- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Welcome Poland

U.S. travel visas, far more difficult to obtain since the September 11 terrorist attacks, were a hot topic of discussion when Polish PresidentAleksander Kwasniewski met at the White House with President Bush earlier this year.

“To improve the ease and safety of such travel, the United States will establish in Warsaw a program to pre-screen visitors traveling from Poland to the United States,” Mr. Bush assured the visiting head of state, who had made clear that “millions and millions” of law-abiding Poles and Polish Americans were counting on improvements in the visa process.

Surely Mr. Kwasniewski wouldn’t be amused to read a State Department telegram, dated June 17, sent to all diplomatic and consular posts — “a [foul-up] that didn’t get noticed until recently,” says one State Department insider, who leaked the dispatch to Inside the Beltway.

Subject of the telegram: “Nato Expansion: Revision” — the NATO list of countries “has been modified to include Poland.”

“Poland became eligible for NATO visas in 1999 but was inadvertently left off the following list. [The list] now reads … ‘The following countries are currently parties to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization: Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.’”

The telegram also makes clear that although Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia officially joined NATO this March 29, they are “ineligible” for NATO visas until such time they become parties to the Agreement on the Status of NATO.

Phased destruction’

American author David Ben-Ariel tells this column that he will soon release “Beyond Babylon: Europe’s Rise and Fall,” describing the book as “staunchly pro-Israel/American.”

As a result, he predicts, the book’s subject matter “will become a national debate and an international controversy.”

Not surprising. Mr. Ben-Ariel of late has referred to the “mindless mantra that mesmerizes fools for peace at any price and rings hollow because the Jews are going again, slowly but surely, through the lying peace process of phased destruction.”

“The only ones (thank God for the precious few) who are making any fuss about it, dragging their heels rather than go like sheep to the slaughter, are roundly condemned by their own leaders and American administrations and worthless world opinion as ‘enemies of peace,’ ‘obstacles to peace,’ and other name brands because they don’t want to ‘rest in peace’ but live and prosper.”

Food diplomacy

More than 20 chefs for world kings, presidents and heads of state will spend a week in Washington next month and share their bosses’ favorite recipes with a team of Willard InterContinental Hotel chefs who regularly cater to visiting international leaders.

Co-host of the esteemed gathering will be White House chef Walter Scheib. He’ll fire up the hotel’s frying pans with, among others, Mark Flanagan, chef to the queen of England; Ulrich Kerz, chef to the German chancellor; Joshua Drache, chef to the Canadian prime minister; Rene Matheieu, chef to the grand duke of Luxembourg; Khwankeo Vajarodaya, grand chamberlain to the king of Thailand; Christian Garcia, chef to the prince of Monaco; Carlos Galdamez, chef to the king of Spain; and Marco Salvi, chef to the president of Italy.

The chefs are members of Le Club des Chefs de Chefs, the organization of chefs to the world’s heads of state.

“This is the most peaceful world organization, since food, like music, is an international language which everyone enjoys,” notes Gilles Bragard, who as couturier to the chefs (he owns a chefs’ uniform business) founded the organization in 1977.

A stone’s throw from the White House and considered the “Grande Dame” of American hotels, the Willard has played host to American presidents since Zachary Taylor. Beneath its historic roof, Julia Ward Howe wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” PresidentUlysses S. Grant coined the term “lobbyist,” and Martin Luther King edited his “I Have a Dream” speech. Former PresidentAbraham Lincoln also lived there for a month.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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