Search Results for spies

Dissidents, Spies, and Attack Cartoons — Life at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana

Diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba were frozen in time for more than 50 years. After the U.S. formally severed ties on January 3, 1961, the two countries were not technically represented by embassies but rather Interests Sections, both under the diplomatic aegis of the Swiss Embassy. Relations were restored on July 20, 2015. From […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Cold War, Espionage, Human Rights, Humorous, Public Diplomacy, Western Hemisphere Tagged |
Edward Elson: Entrepreneurial Ambassador to Denmark

The fall of the Soviet Union upset long-established power dynamics, leaving East and Central Europe, in particular, in uncharted waters. The creation of the Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8), a regional cooperation consisting of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden, helped the Baltics transition away from Cold War-style self-identification toward a more regionally-focused identity. […]

Wait ‘til the Winter: Iran, Iraq and the Kurdish Rebellion

Iraqi Kurds are scheduled to hold a referendum on independence in September, 2017. The Kurdistan region of about five million people already has a great deal of autonomy, with its own parliament and armed forces, but relations with the central Iraqi government have become increasingly strained in recent years. This latest development tracks with a […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
The Siberian Seven: Escaping Religious Persecution in the U.S.S.R.

From its inception, the Soviet Union became the first state in the world to actively attempt to eliminate religion from society. Religion was viewed by Soviet leadership as counter-intuitive to scientific reason and as a threat to the consolidation and exertion of state power. Correspondingly, under Soviet religious policy, tens of thousands of houses of worship […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Cold War, Consular, Human Rights, Russia/Soviet Union Tagged , , , |
“The Cold War Was Truly Over” — The 1986 Reykjavik Summit

After the 1985 Geneva Summit, where President Ronald Reagan and leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, met for the first time, the Reykjavik Summit, held on October 11-12, 1986, presented an opportunity to try to reach an agreement between the two sides on arms control. While Gorbachev wanted to ban all ballistic missiles and limit the talks […]

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Regarding Henry, Protecting Nancy – On Security Detail with the Kissingers

Traditionally, Secretaries of State receive a personal protection detail from the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). However, Henry Kissinger eschewed the DS detail in favor of the Secret Service protection he had as the National Security Advisor at the White House. His wife Nancy, a brilliant and glamorous New York aristocrat who spent years […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Africa, Foreign Service, Humorous Tagged , , |
When Friends Spy on Friends: The Case of Jonathan Pollard

Former Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard delivered over 800 highly classified documents to the Israeli government over a 17-month period. According to an article by Seymour Hersh published in the New Yorker, Pollard stole and sold militarily sensitive Signals Intelligence information, a year’s worth of memos by intelligence officers in the U.S. Navy’s Sixth […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Cold War, Espionage, Middle East, Military, Russia/Soviet Union Tagged , |
What Have I Gotten Myself Into? Tales from Rough First Tours

Life in the Foreign Service certainly has its advantages – working in often exotic locales, meeting fascinating people, being a part of important, sometimes historical, events. But, like other glamorous jobs, it has its drawbacks, not the least of which come with the drudgery of first and sometimes second tours, where most FSOs end up […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Africa, Consular, Foreign Service, Hostage, Humorous, Women and Minority FSOs Tagged |
I, Spy?  Diplomatic Adventures during Soviet-American Détente    

Among the challenges of serving as a U.S. diplomat in the USSR during the Cold War years of 1945 to 1991 were the certain knowledge that one’s words and actions were being monitored and reported back to the host – and often hostile – government. Intelligence gathering was carried out by both sides to learn […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Cold War, Espionage, Foreign Service, Humorous, Russia/Soviet Union, Spouses and children Tagged , |
A Crack in the Iron Curtain: Freeing Sharansky

As General Secretary of the Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev authorized the release of thousands of Soviet Jews who wanted to leave the USSR. In 1986 only 914 Soviet Jews were allowed to emigrate; by 1990 the number was 186,815.  A group of about 11,000 who had been denied emigration visas were known as refuseniks. Natan Sharansky, a spokesperson for […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Cold War, Espionage, Europe, Human Rights, Russia/Soviet Union Tagged , , |