If you want to follow the real power in Washington, get in line for any party hosted by Ambassador of Kuwait Salem Al-Sabah and his stunning wife Rima.
The State Department is not the only place in town to get briefed on foreign policy; the Al-Sabahs offer a viable alternative as they did the night before President Obama addressed the nation on the situation in Libya. While party chatter is more discreet, if you pay attention you can read between the lines.
Such was the case at their annual party at the Four Seasons where the invite list was predominately male. Niteside caught up with one of the exceptions, former U.S. Rep to the United Nations Esther Coopersmith, whose own parties at her Kalorama home are graced with kings and queens.
“I’m just back from Jordan,” she said. “It was really -- well, people of Jordan really want the king and queen to remain. It’s one of the countries that’s different,” she continued diplomatically.
Coopersmith was in Bahrain a year ago, and said she can't believe the situation now -- "because the royal family is [trying] but there are 70 percent Shiites. That’s why it is totally different than Egypt. In Egypt, 85 million people wanted jobs and a better economy. In Bahrain, the Shiites want to be part of the government and that’s really what that one’s all about.”
As for Libya, she hopes that Muammar Gadhafi "will use common sense.”
We moved on to the ever-gracious but noncommittal General Peter Pace, the 16th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We asked him to comment on Egypt and Libya. “I don’t answer those questions anymore,” he said, “because there is a Joint Chief of Staff now and his name isn’t Pace anymore, it’s Mullen, so I defer to the people that have the responsibility.” Check.
But he did talk to us about his life now. As for whether he's happy not being in charge anymore, he replied: “No, but I’m not sad, either. What I miss most is the troops and I do miss the opportunity to get my three cents in on occasion. But we’ve got some peers that are responsible right now and I think it is important to stand back and give our advice quietly when asked for it, and not speak out publicly. That confuses people on what the real message from the United States government is.”
We’re confused anyway, so we guess we know how difficult Hillary Clinton's job must be.