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  • Author: Julius Caesar Trajano
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: Despite Duterte’s desire to shift Philippine security policy away from its treaty alliance with the US, Manila remains a close American ally. Key domestic, strategic and humanitarian factors actually make the alliance healthier. The Biden administration might just wait for Duterte to finish his term in a year's time.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Alliance
  • Political Geography: Philippines, North America, Asia-Pacific, United States of America
  • Author: Nobumasa Akiyama
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: On January 20, 2021, a new administration will take office in the United States. This could lead to changes in US-Iran relations. The Trump administration continued to provoke Iran by withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), tightening sanctions, and killing Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani. Meanwhile, the incoming president Joe Biden and key members of his diplomatic team are oriented toward a return to the JCPOA. In the midst of all this, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a nuclear scientist who is believed to have played a central role in Iran's nuclear development, was murdered. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded by saying he would retaliate at an "appropriate" time, and an advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said he would take "decisive" action. Although the US is not believed to have been directly involved in this incident, there are concerns that it will cast a dark shadow on the diplomacy between the US and Iran over the JCPOA. Shortly thereafter, Iran's parliament passed a law that obliges the government to take steps to expand nuclear activities that significantly exceed the JCPOA's limits and to seek the lifting of sanctions. The new US administration will need to be very careful not to overlook either hard or soft signals, to analyze Iran's future course, and to take diplomatic steps to reduce Iran's nuclear and regional security threats.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, JCPOA, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Kyoko Kuwahara
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: China has seen its image in the US and other countries worsen due to its slow initial responses to the novel coronavirus and its failure to disclose sufficient information. Meanwhile, China has been trumpeting its success in containing the coronavirus and pursuing "mask diplomacy" by sending medical supplies and teams of doctors to countries around the world in a frantic effort to rehabilitate its image. A glimpse of the desperation with which China is seeking to comport itself as a world leader can be seen in the facts that a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has used her own account on Twitter, inaccessible to the Chinese public at large, to appeal to public opinion in other countries, and that President Xi Jinping himself has engaged in a telephone offensive with the leaders of other countries.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Public Opinion, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Yuko Ido
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: On September 15, 2020, a joint statement was issued in Washington concerning Israeli peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain (The Abraham Accords Declaration). These agreements brought to four the number of Arab nations that have official diplomatic relations with Israel, the first two being Egypt (since 1979) and Jordan (since 1994)1. US President Trump himself praised these as "historic agreements"; however, there was no Palestinian representative at this celebration. These agreements mainly focus on strengthening economic and security relations among the participating countries, and they have encountered both supporting and opposing views within the international community. In particular, Iran and Turkey, which are at odds with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the region, have strongly criticized the agreements, saying they run counter to resolving the Palestinian Question. Many readers might recall the Camp David Accords of about 40 years ago that led to the first peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Let us now compare the two peace efforts and consider what the meaning of the 'Arab Cause' has been.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, United States of America
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: The Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies (BESA)
  • Abstract: Israel resides at the cusp of the widening US-Chinese divide, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to Israel attests. Pompeo’s visit was for the express purpose of reminding Jerusalem that its dealings with Beijing jeopardize its relationship with Washington.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Arms Trade, Trade
  • Political Geography: China, Middle East, Israel, Asia, Palestine, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Christopher Datta
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Across the developing world the United States runs aid programs that have met the laudable goal of reducing infant mortality and maternal death resulting from childbirth. We have done some astonishing things, such as completely eliminating smallpox. Now we are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by working to equip local communities with the tools needed to fight back against the coronavirus. Effective and inexpensive vaccines are everywhere administered to countless children who would otherwise die or be crippled by disease. More vaccines are on the way, perhaps even one for malaria, one of the biggest killers in the developing world. It is nothing short of a miracle. And yet the impact of these efforts in many countries could well be a legacy of war, famine, misery and the creation of new and even worse diseases.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, USAID, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Robert Cox
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Amid the toil and trouble of their own politics Americans might have a moment to note the self-flagellation of their closest European ally. There’s more to come – and the US is going to be drawn into it, whether it likes it or not. Coronavirus has now temporarily obscured the Brexit issue while arguably inflicting upon the European Union the greatest strains since its creation. A stricken EU helps nobody.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, European Union, Brexit, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, United States of America, North America
