When does NIMBYism threaten to spark an international incident? When it becomes NEMBYism. Residents of the Kalorama neighborhood have the same not-in-my-backyard concerns as neighbors everywhere: traffic, parking, noise, and so on. But their target isn’t student group houses or bars; it’s embassies. About a third of the city’s embassy offices, or chanceries, are located in tiny Kalorama, inhabiting once-elegant houses. The Office of Planning drafted a plan to encourage embassies to move to non-residential areas, but the city and the feds are wary of taking it too far: The State Department worries that limitations on embassies here could trigger restrictions on American embassies abroad. “No Embassies in My Backyard” may be a good rallying cry, but it probably can’t trump America’s diplomatic priorities.

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