- By Blake Hounshell
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.
FP contributor Dan Drezner, citing reliable sources in Europe, tells a brief story about Russo-German diplomacy:
Angela Merkel apparently has a fear of dogs. Vladimir Putin is aware of this fact. Therefore, whenever Putin meets with Merkel in Moscow, he makes sure his pet dogs are in the room.
Press accounts suggest this to be true. President Putin loves his dogs, and he appears to use them to intimidate Chancellor Merkel during tough negotiations. This was the initial test, in January 2006:
Putin, who already met Merkel several times when she was opposition leader of the conservative Christian Democrats, said his meeting with her had taken place “in a very good atmosphere.” Earlier, Putin, who likes dogs, had given Merkel a gift of a small toy black and white dog, which had a short leash. Merkel, however, does not like dogs – she was bitten by one when she was young and has since kept her distance, according to an aide. German diplomats said they were unsure how to interpret the gift.
One year later, in January 2007, Putin brought in diplomatic reinforcements during a dust-up with Merkel over energy supplies:
Later, when Koni, Putin’s black Labrador, made her domineering entrance, Merkel nervously, or perhaps wishfully, commented in Russian, “Now the dog is going to eat the journalists.” […]
Kremlin critic and journalist Yulia Latynina, writing for “Yezhednevny zhurnal,” said the “friendly meeting in Sochi between Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, and Labrador Koni” left her bewildered.
Putin apparently told the German chancellor, “I don’t think the dog will scare you. She won’t do anything bad, she likes journalists.”
I wonder what Vlad does to try to intimidate U.S. President George W. Bush. Show him the latest poll numbers?