  • Author: Derek Sandhaus
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: It’s rare that I receive a summons to brief senior diplomats. You see I’m a writer and what is referred to as a “trailing spouse” in the U.S. Foreign Service. So when my diplomat wife informed me that the Consul General and his deputy would like to meet with me, no one was more surprised than I. When I learned what they had in mind it all made more sense: They wanted me to tell them how to drink, more specifically how to drink in the Chinese manner.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Culture, Memoir, Alcohol
  • Political Geography: China, United States of America
  • Author: Jane Carpenter-Rock
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: In a 1956 State Department memo, J. Burke Wilkinson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, articulated the Department’s need for a “display room or museum for the preservation and exhibition of documents and objects important in the history of the Department of State and the Foreign Service.” Again in 1958, a series of internal memos urged the creation of a “Department Museum” and the development of a “related presentation program” to include “eighty additional galleries in the U.S. posts all over the world,” an idea supported by then-Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. For over sixty years, the effort to establish a “Department Museum” has waxed and waned. Intervening issues like war, international crises, changes in administration, and the ever-present need for office space, have often taken priority. However, the long-held vision of establishing a Department museum is finally taking shape in the form of the National Museum of American Diplomacy. With a projected opening date of 2022, this long-awaited museum promises to be a platform where the American people can finally see the “devoted efforts of the Department’s officers and employees to further the interest of our nation.” This article will explore the development of the National Museum of American Diplomacy and its goal to shed light on the history and practice of American diplomacy through the stories of its people.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, History , Museums
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Carter Wilbur
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: As the U.S. shifts its focus to Great Power Competition (GPC), the relationship between USSOF and embassies worldwide must likewise shift to reflect a whole-of-government approach. In Part 1, I took stock of the current relationship between U.S. embassies and U.S. Special Operations Forces (USSOF), which, while good overall, is too often geared to separate efforts rooted in the counter-terrorism context, where a USSOF unit’s narrow mission against a terrorist cell requires minimal coordination with the embassy’s broader political and economic missions. There are more ways embassies and USSOF can support each other than are currently being realized. The next step is for both sides to develop a more symbiotic, institutional relationship. To that end, I propose five points to guide the development of USSOF-embassy relations, based loosely on the “Five SOF Truths” that have summarized USSOF philosophy since 1987.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Armed Forces, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Albadr AbuBaker Alshateri
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: When Dubai World Ports (DWP), a Dubai Government-owned entity, sought to purchase the British company Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation (P&O) in 2006, it faced huge opposition from the US Congress, local authority, and national security experts, despite the Bush Administration’s approval of the deal. The acquisition of P&O would have given the Dubai company the concession to run six major ports in the USA.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Exports, Trade, Imports
  • Political Geography: North America, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Edward Marks
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: While the recent accords with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Sudan moves Israel further along the path of regional integration and diplomatic normalization, the deal does nothing for Israel’s other existential threat — the Palestinians living in Israel proper, the West Bank, and Gaza. Nevertheless, it is a big deal. It is all part of the evolving Middle East where Arab support for the Palestinians has been melting for years. For decades, many Arab states were united in their hostility toward Israel and support for the Palestinian cause, even though in some cases that backing was largely rhetorical. But change has been under way for decades, beginning with the Egyptian and Jordanian formal recognition of Israel and then in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (API). That Saudi Arabian initiative called for normalizing relations between the Arab world and Israel, in exchange for a full withdrawal by Israel from the occupied territories (including the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, and Lebanon), a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee problem based on UN Resolution 242, and the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Regional Integration, Peace, Normalization
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, Palestine, United States of America
  • Author: Renee M. Earle
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Some months ago, a former senior State Department official told NPR that the State Department had recognized the importance of reaching broader foreign publics because they are much more influential today in shaping their governments’ policies. While the Internet and social media have obviously accelerated the development of this public influence, I was dismayed at the suggestion that the importance of public outreach abroad was a recent realization within the State Department. The abysmal ratings today for the U.S. in one global poll after another, including the 2020 Pew Global Attitudes report, more than ever demand that the department prioritize and enable a robust public diplomacy program in the toolbox of our foreign relations.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Public Opinion, Internet, Social Media
