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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 […]

American Ambassadors

Back to Diplomats and Diplomacy American Ambassadors:  The Past, Present, and Future of America’s Diplomats The way in which people become ambassadors of the United States is the result of time––honored traditions and, in some cases, a thinly veiled form of political corruption. Former U.S. ambassador Dennis Jett’s American Ambassadors explains where ambassadors come from, what […]

Elinor Constable — “If you want me out of the Foreign Service, you have to fire me”

Elinor Constable had an illustrious career in the State Department from 1955 until 1993, serving not only as Ambassador to Kenya from 1986 to 1989 but also as the first woman Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Economic Bureau and as Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). She […]

NSFW FSOs

Diplomats by training, if not by disposition, are calm, level-headed types. They may be called on to deliver a harsh message about your human rights situation or those tanks amassing on the border but will do so in a polished, genteel manner. “A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in […]

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 […]

Egos and Architecture — The Joys of Embassy Building in the 1980s

The design of U.S. embassies has swung through varying phases over the past several decades. Some embassies, such as the one in Athens, were designed by world-renowned architects like Walter Gropius. Security concerns beginning after the Embassy Beirut bombing in 1983 led to the construction of embassies with blast-proof walls and long setbacks, which were […]

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.