The Washington Post

Stroganoff diplomacy on Capitol Hill?

The House Longworth Cafeteria featured Russian cuisine on Wednesday. (Photo/ courtesy of a Loop Fan who preferred not to be identified.) The House Longworth Cafeteria featured Russian cuisine  Wednesday. (A Loop Fan who preferred not to be identified)

Was someone in the Longworth House Office Building cafeteria keeping a keen eye on the crisis in Syria — and the very deep hole President Obama was in after drawing those squiggly red lines on Syria’s use of chemical weapons?

Just as things were looking bleak — a major political embarrassment loomed as Obama’s call to arms looked certain to fail in the House — up popped Obama’s new BFF, Russian president and former KGB-er Vladimir Putin.

The great Russian democrat’s proposal of a negotiated deal to have Syria strongman Bashar al-Assad give up his poison gas arsenal not only pulled Obama from the political abyss but even gave him an opening to claim his saber-rattling somehow contributed to  a possible deal.

The Longworth cafeteria, like many others, often features a bit of foreign food at its counters for those who might like something besides burgers. And the featured country on Wednesday? Russia!

Yes, the “Global” food counter featured “Beef Stroganoff, Thyme Egg Noodles, Roast Root Vegetable” and “Sweet and Sour Cabbage.” Yummy. But no borscht, no blah, blah, blah. All you can eat for 55 cents an ounce.

Far as we can tell, there doesn’t appear to be a political motivation at work here, though. The weekly menus are planned in advance. (Thursday’s featured food is from Argentina. Tuesday was the Philippines.)

Meanwhile, some Loop Fans have wondered why Congress didn’t engage in “cafeteria retaliation” against the British for not backing Obama’s threatened use of force against Damascus.

After all, outraged lawmakers wisely demanded government cafeterias drop mentions of French cuisine — French fries were re-named Freedom fries — when Paris didn’t back President Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

There’s been no menu action this time perhaps because Congress was on vacation — and understandably confused by Obama’s constant shifts.

The greater problem in this instance may have been that no one particularly likes British food, so there weren’t many options: Fish and chips to Fish and French fries or  English muffins to Cowardly Crumpets?

In any event, Obama should be grateful that the Great Sloucher has stepped in. Beats eating crow.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
Republicans debated Saturday night. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Dan Balz says...
Rarely has the division between Trump and party elites been more apparent. Trump trashed one of the most revered families in Republican politics and made a bet that standing his ground is better than backing down. Drawing boos from the audience, Trump did not flinch. But whether he will be punished or rewarded by voters was the unanswerable question.
GOP candidates react to Justice Scalia's death
Quoted
I don't know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish.
Sen. Marco Rubio, attacking Sen. Ted Cruz in Saturday night's very heated GOP debate in South Carolina. Soon after, Cruz went on a tirade in Spanish.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
The State's Andy Shain says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

March 6: Democratic debate

on CNN, in Flint, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read

politics

in-the-loop

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.