambassador of Mozambique Carlos dos Santos; and President and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa Florizelle Liser.
Assistant Defense, Military, Navy and Air Force Attaché of the Austria Federal Ministry of Defense and Sports Col. Gottfried Malovits, Ambassador of Austria Wolfgang Waldner and Defense, Military, Navy and Air Force Attaché of the Austria Federal Ministry of Defense and Sports Maj. Gen. Jürgen Ortner.
President and CEO of the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce David Hamod and Ambassador of the League of Arab States Salah Ahmed Hamed Sarhan.
Rev. Jesse Jackson. Ambassador of Egypt Yasser Reda greets Ambassador of Morocco Lalla Joumala.
Saphyra Diabate, Ambassador of Côte d’Ivoire Daouda Diabate, Ambassador of Morocco Lalla Joumala and Ambassador of Burkina Faso Seydou Sinka. Joe David, embassy liaison Jan Du Plain, Leila Mahmoudi, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Tunisian Embassy Moez Mahmoudi and Shahin Mafi of Home Health Connection Inc.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Brian Yee.
John Sipher of CrossLead talks with Ambassador of Montenegro Nebojsa N. Kaluderovic.
Deputy Chief of Mission of the Liberian Embassy Jeff Gongoer Dowana Sr., Siah Wollie, Ambassador of Angola Agostinho Tavares da Silva Neto and Chevron International Government Affairs Manager Renato Almeida.
Mireya Dominguez of the Political Affairs Department at the Mexican Embassy and Euclides Del Moral, head of political affairs at the Mexican Embassy.
Defense, Military, Naval and Air Attaché of the Romanian Embassy Col. Constantin Iacobita, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mark Strong and U.S. Lt. Col. Mark Ivezaj.
PLO-Arab League Meeting Consul Hakam Takash of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Mission to the U.S.; Ambassador of Algeria Madjid Bouguerra; PLO Representative Husam Zomlot; Ambassador of Jordan Dina Kawar; Ambassador of the League of Arab States Salah Ahmed Hamed Sarhan; and Deputy Chief of Mission of the Kuwaiti Embassy Nawaf AlEnezi attend a meeting hosted by Dr. Zomlot. Photo: PLO Mission to the U.S.
Ambassador of Bulgaria Tihormir Stoytchev talks with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Brian Yee.
Minister Counselor of Political and Economic Affairs at the Embassy of Kosovo Frymëzim Isufaj, Ambassador of Albania Floreta Faber and Ambassador of Kosovo Vlora Çitaku. THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | september 2017 | 43
WD | Culture | Spotlight
diplomatic spotlight Social Secretaries at Meridian on July 18, white house Social Secretary rickie niceta joined over 30 embassy social secretaries for the annual reception hosted by the Meridian international Center honoring the work of social secretaries, often referred to as the “heartbeat” of diplomatic missions. “Social secretaries create the kind of interconnections in washington that are so important because they bridge cultural divides and strengthen relationships between the u.S. and countries around the world,” said Meridian President and Ceo Stuart holliday.
Deputy Chief of Protocol Cam Henderson, former White House Social Secretary Ann Stock; Chief of Staff to First Lady Melania Trump Lindsay Reynolds; and Executive Vice President and COO of Meridian International Center Lee Satterfield.
Former White House Social Secretaries under President Bill Clinton Ann Stock and Capricia Marshall join Rosemarie Pauli of the State Department Protocol Office.
Meridian International Center President and CEO Stuart Holliday and White House Social Secretary Rickie Niceta. PhotoS: Meridian international Center
Embassy social secretaries pose outside the Meridian’s White-Meyer House.
Advisor at Civic Nation Megan Beyer, former White House Social Secretary under President Lyndon Johnson Beth Abell, her husband Tyler Abell and Ann Stock, vice chair of the Meridian Board of Trustees.
