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A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History:

Freezing in the Dark: the First Years of the USAID Mission in Ukraine

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Duty and Danger: Heroes of Diplomacy

North Yemen: Ambassador to a Divided Land See more Duty and Danger

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Check out our FEATURED ORAL HISTORY: Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger was instrumental in directing U.S. foreign policy while serving as national security advisor from 1969 to 1975 and United States Secretary of State from 1973 until 1977. Practicing realpolitik, Kissinger orchestrated the policy of detente with the Soviet Union, negotiated the termination of American involvement in the Vietnam War, and established diplomatic relations with China.

Some excerpts:

On the continuation and challenges facing Sino-American relations:  [I]n both countries there are significant elements who argue that the traditional pattern of international relations, which dictates confrontation between an aspirant country and an established country, is going to reassert itself and who are therefore advocating a more confrontational approach. That is the challenge of American foreign policy. It’s also the challenge of Chinese foreign policy. . . .  There are many unsolved issues, but the most positive thing is that for eight American administrations and for four generations of Chinese leaders, the main lines of diplomacy established in the 1970s have been maintained and elaborated.


On the importance of diplomacy: I don’t like to treat diplomacy and military power as alternatives. We are in the habit of saying that the military fight up to a certain point, and then the diplomats take over, or the other way around. I think the two should be linked. At all times, diplomacy is extremely important, and should be pre-eminent. In the present world, where the number of problems that one can even imagine solving with military means is shrinking, the role of diplomacy is even greater.

Read more about Henry Kissinger HERE.

For a list of oral histories by NAME, click HERE.  ADVANCED SEARCH:  click HERE.


Hear Ye, Hear Ye! It’s Poor Richard’s Podcasts: Tales of Diplomacy



Check out our FEATURED PODCAST: The Canadian Caper, Argo, and Escape from Iran

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Featured Publications

PRELUDE TO GENOCIDE: Arusha, Rwanda, and the Failure of Diplomacy

By David Rawson

On April 6, 1994, two air-to-ground missiles hit the Dassault Falcon jet bringing Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana back home to Kigali from a regional summit in Dar es Salaam, killing all aboard. The contending parties in the country's long-running civil conflict thereupon returned to war, instead of working out the arrangements of democratic governance and power sharing based on the hard-won principles of the August 1993 Arusha Accords.

David Rawson had participated in 1992 as the initial U.S. Observer in  the peace talks at Arusha, Tanzania, and later served as U.S. ambassador to Rwanda during the last months of the doomed effort to make the Arusha agreements hold. In Prelude to Genocide, Rawson draws on declassified documents and his personal involvement to seek out what went wrong. He examines the international diplomatic and humanitarian intervention in Rwanda and asks what lessons might be learned from the nearly four-year international effort that failed to halt the conflict between the Hutu-dominated Rwandan government and the Tutsi Patriotic Front and failed to establish peace and security for Rwanda's people.

“Rawson puts the bottom line up front––Arusha failed because the parties to the talks were seeking power, not peace.... This book is the definitive work on the Arusha talks and the most detailed and best- documented account of a diplomatic negotiation that I know of.
––Robert E. Gribbin III, former U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda and author of
       In the Aftermath of Genocide: The U.S. Role in Rwanda

You can purchase his book through this order form on our website HERE.

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