NEW YORK—When Donald Trump became president, he touted his plans to make many previously unthinkable deals—including the most elusive one of all, between Israel and the Palestinians. “There’s no reason there’s not peace between” them, he insisted this spring. “None whatsoever.”
A few months later, the deal looks more predictably distant and these days White House officials resort to anonymity to speak of “productive” meetings and plans to “continue our steady engagement.” Few of those who closely follow the issue think peace—or even a serious new round of negotiations—is at hand.
Which may help explain why Oslo, a three-hour, serious-minded play about a few months back in 1993 when Middle East peace finally seemed to be within reach, is the unlikely Broadway hit of 2017, a critical success that just won this year’s Tony Award for Best Play and is soon to be made into a movie. Call it wish fulfillment, or a belated recognition of what could have been—especially at a moment when the Oslo dream of a permanent two-state solution is, if not dead, at best on permanent life support.
The play’s author is J.T. Rogers, this week’s guest on The Global Politico, and he successfully channels that fleeting post-Cold War moment when anything in geopolitics, even a deal between foes who refused to recognize the other’s right to exist, was possible. As told by Rogers, it’s a historic relic of a different era – not to mention a compelling backstage drama complete with secret meetings in an ancient Norse castle, cases of Johnny Walker Black whisky, and champagne-swilling diplomats yelling at each other.
Rogers, who’s also written plays about the cloak-and-dagger politics of the 1980s war in Afghanistan and a drama that takes place against the tragic backdrop of the Rwandan genocide, is as close as it comes to an American foreign policy playwright. And with the world today increasingly looking like a hard-to-fathom spectacle, he has lots to say on the subject of what art can tell us about history—and vice versa. He likes to think of his work as “the antithesis” of this “Facebookian moment we’re living in.”
But when me meet in a room off the lobby of the Lincoln Center theater where Oslo is playing each night to packed houses, Rogers has a very in-the-moment explanation for the play’s current appeal: Donald Trump.
Context is everything for how audiences view his plays, Rogers says, and today’s audiences aren’t thinking so much about how to bridge the Israeli-Palestinian divide as they are about the increasingly yawning gulf between Red America and their own Blue America. When the play debuted in 2016, Rogers says, that wasn’t really on anyone’s mind. But then it went on a few months’ hiatus before moving to Broadway—and Trump’s election changed the context.
“The political ground beneath our feet shifted,” Rogers says. “Brexit happened; the American presidential election happened; but by the whiskers of God, the French Republic seemed to be teetering; and all the sudden, the audience—the same people, so to speak, are watching this play—and now it’s a play about Democrats and Republicans. And it’s amazing, and the tears people are crying…. It is both more shattering but fascinatingly far more hopeful without a word being changed.”
In a world of errant tweets and grinding conflict, partisan rancor and incendiary rhetoric, who would expect hope to come in the form of a play about a long-ago moment in the Middle East peace process?
When I just heard the beginnings of it myself a few years ago: secret back channel, driving through the night in Avis rental cars, the PLO sneaking through the airport, everyone’s drinking Johnny Walker Black and eating pancakes. You’re like, my God, this is theater. This is manna from heaven, you know, as a playwright.
Susan Glasser: That was J.T. Rogers, our guest this week on The Global Politico. We’re trying something different this week—JT’s not a government official, or a former government official. He’s never been a diplomat or a military officer or politician. He’s something most unusual in American public life: a playwright whose subject is world affairs — I call him America’s only foreign policy playwright — and he’s just won pretty much every award there is for his latest work, “Oslo,” a powerful look at the historic moment in 1993 when peace between Israel and the Palestinians seemed like it might really happen. He tells us the story of the Norwegian back channel that jumpstarted the peace process and eventually led to that famous photo of Bill Clinton with Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin on the White House lawn. It’s an unlikely tale of a Scandinavian academic, his diplomat wife, a key lieutenant to Yassir Arafat and an Israeli politician who was willing to take risks. It’s at Lincoln Center now in NY, will soon be opening in London too — and then become a movie. So: for this Fourth of July week, something different on The Global Politico: an episode about what art and history can tell us about foreign policy, and vice versa.
Glasser: Hi, I’m Susan Glasser, and welcome back to The Global POLITICO. I’m delighted, once again, to be hosting J.T. Rogers this week, for something a little bit different on The Global POLITICO: actual culture out there in the world. As my husband so charitably said to me, “We’re finally getting away from the purely foreign policy wonk set.” So, J.T., thank you for that, and thank you so much for joining me this week.
Rogers: It’s a real pleasure. Thank you.
Glasser: So, first of all, we’ll get our congratulations out of the way. Your play Oslo has just won the best play award for the Tony awards. Of course, it’s swept pretty much every other award so far, but I guess that one counts as the really big one.
Rogers: It’s the one that has the most cachet outside of the theater, and sort of the American theater being not always at the dead center of the conversation. It’s the one that people know about, so that it has—you know, it’s a bit like in literature, the Pulitzer Prize, where people know about it, beyond—
Glasser: Now, you could be eligible for that one, too.
Rogers: Yes, there is—my friend Lynn Nottage, whose play SWEAT was on Broadway as well, and it was also up, as well. She won for her very, very fun play, SWEAT, a couple of months ago.
Glasser: Free advertisement here. Okay, so it’s an unlikely Broadway hit, is the way I think pretty much everybody has described it. A three-hour talky play about back-channel peace negotiations. This sounds like the stuff of perhaps Washington theater dreams, but not necessarily New York.
Rogers: Well, it’s two hours and 54 minutes, it’s only 2:54. No, it is. It is. In the theater, they always say there are no rules, you know, and that you never know what is going to, in your career, is going to rise before high prominence. But even saying that I would not have put my money on myself on this play, in the sense that, as an American playwright, you don’t really write plays for Broadway; it’s just not really there for most of us, and when it does happen, it’s pretty great.
And so, this was my first—you know, I’ve done numerous plays at the National Theatre of London, and on very big scales here in New York at Lincoln Center, but it is on a different level in terms of attention, and in terms of getting you as the author what you want as a playwright, or certainly I want, is to get what you’re talking about out into the larger conversation. The very fact that you and I are having this conversation, and that as you said, you know, you made the joke about the foreign policy wonks, which of course what I’m—that’s geekily what I’m interested in, so it’s kind of thrilling to have the play spill out—to overlap into that segment.