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Charles Ray
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: When I served as the U.S. Department of States Diplomat in Residence at the University of Houston (TX) during the 2005-2006 academic year, in addition to recruiting and mentoring college students interested in taking the Foreign Service Exam, I did a lot of speaking on diplomacy and foreign relations in southeast and south Texas. One of the audiences I particularly liked talking to was high school students, the most interesting and challenging I’ve faced in my 30-year diplomatic career.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Memoir
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Kenneth Weisbrode
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Secretary of State Michael Pompeo raised a few eyebrows in August when he spoke, on foreign soil, to the Republican National Convention. Cabinet members, especially the Secretary of State, are held to a high standard in politics because they are meant to be custodians of the nation’s image. Many people regard party politics as tarnish on that image. Yet, Americans have long championed a gift for image-making. Related to that has been a less cynical belief, even faith, in the appeal of the American way of life, the American dream, a “decent respect for the opinions of mankind,” and similar truths taught to every American schoolchild. Today’s national mood and reputation challenge those norms in ways that do not bear repeating. The lamentations are omnipresent in print, on radio, on television, and online. What has been missing until only very recently has been the moral call to arms that usually accompanies such moments in American history.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: June Carter Perry
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: What is a Diplomat in Residence in 2020? In order to reach out to potential future Foreign Service Officers (FSOs), the Department of State places experienced officers at colleges and universities in sixteen regions of the United States. The FSOs assigned as Diplomats in Residence (DIRs) offer guidance and advice on careers, internships and fellowships to students and professionals in the communities they serve. Although one might compare their roles to those of recruiters for corporations or universities, in fact, the DIR’s responsibilities are much broader. Based on my position as Diplomat in Residence at Howard University 2001-2002, the DIR is a counselor, a teacher, a mentor and sometimes a parent.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Foreign Aid, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: William A. Rugh
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: During the pandemic that swept the world in 2020, President Trump sought to focus major blame on China, where the virus first emerged. At a press conference on March 20, as American cases increased dramatically, he began to call it the “Chinavirus”, crossing out the word “coronavirus” in his prepared text. He continued to use that term, so criticizing China became a central theme in American “public diplomacy”. A new burden was added to the U.S.-China relationship, at the very time we need more, not less, mutual understanding.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Renee M. Earle
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: A few weeks ago, on July 4, we Americans celebrated our country and its freedoms, and we clearly have much to be grateful for – and also much to ponder. Seen both from within the U.S. and from much of the rest of the world, early Massachusetts Colonialist John Winthrop’s idealized “city on the hill” where “the eyes of the people will be upon us,” no longer looks as bright, and this should worry us. Much has been written to lament America’s retreat from the world stage during the current administration, which has been driven apparently by the mistaken notion that the U.S. can escape what affects the rest of the world simply by opting out or by saber rattling to get its way. But the longer the U.S. continues down this path, the question changes from whether the U.S. will want to reassume its 20th century role to whether the rest of the world will be willing to welcome back the America it perceives today. To watchers around the globe the America that led the world to increases in stability, prosperity, democracy, and human rights has disappeared in the trashing of international treaties and trade agreements, riots against racial discrimination, police violence, and our inability to deal effectively with the corona virus pandemic.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Charles Ray
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: The issue of militarization of American foreign policy is one that has simmered for decades. The American preference for employment of economic pressure and/or military force as a ‘quick-fix’ to deal with international problems instead of a more nuanced diplomatic approach is not a phenomenon of the 20th or 21st century. The increased militarization of U.S. foreign policy of the last decade is a continuation of a trend that has existed in one form or another for most of the nation’s history. The over-reliance on military power in foreign affairs, the militarization of U.S. foreign policy, dramatically increased with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. However, almost from the beginning of the founding of the republic, under pressure from business interests concerned with maintaining or increasing their prosperity or groups interested in maintaining their positions of influence or power, American political leaders have often resorted to use of force for a short-term solution.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, International Affairs, History, Militarization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Ken Moskowitz
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: On June 15, State Department Inspector General Steve Linick officially departed his office, after his firing the previous month by President Donald Trump. The president said, per the clichéd phrase, that he had “lost confidence” in Linick. Linick is the fifth U.S. Government inspector general fired by Trump. The president has fired his cabinet secretaries and bureaucrats frequently. Why is this one important? Before retiring in 2015, I spent the last three years of my career as a Foreign Service Officer at the State Department as an inspector in the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The last two years were under Steve Linick. The OIG, replicated in most U.S. departments, conducts investigations, audits, and inspections of domestic State Department offices and overseas missions and embassies to insure that they are adhering to professional standards and properly carrying out their assigned duties. They also conduct ad hoc or topical investigations and inspections when particular problems have been brought to the IG leadership via its hotline or other confidential communications.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Memoir, Civil Servants
