- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 23, 2010

AMERICAN LEADERSHIP

The British ambassador called for continued U.S. leadership in world affairs, telling the Winston Churchill Foundation that Europe needs America today as much as Britain’s war-time prime minister needed U.S. help against Nazi Germany.

“This is a world which continues to require American leadership,” Nigel Sheinwald told guests at the foundation’s 50th anniversary dinner in Palm Beach, Fla., last week. “America’s allies, of course, want consultation and respect for our international institutions, but they also want and need America to lead and set the pace.”

He noted that many commentators like to talk about the economic power of China, but he insisted that the broad and deep relationship between the United States and Europe is more important in dealing with global challenges from economic recessions to international terrorism.

“It is Britain and Europe which share the burden with the United States,” he said.

Mr. Sheinwald recalled the crucial meeting between Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Christmas holidays in 1941, only weeks after the Japanese attacked the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii dragging the United States into World War II.

After about two weeks of critical talks between the two leaders and their staffs, Churchill left Washington to relax in Pompano Beach, Fla., where he enjoyed swimming in the ocean. His doctor at the time remarked that the portly prime minister “basks half-submerged in the water like a hippopotamus in a swamp.”

Telling Churchill stories, especially ribald tales, is almost a requirement in addressing the foundation, and Mr. Sheinwald came prepared.

He noted that Churchill once remarked about a London dinner, saying, “It would have been splendid, if the wine had been as cold as the soup, the beef as rare as the service, the brandy as old as the fish, and the maid as willing as the duchess.”

Mr. Sheinwald also recounted a Churchill story about a visit to Canada where he found himself seated at reception next to a stiff-necked bishop. A young waitress offered drinks, which Churchill readily accepted. The bishop, however, rebuffed her, saying, “Young lady, I’d rather commit adultery than take an intoxicating beverage.”

Churchill immediately summoned the waitress to return.

“Come back, lassie,” he said. “I didn’t know we had a choice.”

BEER SUMMIT II

The latest “beer summit” did not attract the attention of the one on the White House lawn, but Canadians appreciated the gesture Friday when the U.S. ambassador in Ottawa paid off a bet from President Obama by delivering two crates of beer to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Mr. Obama lost a bet to Mr. Harper over the gold medal hockey match at the Winter Olympics, when Canada beat the United States 3-2. Ambassador David Jacobson personally delivered a crate of Canada’s Molson beer and added a case of Yuengling, brewed in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Jacobson told Mr. Harper he was instructed by the president to congratulate “the Canadian people on the games,” which were held in the Canadian province of British Columbia.

“They were great. The athletes were great, and the spirit and hospitality were great to my people and around the world,” Mr. Jacobson said.

Mr. Harper said he was pleased Mr. Obama paid his debt.

“David,” he said, “you guys always fulfill your promises to us, and we appreciate it.”

IRAQ IN DETROIT

Iraqi Ambassador Samir Sumaida’ie traveled to Michigan on Monday to open Iraq’s first consulate general’s office in the United States.

Consul General Louay al-Saidi will lead a staff of 10 at the consulate on West 12 Mile Road in Detroit to serve an estimated 300,000 Iraqis who live in Michigan, the ambassador said.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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