Glasser: Well, that’s right. My theory of the case is that you are America’s only foreign policy wonk playwright. You’ve written a play about Rwanda—
Rogers: That’s a niche within a niche within a niche.
Glasser: But it’s awesome. I mean, you know, listen: this is The Global POLITICO. You’ve written a play about Rwanda; you’ve written a play about Afghanistan; you’ve now written a play that’s won every kind of award about Israeli/Palestinian peace negotiations. I mean, come on.
Rogers: No, it’s true. It’s true, and it’s—
Glasser: Are there any other foreign policy wonk playwrights?
Rogers: There must be, but not that I know of. That’s funny, I’ve not thought about it in those terms. I get asked a lot that—some variation on the question, so, you know, why do you write about these places, and you are the only one that does this? In some ways, it’s flattering, and in some ways, it’s odd to be asked only because it’s like—for me, it’s like someone saying, well, why are you breathing?
Rogers: You think, well, I’m breathing because that’s what I have to do. And it’s a bit melodramatic but these are just the sort of things that interest me. And I think there—if you can find a story that’s set against a larger historical, political event, I mean, it is just stealing from Shakespeare. That’s what he did.
You know, you write—you think, what’s the biggest canvas and I don’t necessarily mean the number of bodies on the stage. In this case, it’s quite vast, the number of bodies on the stage for Oslo. But what’s—where can the stakes—
Glasser: We should clarify, that’s not dead bodies.
Rogers: No, no, no. No dead bodies, just the number of actors onstage. But you know, you’re always, as a dramatist, trying to find what is the most exciting, complicated, stakes-raising story that you can tell. And so, you know, and I’m also the child of a political scientist, and I grew up overseas, being the outsider for a number of years.
So, you know, as any writer, be it a journalist like yourself, or a playwright like me, it takes you a long time of going around the houses to sort of find your [inaudible] but for me, after many years of trying to write sort of ersatz, second-tier David Mamet plays, going, “Oh, maybe I should just write about the things that actually interest me,” which seems banal, but it took a while to get there.
Glasser: But what’s amazing is that there aren’t more people who do that. I mean, you said, in fact, “I look to tell stories that are framed against great political rupture. I’m obsessed with putting characters onstage who struggle with, and against, cascading world events.” Well, presumably, there are plenty of people who are interested in the sweep of cascading world events, but yet, it strikes me as an incredible rarity in American theater today.
Rogers: I think that is true, which is not the same thing as saying there aren’t fantastic American playwrights. I think as, you know, when Lincoln Center and I got the Tony, Andre Bishop who runs Lincoln Center Theater, in his remarks, said to the audience of our peers, saying, “I think we all should recognize we’re living in a golden age of American playwriting.”
And I think we are in a particularly special sweet spot right now. But having said that, to over-simplify, American playwriting, both amazing and not, is generally inward-looking, often to the complete exclusion of the larger world, while English playwriting is the opposite; the great and the terrible is political or social driven, and I, just by interest and temperament, am more like that, which is probably again, only with hindsight why I work both places.
And I’m sort of viewed—it took a long time here, until recently I would meet artistic directors at major theaters and they would say to me, “Oh, J.T., so I thought you were English.” Or, “Do you live here?” I’m like, “Dude, I’ve lived here 25 years.”
Glasser: But this actually goes to my question about—
Rogers: But in London—sorry, in London, it’s the opposite. They’re like, oh, you’re like us, but you’re not. You’re strange but we’re interested in you, which is wonderful, because it’s, you know, it’s a privilege to get to go back and forth and work in both places.
Glasser: Well, and it’s interesting, too, because I think not only is that insight valuable in and of itself, but it might suggest one of the reasons why you’ve gotten such a rapturous response, both from the critics, and from audiences, to Oslo the play. Right, you know, I wanted to ask you, what is it that’s striking a chord, right, in the same way that Hamilton has become, you know, sort of a broader cultural signifier. But also—
Rogers: Well, I’ll take any even tangential link to Hamilton so that’s fine.
Glasser: We can talk about that more. There’s no catchy music, though.
Rogers: Yes, well, that’s true. That’s true. What’s been fascinating about mounting Oslo here in its first production is I, the director Bartlett Sher who’s really been my partner from the get-go on this project, and the cast, and the crew, we’ve all traveled together from doing the show Off-Broadway at the Mitzi Newhouse, to doing it on Broadway, in the Beaumont.
And so your listeners understand that the actual definition of a Broadway show is, while most of those theaters are in the Rialto, as we call it, there’s a few block radius in midtown, it’s actually a definition of seats. Once you get beyond 499 seats, you’re a Broadway house. So, Lincoln Center’s large theater—its cavernous, extraordinary 1,200-seat Beaumont—while being 15 blocks away from the Rialto, is a Broadway house.
So, not only in a way, not only is it a rarity and wonderful as a living American playwright to have a play on Broadway, but I’m having it done in a near-1,200-seat house, which is—
Glasser: Right, so the point about scale and audience is what you’re—
Rogers: Is extraordinary, so it’s extraordinary to sit in the audience and watch on some nights 1,100 people lean in and listen. And you know, as a playwright, laughter at your jokes is wonderful; anyone who says otherwise is just not being honest, but silence in the face of information is the most thrilling thing.
And the lean-in, as I call it. You know, everyone in the New York theater audience, and I’m guilty of this, too, and I’m sure you have your own variation in Washington when it comes to politics, say, everyone’s an expert. Everyone knows everything. So, everyone comes, you know, to some speech at the Washington, you know, think tank, or here, at a theater off or on Broadway, with their arms literally or proverbially crossed, with a sense of what do you got for me? And so, the challenge—
Glasser: Especially on this subject.
Rogers: Oh, yes, absolutely.
Glasser: Israel and Palestine.
Rogers: Well, this—well, that’s interesting. Well, I’ll get to that. So, anyway, then the idea is how do you get the audience to uncross their arms and lean in, to have the kind of experience we all actually want to have? In terms of the subject matter, yeah. So, for years, I’d wanted to write a play about, in quotation marks, Israel/Palestine.
But when you’re writing a play set against larger events, you’re not writing a play about Rwanda, or about Israel/Palestine, because it’s impossible, because it’s too vast. And too, it would just suck, and you know, it would just be so treacly or vague or wonky.
So, you’re always looking for what is the story? What’s the personal story? The mud and guts story that’s set against a larger event? So, in the back of my head, I’ve been thinking for years, this is one of the things I wanted to write against, shall we say, was Israel/Palestine, because it’s so loaded, and it’s so extraordinary, and so painful. It has all the elements of great art, and great theater, great narrative storytelling.
