There ain’t nothing soft about the power of Elvis

In a world fraught with short-term crises piled upon long-term crises, it’s occasionally nice to blog about diplomacy going right. Which brings me to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s trip to the United States. Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports on the first leg of the trip for the New York Times. I think she had as ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast.

In a world fraught with short-term crises piled upon long-term crises, it's occasionally nice to blog about diplomacy going right. Which brings me to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's trip to the United States. Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports on the first leg of the trip for the New York Times. I think she had as much fun writing up the trip as I had reading it: In the annals of international diplomacy, it was not exactly Yalta. But today's visit to Graceland ? the ticky-tacky Elvis Presley mansion here ? by President Bush and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan brought a little bit of shake, rattle and roll to American foreign relations. Mr. Koizumi, whose penchant for belting out Elvis on a karaoke machine is well known, couldn't resist trying out his moves on Mr. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush as the three of them made their way through the manse, escorted by none other than Priscilla Presley, Elvis's former wife, and Lisa Marie, his daughter. "Looove mee tenderrrrr," the prime minister crooned, as Mr. Bush, not one for letting loose in public, cracked up. When Lisa Marie Presley showed the prime minister her father's trademark sunglasses, he promptly donned them and thrust his hips and arms forward, an earnest imitation of a classic Elvis stage move. "I knew he loved Elvis," Mr. Bush told reporters afterward. "I didn't realize how much he loved Elvis.".... The White House left no detail unattended for the visit. The breakfast fare on Air Force One was peanut butter and banana sandwiches, a recipe straight from Elvis's kitchen. Elvis movies ? "Love Me Tender" and "Viva Las Vegas" ? were available for viewing. And Elvis music was playing loudly over the speakers, until Mr. Bush asked that the tunes be turned down. My only objection is Stolberg's use of the word "ticky-tacky" to describe Graceland. I had the honor of visiting the Jungle Room back in the nineties, and although there are many, many adjectives that could be used to describe Graceland, ticky-tacky ain't one of them. Thank you very much.

In a world fraught with short-term crises piled upon long-term crises, it’s occasionally nice to blog about diplomacy going right. Which brings me to Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s trip to the United States. Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports on the first leg of the trip for the New York Times. I think she had as much fun writing up the trip as I had reading it:

In the annals of international diplomacy, it was not exactly Yalta. But today’s visit to Graceland ? the ticky-tacky Elvis Presley mansion here ? by President Bush and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan brought a little bit of shake, rattle and roll to American foreign relations. Mr. Koizumi, whose penchant for belting out Elvis on a karaoke machine is well known, couldn’t resist trying out his moves on Mr. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush as the three of them made their way through the manse, escorted by none other than Priscilla Presley, Elvis’s former wife, and Lisa Marie, his daughter. “Looove mee tenderrrrr,” the prime minister crooned, as Mr. Bush, not one for letting loose in public, cracked up. When Lisa Marie Presley showed the prime minister her father’s trademark sunglasses, he promptly donned them and thrust his hips and arms forward, an earnest imitation of a classic Elvis stage move. “I knew he loved Elvis,” Mr. Bush told reporters afterward. “I didn’t realize how much he loved Elvis.”…. The White House left no detail unattended for the visit. The breakfast fare on Air Force One was peanut butter and banana sandwiches, a recipe straight from Elvis’s kitchen. Elvis movies ? “Love Me Tender” and “Viva Las Vegas” ? were available for viewing. And Elvis music was playing loudly over the speakers, until Mr. Bush asked that the tunes be turned down.

My only objection is Stolberg’s use of the word “ticky-tacky” to describe Graceland. I had the honor of visiting the Jungle Room back in the nineties, and although there are many, many adjectives that could be used to describe Graceland, ticky-tacky ain’t one of them. Thank you very much.

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner

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