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Old 19.07.2014, 10:32
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Interview with new US Ambassador

The current Migros-Magazin has an interview with the new US Ambassador to Switzerland, Suzan LeVine. Below is a translation:

New US Ambassador in Bern
„We want to improve the arrival processes“
Since the beginning of July the USA has again an Ambassador in Bern. Suzan LeVine speaks about travel, airport security procedures and Swiss neutrality.

Migro-Magazin (MM): Suzan LeVine, you have lived since 30 days in Switzerland. Have you already visited the country in the past?
Suzan LeVine (SLV): 26 years ago I travelled for six weeks with a backpack through Europe. In Zurich I stayed in a youth hostel. On the first evening I went for a beer in a small cafe and met there by chance my Rabbi from New Jersey. It’s a small world.

MM: And now you have again travelled to Switzerland. What is noticeable to you?
SLV: From my time as a backpacker tourist, Zurich has developed from a modest airport to a modern airport. I worked for some time for the internet travel agency Expedia and know my way around the travel industry. In this respect, I am impressed how quickly you can disembarque in Kloten, how efficiently the baggage is handled and how extensive is the number of hotels in the area.

MM: It looks differently in the USA. Last year I waited at the JFK New York airport for two hours before I could present my passport at the passport checkpoint.
SLV: We want to improve the arrival processes. To this point we plan to work with the Swiss government in order to reduce the waiting time for Swiss citizens. Still it cannot be currently foreseen, how long it will take before this practice is in place.

(The next three questions and answers allows the Ambassador to expound on mobile phones and fluids in airplanes. To avoid wasting readers’ time, I have decided not to translate these questions and responses.)

Final question and answer:
MM: You entered your official position only a few days ago. What are your goals ?
SLV: I would like to strengthen the economic relationships between the NSA and Switzerland. US domiciled companies provide 80,000 jobs in Switzerland while Swiss companies provide 460,000 in the USA. A second concern is to increase the cooperation in the areas of security and development. A third would be to improve the mutual appreciation of our cultures, values and politics. I would like to communicate to Americans, as an example, how important neutrality is to Switzerland.
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Old 19.07.2014, 10:36
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

That is good news, but Migros never asked her if she has been able to open a bank account.
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Old 19.07.2014, 10:56
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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SLV: I would like to strengthen the economic relationships between the NSA and Switzerland.
Truth in typos, eh?
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Old 19.07.2014, 11:00
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

I love how she just comes out with "met my Rabbi" as if that sort of talk is acceptable in mitteleuropa.
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Old 19.07.2014, 11:52
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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I love how she just comes out with "met my Rabbi" as if that sort of talk is acceptable in mitteleuropa.
They forget themselves sometimes, the poor dears, and can't help littering their speech with bogus anecdotes aimed at the all important Jewish vote back home.
I suppose she joins a long succession of emissaries from there [USA] who could not even point vaguely to their host countries on a world map.
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Old 19.07.2014, 12:50
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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I love how she just comes out with "met my Rabbi" as if that sort of talk is acceptable in mitteleuropa.
It IS acceptable, even if possibly not by everybody.
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Old 19.07.2014, 12:53
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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They forget themselves sometimes, the poor dears, and can't help littering their speech with bogus anecdotes aimed at the all important Jewish vote back home.
I suppose she joins a long succession of emissaries from there [USA] who could not even point vaguely to their host countries on a world map.
her family (husband) is in the wine-trade. She possibly rather divides the world into wine-regions than into political areas which may not be that bad after all
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Old 19.07.2014, 13:19
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

Suzan LeVine was sworn in with her hand on a Kindle displaying the United States Constitution.
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Old 19.07.2014, 13:33
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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That is good news, but Migros never asked her if she has been able to open a bank account.
With the ongoing US-Swiss Tax Program ("US Programme"), which treats Americans living in Switzerland as US tax evaders, and now FATCA, Ambassador LeVine might find that there are fewer "unofficial ambassadors" to support her in her job. A comment by an American at the Franco-American Flophouse blog said it well:

"Through several decades in one of the more America-hating nations in Europe my policy was:

Never pander to local prejudice by bashing my home country in order to ingratiate myself with my new countrymen.

As Victoria wrote, Give-the-home-country-the-benefit-of the-doubt.

Work to disprove the caricature of the Ugly American--obese, uneducated, racist, mono-lingual neanderthal.

I loyally filed and paid my taxes to the USA, fully aware I was getting nothing in return.

Then, as reciprocation they give us….FATCA.

Angry, moi?
You bet."

http://thefranco-americanflophouse.b...mbassador.html
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Old 19.07.2014, 13:36
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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. . .
SLV: . . . A third would be to improve the mutual appreciation of our cultures, values and politics. I would like to communicate to Americans, as an example, how important neutrality is to Switzerland.
She has certainly set herself an ambitious task there. What culture can she possibly imagine that America has that would be of interest to Switzerland: Las Vagas? Disneyland? Hollywood?. They have only a couple of hundred years of history having practically wiped out their own indigenous population (and, incidentally, currently supplying political cover and advanced military hardware for one of their client states to do the same). As for appreciation of their politics characterised by meddling, snooping, bullying including and a vicious campaign against the Swiss economy and banking system. She will certainly have to work hard to put a positive gloss over all that.
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Old 19.07.2014, 13:50
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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What culture can she possibly imagine that America has that would be of interest to Switzerland: Las Vagas? Disneyland? Hollywood?.
Outside the snooty urban centres, Swiss people have a pretty solid - if occasionally confused - appreciation of American culture.