And—but, it’s something—
Glasser: Or great journalism, for that matter.
Rogers: Or great journalism, but here’s the difference, you see: as a journalist, you’re tasked with finding the truth. That’s not my job. My job is to ask questions of more and more complexity, and the audience gets to decide what they think. When I do your job, I fail.
When I tell the audience, and this is thus the truth, and this is I [inaudible] out the thing, which again, in the political moment we’re living in now, thank Jesus that’s going on with fine American journalism, but that’s not my task. My task is to put people on stage that I either love and/or admire. Don’t have to love them, but I have to admire them, so that they are fully formed, complicated human beings.
And so the political act becomes putting this ever-expanding kinds of voices, and you know, it’s quite thrilling, both to have a complicated Israeli politician onstage, but also, in this city at this moment, to have the voice of the Palestine Liberation Organization onstage in the Upper West Side in New York City is quite remarkable. And we—I, and the director, and the cast really thought we were going to get serious blowback.
You know, I’d latched onto the story because I realized that when I learned about the back channel, that there could be a third way of entering this, and I would tell it as the Norwegian.
Glasser: So, you didn’t have to pick a side. You were always stuck on the, like, I can, it’s so polarized.
Rogers: Not even pick a side politically, yes, but even more, you know, sort of you’re always looking in this ruthless way of dramatists, a sort of yes, yes, yes, of course, but what’s the way? What’s the interesting way? And to say, and to realize, and go, oh, there’s a Norwegian angle to this, immediately the audience goes, what?
And that’s great, because we’re disarmed a little bit, and we come in, in an off-kilter way. But even having said that, you know, there’s a moment in the play where the characters, after a night of great drinking, begin to impersonate Yitzhak Rabin and Arafat. And I had been talking through the rehearsal process, like, you know, I think we need to be ready for blowback, just because putting all sides at the table, as it were, as one of the lines in the play says, and putting everyone’s point of view—
Because the play only works if everyone gets to say passionately and intellectually their point of view. And everyone thought I was being a little too anxious, and then we started to rehearse that scene, and it was just like lightning in a bottle, and the actors who do it are unbelievable, and there’s sort of this detonative shockwave through the rehearsal room, and Bart and I ran upstairs to, you know, the administration and said, “Oh, my lord, we have to be prepared for this.”
And we had meetings about active shooter policy for the cast, code—safe words to say onstage to leave if they were unsafe, and security guards would immediately enter the theater. And so we were braced, and it’s to the enormous credit of the theater that they didn’t bat an eye. They looked, said, “No, no, we’re going to be fine, and we’re going to be okay.”
And so, what happened was instead of that blowback from either side, we actually—we went to Broadway, it was so well received, which was a very pleasant shock, because the controversy was of no interest to me, and in no way did I want that, but I just thought I had to be prepared for that to happen by this simple act. But again, that’s the difference between what you and I do.
If the play is successful, it’s because, I think, that the audience is able to have this conversation without having to say, “I agree with person A or I agree with person B,” because immediately, if—again, if I’ve done my job right, the audience—with those perceptions and that armor that we all carry, especially people who are involved in politics, either in their livelihood or their passions, gets put to the side so we can look at the sort of weirdness and the deepening humanity of the story.
Glasser: So, I want to jump in there on this question of why people have responded to it, both the critics and the audience. So, it’s a human story; obviously, it speaks to talking across a gulf of perception, right? Your notion is that the success of Oslo, and you have one of the characters articulate that, that the idea behind this is that the old model of the peace process was wrong.
Basically, the Madrid talks were ongoing at the same time, as the idea came for this secret back channel, and the notion as you articulated in the play, at least, is that those talks weren’t working, because they weren’t humanizing each side to the other; they weren’t really speaking to each other across the gulf. So, one sort of thesis of the play, right, is that you need people to break free from their political preconceptions and engage one on one.
Now, there’s a lot of folks who would say, “Yeah, but that’s not the problem of why we don’t have peace in Israel—and between Israel and the Palestinians today.”
Rogers: Well, I think that—to answer a couple things there, I think that one of the reasons it’s been so well received is the very bones of the real event are so strange and shocking and fantastical that they’re inherently deeply interesting. When I just heard the beginnings of it myself a few years ago: secret back channel, driving through the night in Avis rental cars, the PLO sneaking through the airport, everyone’s drinking Johnny Walker Black and eating pancakes. You’re like, my God, this is theater. This is manna from heaven, you know, as a playwright.
So, that—I think there’s elements of that to begin with, I think that the other thing that’s happened that is quite remarkable is, as I was saying earlier, we do it Off Broadway, and we have this very intense positive response, but the audience—this American audience, predominantly American audience — is watching this as a gripping story about other people; about Israelis, about Palestinians, that they may have a vested interest in, or not.
I mean, you know, the thing that I was trying to find in the writing of the play is I want you to be slightly, you know, silly, I want you to not be able to find Israel on the map, and be able to follow and be engaged by this play. You know, this is not homework. But what happened is once we moved to Broadway, we shut down for seven months, because not all the actors were free and they all wanted to come back, which was extraordinary.
And the political ground beneath our feet shifted. Brexit happened; the American presidential election happened; but by the whiskers of God, the French Republic seemed to be teetering, and all the sudden, the audience—the same people, so to speak, are watching this play– and now it’s a play about Democrats and Republicans.
Glasser: Exactly, that’s—
Rogers: And it’s amazing, and the tears people are crying, and the sort of—it is both more shattering but fascinatingly far more hopeful without a word being changed.
Glasser: So, that’s very interesting. I’m glad you brought it up, because that was going to be my next question, is how does this read in the age of Trump? And it isn’t about blue America talking to red America? In the same way that Hamilton didn’t start out maybe as a play about immigrants and defending the idea of America as a diverse place where even a kid from a Caribbean island can basically define our Constitution, that wasn’t clearly what they had in mind when they wrote that, in the same way that you certainly didn’t have Donald Trump in mind when you wrote this.
But, in a way, does it speak more to Americans than Israel? We can talk about Israel right now, and where the hope of Oslo seems vanished.
Rogers: Well, the funny thing is, and I’m sure if you talked to Lin about gestating and writing Hamilton, he would say the same thing, is when you’re writing hopefully a successful piece of theater set in another time, be it hundreds of years ago—in this case, you know, 20-plus years ago, your job as the author—again, as a playwright specifically, is to sort of maniacally, ruthlessly not allow any of the present into the story.
