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.

Episodes

May 19, 2022 42 min

The night before the war begain, a calm confidence prevailed in President Zelensky's office.  Peter Van Praagh, President of Halifax International Security Forum, recently returned from Ukraine where he spent the first hours of the war. His stories are as powerful as his message that Putin did not unite the West; the Ukrainians did. And this is all of our fight.  Here's a way to help Ukraine win: https://halifaxtheforum.org...

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Assimilation is better than integration, counsels Ambassador Michael Polt of ASU's Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab.  Assimilation says: "I really want you to be a part of us."  Assimilation means our new friends are expected to stay and become a valued part of who we are.  Besides, hating people is exhausting.  In the end, it all comes down to character.  (And this is why we love our friend Michael Polt....
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May 5, 2022 56 min

Immigration expert Eric Farnsworth is back to parse what he describes as our unilateral disarmament diplomatically in the Western Hemisphere, due to bipartisan failure to compromise.  "We're doing it to ourselves," explains Eric. And here comes the Summit of the Americas in LA in June.

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Bringing Europe and China to Africa and Granola Bars to Jail - originally posted in March 2018.  Enjoy!
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April 21, 2022 31 min

Overseas and at home, Foreign Service officers face danger to themselves and their careers, from Benghazi to McCarthyism to the Trump presidency. John Naland and Harry Kopp discuss these risks and why we take them in their book Career Diplomacy: Lfe and Work in the US Foreign Service.

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April 14, 2022 37 min
War crimes and genocide, from the Holocaust of World War II to Ukraine today, and many other places on earth.  Moved by his experience of the civil rights movement as a youth in the South, Ed O'Donnel devoted his life to preventing the emergence of genocides worldwide and bringing justice in their aftermath.  
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April 7, 2022 35 min
No one guessed Ukraine could succeed in combatting Putin. How has the country done it? What has Putin got wrong? General Ben Freakley is back with insights on the will to fight, military strategy, and values-based leadership.  
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March 31, 2022 22 min
The world has lost a great stateswoman; Pete has lost a mentor. Reviled by autocrats, loved by Cuban Americans, Madeleine Albright is mourned by lovers of democracy worldwide.
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March 23, 2022 33 min

What, exactly, is a sanction?  An embargo?  How do they help Ukraine and the West defeat Putin's aggression?  Are they working? Why not put boots on the ground instead?  Elizabeth Shackelford has a lot to say on the matter.  

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March 17, 2022 39 min

The Ukraine war - a threat or an opportunity, or both?  It's too early to tell, says congressional candidate and USAID veteran Dave Harden, but in a rise of great power competition - Russia, China and the US - I would rather be America, says Dave . Tune in and find out why.

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Gas and Oil, Russia, Europe, the US, Azerbaijan, China and the war in Ukraine.  Rich Kauzlerich, expert on energy diplomacy, explains that sanctions work, but that this is certainly no time for a victory lap.  

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Most of the world is united in its condemnation of Russia's aggression in Ukraine, with the conspicuous absence of comment from Latin America.  Why?  Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, unpacks.

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February 24, 2022 38 min
What better way to launch a depressive episode than to leave a beloved job as US Ambassador to Panama, at the pinacle of one's career, all because one cannot in good conscience act as the personal representative of a particular US President?  Ambassador John Feeley shares candidly the painful but surmountable experience of depression and recovery upon departure from the Foreign Service. May we all share as generously as our fri...
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For Michael Peay, one of the first African Americans to serve in the Office of the Legal Adviser, the (incredibly hard) work was "tremendous fun!" When faced with racial prejudice, his wisdom carried him through: "You treat everyone with respect because you have respect for yourself." May we all, of every race, live by this credo.  

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February 10, 2022 38 min

Russian mothers, mud season, urban warfare. These are among the threats limiting Putin's ability to agress in Ukraine. Bill Courtney, expert on Central Asia, weighs both Putin's and Ukraine's options and risks in the increasingly dicey situation in Ukraine today. What are Putin's fears and what are some of his tools?

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February 3, 2022 34 min
Agnes Schneider, would-be opera singer, saver of lives, confiscator of passports.  She was a living expression of an incredible period of history, from World War I to the Cold War.  Savior or villain, or both?  Lindsay Henderson, consular history expert, shares.  See also her article on this topic in the Foreign Service Journal, Jan/Feb 2022 edition.
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January 27, 2022 39 min

Working your way up to an ambasssadorship is such a slog, if you can just buy the honorific instead. Ambassador Dennis Jett, author of a recent article by the same name as this episode, illuminates.  Bonus question: Which embassy is the most expensive to buy?  See also Jett's newly revised book, American Ambassadors: A guide for Aspiring Diplomats.

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Dick Hoagland, Central Asia expert, is back to help us understand recent violence in Kazakhstan.  Was the populace upset about rising fuel prices, or was there an internecine power struggle?  Or both?  What is the US interest in this ambiguous and evolving situation?

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Bernie Aronson, who led the US effort to end wars in El Salvador and Colombia, shares insight on resolving the most intense geopolitical conflicts: "You should never forget that they are human beings and they can be moved as human beings."  

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January 6, 2022 31 min

Are we talking about Chile or the US, or any of a number of other countries worldwide? Deb Derrick recounts recent unrest in Santiago, and we ask ourselves, how similar to this are events in our own country? Today we are forced to remember the events of last year on this day, January 6, 2021. Do we care enough about our democracy to save it?

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