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Raymond A. Smith
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Dr. Smith’s 2011 book, The Craft of Political Analysis for Diplomats offered suggestions for doing political analysis better, from the viewpoint of a foreign service officer who had spent most of his diplomatic career practicing the craft. In this follow-on piece, Smith expands on his original discussion with thoughts on the cardinal sins of political analysis.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Political Analysis
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Tianna Spears
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: My name is Tianna Spears. Many may recognize me as the Black diplomat who ultimately fled the State Department after being harassed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials while crossing the border into the country where I was born. At the age of 26, I was diagnosed with debilitating mental health conditions and left traumatized. But I am not my trauma— I am a friend, sister, daughter. A person. I am now 28 years old. This year has been bittersweet for me. My grief, disappointment, rage, and sadness are not just personal, but as a Black woman in America, I’ve grappled with the question of how do I grieve a personal loss that is also systemic?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Government, Race, Reform, Memoir
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Peter Bridges
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: In 1981 I was assigned to our Rome embassy as the deputy to the ambassador, Maxwell Rabb. The Red Brigade terrorists had been active in Italy for some years. They had been responsible for perhaps thousands of violent actions and had killed many people, most notably former Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978. One day before I left Washington, my colleague Gary Matthews said “You are going to carry a weapon in Rome, I assume.” “Why, no. I don’t have one and I don’t plan to buy one.” “Go down to the Department armory and they’ll fix you up.”
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Weapons , Memoir
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Gregory Orr
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Of all the cultural tools used by the United States Information Agency (USIA) to promote public diplomacy, film had a prominent role. For nearly half a century, the film division at USIA produced, distributed, and sponsored films throughout the world. It is estimated that the USIA archive included nearly 18,000 films distributed to over 150 nations in dozens of languages. They ranged widely in style (documentary, newsreel, animation, educational, and even fiction) and subject matter (social issues, biography, history, the arts, the environment, daily life in America, and sports.)
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Media, Film, Soft Power, Memoir
  • Political Geography: United States of America
  • Author: Bob Baker
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: In a November 1973 nationally televised press conference, President Richard Nixon denied his involvement in the Watergate cover-up and declared “I am not a crook.” In the U.K., where I was working in the U.S. embassy, British television showed the scene repeatedly as part of its daily coverage of the Watergate break-in scandal. As an assistant cultural affairs officer in the London embassy, part of my job was to improve the U.S. image and British understanding of our policies. I did not agree with all of our policies, but focused my work on the best in U.S. policy and culture. That included keeping British support for NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, our main alliance in the cold war with the Soviet Union. For months, President Nixon twisted on television every day as investigations led toward him. He wanted to avoid blame for his role in the burglary at Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. His almost daily interviews on television had eroded British trust in the United States. How could Brits trust the U.S. as a strategic partner in NATO if the President was a crook?
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Memoir, Richard Nixon
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Jonathan B. Rickert
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: One of the traditional tasks of diplomacy is the negotiation of bilateral and multilateral agreements. Although many diplomats may spend an entire career without ever engaging in such activity, I am pleased that I had the chance to do so.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Romania, North America, United States of America
  • Author: J. R. Bullington
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: My first overseas post as a newly-minted Foreign Service Officer was the American Consulate at Hué. I arrived in July, 1965, just as the massive deployment of U.S. combat units was getting underway. Emerging from a redneck hillbilly background in Tennessee and Alabama, and devoid of any international experience, I could not imagine the challenging, life-shaping adventure on which I was about to embark. This is my Foreign Service war story/love story/coming-of-professional-age story, as well as a participant’s account of a significant but largely unknown episode in the history of the Vietnam War. In 1965, the Vietnam War had not yet come to dominate American politics as it did by 1967. Nonetheless, it was very much in the news, and I was happy to be going to an exciting job in an exotic country that was emerging as a major focus of American foreign policy. Moreover, I had been unable to achieve my childhood dream of a military career because of a teenage bout with polio that left me with a slightly crippled leg, so I was pleased to have this opportunity to serve my country in a war. I was 24, and more than a little naïve.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Memoir, Vietnam War, Buddhism