That anything that allows the audience to step out of the moment the play takes place, or God forbid, the worst thing which when the—you the author are teaching them something about, you know, we in the future now can look back on the past, and that’s just death, theatrically. And so, it’s fascinating, endlessly fascinating to do that to the best of your ability.
Well, in a way, you do it to the best of your ability, because this example you’re mentioning, and what’s happened politically in our world in the last seven months—the current moment cannot help but completely infuse whatever the play is, once it’s seen in front of an audience. And that changes from place to place.
My play set against the Rwandan genocide, The Overwhelming, when it was done in Israel, was received as, ‘Oh my God, this is the most extraordinary—the Hutus and Tutsis is about Israelis and Palestinians.’ Never in my wildest dreams did that cross my mind. But they were making that link and the link has been changed to now Democrats and Republicans. In terms of how it would be received in Israel, you know, my dearest wish among any is to have the play done there, you know, where it would be I think far more controversial than here, which of course would be fascinating.
I’ve been asked by a number of Israeli journalists in interviews to talk about what are my theories about why it didn’t work, or didn’t work, and what’s my prescription for things to be done now. And of course, I am a playwright. I don’t—I become an expert on the background of historical moments of stories I write about.
Glasser: Right, and tell us a little bit, actually, by the way, about the process by which you came up with this, because some of the Israeli critiques have been around, well, he says he did research but that doesn’t resemble my character, several people have said.
Rogers: Well, two things: I think I’ve gotten, you know, some of the criticism for—there have been a few people who were personally involved in the Oslo Accords; some have been quite thrilled with it, and some have been not thrilled at all. I can only imagine that to see some facsimile of yourself on stage must be the strangest thing.
And they have every right to be unhappy. But in terms of the process of how I did it, I stumbled upon it through having a drink with Terje Rod-Larsen.
Glasser: You were right here at Lincoln Center, where we’re sitting.
Rogers: Well, maybe two blocks—a block from where we’re—
Glasser: With your Afghanistan play, which I want to talk about, Blood and Gifts, right?
Rogers: And he came to see the play. He was friends with the director Bartlett Sher, who directed both Oslo and, as my collaborator, directed Blood and Gifts. And in that New York City way, they knew each other. Why? Because their kids went to school together in the second grade, and they were mates, and so the parents got to know each other.
So, as I was bringing in ex-CIA operatives and journalists who had been involved with Afghanistan to speak to the actors as they’re in the rehearsal process of Blood and Gifts to give cultural context and color and texture, he brought in Larsen, who was then negotiating for the head of the U.N. in Lebanon.
And he had these remarkable stories, and he was quite fascinating, and then he came to see the play at Bart’s suggestion, because I think Bart cleverly had been thinking, well, there must be something here, and J.T. is the guy to meet this dude. So, we went on—so you know, we went on a theatrical Tinder date, as we joke about it. We didn’t know each other, and we went across and had drinks, and I started peppering him, because Bart had said, “You should ask about this, and ask about that,” and he’s a diplomat, so he’s not trying to sing his own praises.
He’s like, ‘oh, this thing happened, I was involved.’ And of course, as a playwright, the more someone says it was not about me, you would think, well, maybe. That’s interesting. And so, I didn’t know about it. I, you know, who am—your podcast listener, right? I’m the geeky dude who reads the news like the sports page every day; grew up that way.
I’m embarrassed to say I knew nothing about the back channel. I thought if I thought about it, that Bill Clinton had done this. As—
Glasser: Because you remembered the handshake, the famous 1993 handshake?
Rogers: And it’s amazing and dispiriting that almost every single American who I say this to goes, “Oh, yeah, me, too. I’m relieved that you also didn’t understand because I feel bad about that now.” So, I was stunned that I didn’t know, and then fascinated. What did I miss? How did I not know this? And then at first I thought I’d stumbled upon this secret in my quasi, you know, secretly some part of me wanted to be a journalist, ‘goes my God, I’ve discovered this unknown story,’ which of course it’s the opposite of that.
Glasser: No, it’s not unknown, it’s just not widely known.
Rogers: But it’s doubly interesting—it’s more interesting than being unknown in that it’s this—to be slightly over the top—secret out in the open, widely written about, exhaustedly studied, and yet, outside of let’s say Israel, Palestine, and Norway, parts of London—just not known. So, that was interesting to me.
And so, in terms of the research, I met Larsen, I interviewed him briefly, I convinced Mona Juul, who’s far more reticent than he is. I mean, she didn’t want to talk to me at all—to speak with me. We had a dinner once in Norway, and I went around and looked at the actual castle locations, and not by planning met the cook and bottle washer that are in the play that were there at the castle when these events happened. They were lovely people.
And then I quickly realized that I didn’t want to meet any more Norwegians or Middle Easterners, because I didn’t want to write a biopic. The thing that’s interesting is in the theater, the engine of a play is the sound of the human voice. So, I wanted to get the tick-tock of these characters. So, I read all of their biographies; I read books about them; I read, you know, from the Abu Mazen in his memoir about it. He publishes what they purport from the Palestinian side is the actual—I’m not saying it isn’t true, but I didn’t need to go and check the factual—but exhaustive, dry, hard to read but fascinating minutes from the actual conversations in the room.
And what is interesting in terms of research is that once I realized the spine of the play was going to be these nine months, this sort of ticking clock of we have x-amount of period, we have to get this done or it’ll all blow apart. That’s the kind of thing—that’s the engine you need as a playwright. What was fascinating is that in an opposite of the Rashomon Effect, people argue over who started it, who should have more credit in the beginning, huge debates about falling out afterward of what I call the battle for credit, Act Four of the play that I wrote and didn’t put on stage because it was just too long.
And still it being, you know, obviously struggled and fought over; was it worth it? Should they have done it? And that ambivalence I include at the end of the play. But those nine months, it’s astounding how much they all tell the same story. And their memoirs tell the same story, down to sometimes the same jokes.
So, I poured over this and poured over this and poured over this, and then I, of course, made very deliberate, again in terms of writing-wise, theater-wise—ruthless decisions to point the lens, as it were, towards these characters or to say, “Well, this character is not going to be as important in the story as that one.” I mean, you could—some of the characters that appear in Act Three and take over the play, you could write an entire play just about them.