Monaco’s Youth Circus at Folklife Festival on July 9, the embassy of Monaco presented a “Celebration of youth Circus” at the 2017 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the national Mall, which commemorated its 50th anniversary with the theme “Circus arts.” the performance was preceded by an intimate reception at ambassador of Monaco Maguy Maccario doyle’s residence, featuring special guest Pauline ducruet, the eldest daughter of Princess Stephanie of Monaco who is a new york-based fashion design student and serves as president of the jury of the new Generation Festival for young circus artists as part of the international Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo. “the circus is a visual performing art unfettered by language barriers. it is a place of wonder and enchantment that transcends all generation. the Grimaldi family of Monaco has played a leadership role to circus life and culture since Prince rainier became great advocate of the profession when he saw a decline in the interest of circus as a performing art,” said Maccario doyle. Alicia Adams of the Kennedy Center; Director of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Michael Atwood Mason; Paula Murphy of UniverSoul Circus; Deborah Walk, curator of the Ringling Circus Museum; Suzanne Huey and Rodney Huey, advisor to the Fédération Mondiale du Cirque; Executive Director of the Fédération Mondiale du Cirque Zsuzsanna Mata; Pauline Ducruet; Ambassador of Monaco Maguy Maccario Doyle; Betty Butler and Dan Butler, artistic director of Circus Juventas; Jennifer Lemmer Posey of the Ringling Circus Museum; and Director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival Sabrina Lynn Motley.
Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of Monaco Lorenzo Ravano, Gudrun Faudon-Waldner and Ambassador of Austria Wolfgang Waldner.
Alicia Adams, vice president of international programming and dance for the Kennedy Center, and Ambassador of Monaco Maguy Maccario Doyle.
Rodney Huey, advisor to the Fédération Mondiale du Cirque; Preston T. Scott, curator of Circus Arts; and journalist Jan Smith.
New U.S. Ambassador to Japan ambassador of Japan Kenichiro Sasae and his wife nobuko Sasae hosted a reception in honor of william hagerty, the new u.S. ambassador to Japan, at their residence on July 28. “having worked as a management consultant in Japan and also as tennessee’s Commissioner of economic development, ambassador hagerty has the Japanese business experience few of his predecessors can equal,” Sasae said. the reception included a formal Japanese tea ceremony and a press briefing, with members of Congress and the administration in attendance. At the Circus Arts finale performance under the Big Top at the National Mall at this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Pauline Ducruet receives a welcome from Bello Nock, a previous recipient of the MonteCarlo International Circus Festival’s prestigious “Golden Clown Award”. Bello Nock hides inside a balloon. Ambassador of Japan Kenichiro Sasae, U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty and his wife Chrissy Hagerty participate in a tea ceremony.
PhotoS: eMbaSSy oF JaPan
Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon leads a toast.
PhotoS: eMbaSSy oF MonaCo
Members of Circus Harmony perform.
Members of the administration in attendance included Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, left.
Recently confirmed U.S. ambassador to Japan William Hagerty, a former private equity investor, walks with his wife and children.
44 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMbEr 2017
Director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival Sabrina Lynn Motley; Pauline Ducruet; Ambassador of Monaco Maguy Maccario Doyle and Director of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Michael Atwood Mason. The Sailor Circus Academy, America’s oldest youth circus, does an aerial performance using silk ropes.
The Hebei Golden Eagle Acrobatic Troupe from Shijiazhuang, China, performs.
republic of China (Taiwan)
Continued • PaGe 16
National Day oct. 10 (1911)
neighbors. Yet for such countries, the battle isn’t just about money, said British professor Colin Alexander, the author of a 2014 book, “China and Taiwan in Central America.” “If you’re from a small Central American republic and you have Taiwan as your ally, Taiwan treats you as a princess really, and you get a lot of benefits from it,” Alexander recently told BBC News. “If you move over to China, you’re just another country that recognizes China.”
