Yessimbol, from Kazakhstan, had arrived only a few minutes earlier and didn’t speak English. So it was in Russian that he asked me why the zombie mannequin hanging from the ceiling was dressed in lingerie and high heels.
I asked who the keynote speaker had been. Billie told me it was a politician from New York, Eliot Spitzer. He continued, raving about the discussion of intriguing, new policy concepts. Then he paused, and asked, “Why are you giggling?”
As much as we might want to, there are some patches of real estate on the planet we are simply not going to be able to visit. As a second-best alternative, our family hosts international visitors to Chicago several times a year.
American soft power, that ability to achieve diplomatic objectives without threat or coercion, stems from many sources: aid packages, student exchanges, Katy Perry songs. I would like to make the case that the US State Department should add pancakes to the list.