Rogers: And I would go see it, but this is the way that I wanted to tell the story.
Glasser: Well, and of course, that is where I feel like your experience as a foreign policy playwright, if you will, is directly relevant to how global politics actually works, right. You know, it’s not an accident that political consultants talk about controlling the narrative or owning the narrative. What you’re doing here is constructing a narrative, and in many ways, what’s interesting about the story you’ve chosen to tell about Oslo is that it’s a narrative that was known to an inside corps of the foreign policy elite, but these folks are, you know, I call them the peace processors.
They are, understandably, a pretty deeply cynical bunch at this point. They don’t believe that peace is possible; they believe that Oslo died a long time ago, of death by a thousand cuts that—really the political moment that gave rise to it just doesn’t exist, either inside the country itself, or in the world today. And so, you’ve constructed a narrative, and you’ve managed to do something very unusual in political terms, which is to reframe a historical narrative.
Rogers: That’s—I wish I could say that was my intention. It sounds wonderful. I’m not saying you’re wrong, it’s great, but it’s interesting—
Glasser: But did you have any preconceptions about Oslo, the narrative, before you wrote your own version of Oslo, the narrative?
Rogers: No, I didn’t, and I—it’s a funny thing when you’re writing the theater, that you almost in a sort of weird artificial way, at least for me, you cut yourself off from the questions of was this right? Was this wrong? What is the political fallout now? And you think, I’m—in a way, I’m trying—I didn’t write the play to—I think the play has reframed it, which is marvelous and fascinating to me, as someone who toggles between these two worlds, right?
One as an amateur, and one as a professional. But what I was trying to do as I’m always trying to do with whatever play I’m working on is to struggle with things that I don’t have the answer to. So, at the end of the play, I fell in love with these characters, my version, and I have immense, enormous respect for the real men and women who did this. As I spoke on the stage when I got the Tony award, but I don’t have an answer as to was this right or was this wrong.
I mean, look, I’m—I make art, so the very act of making art is inherently optimistic, and so I’m always going to come down on the side of optimism. And so, if push comes to shove, I’m going to say yes, I think that they should have done it, because everything I’ve learned as a grown up in the world making art, and in my, you know, amateur politicized travels, is private conversations between people is the only way that humanity is connected.
I mean, one of the things that I think in hindsight why I was so taken by the story of the back channel, and again, just hearing the vaguest of outlines, and that way, you never know why you’re off to the races on a certain story. You think, I’m going to follow my nose and later I’ll ask those rational questions.
So, it wasn’t for a long time before I realized that one of the reasons I sat upon it so swiftly is the process of what they did, coming together, enforced artificial rules where they had to spend meals together and talk about themselves, and be sequestered and in a sense, jump-start and artificially try to authentically create intimacy. I though, oh, that’s exactly the rehearsal process. I know that intimately. And I know that it works.
So, again, this is all later down the road, but on an intuitive level, I was, oh, yeah, of course. We all—and you talk to any theater person, no one who’s rehearsed this play, read this play—
Glasser: Right, the point is that process does dictate to a certain extent outcome.
Rogers: Yes, I mean, you can’t—I think it was—and doesn’t Friedman say in the—his first book about Israel, From Beirut to Jerusalem, he said, You know, one of the reasons— I’m obviously paraphrasing, but one of the reasons that it seems so intractable—and this was what? 20 years ago. Was that if you sneeze, the whole world is watching.
No one is allowed to do anything without the entire world—how can anyone back down from an argument to over-simplify, if you don’t have the quietude to do it without being judged ferociously?
Glasser: But also, everything has a history and a context to it. You know, we can talk about more recent events in the Trump grand promise to bring peace to the Middle East. I was struck by Jared Kushner went there, just a few days ago, and you know, there was a lot of sort of toing and froing over were the Americans very unhappy because the Palestinians would not receive the Israeli ambassador. Is that because he’s too pro-Israeli? Well, several experts, which I’m not at all on this, said to me, “You know, the Palestinians haven’t received an American ambassador on his own for a long time.”
And in fact, the last time that it happened was when Martin Indyk was Clinton’s ambassador to Israel, and he went along with the consul in Jerusalem. Why? Because the Palestinians believe they’re entitled to their own ambassador. So, was that personal to the Trump administration, or did it simply reflect the fact that they didn’t have the history and context? You know, that sort of hyper-scrutiny of all the details that you’re talking about.
Rogers: Well, I mean, one of the things that filters through the plays that I write, again, having had enough of them now, you’re about—that you can sort of see your own patterns, whether you want to or not, is that I am fascinated—I am appalled and fascinated by this deeply American strain of not knowing anything about anywhere we go and act.
And it crosses party lines, it crosses generations, and it certainly transcends politics—and our interactions, you know, and it is, you know, it’s the stuff of great drama, but it can be, for all my talk of being an eternal optimist, which at the core I am, I’m still—it’s disheartening and frustrating and sort of really, again? We’re still making these mistakes? We haven’t—
Glasser: By the way, I love that you actually wrote a play, not only a play but a Tony Award-winning play, about the Middle East, and you still describe yourself as an optimist, so that in and of itself is a great thing. But I thought it would be interesting for this conversation to ask a couple of my friends who are professional peace processors, if you will, their thoughts about Oslo today. And what they said was actually quite relevant to this conversation.
In particular, this is from one person who has advised multiple different American administrations in both parties about the Middle East peace process, and going back to the period of time that you write about in the play. And he said—well, first he made a pretty good joke. He said, “You know, I saw the real thing the first time around. I wasn’t all impressed by that one, either.” No, but—
Glasser: But he said his worry is that it might leave two potentially fatally misleading impressions, intended or not. First, that an Israeli/Palestinian deal can be done. Look at what it took on interim issues, and that still failed. And second, that the root of the problem is that Israelis and Palestinians just don’t understand one another when, in fact, they understand one another all too well, in this person’s view.
Rogers: And he’s saying, just so I’m clear, he’s saying that—
Glasser: Well, he’s worried if that’s the takeaway that people have from the play.
Rogers: But has he seen the play?
Glasser: No, he hasn’t.
Rogers: Well, that’s a little bit of a—
Glasser: No, no, listen. He said, “Everyone he knows has loved it.” But the point is, right, can you write an optimistic play about Oslo, given those facts, which exist outside of your narrative of them?