SuPPortinG aMeriCan JobS Meanwhile, Taiwan ranks as America’s 10th largest trading partner globally — ahead of Italy, Brazil and the Netherlands. Home to 23 million people and roughly the same size as Maryland, Taiwan’s economy exceeds that of some G7 countries. Last year, bilateral trade came to about $65 billion, not including services and arms sales. “We help support at least half a million highpaying jobs in the U.S., and we’re the seventhlargest agricultural export market for American farmers,” Kao said. “People don’t know that on a per-capita basis, we’re the second-largest consumer of U.S. agriculture products after Canada. That includes wheat, soybeans, corn and dairy products, chicken, beef, pork, Washington apples and California wines.” Recently, the island sent a huge trade delegation to D.C. comprising 140 people representing 80 companies in steel, semiconductors, energy, pharmaceuticals, textiles, aviation, defense and biotechnology. The visit will eventually result in at least $30 billion of investment, said Kao, noting that executives visited Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Boston and California’s Silicon Valley. In late July, Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn, which supplies Apple and other hightech manufacturers, announced it would open a factory in Wisconsin to churn out flat-panel
Protocol Continued • PaGe 22
wallpaper,” Lautenslager said. “We’re all working very hard on protocol that keeps the grease — the international, diplomatic wheels — in motion. It’s the glue that ties the different cultures together, different principles together. We in protocol, if we’re doing our job correctly, we’re simply the wallpaper. We should not be the ones that are seen in the picture. We should not be the ones that are seen driving the bus, so to speak. The protocol officials really are in the background, making sure everything else goes smoothly, looks good, appears well, the relationships are facilitated amongst the leaders who are then focused on the much more important issues of the day.” For those who are out front, however, it takes self-awareness to adhere to protocol because you have to understand how you’re
Location eastern asia, islands bordering the east China Sea, Philippine Sea, South China Sea, and taiwan Strait, north of the Philippines, off the southeastern coast of China Capital taipei Population 23.5 million (July 2016 estimate) Ethnic groups More than 95 percent han Chinese (including hoklo, who compose approximately 70 percent of taiwan’s population, hakka and other groups originating in mainland China), 2 percent indigenous Malayo-Polynesian peoples
GDP growth 0.5 percent (2016 estimate) Unemployment 4 percent (2017 estimate) Population below poverty line 1.5 percent (2012 estimate)
Industries electronics, communications and information technology products, petroleum refining, chemicals, textiles, iron and steel, machinery, cement, food processing, vehicles, consumer products, pharmaceuticals
GDP (purchasing power parity) $1.1 trillion (2016 estimate)
Flag of Taiwan
GDP per-capita (PPP) $49,500 (2017 estimate)
display screens for TVs and other consumer electronics. The $10 billion investment, which will reportedly create 3,000 jobs, was unveiled at the White House by Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou, with Trump and two Wisconsin Republicans — House Speaker Paul Ryan and Gov. Scott Walker — in attendance. “There’s strong bipartisan support for Taiwan on Capitol Hill,” Kao said. “Many opinion leaders and think tanks believe Taiwan is really a worthy friend and reliable partner to safeguard regional, even global peace. In the meantime, the U.S. has its own one-China policy and nobody at this point is talking about altering it.”
