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A Georgian Spring Amidst Autumn: The Rose Revolution from a U.S. Perspective

Revolutions are always exciting times for U.S. Foreign Service personnel, and the November 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia was no different. Denny Robertson served as a USAID (United States Agency for International Development) election observer. When President Shevardnadze’s government allegedly rigged a parliamentary election, Robertson saw first-hand how Georgians took to the streets and protested […]

Migrating with Iran’s Bakhtiari Tribe Before the Revolution: A Tale From the Foreign Service

Back when the United States had diplomatic missions in Iran, a young Foreign Service Officer  travelled with members of the nomadic Bakhtiari tribe to better understand their culture and politics.  Malcolm Butler recalls camping with the Bakhtiari at the time of the 1969 Apollo IX moon landing — and trying to convince his skeptical hosts […]

 The Afghan Revolution of 1978: Invitation to Invasion

Afghanistan has had a long history of living under foreign rule. Once a protectorate of the British Empire, Afghanistan became fully independent in 1919, but its vulnerable monarchy led by King Zahir Shah was unable to unite the country’s many ancestral tribes into a central government. This set up the conditions for internal political instability. The monarchy […]

Revolutionizing Public Diplomacy: U.S. Embassy Tokyo in the 1970s

The goal of public diplomacy (PD) is defined as supporting the achievement of U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives, advancing national interests, and enhancing national security. It is done by informing and influencing foreign publics and strengthening the relationship between the people of the U.S. and citizens of the rest of the world. In Washington, […]

Finale of the Persian Monarchy and Prelude to the Iranian Revolution

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, departed Tehran on January 16, 1979 to seek medical treatment and to escape growing political unrest in the country he ruled. The Shah had consolidated his hold on power after the 1953 U.S.-backed overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh and was considered a vital ally to the U.S., a leader […]

The Saur Revolution: Prelude to the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan

The government of Afghan President Mohammed Daoud Khan came to a violent end in what was called the Saur Revolution when insurgent troops led by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan [PDPA] stormed his Kabul palace on April 27, 1978. Daoud had taken power five years before by overthrowing and exiling his cousin, King Zahir […]

Georgia and The Rose Revolution

Georgia declared independence from the Soviet Union in April 1991, and problems and instability arose almost immediately. The first President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, governed in an authoritarian fashion and was deposed in a violent coup d’état less than a year later. Eduard Shevardnadze, seen as more moderate, was chosen as Georgia’s second president in […]

The 1989 Romanian Revolution and the Fall of Ceausescu

1989 was the year of remarkable popular uprisings throughout the world, most notably Tiananmen Square, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. December saw the fall of one of Eastern Europe’s most brutal dictators, Nicolae Ceaușescu and it did not come peacefully. The Romanian Revolution started in the city of […]