Moments Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History

This is an archive of Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History posted in the A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History category.

Incoming! Surviving SCUD Attacks in Dhahran

Ken Stammerman was economic counselor in Kuwait from 1986 to 1987 before becoming consul general in Dhahran in 1989. Home to the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, or ARAMCO, Dhahran hosted many American citizens during Stammerman’s service.  It was also the target for numerous SCUD missile attacks during Desert Storm. Here he talks about the fear […]

A Real Life “Thunderball”: The Day the U.S. Lost Hydrogen Bombs in Spain

The March 2009 edition of Time magazine called it one of the world’s “worst nuclear disasters.” On January 17, 1966, a B-52 bomber of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) carrying four hydrogen bombs collided with a tanker during mid-air refueling at 31,000 feet over the Mediterranean off the coast of Spain. The tanker was completely destroyed when its fuel load ignited, killing all four […]

Desert Storm: “The War Never Really Ended” — Part II

Chas Freeman was U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm and consulted frequently with General Norman Schwarzkopf and others on the conduct of the war.  In this segment, he discusses his frustrations in dealing with Washington, his preoccupation with “visitor management”, his lack of respect for the media which covered the war, and the […]

Desert Storm “The War Never Really Ended” — Part I

It was the first major foreign policy crisis for the U.S. since the end of the Cold War.  Iraq, which had built up the fourth-largest army in the world with U.S. assistance, was heavily in debt after its costly eight-year war with Iran. It pressured Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to forgive its debts, but they refused. […]

Senator Chuck Hagel on Foreign Policy Challenges

Senator Chuck Hagel, who has been nominated by President Obama to be the next Secretary of Defense, was awarded ADST’s Ralph J. Bunche Award for Diplomatic Excellence in February 2010.  In his extemporaneous acceptance remarks, Hagel stressed the importance of questioning past assumptions and of understanding new international frames of reference in facing new challenges. […]

Hard Rock Hotel Panama: Noriega and the U.S. Invasion, Part II

The U.S. and SOUTHCOM had spent considerable time and effort planning for the invasion and had mapped out several places where Noriega could potentially be hiding, the chief one being the house of a mistress. However, he wasn’t in any of them as he had been tipped off.  Now the U.S. military and the embassy […]

Hard Rock Hotel Panama — Noriega and the U.S. Invasion, Part I

Beginning in the middle of the 1980s, relations between General Manuel Noriega, Panama’s de facto leader, and the United States started to deteriorate. In 1986 President Ronald Reagan pressured him with several drug-related indictments in U.S. courts; however, Noriega did not give in. As relations continued to spiral downward, Noriega shifted his allegiance towards the […]

Women in the Foreign Service – You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

It is remarkable to think that there have been three female Secretaries of State in the last 15 years.  However, the Foreign Service was not always so accommodating to women. Times were quite different in the Mad Men era — including the assumption that women should resign from the Service once they got married — […]

Dealing with Death as a Consular Officer

Marie Huhtala, who later became ambassador to Malaysia, had several assignments as a consular officer. In these excerpts, she talks about grieving with family members as a young officer after a horrendous loss and the macabre sense of humor of some French undertakers.

President Johnson says: “I Want YOU to Get Me a New Shower Head”

Many stars are (in)famous for the lists of must-have items that are to be stocked backstage or in their hotel rooms. During one tour in London, Barbra Streisand demanded rose petals in the toilet and 120 peach-colored towels. Mariah Carey wants gold faucets and new toilet seats installed in her room before she checks in. […]