Jeffrey LewisBest Starbucks Product Placement, Ever

U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill, center, sits with his delegate members attending the 2nd working group meeting on North Korea’s nuclear program at the Liaoning Friendship Convention Center in Shenyang, northeastern China, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2007. Envoys to talks on North Korea’s nuclear program met Thursday in northeast China to discuss the next steps in ridding Pyongyang of its atomic ambitions. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Yes, that is a Starbucks cup, logo forward, in the image.

One wonders if Hill is thinking about a career as a pitch-man for the Seattle-based coffee company, just in case this whole “globe trotting statesman” thing doesn’t work out. I can only imagine the testimonials …

Often, when listening to one of Kim Kye-gwan’s extended monologues, I sometimes start to nod off. That’s when I reach for a doppio espresso from Starbucks …

Despite a gastronomic history stretching back thousands of years and a booming manufacturing sector, the Chinese people still can’t seem to combine the two in a decent espresso or properly steamed milk. That’s why I never go anywhere in China without a tall soy latte from Starbucks …

After a White House showing of the Manchurian Candidate, Dick Cheney’s staff now requires all State Department officials to carry poison pills when traveling abroad. I like knowing, if it ever came to that, my last beverage will be a half-caf venti low-fat Mochaccino from Starbucks …

Submit your own in the comments.


  1. Haninah (History)

    Man, this whole nuclear weapons negotiating thingy is a real bummer… You know what would really make things better? ORANGE MOCHA FRAPPUCHINOS!!!

  2. RS (History)

    “Caramel Macchiato – yet another weapon in the US arsenal of luxury goods.” Goes well with the “Can’t touch this” on the IPod.

  3. august (History)

    More Christopher Hill Starbucks endorsements…

    1. The ambassador explained to me Mao’s principle of guerrilla warfare: when they retreat, we attack. I explained my principle of diplomacy, when they flag, we caffeinate with a grande caramel macchiato.

    2. If Lin Biao had a couple of these babies, he’d still be alive today.

    3. The green tea Frappucino is a perfect meeting of East and West, yin and yang, Nixon and Mao.

    4. I take that back. Tea sucks.

  4. I'll take "Things Fissionable" for $24 million, Alex (History)

    Odd how that’s the most in-focus part of the photo.

  5. Ron Medler (History)

    This thing about STARBUCKS
    is blowm way out of

  6. Anon

    “Kim Gye-gwan and I were trying to figure out, what could possibly be the equivalent of 950 thousand tons of fuel oil when I reached for a sip of my tall low-fat double macchiato from Starbucks. He asked if the stuff really gives me energy to keep going. I told him, ‘Mr. Kim, I believe we just found our equivalent.’”

  7. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    In terms of focus, I blurred everything other than the Starbucks in order to highlight it.

  8. Doug Shaw (History)

    Awfully coincidental, less than a month after the Forbidden City thing…

    ( )

  9. James (History)

    Lest we forget, Hu Jintao has already taken on the mantle of unofficial Starbucks promoter in Asia:

    “If I were not serving in this office, I would certainly prefer to go into one of the coffee shops run by Starbucks,” said the usually reserved Hu.

    For a visual, check out

  10. Scott G. (History)

    I think that is the same thing that Bush’s team did while trying to sell the WMD story in Iraq. Certainly a good example of distortion of the truth, and the difference between true journalism and blogs.

    “In terms of focus, I blurred everything other than the Starbucks in order to highlight it.”
    Jeffrey Lewis · Aug 18, 12:04 PM ·

  11. abcd (History)

    Unsubstantiated claim of the day:

    “Starbucks sure beats the #@$% out of Seattle’s Best,” Chris Hill

  12. Eric Hundman (History)


    I mean, drink tanks have responded for years by imbibing heavily. I hear the world isn’t safe yet, so why not try simple carbs?

  13. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    The blog post also included a link to the original picture on the Washington Post.

    Get off it.

  14. Brian (History)

    “It’s not always easy keeping the world’s most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the world’s most dangerous people.

    My favorite tool in the counterterrorism toolbox? Starbucks double-shot. Enough caffeine to keep me going. Enough cream to keep us on the offensive.”

  15. Winston (History)

    So… there is a Starbucks in North Korea? Where did he get it from?

  16. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    No, the Six Party talks usually occur in China. This time they are in Shenyang, which has four Starbucks.

    Given that Hill stays at the InterContinental (208 Nanjing N. St.), my guess is that the workers at the 206 Nanjing N. St. location were treated to an appearance by “boyish US envoy” who has become a “heartthrob in China.”

  17. MTC (History)

    “It’s the latest from the DARPA brats, Mr. Hill. Point the logo at a person and you can hear what he’s thinking.”

    “And the logo?”

    “After the Forbidden City shutdown, Starbucks was willing to do anything to get even. They practically begged to be the cover.”

  18. fred (History)

    FYI starbucks OWNS seattles best…

  19. abcd (History)

    To be honest, Fred, I was previously unaware of this. But Starbucks apparently hasn’t shared with Seattle’s Best their secret to making GOOD coffee. It’d be like lumping Old Navy and Banana Republic together, even though they are owned by the same parent company.

  20. Binh (History)

    He’s trying to promote capitalism in N. Korea:

    “We’ll open a Starbucks if we can open sweatshops. You know you want to, Kim.”