Last week I had a meeting with the American Embassy’s Public Affairs officer, as member of a committee representing my employer. The Embassy want us to organise public events using their guest speakers for free, either resident in the Outpost or invited for that purpose. Among the many suggestions they put forward (some of them actually very interesting, we are seriously considering to take up their offer on these), they included us hosting public lectures with themes such as ‘EU-US trade relations’ and ‘American foreign policy’. NL, also in the committee, asked whether these two would be of a historic perspective (subtle NL!) and, more specifically, whether the speaker would discuss Cold War era American foreign policy. “Oh no, we are talking today‘s foreign policy”, replied the Embassy officer. “Aha”, I thought.
The officer himself was naturally forthcoming and smooth-talking (Lord, diplomats are always somehow scary in their own elusive manner, and I have met so many of them here in the Outpost). I politely and civilly attacked the Embassy for suggesting us to act as a vehicle of their government’s propaganda and went on to request from them to bring us an expert speaker on racism, who we would gladly host as here in the Outpost “we can certainly use the valuable US experience on the matter”. He (diplomatically) enthusiastically exclaimed that this was a wonderful idea, and that this is why such meetings are great.
The guy has an @state.gov email address; his bodyguard, looking like an Iraqi insurgent, was waiting outside the board room throughout the meeting standing, hands crossed in front of his genitalia, like a footballer waiting for a free kick.