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Mission Unspeakable: When North Koreans Tried to Kill the President of South Korea

On October 9, 1983, while South Korean President Chun Doo-Hwan was on a visit to Rangoon, Burma to lay a wreath at the Martyr’s Mausoleum of Swedagon Pagoda, a bomb concealed in the roof exploded, killing 21 people including four senior South Korean officials. President Chun was spared because his car had been delayed in […]

Nancy Reagan and the Runaway Chopper

When the First Lady of the United States comes to town, it requires almost as much planning and fanfare as a visit by the President. As First Lady, Nancy Reagan was dedicated to spreading her anti-drug message across the world, often travelling alone. As part of that effort, she and fifteen members of her entourage had […]

The End of an Era — Handholding Ferdinand Marcos in Exile

Just minutes after returning from his three-year exile, former Philippine Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. was assassinated at the Manila airport on August 21, 1983. During his long career as reformist politician, Aquino had attracted the wrath of authoritarian President Ferdinand Marcos and spent eight years in prison on the unsubstantiated charge of subversion. His death, […]

The Embassy Beirut Bombing — A Consular Officer’s Perspective

The suicide bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon on April 18, 1983 was the deadliest attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission up to that point. The blast killed sixty-three people, seventeen of whom were Americans. The attack is thought of as the beginning of anti-U.S. attacks from Islamist groups. This attack, along with […]