Economics Officer Laura Lane served in Rwanda during its period of genocide in the 1990s and learned when you should, and when you should not, follow the rules. Here is the audio track of her TED talk on the subject, bookended with comments from Pete.
James Baker, Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush, remembers President Bush and puts today's foreign policy events in perspective as he receives the Walter and Lenore Annenberg Award for Excellence in Diplomacy. "A golden age for humanity," he calls our times, and recalls a day when "we all sang from the same hymnal, which meant that our allies and our adversaries clearly understood U.S. policy and could not twist differences to their advantage."
Ambassador Joe Sullivan has known a lot of dictators. Who are they? What are they like? How do they do it? "All I want to do is make this a prosperous, democratic country," is a good thing to say to Americans, these charming men have found.
Turkey, Russia, Venezuela: In what ways is the rise of strongmen in those countries similar and different from what we're seeing in the United States? What role do press freedom and demonizing adversaries play in the rise of a dictator?
November 18 is the anniversary of the Jonestown massacre (40th, can you believe it?). Chuck English walks us through his experience as the first American diplomat to witness the aftermath. With bonus discussion about Congressman Leo Ryan, an "experiential congressman", whose arrival on the scene immediately preceded the tragedy.
Populism and religiosity: Erdogan begins as a reformer, then builds a corrupt government that leads Turkey into economic peril and total political control through a narrative that stokes fear of victimization at the hand of external enemies. Bob Pearson shows us how Turkey got where it is today in the second part of our discussion with him as part of our series, "Is It Happening Here?"
Corruption, hostage-taking, and a populace divided over Erdogan's Muslim Brotherhood-style government. Ambassador Bob Pearson helps us understand Turkey's era of us-vs.-them politics in the newest episode of our series Is It Happening Here?
Why was the Nairobi attack not prevented? How was it planned, and why did al-Qaeda choose that embassy? Ambassador Prudence Bushnell helps us answer these questions and tells how she led in the aftermath, in ways that only a woman can lead.
"I could not take away people's pain or anger or injuries or post-traumatic stress, but I could accompany them." Ambassador Prudence Bushnell leads the US Embassy in Nairobi through the aftermath of a massive bomb attack on August 7, 1998. 213 people died instantly, 500 were wounded, 750 businesses were blown up. Says Bushnell, "Take care of your people, the rest will follow."
Mongolia, Turkmenistan and the Marshall Islands: What do they all have in common? Mike Senko opened the first American embassies in each one! And he lived to tell the tale.
Reporting from fictional Sulandia, a skill that can be developed. Dorothy Mayhew and Michael Gray, diplomats who teach at The Foreign Service Institute, lead the way. Plus bonus info on the life of a State Department cable: What is it? Who writes it and who reads it? What is its impact?
Are Foreign Service Officers made or born that way? And what, exactly, is a "demarche"? A tour through basic training, Foreign Service style, with Dorothy Mayhew and Michael Gray.
Pete and Laura's recent appearance on SiriusXM with host Eric Ham, bookended by discussion of the psychology of frustration, even humiliation, that can lead whole populations to support strongmen.
Bob Blake offers an alternative to genocide, but his help is refused. How similar is the tragedy in Sri Lanka to the current crisis in Myanmar?
Want to go to jail in Sri Lanka today? Just mention the Tamil Tigers in a positive manner and you will be on trial. That's how upset people still are about the war that ended almost ten years ago. Bob Blake unpacks this time of terror in Sri Lanka.
Sandy Vershbow, US Ambassador to Russia 2002-2005, recounts Putin's gradual seizure of power over more and more of the Russian State, leaving ordinary Russians with little, if any, voice in the policies that affect their lives.
Conditions precedent and the rise of populist autocrat Putin, via Sandy Vershbow, US Ambassador to Russia, 2001-2005. Plus bonus Russian hit song "One Like Putin". Your internal soundscape may never be the same. The second country in American Diplomat's series, "Is It Happening Here?"
Pete visits the Huarani Indians, botches up a boar hunt, drinks the mystery drink chicha, and receives upon his departure a marriage proposal, ambiguously addressed either to himself one of the other fine young gringos. Follows first episode, titled "Cowboys and Indian at the Embassy."
"Embassy death squads? Sure, I made that up!" ~ Moi, Huarani Indian and tribal ambassador
Trade, demystified. And accompanied by a stiff drink. Plus bonus song "Soybeans!" Shaun Donnelly tells all.
Once elected, how does Chavez systematically seize control of the politics and economy of his country, and how does this erode Fulano's choices and way of life?
Brian Naranjo describes life for a middle-class voter during the lead-up to the election of Hugo Chavez, a former coup plotter who becomes the elected dictator of Venezuela. This is the first episode in a series within American Diplomat titled, "Is it happening here?"
Pete and Laura introduce a new series within American Diplomat, in which they talk with diplomats who witnessed the beginning phases of democracy's doom and who can tell the story from the perspective of the individual voter who unwittingly elected a dictator.
A social media battleground for hearts and minds in Venezuela, an American in prison on false charges of espionage and terrorism, and a prison riot. Brian Naranjo puts his neck way out there to protect Joshua Holt.
Venezuela today: People are starving and the currency is almost worthless. The government is stealing as much as it can and destroying democratic institutions. The message to American diplomats: Welcome to Venezuela, let me show you the door.