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Dangerous Roads – Carjacking and the Foreign Service

Foreign Service officers are trained to handle and adapt to any number of highly dangerous situations. One such situation is carjacking, a regrettably common threat in many areas of the world. The perpetrators range from terrorist organizations to petty criminals to opportunistic ne’er-do-wells. Carjackers always want the vehicle, and, on some occasions, they want the […]

The Year of Living Dangerously – Indonesia and the Downed CIA Pilot, May 1958

In April and May of 1958, Indonesia went through a period of rebellion, as discontent on the peripheral islands, like Sumatra, grew because of lack of support and autonomy from the central government, which is located on the island of Java. Although Sukarno’s government was not communist, it did allow the communists to participate politically. […]

Barranquilla Nights—Braving a Difficult Time in Colombia

Annie Pforzheimer entered the U.S. Foreign Service when she was twenty-four years old and was immediately whisked away to Barranquilla, Colombia, which at the time (1989) was a two-person post that was known for bearing witness to tremendous amounts of violence. Pforzheimer lived and worked at a time where there was extensive political turmoil as […]

The Interest Trap—Diplomacy before the Cyprus Dispute

The majority of society dismisses Classical literature and history as irrelevant to tangible success in a world that has become as technologically, politically, and socially advanced as ours today. However, this perception fails to adequately acknowledge the presence of banes and boons that have withstood the test of time. The Cyprus Dispute of 1974 is […]

Diplomacy and Danger—Close Calls in Uganda

In 1971, a Ugandan coup d’état led by General Idi Amin ousted President Milton Obote’s government. After Amin seized power, he began a campaign of brutality against the Ugandan people. This brutality led to the general-turned-dictator’s own overthrow just eight years later in 1979, and Amin soon fled the Ugandan capital of Kampala. In his […]

An Expropriation Saga in Peru

For many Latin American states, expropriation has been a hammer in the toolbox of land or labor reform. For the United States, expropriation has been a thorn in the side of its companies’ profitable operations in the region—and, therefore, a threat to its interests. This conflict has played out many times throughout the region. In […]

A City Torn Apart: Americans in Berlin

A U.S. army tank manned by a defecting soldier crashed straight through a Berlin Wall checkpoint manned by Russian troops. Anxious American and West Germans soldiers hastily acted to contain the situation.In situations like these, and throughout the tensions of the Cold War, Americans in Berlin played an important part in the dynamics of Berlin. […]