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From Nation-Building to Black Hawk Down: U.S. Peacekeeping in Somalia

Somalia has become synonymous with well-meaning but ill-fated humanitarian intervention. Live television footage of American soldiers being dragged in the streets by the very insurgents they hoped to defeat in the Black Hawk down incident disillusioned Americans from the concept of nation-building abroad. Many credit the U.S.’s embarrassment in Somalia to the international community’s failure […]

Somalia — From Great Hope to Failed State

While today the mention of Somalia may conjure up images of a destitute nation run by warlords, such was not always the case. When it gained independence and the territories of British Somaliland and Italian Somalia were unified to create what we know today as Somalia, there was great optimism about the country’s political future. […]

Responding to the Threat of Mass Atrocities

Drawing on his experiences as U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Ambassador Princeton Lyman highlights the decision making trade-offs he and his colleagues faced when they weighed the risks associated with the various forms of intervention they considered to mitigate the mass atrocities in Darfur. He also discusses similar trade-offs raised about the genocide in East Pakistan […]

Yeltsin Under Siege — The October 1993 Constitutional Crisis

For Russians, it was yet another dramatic confrontation which played out in the streets of Moscow, one which marked the growing frustration many people had with their elected President. The constitutional crisis of 1993 was a political stand-off between Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the Russian Parliament that was resolved by military force. The relations […]

Today in History

Find articles about diplomatic events from each day of the year Here’s a handy calendar of events linked to Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History. Remember, this is not a complete list of all Moments, only those tied to a specific date.  

“The World Was Tired of Haiti”: The 1994 U.S. Intervention

The United States found itself embroiled in several interventions in the 1990s that focused on upholding basic human rights standards and encouraging democratic regimes to flourish, from Somalia to the Balkans to America’s own backyard in the Caribbean. Despite Haiti being the second nation in the Western Hemisphere to proclaim independence, it has suffered from […]

John Foster Dulles – Master Craftsman, Man of Paradox

President Dwight Eisenhower appointed John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State in January 1953, a job he held until almost the end of the decade. Dulles’ firm friendship with the President gave him direct access to the Oval Office; he got access to the Central Intelligence Agency through his brother, Allen Dulles, then CIA director.  During […]

View All Cold War Foreign Service Articles.

The Risk of a Lonely Drive: The U.S. Consul General in Guadalajara Describes His Kidnapping

Mexico has often been a dangerous place, particularly in the 1970s with the heightened activity of organized crime syndicates and extremist political factions. Terrence Leonhardy, who served as the Consul General in Guadalajara from 1972 to 1973, was kidnapped and held for ransom by a leftist Mexican guerrilla group for three days. A drive home alone […]