The United Nations is a pretty fun place. The headquarters hosts all kinds of cultural events. Everyone's open-minded about the dress code. Delegates can even show up hammered to budget negotiations. Or at least they used to be able to.
At a General Assembly budget committee meeting on Monday, the United States ambassador for management and reform at the UN stood up to scold his colleagues for always showing up drunk to negotiations. "There has always been a good and responsible tradition of a bit of alcohol improving a negotiation, but we're not talking about a delegate having a nip at the bar," said Joseph "The Fun Police" Torsella. "We make the modest proposal that the negotiating rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone."
This is apparently not a new problem. The budget committee meetings tend to run late into the night at this time of year, as delegates struggle to meet deadlines. Some diplomats spoke up after Torsella's very public shaming and said it's not uncommon for delegates to show up visibly drunk to negotiations. "On one occasion the note-taker who was meant to be recording the talks was so intoxicated he had to be replaced," one unnamed diplomat told the press. We're not talking about cheerful, oops-I-had-a-glass-of-chardonnay-at-dinner drunk either. Another unnamed diplomat said that delegates were showing up "falling down drunk." Torsella himself mentioned one incident where a delegate got so hammered that he barfed, though it's unclear where.
What's sort of silly about Torsella politely asking these leaders of the world to show up sober to work is the simple fact that's it's just a request. It's not like the US ambassador can dissolve the committee due to misbehavior, though he did say "we will respond accordingly" if the party animals can't clean up their acts.
On that note, leave it to the country with the high drinking age and fewest vacation days to tell other countries how to get stuff done. Like Torsella said, a couple drinks can really take the edge off of tense negotiations, and everybody knows it. Heck, the Houses of Parliament in London is home to several pubs and bars.