Diplomatic Dance: Hail, Farewell, and a Quiz

by Editorial
 John and Finola Bruton say farewell to Washington. (Photo by Gail Scott)

John and Finola Bruton say farewell to Washington. (Photo by Gail Scott)

The US-ASEAN Business Council is the premier advocacy organization for U.S. business dealings in Southeast Asia. Council members include seven of America’s Fortune 10 companies and 20 of the 30 Dow Jones companies, all driving American investment in Southeast Asia. Top representatives from the 28 sponsoring companies paid up to $50,000 for a table.

“Tonight’s event is a clear statement of the strong U.S.-Singapore bilateral relationship,” said Singaporean Ambassador Chan Heng- Chee. “Lee Kuan Yew … has consistently advocated a U.S. presence in Asia. He asserted this even … when it was unpopular to say so.The U.S. has found Singapore to be a reliable, articulate friend.”

Supporters pointed out that in the last quarter century, US-ASEAN trade has increased nearly seven-fold to approximately $180 billion annually. ASEAN itself has doubled in membership from five to 10 countries, reaching nearly 600 million people, and raised its collective GDP from $2.2 billion to nearly $1.5 trillion.

Minister Mentor Lee accepted, saying, “To remain at the centre of East Asia’s economic and political evolution, ASEAN must integrate more closely and with urgency.” He also warned that “In building any new East Asian architecture, the U.S. must be an important part of it … whatever the challenges, U.S. core interest requires that it remain the superior power in the Pacific.”

FAREWELL, TAEOSCH

John Bruton, Ireland’s former prime minister (or “taeosch”) and for the last five years, the very popular and successful ambassador of the European Union Commission, bid farewell to Washington during an emotion- filled evening at the E.U.’s shrimp-colored Kalorama palazzo on Oct. 22. “What I liked most was talking to American high school students and explaining what the E.U. was all about,” he said. “They are your leaders for the next 40 years, so convincing them that the E.U. is important is crucial.” He was proud of having met an unprecedented number of members of Congress – 300 at last count – to win their votes for matters of concern to member nations.

“I don’t believe he’ll go back into politics,” said his equally popular wife, Finola, the mother of their four children (and his former campaign pollster). “He would be interested in something on a bigger stage,” she added, leaving the door open for new opportunities for this highly effective couple.

DID YOU KNOW?
A. What nation’s flag now flies on Albemarle Street NW?
B. What world capital has such fine cuisine that it now boasts eight restaurants with three Michelin stars? (Hint: Even Paris has only 10.)
C. Which diplomatic dog is training to hunt for truffles?

Answers:
A. “We can’t tell you but you can probably guess.” This ambassador has 24/7 access to the White House, state, and defense departments.
B. Toyko
C. “Maestro,” an Italian Lagotto Romagnolo, is the “Ambassadog” of the Ambassador of Monaco Gilles Noghès and his wife Ellen.

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