Commentary Magazine


Barbecue Diplomacy

In his latest overture to Iran, President Barack Obama has authorized U.S. embassies worldwide to invite Iranian officials to their July 4th parties. I actually attended an embassy-sponsored July 4th party in Cairo last year and can confirm that these are great social opportunities, with brief speeches on American values giving way to an evening of hot dogs, hamburgers, and beer.

Still, I wonder whether Iranian diplomats would feel comfortable at such an event for two reasons. First, since alcohol is forbidden in Islam and banned in Iran, I doubt that U.S. and Iranian emissaries will be bonding over brews. Second, Iranian diplomats’ barbecue meat of choice is typically the American flag.