inextriCable tieS The irony here is that Taiwan itself has enormous investments in China. Under the love-hate relationship that seems to characterize Taiwan and its huge neighbor, roughly 1 million Taiwanese work, study and live on the mainland, and more than 100 flights a day link Taipei to some 50 Chinese cit-
coming across to someone from another country, Eyring added. “You have to understand your own communications style and understand theirs,” she said, noting that foreign officials are less likely to kowtow to Trump’s style, which she called direct. Like many other observers, Eyring said the most outstanding protocol breaks come in the form of Trump’s prolific use of Twitter. He’s not the first to use the social media platform; the Obamas tweeted frequently. But many of Trump’s tweets come across as blaming or sarcastic, often exposing rifts within the administration, which is not usually something presidents want to make public, Eyring said. “He’s being so direct. It’s offending other people. I think that is really offbeat for a president to do,” she said. “Also, bringing up some of the things in his own government — blaming other departments in his own government, you don’t see that. You’re supposed to be part of a team or allies even if you don’t believe in the mission
SourCe: Cia world FaCtbooK
ies. Foxconn, with 1.2 million workers, is China’s largest single private employer. Officially, Taiwanese companies have invested close to $25 billion in the mainland, says Kao, “though unofficially it’s a lot higher than that, because lots of money goes through Hong Kong or Singapore.” And this is definitely not a good thing, warned Kao. “There’s too much dependence on Chinese money,” he said bluntly. “In these past few years, we’ve seen some reconciliation and all this opening of trade and investment. But people in Taiwan believe the previous administration was doing too much too fast — compromising Taiwan’s sovereignty, democracy and dignity, and just making too many concessions. We have too many eggs in one basket.” This especially concerns the current government, Kao said, because “Taiwan has been helping China’s economic development in one way or another, but in the meantime, China never for one day has been shy about taking over Taiwan by force if necessary.” That’s why Tsai is working to diversify Tai-
he has for our country. They have a code of conduct…. The world sees all this and then they think, ‘Oh my gosh. What’s going on in the administration?’” Of course, there are times when breaking protocol is the right move. For example, Reagan was hard of hearing in his right ear, so although the seat of honor is to the right of the president, putting someone there might not have been the best choice given the circumstances, Lautenslager said. Another time a breach is forgiven is when safety is involved. Three summers ago, Obama and Jerry Mateparae, New Zealand’s former governor-general, helped Queen Elizabeth down some stairs by grasping her elbows.
laStinG daMaGe Negative protocol breaches can have lasting effects on foreign relations, both experts said. To the average person, snubs may seem an everyday part of life, but world leaders aren’t average and expect the respect that protocol dictates
wan’s trade away from China and toward other nations such as Vietnam, Thailand and Australia. Yet these are the very same nations that Beijing is courting as well, putting Taipei in direct competition with an economic heavyweight. It’s little wonder then that many Taiwanese still worry about China swallowing their island, whether by military force or by economic domination. Asked about the experiences of Macau, a former Portuguese colony that reverted to Chinese control in 1999, and Hong Kong, which in July marked the 20th anniversary of China’s 1997 takeover, Kao said neither case bodes well for his country. “Taiwan definitely is not Hong Kong or Macau. We’ve been running our own shop just fine since 1949,” he said. “Although Hong Kong remains a good place to do business, in terms of political freedom or freedom of speech or assembly, people have no illusions whatsoever that in Taiwan this would be [curbed under Chinese rule]. The bottom line is that Taiwan needs to keep its own system and its own identity,” he told us, citing recent polls showing that 90 percent of Taiwan’s residents under the age of 35 don’t identify as Chinese, but rather as Taiwanese. “Any future relationship between Taiwan, Hong Kong and China has to be determined through a peaceful, democratic process — not one that is imposed on us. That’s non-negotiable.” Kao declined an opportunity to speculate on how Taiwan’s relationship will evolve with Donald Trump in office. But in baseball parlance, it appears that neither a home run nor a strikeout is likely at this point. “We’re just innocent observers,” said the TECRO chief. “No matter who’s in the White House, U.S.-Taiwan relations should be marked by continuity, consistency and predictability. At the end of the day, the United States is the only country in the world that has committed to support Taiwan’s defense, so we certainly wish the U.S. success. We want whoever’s in the White House to succeed.” WD Larry Luxner is the Tel Aviv-based news editor of The Washington Diplomat.