  • Political Geography: Vietnam, North America, Southeast Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Pamela J. Slutz, Brian L. Goldbeck
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: President George W. Bush’s November 2005 visit to Mongolia marked an important milestone in U.S.-Mongolia relations. When the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1987 after many years of Cold War frostiness, Mongolia was a communist country closely allied to the Soviet Union.Bush’s visit, the first by a sitting U.S. president, re-affirmed Mongolia’s transformation from communism to democracy and a free market economy.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Public Policy, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Mongolia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mark Wentling
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: My friends say I was born and raised in Kansas, but I was made in Africa. I first stepped on the continent in 1970 as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo and stayed much longer than expected, serving with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and working with non-governmental organizations across the continent. I ended up knowing firsthand in varying degrees each of Africa’s 54 countries.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Memoir, Peace Corps, USAID
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States of America
  • Author: Christopher Datta
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: When I was a young man in the 1970s two friends and I went on a student tour of Europe. We landed in Luxembourg on New Year’s Eve and checked into a pension that catered to students. It was run by, what to me at the time, was an elderly woman (today I am probably 20 years older than she was at the time). My friends and I went out on the town to celebrate the New Year, and got back to the pension at about 1 am. The owner was up and waiting for us, and I thought we were going to get chewed out for staying up so late and forcing her to keep the doors open. Instead, she smiled at us and waved us into her dining room, where she opened a very nice bottle of white wine and then poured all of us a glass. This was certainly not the level of service I was expecting. I think we were paying $5 a night to stay there.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Gregory Orr
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: In 1987 I joined the United States Information Agency (USIA), a foreign affairs agency whose mission was to engage in public diplomacy with audiences overseas. We liked to say that we wanted “to tell America’s story to the world” via a variety of cultural, educational, and informational programs (e.g. speakers, exchanges, exhibits, and libraries). USIA had a corps of press and cultural officers implementing these programs as well as specialists in areas such as library science and English language programs. As an English language officer, I was expected to promote the learning and teaching of American English as a means of developing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. I therefore looked forward to my first overseas trip to make contact with the English teaching establishments in Hungary and the Soviet Union.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Culture, Soft Power, Public Policy, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Soviet Union, United States of America
  • Author: J. R. Bullington
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Enforced social distancing and the consequent abundance of time for reflection can give rise to some unusual mental connections. For me, it was a letter from a previously unknown Foreign Service Officer colleague and memories of another cruel April 45 years ago, when Saigon and the Republic of Vietnam fell to the communist North Vietnamese. This connection, which was brought to mind by Eliot’s poem, evoked not only sad recollections but also some cautious long-term optimism.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Vietnam, United States of America
  • Author: Brenda Brown Schoonover
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: IntraHealth, originally known as Intrah, the Program for International Training in Health, was created in 1979 to train health workers and enhance the skills and champion health workers in overseas countries in areas where they are most needed. Intrah grew out of a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) cooperative agreement with the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC). Much of IntraHealth International’s success in global development is due to its President and CEO, Pape Amadou Gaye, who is stepping down after 16 years heading the organization. I first met Pape Gaye in the late 1990s, when he was Regional Director for Intrah’s West and North Africa programs in Lome, Togo, where I was U.S. Ambassador.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Memoir
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States of America
  • Author: Susan Clyde
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: American speaker programs were long a staple of US Information Agency (USIA) programs overseas. Not all went as planned. In 1975 in Chile we were preparing to receive an experimental film maker, sent by USIA to speak to film classes at the universities. The gentleman was first scheduled to speak at various venues in Buenos Aires, and we were told that he would be flying his own small plane from Chicago to Buenos Aires, then over the Andes to Santiago. Because the flights depended on weather conditions, we did not have an exact date of arrival. He’d call us when he got there, we were told.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Film, Memoir
  • Political Geography: South America, Chile, United States of America
  • Author: Peter Bridges
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: American Diplomacy
  • Abstract: Henry Kissinger left government service in 1977; after serving earlier as National Security Adviser he was replaced as Secretary of State by Carter’s incoming Secretary, Cyrus Vance. Now it was 1984; since 1981 I had been the deputy chief of mission to Reagan’s ambassador to Italy, Maxwell Rabb. We learned that Dr. Kissinger was coming to Venice to brief the board of a major American corporation that was meeting there. Max Rabb asked me to go to Venice and make sure the Italians would provide proper protection for the famous—some would have said infamous—man.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Memoir, Henry Kissinger
  • Political Geography: United States of America