Americans are known the world over for being embarrassing drunks. We’re constantly being told that other countries have a more mature relationship with alcohol, that their collegiate years are not spent chugging cheap grain alcohol and getting sick in communal bathrooms. But in a surprising turn of events, the U.S. is asking diplomats from other countries to lay off the booze, according to Reuters. At least during United Nations budget debates.
Joseph Torsella, deputy U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for management and reform, came to the General Assembly’s budget committee with a “modest proposal that the negotiating rooms should in the future be an inebriation-free zone.”
Mr. Torsella went on to request that diplomats wait to break out the champagne until the conclusion of a successful session, rather than pre-gaming the budget sessions like freshmen on their way to a frat party.
The call for moderation comes after an incident in December in which the U.S. was unable to rally support for a proposal to freeze U.N. staff pay. According to Foreign Policy,”key negotiating partners, particularly delegates from the Group of 77 developing countries, were not showing up for meetings. When they did arrive, they had often been drinking.” (Mr. Torsella also called for changes so that no-show countries couldn’t hold up the proceedings.)
While the annual vote of the committee does come in late December—let’s be honest, who doesn’t overindulge in drink during December?—and we can appreciate anyone wanting a little tipple before tackling budget issues, there have apparently been incidents of “illness.” Not to mention that pressing global issues probably shouldn’t be resolved by booze-addled brains. We’ve all seen pissed partygoers immersed heated political arguments. Now imagine that they had actual power.
But apparently getting tossed before starting in on tense international negotiations is nothing new. As a diplomat told Foreign Policy: “By the way, it’s not just Africans. The Russians do it… Canada used to bring whisky. The French used to bring bottles of wine.”