The Canadians know have to have fun. Thursday evening, the Embassy threw its own stylized night of Oscar-like, red carpet strolling, high drama award-giving for some of Washington’s policy and political elite who embrace rather than poke fun at the maple leaf and all that entails.
The Canada-US Policy Oscars, oops — the INUKSHUKs — was the brainchild of Political Minister Kevin O’Shea who was part of the sizzle and theatrics, playing the hosting role with another elegantly dressed colleague of the Embassy team (will insert her name if someone at the Embassy will send!!). I daresay that O’Shea and his partner hostess kept my attention far more than James Franco and Anne Hathaway at that other awards evening on the other coast.
Defense Attache RAdm Richard Greenwood said that Kevin O’Shea is brilliant at finding new and better ways for the Embassy to show our American friends what lunatics live up north. He laughed. I asked if that was on the record. He said “sure” and handed me his business card so that I got it right.
Seriously though, the night was great fun — and little did I know that I would be lying when I walked on the red carpet and was accosted by a team of Canadian Entertainment Tonight folks who asked if I had been “nominated.” I responded that in the blogs category, I saw that along with Foreign Policy‘s “The Cable”, something called The Washington Blog had been nominated and if that won — then I would not go up there as I published The Washington Note. So I said that I didn’t think I had been nominated.
The pool reporter for the many paparazzi clamoring for interviews then lost interest in me and chased other prospects.
But guess what?! I was nominated but just hadn’t gotten to that email yet.
Embassy of Canada Trade Minister Sarah Quigley and Trade Policy Counsellor Kevin Thompson were the presenters of BEST PERFORMANCE, MALE OR FEMALE, IN A BRIEFING AT THE CANADIAN EMBASSY.
Those nominated included:
Norm Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute, for An Expresso View of the Tea Party, visit of the Canadian Trade Minister
Fulton Armstrong, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, visit of the Canadian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Peter Quilter, US House of Representative Foreign Affairs Committee, for Y Tu Mama Tambien, visit of Canadian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Frank Cillufo, Homeland Security Institute, for The Social Network and Radicalization, visit of the Canadian Public Safety Minister
And then I nearly spewed up my Moosehead lager when I heard. . .
Steve Clemons, New America Foundation, for The King’s Speech: Defining the Obama Doctrine, visit of the Canadian Defence College
The winner is. . .STEVE CLEMONS for THE KING’S SPEECH: DEFINING THE OBAMA DOCTRINE
Music, music, and more music — and then kissing the Minister and Counsellor of Trade, a few times, and then my speech:
“Wow. I’m really stunned. If you knew how closely I came to not attending tonight.” And then the response, “If you know how closely we came to not giving you this award. . .”
Was really great fun. I now know exactly how Melissa Leo felt when she was the surprise winner of best supporting actress at the Oscars. Fulton Armstrong, Norm Ornstein (Norm wasn’t there and had to cancel his appearance at 4 pm — otherwise the vote might have gone another way), Peter Quilter, and Frank Cillufo were all gracious, but I know that they probably felt more deserving (and maybe were) and wanted their own trophy.
They’ll have another chance next year. I did let Fulton Armstrong feel and hold my Inukshuk though — and he seemed to enjoy it.
In the category of BEST ORIGINAL THINK TANK REPORT OR BLOG ADAPTED AS A CANADIAN EMBASSY CABLE, there were some cool nominees (this interested me as the Canadians fully embraced their plagiarist ways! What better way to be forgiven than give an award?!):
Josh Rogin, The Cable, for How the Obama Administration Turned on a Dime, turned into Canadian Embassy cable “How the Obama Administration Turned on a Dime” [Irritating but true: Josh Rogin’s quote about the Obama administration turning on a dime — was a quote from STEVE CLEMONS, but hey — I had already just won an award]
Stephen Cohen, Brookings Institution, for A Failed Pakistan turned into Canadian Embassy cable called “A Failed Pakistan”
Abraham Denmark, Center for a New American Security, for The Uncertain Rise of China’s Military turned into a Canadian Embassy cable titled “The Uncertain Rise of China’s Military”
Stephen Flanagan, Center for Strategic and International Studies, for Libya: Managing a Fragile Coalition turned into a Canadian cable of the same name (guess you are getting the trend now)
Deborah Gordon, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, for The Role of Transportation in Driving Climate Disruption turned into an Embassy of Canada blockbuster cable titled, yes, “The Role of Transportation in Driving Climate Disruption”
And the winner was:
JOSH ROGIN for (a quote of mine he finally got right): “How the Obama Administration Turned on a Dime”
The evening was great — the concept stress-defusing.
I promptly went over to meet the new Ambassador of France, Francois Delattre, at a dinner he was hosting (and to which I was late) and shared with him what a fantastic party the Canadians had just thrown.
National Security Council Senior Director Dennis Ross was sitting next to Ambassador Delattre. Ross sort of winked at me (I think) subtly acknowledging that that is exactly the way to invent leverage in the world.
More on real issues soon.
— Steve Clemons