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March 05, 2013 1:20 PM Don’t Drink and Negotiate

By Erik Voeten

The U.S. ambassador for management and reform at the UN politely asked his colleagues to stop showing up drunk:

As for the conduct of negotiations, Mr. Chairman, we make the modest proposal that the negotiating rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone.  While my government is truly grateful for the strategic opportunities presented by some recent past practices, let’s save the champagne for toasting the successful end of the session, and do some credit to the Fifth Committee’s reputation in the process.

I would love to hear more about those past “strategic opportunities” that the U.S. now selflessly wishes to put in the dustbin of history. The UN is of course not the only political setting with a drinking problem. British MP regularly vote drunk leading to a new alcohol policy to curtail MP drinking. The Irish can’t stay behind and I am sure there are stories from most countries (including the U.S.).  Ben Wright, a BBC correspondent who is writing a book on booze and politics said that one of Westminster’s pubs had:

a little arrow nailed to the wall two inches off the floor – directions for MPs who were crawling out on their hands and knees.

Yet, Wright also points out that times have changed:

There was a time when a drunk MP would not have been newsworthy, when the masonic understanding between political journalists and their parliamentary contacts could have kept it quiet. Not today.

[Originally posted at The Monkey Cage]

Erik Voeten is the Peter F. Krogh associate professor of geopolitics and global justice at Georgetown University.

Comments

  • JM917 on March 05, 2013 10:21 PM:

    Case in point: Speaker John ("Hell no!") Boehner.