they’ve earned by virtue of their position. Snubs can be subtle but memorable to the person at the other end. For instance, because the Trump administration has struggled to fill thousands of vacancies across the government, visiting dignitaries aren’t always paired with a U.S. counterpart who is equal in status. So when a head of state can only secure meetings with a lower-ranking diplomat at the State Department, it can be seen as an affront to that country. “I think there’s huge potential for damaging relationships,” Eyring said. “We want relationships, we want to be respected and when we have that around us, we know we can call for help or help others. What if we had a war and we needed help from Canada, which is a great ally? But if that relationship was damaged because of lack of respect to that country, they’re not going to be eager to support us.” To undo some of the harm Trump has caused with his protocol breaches, he needs to “start behaving differently and under-
standing what diplomatic protocol can do,” she argued. “If we act only one way with every culture, well maybe people from a few cultures will be accepting, and some aren’t.” As Trump continues to navigate his new job and define his foreign affairs priorities, Lautenslager and Eyring said they’re hopeful that protocol will fall back into place. “Sometimes it feels like we’re rearranging chairs on the Titanic,” Eyring said, but “there’s still that strong underground of civility and code of conduct…. These changes that he’s just delayed in the protocol side will not change our customs and courtesies.” Stephanie Kanowitz is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
your SourCe For diPloMatiC newS. www.washdiplomat.com
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This when contract has limitations and restrictions, including to withdrawal and tax if taken will be subject toare withdrawal charges. Each premium payment, including any be subsequent excess interest (market value adjustments in Connecticut). Jackson issues other with similar beneﬁts, before 59interest 1/2. Guarantees aredeclared backed by the claims-paying ability offeatures, Jackson National Life The guaranteed minimum rate will be each calendar year and will fall between between premium, is adjustments subject toage a 6-year declining withdrawal charge schedule. Anannuities annuity’s earnings The guaranteed minimum interest rate will be declared each calendar year and will fall limitations and charges. DiscussCompany. them with your representative or contact Jackson for more information. Tax deferral offers no Insurance 1%-3%. Once aa contract is the rate will not change. are taxable as ordinary income when withdrawn and may beminimum subject to ainterest 10% additional taxnot if taken 1%-3%. contract is issued, issued, the guaranteed guaranteed minimum interest will additional Once value if an annuity is used to fund a qualiﬁed plan such as a 401(k) or IRA, and may notrate be available if thechange. annuity is owned before age 59 1/2. Guarantees areInterest backed by thetypes claims-paying ability ofwithdrawals Jackson National 1 This by a “nonnatural person” such as a corporation or certain of trusts. If the sum of in a givenLife contract year exceeds rate applies to the 1-Year Rate Guaranteed Period. 1 This rate applies to value, theFinancial 1-Year Interest Rate Guaranteed Period. Insurance Company. 10% of the accumulated the total amount withdrawn that contract will be subject to withdrawal Frontier Group, P.O. Box 39011year Washington, DC 20016charges. Each premium 2
•Professional reception and administrative services • Fully furnished ofﬁce and meeting space on an as-needed basis •Located steps from the Patent and Trademark Ofﬁce, the new National Science Foundation headquarters, and Albert V. Bryan Federal Courthouse •Just off the Beltway and walking distance from two Metro stops
