Friday, May 14, 2021

Chicago’s less-than-favorite son could rise in Japan

    A dozen years ago, through a chain of circumstance too convoluted to relate, the U.S. government invited me to London to speak about Chicago at the Royal Festival Hall.
     Of course there had to be a welcoming reception at Winfield House, the Regent’s Park home of the American ambassador, a mansion whose 12-acre private grounds are the second largest in London, behind only Buckingham Palace. At one point in the evening, I found myself being given a tour of the mansion by Ambassador Lou Susman, a Chicago Citicorp executive who greased his slide into diplomacy by vigorous fundraising for the Democratic Party. His wife had decorated the vast Neo-Georgian interior with their collection of stark modern paintings. Rather jarringly, in my opinion, though I kept that to myself.
     “Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and go to take a ....” umm, visit to the bathroom, Susman said. “And I look around and I think: ‘I’m just a Jewish kid from Pittsburgh.”
     That sense of awe at one’s lofty station in life is part of the appeal of ambassadorship. Susman certainly wasn’t rhapsodizing the joys of navigating Anglo-American relations, which began, remember, in revolution, include such dubious low points as the British burning the White House and America standing by while Hitler battered England. The 21st has gotten off to a rocky start, with both populations effectively joining hands and hurling ourselves off the cliff of nationalism and folly, Great Britain with Brexit, and America with you-know-who.
     The prospect of Rahm Emanuel becoming ambassador to Japan has gathered some attention — it was asked about at a White House press briefing on Thursday. Still, it might not happen — neither Emanuel nor the White House will confirm reports. Maybe it’s one of those famous trial balloons. Perhaps Rahm is jealous of the sickeningly sweet puff piece the New Yorker ran a few weeks ago about his brother, Ari, and ginned up some fictive good press of his own.
     Still, an apt time to ponder the question of why Rahm would be dispatched to Japan.

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  1. Still not far enough away from Chicago.

  2. Rising son… very clever.

  3. since he probably wouldn't accept a consular posting to vladavostok, i suppose japan will have to do. i'm sure it'll give him a lot of connections to boost his bank account.

  4. Picture on the blog is great. Looks a little like Rahm. Better looking than the one in the paper.

  5. You don't seem to like Rahm much, but the allusion to Carol Mosely Brown is not apt. Japan, unlike New Zeeland, is an important posting, and the Japanese would probably be pleased to have him, if no other reason than that he is known to be tight with President Biden.



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