Rogers: I think—well, okay, two things. One, I think optimistic is not the right word because I think in the concept we’re talking about, optimism is shaded by the idea of an American can-do spirit which is inappropriate and tone-deaf to what we’re talking about. So, let’s change the word from optimism, and hopeful is even worse, but then this again goes back to—I apologize for beating the same drum over and over, but this is the difference between historicizing and journalism and art, is that the optimism or let’s use the word, the humanity, is that the experience of strangers, a thousand strangers sitting in a room, being profoundly affected by Palestinian and Israeli characters, who are speaking about their children and their pain and their anger, and still trying to find a way to see the humanity in the other side, even if they hate them, is a powerful action that art can do, that cannot be done by other forms.
I don’t think, you know, I’d love to be flattered by the idea that my work of non-fiction would have this sort of, you know, effect of a Robert Caro-like, you know, tome on actual public policy. But I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think that people are not going to see this play and say that the takeaway is that everything can be tied up in a bow, if only they tried harder. I think the fact that it—I mean, at the end of the play, the audience is rather devastated by the fact I just list what went wrong afterward.
And then the character of Larsen gives this speech so beautifully done by Jefferson Mays, where he’s saying, “Yes, but not trying is not an option.” And you know, it’s—
Glasser: And by the way, let me just hone in on that, because I think you’re right to highlight that point. Not trying is not an option, so the interesting thing about spending even a little bit of time in Israel over the last year or so, and I was there, for example, during the funeral of Shimon Peres. I went to the Peres funeral, and what I wrote afterwards basically was—what was criticized as a very American point of view, which is Oslo was dead and buried today, and this was sort of the last remaining shred of hope that Oslo was anything meaningful in Israel today.
Right, the politics have moved very far beyond the notion of Oslo, and in fact, even many liberals who supported it at the time have come to believe in what one of the writers about your play called the folly of Oslo; that not only is it no longer alive, but that it wasn’t even the right framework. So, the question is, isn’t it a form of, you know, you are bringing ideology to this. Isn’t there a sort of American liberal, you know, condescension? Or we’re imposing—and I would say we because that was the critique of actually what I wrote about the Peres funeral.
Rogers: I think, one, I—that could be true. All that could be true, but I think not, again, because if you see or read the play, that is not the intention of the play. The play is not—I don’t think anyone leaves the play going, ‘Oh, gee, if they only got back in the room today, it would all be good.’ Well—
Glasser: Right, it was a product of a specific historical moment.
Rogers: And again, it’s because—it’s not—or the intention was not to educate or have a point of view that this is the right thing to do, and this must be reborn. The point is simply, and I don’t mean simply, because it’s the hardest thing in the world to do, is to tell the political act of the play is not ideologically driven in the sense of politics at the current moment.
It is politically driven in that this experience of watching these characters say these political things to each other, and talk about their children at the same time, is simply not allowed in other venues, other than the theater.
Glasser: Well, that’s really important.
Rogers: And that’s what’s exciting about it.
Glasser: Well, it’s also, though, I like that you define, you know, these plays that you’ve written—not just this one but also the Afghanistan one, the Rwanda one—as history plays, not as current events plays.
Rogers: Yes, I think they literally are history plays, and I think they are history plays in the—not to equate talent, for goodness sake, but they’re history plays in the Shakespearean sense, where you are telling—you are talking about your own time by talking about another time, in a way that you can’t. You—you know, art like life needs a distance, as the quote says.
And so, to really look at ourselves, we have to have some distance, which is the antithesis of our sort of Facebookian moment we’re living in.
Glasser: So, in that context, what do you make of this current brouhaha over the Julius Caesar production that appears to put Trump in the middle of it?
Rogers: Well, I don’t—I won’t say I’m perplexed, but I don’t. I think there has been a lot of, you know, cynical manipulation on that. I think—one, honestly, I didn’t see the production because I was busy surviving and loving and being exhausted by the whole Tony process, which I naively didn’t realize was a 24-hour job for a number of weeks.
Glasser: You will have worse jobs in your life.
Rogers: No, I’m not complaining. I am not complaining. I’m just, you know, it’s—I’m laughing now in hindsight at my naivete. But that play is the opposite of what is—that play, they didn’t rewrite the play. Oscar, who directed, did not rewrite that play, and the plot of that play is: careful what you think is a good idea politically. It is like it was in the real assassination of Julius Caesar.
Shakespeare’s—the ramifications of the play are the same, in essence, of the actual political event 2,000-plus years ago, which was the dissolution of the republic, and mass slaughter. And by the end of the play, like, oh my God, that was a terrible idea. It was a terrible idea that we did that.
So, I question who actually sees that play and says the takeaway is that we should now go kill the current president of the United States.
Glasser: So, just because there’s a guy in a red tie who is Trump guy doesn’t mean that it’s a liberal fairy tale about getting rid of him?
Rogers: But again, I feel hamstrung because I didn’t see it. But the end of the play is—you could argue that by making the character clearly Trumpian that you’re venting liberal anger, which is fine. I mean, you know, the play was set in the time of Obama just recently, and nobody raised a finger about that.
So, this is why I get a little—but ultimately, so, yes, you could fairly, again, having not seen it, a critic says, “Oh, well, that’s too superficial, or that’s too on the nose, or that’s, oh, aren’t you liberals—aren’t you having a nice time?” I mean, I’m sure I would—politically—as a citizen, I’m sure I would have been titillated by that, but I would have been appalled if they’d changed the play to say that the president of the United States should be assassinated.
And again, what does the play actually say? I mean, the reason these plays are amazing, these political plays like Shakespeare, is they can be endlessly seen—they can be staged or seen through different fractured lens constantly, but if you’re not rewriting the play. You know, you’re not doing this with German experimental—not even experimental. Sort of Germanic theater tradition where the director gets to completely rewrite things.
This is the language-based tradition of Anglo-American theater, where you are doing the play as written by the author. But again, it is getting a little close to esoteric on my part because I haven’t seen the play. But also, like, this is what we want. Isn’t this what we want our theater to be engaged? I mean, the thing that I find that I question afterwards is now that people I know who are running a Shakespeare theater companies in the country are getting death threats.
And so, like, so much in our political moment, the initial conversation or argument is never the issue, and this is why, you know, it fascinates as a playwright, because what we fight about on the surface is almost never what we’re actually fighting about. And so often, we’re fighting about these inarticulatable, and as primal and we may not even know why we are doing this ourselves. And that’s interesting to me.