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Frontier Frontier Financial Financial Group, Group, P.O. P.O. Box Box 39011 39011 Washington, Washington, DC DC 20016 20016 Securities/Insurance products offered through Voya Financial Member SIPC SIPC Securities/Insurance products offered through Voya Financial Advisors, Advisors, Member Joint Chiefs of Staff , cautioned that should also include “a process that [Additional broker/dealer disclosure.] [Additional broker/dealer disclosure.] a geographic limitation “may not af- allows the executive branch to add Jeff are with Jackson National Life Distributors Jeff Wheeler Wheeler and and Frontier Frontier Financial Financial Group Groupford are not not affiliated affiliated withand Jackson National the president military com-Life Distributors groups and geography” and should LLC. LLC. manders the flexibility necessary to give “Congress the ability to reject Continued • PaGe 18 NC, NY, WV www.FrontierFG.com Licensed Licensed in in DC, DC, VA, VA, MD, MD, NC, NY, WV www.FrontierFG.com pursue the enemy outside the named those extensions and expansions,” she
countries. Terrorist groups often seek safe haven in ungoverned and graphical limits and a one-year sun- under-governed spaces, and publicly set. The wars in Iraq, Yemen and else- announcing geographic limits in an where are separate and unique wars AUMF may encourage adversaries and Home should require separate authorito seek out those countries where the Home Office: Office: Lansing, Lansing, Michigan Michigan || www.jackson.com www.jackson.com zations. U.S. involvement in the wars AUMF does not authorize military JMF7362 09/15 JMF7362 in Yemen, Syria,09/15 Iraq, Sudan, Nigeria force.” and elsewhere around the globe is Those seeking a new AUMF gennot covered by any Congressional erally want to include a sunset proviauthorization and is therefore uncon- sion. For instance, Kathleen Hicks, stitutional.” Paul does not believe the senior vice president and director of Islamic State is covered by the 2001 the International Security Program AUMF. at the Center for Strategic and InterIn his testimony for the House national Studies, told The Diplomat Foreign Affairs Committee, Brig. she believes a new AUMF should Gen. Richard C. Gross, now retired have a sunset clause that would force from the U.S. Army and a former lawmakers to re-evaluate the law evlegal counsel to the chairman of the ery three to five years. A new AUMF 46 | THE WASHINGTON DIPLOMAT | SEPTEMbEr 2017
FASHION JEWELRY — (301) 933-3552
A MAX One XLXL annuity from from Jackson® features: ® A Jackson A MAX MAX One OneCall XL annuity annuity frominformation Jackson features: features:2 me for more • Competitive ﬁrst contract year interest The guaranteed minimum interest raterate will be today! declared 2 calendar year and will fall between •• Competitive first contract year interest rateeach Competitive first contract year interest rate Jeff CFP® • 2 Free 1%-3%. withdrawals to 10% eachCRPC, contract year minimum OnceWheeler, aup contract is MA, issued, the guaranteed interest rate will not change. ••• 6-year Free withdrawals up to 10% each contract year3%, 2%, 1% 240-389-0291 withdrawal charge schedule: 6%, 5%, 4%, 1 declining Free withdrawals up1-Year to 10% each contract year This rate applies to the Interest Rate Guaranteed Period. 2 Interest ••Aguaranteed 6-year declining withdrawal charge rate in subsequent years may becalendar less.schedule: 6-year declining withdrawal schedule: ﬁxed annuity is a long-term, tax-deferred designed forbetween retirement. The minimum interest rate will be declaredcharge each vehicle year and will fall One Flexible Premium Deferred Fixed Annuity (contract form number 1%-3%. Once aMAX contract isXL issued, the 2%, guaranteed minimum interest rate will not change. Earnings are taxable as ordinary income when distributed and may beA730C) is issued by 6%, 5%, 4%, 3%, 1% 6%, 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%, 1% ® (Home Office: Lansing, Michigan). 1⁄ Jackson National LifeRate Insurance Company This product may not 1 This rate applies to the 1-Year Interest Guaranteed Period.
