American Diplomat

American Diplomat

American Diplomat goes behind the scenes to hear real stories from diplomats who lived newsworthy events overseas. Experience the Cuban revolution, Central American insurgencies, the end of apartheid and more through the eyes of those who were there. A project of the Una Chapman Cox Foundation in partnership with the American Academy of Diplomacy.... Show More

Episodes

October 17, 2019 31 min

Ambassador Prudence Bushnell puts Marie Yovanovitch's recent testimony on Capitol Hill in the context of the Certificate of Commission for all Foreign Service Officers, emphasizing the integrity, prudence and ability that are the guiding principle from which all American diplomats work. The message from Pete and Pru to current FSOs: We've got your back.

 

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October 9, 2019 20 min

The Sequoia: A presidential yacht? A floating icon of American and diplomatic history? A loan gone south? Pete schools Laura on the proper pronoun for a thing of such great beauty (a "she", not an "it") and Mike Cantor does his best to answer our nosey questions about what really went on onboard.

https://youtu.be/S1NcM6BW2Jo

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September 30, 2019 23 min

We're in LA right now promoting a TV script we've written, inspired by many of AmDip's greatest stories including this one from an interview with Kate Canavan on the many things that can go wrong in Tijuana. Two air traffic controllers, fired for going on strike, go into (very) private industry. Pete's words: "Breaking Bad, in the skies."

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September 24, 2019 23 min

AMLO, or Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico, takes the long view, and so does the Mexican populace, in the face of insults and other perhaps spontaneous diplomatic communiques conveyed by tweet.  As the 13th largest economy in the world, expected soon to be the eighth, they have big enough plans not to take the bait.   

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September 18, 2019 18 min

This one went to work in the Lyndon Johnson White House at the tender age of 25, became Johnson's Appointments Secretary (a role now called the Chief of Staff) at 28, and later became a congressman and US Ambassador to Mexico.  Do you know how much time Lyndon Johnson spent in his pajamas?  And what do Mexicans really think about their neighbor to the north?  Find out both, in the first of two episodes with Jim Jones.

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September 12, 2019 22 min

Communism drives immigration decisions, 1956. Hank Cohen is in love. It's his first tour, and he's in Paris. The Soviets invade Hungary and Hank helps thousands of refugees flee Communist aggression and make new lives in the US. But what about heartthrob megastar Yves Montand, who is an avowed Communist?  How can Hank get him a visa? And about that girl...

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September 4, 2019 37 min

We're refreshing one of our earlier (and best!) episodes from the early days, before anyone had heard of us.  But now you have!  And so we offer you the joy you may have missed, of learning what it is to be black, creole or colored, all words that have been used to describe Desiree Cormier, both here in the US and during her posting in South Africa.  Enjoy!

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August 28, 2019 31 min

We love music.  We love it almost as much as we love listening to our friends tell stories about life overseas.  So here's our end-of-summer look back on some of our favorite music in the series.  Enjoy!  Your pals, Pete and Laura

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August 21, 2019 28 min

Larry Dinger regales us with tales of tires on fire, pollution, trekking, and one of the most bizarre episodes in monarchy in the world.  Now Laura wants to join the Foreign Service and all of us want to go to Kathmandu.  

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August 12, 2019 30 min

It's 1991 in Ethiopia. President Mengistu and the rebels are at war. Drought and famine are killing thousands. As Charge d'Affaires in Addis Ababa, Bob Houdek oversees the evacuation of 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel, and why? Because, as Bob explains, "Immigration is one of the fundamental human rights under the UN convention."  

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Bill Burns says it best: "This is exactly the moment when you need to attract the best in our society to lives in public service, whether it's in the State Department, the US military or elsewhere. I am a passionate believer in that." We are, too! Uncle Sam needs you.

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August 1, 2019 33 min

Burns shares stories from his engaging new book, The Back Channel.  

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Plus, a few good works. Vicki Huddleston gets around in the Sahara, and even gets the women a place inside the tent. So where did all these terrorists come from? 

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Vicki Huddleston, our ambassador in Mali (not to be confused with Bali), helps us understand the Sahel, the Sahara, and their vast range of inhabitants.  Everyone got along so well, so how did this land become what the UN now calls the most dangerous mission on earth?

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July 11, 2019 34 min

Now that Ortega is back, how is the revolution going? Nicaraguans are being shot, hauled off and denied medical services, while the president's coffers swell. A how-to kit, on how to steal democracy.  

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July 3, 2019 20 min

We have Independence Day, and for Nicaraguans Liberation Day is just as important.  Celebrated July 19, this is the day the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dynasty in 1979.  But what really is a Sandinista, and what's up with their leader Daniel Ortega now?  Most importantly, how is life today for Nicaraguans?

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June 26, 2019 31 min

Grass to tree roots: Ajani helps us understand how the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott in 1955 impacts lives today in Eritrea and the area that is now South Sudan.

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June 21, 2019 31 min

Jimmy Kolker is back to tell us how, as Ambassador to Uganda, he helped stem the spread of this deadly disease and save scores of human lives.  

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June 13, 2019 32 min

How did Tom Shannon end up Secretary of State for 12 days?  How do transitions work, when one president leaves and another takes office?  

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June 6, 2019 35 min

We revisit Pete's stories about Naples, with a couple of bonuses at the front. Happy summer!

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