Glasser: So, obviously, American age of Trump will provide fodder for historians, for filmmakers, and certainly for playwrights in the future. What grabs your eye as a story that we might be telling five or ten years from now? Or 20 years from now?
Rogers: Already I’d be a rich man for a dollar for every time someone has approached me and wanted to commission me to write a movie or a play about Trump.
Rogers: Oh, already.
Rogers: You know, as the foreign policy guy.
Glasser: Interesting. So, you could write—this is great. Rex Tillerson’s laments.
Rogers: Right, Rex Tillerson’s lament. That’d be a great musical. Maybe Lin-Manuel and I can make that together.
Glasser: I would definitely come to that.
Rogers: I would love to see him break that down. No, and I’ve said no to all those, for two reasons. One, because it’s too early and I wouldn’t know what to say. And two, my own personal political rage would prevent me from having the humanity to make it interesting art.
Glasser: Well, it’s interesting, also, a lot of people are saying that even though shows that were already about Washington—House of Cards or Veep on TV, that they’re harder to watch now. Certainly, Veep didn’t strike me as so funny this season.
Rogers: The laughs stick in your throat. Yeah, no, absolutely. Well, I think about that show a lot, which is so well done and so sharp, and you think, what must it be like to have the satirical spine of your play wiped away and now you’re your satire cannot catch up with what’s really happening. It must be every writer’s nightmare, selfishly.
Glasser: So, bring it back to Oslo. Your audiences have responded to this play as if in some ways it speaks to the blue America, red America divide, although presumably most of the audience is in blue America, and that’s one of the things that has been striking to me, right. You know, there has been this response; you see it in a variety of different ways, since the election. This idea that we’re very polarized, and that one of the things that ails America is that we don’t talk to each other across the dinner table.
But I have to say that one of my concerns is that living in sort of this obliviously highly politicized enclave of Washington but nonetheless, a very Democratic enclave of Washington, that this is more of a prescription for us talking to each other. My son’s annual diversity day this year, they added political diversity to the existing list of racial and sexual diversity. This is, again, to middle schoolers, and you know, again, but weren’t they just talking to each other? Aren’t your audiences—isn’t this a liberal audience coming there, and weeping at the thought that they can’t talk to other Americans anymore?
Rogers: Well, it’s interesting, because I was watching my play recently in the audience, and I was sort of fascinated by seeing all of these people, this, you know, enormous house that has 1,100 folks, and you know, not knowing any of them, but you’re still fascinated as a writer. Like, really, you stranger came to see my play? That’s so cool. I can’t get over that.
And you’re watching all these people, and you’re seeing them, and you think you’re seeing a cross-section of people. You know, now, to be blunt, whiter than the general population, but not as exclusively white as you would think, so that’s also interesting to me. And then a few days later, just a few days ago, I went to see Come From Away, the musical set against 9/11 in Canada.
Glasser: I was going to ask you about that because I’ve seen that, too.
Rogers: Right, so I went to see it, and that audience was completely different from my audience, in ineffable, intangible ways; dress, facial features, and my son, who’s 14, who wanted to see because he came to the Tony’s with me and was very taken by the numbers. Said, “Oh, can we go see that?” So, I got tickets for us to go, and he looked at me at intermission, and he said in that way that observational powers of the young, he goes, “Oh, it’s interesting, dad. I think we’re the only New Yorkers. I think everyone is a tourist here.”
Glasser: Oh, that’s interesting.
Rogers: And I thought if that were the case, we had a mostly New York City-based audience, having an emotional response about a play that brings enemies together in some way in Oslo, and then, at its core, a similar story being told but with a very different audience, in the same city but I would gather a far more mixed red and blue America audience. So, that’s really—
Glasser: Okay, so, but I saw Come From Away at the very beginning of its run, so—and when it was probably—
Rogers: In DC? When it was in—
Glasser: No, here, so when it was more New York-y, like you know, basically—or that would be my theory of the case.
Rogers: Well, yes, it always starts that way.
Glasser: Exactly, so it starts that way. This was right after Justin Trudeau had brought Ivanka Trump to see Come From Away because it’s a Canadian story of, you know, see, we’re accepting to other people. It’s a real tear-jerker, and there were definitely people who had been in New York on that day of 9/11, so that was a much more personal, visceral experience.
But, it does have the same kind of analogy, which is why I was going to ask you about it, if Oslo in some way is now speaking to people as: can’t we speak across this ineffable partisan divide? The response you kind of felt from the audience of Come From Away was this speaks to our Trump moment, and you know, can’t we somehow overcome? And in fact, the two ladies who were definitely New Yorkers who were sitting next to me at that play, after weeping copiously throughout the whole thing, because it is kind of tear-jerker of a play, they turned to each other at the end, and they sort of hug each other, and they’re like, “This is just what we needed at this difficult time,” you know, clearly referring to this political moment.
Rogers: Yes, yes, I mean, I would argue that they have a different message politically–well, it’s connected to what I’m going to say, the politics come out of the dramaturgy. I think that the difference would be with that show, I mean, it is a musical in all senses of the word. That’s a dumb phrase, so let me rephrase that.
So, it’s a musical built around the cathartic lift of emotion through song, about people overcoming adversity, and you are soared out after the 11:00 number, although it’s only 90 minutes, so the 10:30 number, or the 9:30 number—I’ll get my math right. That 9:30 number, when you’re taken down the aisles, and a sense of like, that’s not what my play is about.
Glasser: No, that’s right. This was a very cathartic musical.
Rogers: Yes, cathartic. The catharsis of that show is—what’s interesting about that show is the—you know, every interesting piece of theater has a tension in it. And the tension in that show is the specifics of 9/11 and the messy politics of those people when they were stranded from different parts of the world, brushing against the need, as the artists who created it clearly felt, to create this sort of emotional shift—sweep, that in essence is ahistorical and apolitical, and washes everything away.
And you can argue over whether that’s a good or a bad thing. There’s certainly enormous talent involved in that show, and I was fascinated to see it. But that is the opposite of what I’m interested in doing, which is I’m going to take you deep into a personal story against a specific political moment, specific, specific, specific, specific.
If you find larger connections, that’s on you, great, but that’s not my plan. And then you have to think about what that means, not because I’m trying to either teach or browbeat the audience; far from it. I just think, look, its collective audience, especially for plays in New York City, is so flipping smart, that the struggle to just stay ahead of them on the plot is so difficult that the idea that I’m going to educate you, teach you is a laughable, laughable notion.