Interest subsequent may be less. payment, rate including any subsequent years premium, is subject to a 6-year declining withdrawal charge schedule. An annuity’s Interest rate in in subsequent years may beoffered less. Securities/Insurance products throughto Voya Financial Advisors, Member SIPC earnings are taxable as ordinary income withdrawn and may be subject tax if taken before age 59 1/2. by Frontier Financial Group, P.O. Boxwhen 39011 Washington, DC 20016 a 10% additional MAX One XL Flexible Premium Deferred Fixed Annuity form number A730C) is issued issued MAX One XL Flexible Premium Deferred Fixed AnnuityLife(contract (contract form number A730C) is by Guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability disclosure.] of Jackson National Insurance Company. [Additional broker/dealer ® Securities/InsuranceLife products offeredCompany through Voya Financial Advisors, Member SIPC This product may not Jackson Michigan). Jackson National National Life Insurance Insurance Company® (Home (Home Office: Office: Lansing, Lansing, Michigan). This product may not Jeff Wheeler and Frontier Financial Group are not affiliated with Jackson Frontier Financial Group, P.O.and Box 39011 Washington, DC 20016 be available in premium may be beNational restrictedLife in Distributors [Additional broker/dealer be available in all all states statesdisclosure.] and state state variations variations may may apply. apply. Subsequent Subsequent premium may restricted in LLC. Securities/Insurance products offered through Voya Financial Advisors, Member SIPC some states. This contract has limitations and restrictions, including withdrawal charges and excess Jeff Wheeler and Frontier Financial Group are not affiliated with Jackson National Life Distributors some states. This contract has limitations and restrictions, including withdrawal charges and excess Jeff Wheeler andLicensed Frontier(market Financial Group are not afﬁliated with Jackson National Life Distributors LLC. interest adjustments adjustments Connecticut). Jackson issuesLLC. other annuities annuities with with in DC,value VA, MD, NC, NY, in WV www.FrontierFG.com interest adjustments (market value adjustments in Connecticut). Jackson issues other Licensed ininDC, VA, MD, NC, NY, WVWV www.FrontierFG.com similar features, benefits, limitations and charges. Discuss them with your representative or contact Licensed DC, VA, MD, NC, NY, www.FrontierFG.com similar features, benefits, limitations and charges. Discuss them with your representative or contact Jackson an annuity annuity is is used used to to fund fund aa Jackson for for more more information. information. Tax Tax deferral deferral offers offers no no additional additional value value ifif an qualified the annuity annuity is is owned owned by by aa “non“nonqualified plan plan such such as as aa 401(k) 401(k) or or IRA, IRA, and and may may not not be be available available ifif the natural sum of of withdrawals withdrawals in in aa given given natural person” person” such such as as aa corporation corporation or or certain certain types types of of trusts. trusts. IfIf the the sum contract withdrawn that that contract contract year year contract year year exceeds exceeds 10% 10% of of the the accumulated accumulated value, value, the the total total amount amount withdrawn will be subject to withdrawal charges. Each premium payment, including any subsequent will be subject to withdrawal charges. Each premium payment, including any subsequent HomeMichigan Office: Lansing, Michigan | www.jackson.com premium, is subject to declining An annuity’s annuity’s earnings earnings Home Ofﬁce: | www.jackson.com Home Office: Lansing, Michigan | www.jackson.com premium, isLansing, subject to aa 6-year 6-year declining withdrawal withdrawal charge charge schedule. schedule. An are taxable as ordinary income when withdrawn and may be subject to a 10% additional tax taken JMF7362 09/15 JMF7362 09/15 JMF7362 09/15 are taxable as ordinary income when withdrawn and may be subject to a 10% additional tax ifif taken before of Jackson Jackson National National Life Life before age age 59 59 1/2. 1/2. Guarantees Guarantees are are backed backed by by the the claims-paying claims-paying ability ability of Insurance Company. Insurance Company.
Beautiful new accessories copies of brand luxury jewelry. One of a kind statement pieces to be worn Approved _________________________________________________________ at embassy and soiree affairs. Costume earrings, rings, Changes __________________________________________________________ bracelets, necklaces, Indian, African and vintage pieces. Call Alicia (202) 735-5739. Please leave a message __________________________________________________________________ with telephone number.
A fixed is a contract long-term, • Free withdrawals up annuity to 10% each yeartax-deferred vehicle Current Interest Rate for Premium of $100,000 or greater greater Current Interest Rate for Premium of $100,000 or designed for retirement. Earnings as ordinary • 6-year declining withdrawal charge schedule: 1 are taxable with MAX One XL 3.95% 1 may be subject to a income when distributed and with MAX One XL 3.95% 6%, 5%, 4%, 3%, 2%, 1%
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said. Hicks, who has testified on the AUMF for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said combat troops will be the major sticking point in the debate. “Most complicating is the ground force potentiality — saying anything specific.” Some think it’s unwise to handcuff the president as he goes after the metastasizing threat of terrorism around the world. Even Obama, who was not a war hawk, did not want his hands tied when going after the Islamic State. Others, however, think it’s best for Congress to keep tabs on how, when and where the president is using the military for counterterrorism purposes.
