Czech Ambassador Says Farewell With Laughs, Likening Bilateral Relationships to Millennial Dating
WASHINGTON — After spending 20 years in New York, Czech Republic Ambassador to the United States Hynek Kmoníček claims he had “a rough start” in Washington, D.C. During a reception to honor his time in Washington as he heads to his next post in Vietnam — as well as to recognize his nation’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union — Kmoníček, with his unique style and wit, took the opportunity to share personal memories at the embassy on Tuesday afternoon.
“[At first] I was going back to New York for my coffee and even my haircut!” he told those in attendance, which included Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis, ambassador of the European Union to the United States. “It took me like two years to get used to this lovely city.”
But eventually he learned “that if you give your time to Washington, Washington rewards you back,” and that “to create a good, sound, bilateral relationship” between the United States and a country of Czechia’s size … is a lot like the art of millennial dating.
Here’s His ‘Hot Take’
“When you come to Washington as the ambassador of a midsized country, that starts with speed dating. You see hundreds of people who don’t remember you, and you don’t remember them,” he quipped.
“Some objects of the speed dating stand out from the crowd, and these will be the people you will work on … with a technique that millennials call breadcrumbing, in which occasionally they remind you of their existence and then they disappear again.
“Don’t be discouraged! You may also need to follow the millennial tactic of orbiting. You go around them, watch them and you try to bring [around] friends (meaning the visitors from the headquarters). Of course, some of the visitors you bring to Washington help you with your job, and some of them put you six months back!
“With all of these, you must use another millennial technique which is called vogue fishing. Like on social media, [this is when] you present [yourself] to be much more progressive than you really are to get the date — yes, sometimes we use it!” he admitted.
“And of course, the main thing is that you cannot ever be ghosting. The only thing worse than ghosting in bilateral relations is that some of the ghosted relations come back as zombies!
“With all of that, you will end up creating a real relationship between your two countries, which is just like relations between you and your future wife,” he explained. “And if such a relation is to be productive, you have three options: You can marry the person; you can abandon the person; and diplomats must do the third option — the arranged marriage.
“Because this is not your marriage, this is marriage between your country and the country that is hosting us. We are just the temporary carriers of the relationship, and we try to make it work.”
Ambassador Kmoníček leaves immediately for Hanoi, Vietnam, and will be replaced in Washington by Czechia’s current Deputy Foreign Minister Miloslav Stašek.
Kate can be reached at [email protected]