And, you know, there’s a great story that may or may not be apocryphal between Granville-Barker, and Shaw, and Shaw said to his colleague, you know, “Aren’t I clever how I get the audience laughing, so when their mouths are open, I put my little pill in there, of sweetness, and they have to take the medicine?” And his colleague said, “Yes, and aren’t they clever how they suck the sweetness off your pill, and then spit it back out?” Which I think about all the time, you know.
Glasser: That’s almost the perfect description of how one can manage to be both a foreign policy wonk, and a successful playwright, by the way. So, I know we’re almost out of time. Let’s just bring it back to Oslo itself. Are there any prospects for it being shown in Israel?
Rogers: Oh, gosh. Oh, yeah. I was afraid you were going to say to weigh in politically and I—
Glasser: Well, and then I’m going to force you, so where’s it going?
Rogers: I mean, yes, I don’t know. I’ve just been so swept up in getting it reopened on Broadway, and refitted for a larger theater, and then the awards season.
Glasser: It’s also becoming a movie.
Rogers: I’m writing the movie now. And we are opening at the National Theater of London, which is sort of my home over there, and then moving into the West End after that. So, I’m hoping—and there’s noise about its future life in other places, as well, but I’m just sort of still kind of bleary-eyed, and sort of like, okay, maybe? Let’s have conversations.
So, you know, be careful what you wish for. I would love to have it done there, because it would be very different politically, and it would be much—I’m sure it would cause a great deal of argument, which you know, in principle, is what you want as a theater artist. You know, if everyone—in the words of Craig Lucas, a very fine playwright, a generation ahead of mine, who is marvelous, Craig always says to me, “If everyone likes what you’re doing, you’re doing something wrong.”
So, you hold onto that, when in the face of, you know, withering criticism.
Glasser: We journalists have a similar—
Rogers: Right, I mean, but you know, the thing that I get to do that’s sort of a cheat, you know, the foreign policy wonk in me feels like it’s a cheat what I’m going to say. The cheat is that I get to take my pack off and go home; as a journalist, and far more importantly, as a person living in the political narratives that I get to—you know, I’m a tourist. It doesn’t matter how deeply—how many years I spent delving into something, and becoming an expert in quotation marks, about some sliver of place, of time, of history, of politics, I still get to go home.
I’m still a privileged white American man who gets to go, okay, that was great. Now, what do I want to do? And be profoundly moved by people’s responses, and have lived through the ups and downs and the terror of trying to create something new, but ultimately, it’s still artistic anxiety and terror; it’s not life and death with my personal fortunes.
And the thing you have to learn very quickly is I know, in terms of I think you were asking me this, so forgive me. I’ll have you ask me this is you weren’t, you know, what now with peace in the Middle East? What should happen now? I don’t know. And I’m grateful that I’m not the person that has to make the decision, because you know, one of the reasons I am a playwright and not a journalist, is if you say to me, “Well, what about this side?” I go, “Oh, yeah, you’re right,” and then you say, “What about that side?” Oh—
Glasser: By the way, I’m a journalist. I often have the same response to—
Rogers: Right. I mean, my inability to make up my mind is a thing that, you know, you try to—
Glasser: Well, nuance exists in the world regardless of whether we write it out of the story or not.
Rogers: Yes, absolutely. And that’s what you’re looking for as a writer, is yeah, but what’s the confounding upending element of reality that you can write a play about, because it’s not—a play where, you know, one side is right. There’s a German proverb about that nature of tragedy, which is tragedy is always two rights in conflict, not a right and a wrong.
You can’t write a good play where one side is right and one side is wrong; it’s just boring. You can write an amazing article in The New Yorker proving, you know, corruption by one side in a political event, but that’s not a play. The play is actually liking the guy that’s doing the corrupting, and going, oh, why, do I like him? That’s interesting. That’s a play.
Glasser: Okay, I feel like this is an important note to end on before we distract ourselves, but quickly, for our audience, because I think this has been a fantastic experiment to move beyond the safe confines of the traditional foreign policy set, what else do you recommend we see these days, as theater?
Rogers: Yes, what’s playing right now? Well, I mean, it’s the foregone conclusion, of course, but we mentioned—but you know, Hamilton is pretty extraordinary. There’s a couple moments in that—
Glasser: Can you get us tickets?
Rogers: I went to the well too often, so not until next year, I was told. I was too generous with my house seats for Hamilton. I think there’s a marvelous play by—playing right now called Pipeline that’s playing downstairs about, you know, the American moment of race in politics, in the country right now, by Dominique Morrisseau that’s playing downstairs at Lincoln Center. That’s really good.
I’m going to see Dear Evan Hansen tomorrow. I hear that’s marvelous, and so I’m going to go see that, but in terms of—it’s funny, in terms of sort of politically, socially engaged—even that, that sounds horribly boring. In terms of plays about stuff other than families, there’s never that much so, I’m going to think on it tonight, but—
Glasser: Well, in a way, I think that’s why people have responded so well to yours, because it’s about something at a moment when people are looking. They understand it can’t just be about themselves and their micro-concerns anymore.
Rogers: Well, you know, it’s crazy because you say that to me, and it’s marvelous. And it’s just an endless series of humbling encounters, because you think all you can remember is curled up on your couch, going, oh my God, this play is terrible, and who would care about this? And why am I always writing about weird things?
Glasser: Right, and all those people who said to you, “You wrote a play about Rwanda?”
Rogers: Yeah, and—
Glasser: What, are you crazy?
Rogers: And so every—and you think, and so—the very act that strangers would buy a ticket, would get a babysitter, let alone would have—be moved and seek you out, is—it’s so humbling. It’s hard to process, and you feel that horribly overused word of the moment, but you feel grateful to have the opportunity to do that.
Glasser: J.T. Rogers, our guest this week on The Global POLITICO. Thank you so much for spending this time with us. I’m really delighted to be able to talk with you about it, and I guess, you know, when the sequel is out, when they finally do make Middle East peace, you and I may be so old that your playwriting days are behind you.
Rogers: Inshallah, as they say.
Glasser: In the spirit of optimism—right, exactly. Inshallah, as they say. Thank you, of course, to our listeners, as well, on The Global POLITICO. You can subscribe to us on iTunes, or whatever is your favorite podcast platform, and of course, as always, you can email me directly as email@example.com, and let me know your thoughts on this episode, or who else we should have on next, and thanks again to you, J.T., and to the listeners.
Rogers: You’re welcome. This was just a real treat, thank you.