Contact Chanel Lewis at: 703-224-8800 or Clewis@intelligentofﬁce.com www.intelligentofﬁce.com
For some, that’s especially vital now that Trump is president. “Democrats on the House side, they don’t want to have this look like they’re allowing the president to use force,” said Hicks. “The increase in congressional emphasis on foreign policy and ensuring it’s an active participant — there’s a clear correlation between that and Trump becoming president,” said Hicks. “Democrats, and some key Republicans, they’re not willing to trust Trump to use force.” But both Democrats and Republicans have been avoiding this problematic issue for years, content to let the president sign off on risky operations and wary of looking soft on the war on terror. Likewise, the White House and military brass — reluctant to have their powers curtailed — haven’t been eager to revisit the issue either. A busy congressional calendar
stacked with more urgent legislative priorities also means the AUMF debate will likely be put on the backburner, yet again. Other issues such as health care, tax reform and must-pass budget and debt ceiling votes take precedence. But the AUMF remains on the congressional radar, especially among progressive Democrats and libertarian Republicans, and it could quickly be revived if Trump takes controversial counterterrorist actions abroad that spark outrage back home. For now, however, while there is tepid bipartisan support for a new AUMF that addresses shifting terrorist threats, it may be a long time before lawmakers put any kind of end to an otherwise open-ended war. WD Aileen Torres-Bennett is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.
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real Estate Classiﬁeds
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TONI A. GHAZI Realtor (Licensed in DC, MD, & VA)
For more than a decade, Toni has helped international clients ﬁnd their new home, sell or invest in real estate, in the Washington DC area. If youAlthough are searching NOTE: every effort is made to assure your ad is free of mis for a passionate and globally minded content itagent is ultimately up to the customer to make the fin working for you—call Toni now! The first two faxed changes will be made at no cost to the advertiser,
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3 BR/ 2 BA penthouse condo with balcony for rent for $3,295 per month at 4515 Willard Ave #2403S. Chevy Chase, MD 20815! Amazing corner views. Large kitchen with new refrigerator and stove. Large powder room. New A/C-heat convectors. Walk-in closet. Two parking spaces. Amenities: Rooftop pool and sundeck, sauna, gym, free shuttle to Friendship Heights Metro, on-site mini mart and Italian restaurant. Located across from Whole Foods, great dining, theater and shopping. Neil Bacchus - The Bacchus Group Long and Foster Real Estate 7700 Old Georgetown Rd. #120 Bethesda, MD 20817 Direct: (301) 674-8090 Email: Neil.firstname.lastname@example.org Web: thebacchusgroup.net
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MIAMI FORT L AUDE RDALE GREAT TIME TO INVEST!
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Compass is a licensed real estate brokerage that abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdraw without notice. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Compass is licensed as Compass Real Estate in DC and as Compass in Virginia and Maryland. 202.386.6330 | 301.298.1001 | 202.545.6900|202.448.9002
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WESLEY HEIGHTS — Sutton Place, Wesley Heights - 2 BR; updated 2.5 BA; renovated kitchen; two-level townhouse in gated community with parking and 24-hour security; central air conditioning and heat; washer/dryer in unit; freshly painted; plenty of closet space; swimming pool and tennis courts; minutes walk to Metro bus; walking distance to restaurants and grocery store, shopping mall with medical facilities. 3287B Sutton Place, N.W., Washington, D.C. Monthly rent $3,500 per month. Call Karine (240) 505-4838 or email: email@example.com.
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The Washington Diplomat is an independent, monthly newspaper serving the Washington D.C. international and diplomatic community with regular...
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The Washington Diplomat is an independent, monthly newspaper serving the Washington D.C. international and diplomatic community with regular...