The USA, for all its faults, is still the "coolest" country on the planet. Plenty of culture there to be shared.
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Old 19.07.2014, 14:11
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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Migro-Magazin (MM): Suzan LeVine, you have lived since 30 days in Switzerland. Have you already visited the country in the past?
Suzan LeVine (SLV): 26 years ago I travelled for six weeks with a backpack through Europe. In Zurich I stayed in a youth hostel. On the first evening I went for a beer in a small cafe and met there by chance my Rabbi from New Jersey. It’s a small world.
For an upper 0.1%-er, Mrs LeVine was certainly roughing it back in her student days (or so she said). A more recent portrait of her European travels presents a slightly different picture:

"Tuscany, Italy - Our luxury family bike trip

By Suzi LeVine
Eating my chocolate torte and having it, too

My husband Eric and I had grown quite addicted to luxury bike trips before we started building our family. On these trips, we'd ride over stunning terrain from one 5-star hotel to another while being loosely trailed by a van filled with chocolate, fresh fruit, biscotti and, oh yeah, water. At night, we'd sip wine late into the night with other trip members and the following morning, stumble out to breakfast whenever we chose to rise...."

http://www.parentmap.com/article/tus...mily-bike-trip

I'm certainly hoping that a US ambassador is not considered "inviolable", like some monarchs.
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Old 19.07.2014, 14:22
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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She has certainly set herself an ambitious task there. What culture can she possibly imagine that America has that would be of interest to Switzerland: Las Vagas? Disneyland? Hollywood?. They have only a couple of hundred years of history having practically wiped out their own indigenous population (and, incidentally, currently supplying political cover and advanced military hardware for one of their client states to do the same). As for appreciation of their politics characterised by meddling, snooping, bullying including and a vicious campaign against the Swiss economy and banking system. She will certainly have to work hard to put a positive gloss over all that.
I rather wonder how she is going to raise the appreciation of Switzerland in the US.

Switzerland is not in the NATO, has no Oil and has no important Swiss-American society. I don't know if she understands in what an unimportant country, from an US point of view, she is assigned ambassador to.


If she even manages to establish the difference between Sweden and Switzerland in her home country we should name a mountain or a street or something after her.

But maybe that's just her elevator talk. That is often a little...'optimistic'. Her predecessor even talked about Obama coming around for a visit. Her pre-predecessor was, on the other hand, a little closer to the truth (although not on purpose publicly) when he wrote that Switzerland is

“a very successful but frequently frustrating alpine democracy”.
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Last edited by 11HoursInTheTinPan; 19.07.2014 at 14:43. Reason: typo
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Old 19.07.2014, 14:33
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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For an upper 0.1%-er, Mrs LeVine was certainly roughing it back in her student days (or so she said). A more recent portrait of her European travels presents a slightly different picture:

"Tuscany, Italy - Our luxury family bike trip

By Suzi LeVine
Eating my chocolate torte and having it, too

My husband Eric and I had grown quite addicted to luxury bike trips before we started building our family. On these trips, we'd ride over stunning terrain from one 5-star hotel to another while being loosely trailed by a van filled with chocolate, fresh fruit, biscotti and, oh yeah, water. At night, we'd sip wine late into the night with other trip members and the following morning, stumble out to breakfast whenever we chose to rise...."

http://www.parentmap.com/article/tus...mily-bike-trip

I'm certainly hoping that a US ambassador is not considered "inviolable", like some monarchs.
Well then she is a perfect fit, I guess. We have a lot of 5-star hotels and bike trails. Only that the van, containing the most muscular water boys you've ever seen, is now sponsored by the U.S tax payer.
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Old 19.07.2014, 14:40
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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Well then she is a perfect fit, I guess. We have a lot of 5-star hotels and bike trails. Only that the van, containing the most muscular water boys you've ever seen, is now sponsored by the U.S tax payer.
Her new bicycle van is a bullet-proof Chevy Suburban. See photo in the Blick:

http://www.blick.ch/news/schweiz/ber...id2888476.html
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Old 19.07.2014, 14:50
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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Her new bicycle van is a bullet-proof Chevy Suburban. See photo in the Blick:

http://www.blick.ch/news/schweiz/ber...id2888476.html
Wow! A lot of champaign and chocolate goes into a car of that size. One other problem can be resolved easily as well:


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Old 19.07.2014, 16:53
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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They forget themselves sometimes, the poor dears, and can't help littering their speech with bogus anecdotes aimed at the all important Jewish vote back home.
In the past 20 years, three of eight (37.5%) US Ambassadors to Switzerland have been Jewish: M. Larry Lawrence, Madeleine Kunin and now Suzan LeVine. This is a high percentage if one considers that Jews make up around 2% of the US population.

To mix things up in the future, I would support appointing a Mennonite to the post. I might even go along with an Amish. The ancestors of many Mennonites and Amish came from this part of the Old World and many can already speak German. It would be like a homecoming.

Last edited by MennoFloyd; 19.07.2014 at 18:54.
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Old 19.07.2014, 18:51
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

Your comment regarding religion / a person's faith is totally out of place.
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Old 19.07.2014, 19:00
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

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Your comment regarding religion / a person's faith is totally out of place.
Because it is so disproportionate, it looks like favoritism (or affirmative action). I would say the same if 3 of 8 US ambassadors were Mennonites or Mormons or Lutherans, 0.1%, 2% and 2% of the US population, respectively.
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Old 19.07.2014, 19:08
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Re: Interview with new US Ambassador

But the appropriate population is not all citizens, rather it's the pool of people considered for diplomacy, however those criteria are determined. At any rate you could randomly pick three people of the same religion and it could still be independent (e.g., not "favoritism"), akin to a "hot hand" in basketball (a run of baskets). Your comment does make me cringe, however.
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