Tag Archives for Leadership

Below are all Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History tagged with, "Leadership".

Yemen and the War on Terror

The ongoing political tumult in Yemen threatens to undermine the country as well as American counterterrorism efforts in the region. In August 2014, unrest led to Houthi militias taking over Sana’a and the formation of a new unity government, which included a range of Yemeni factions. This, however, did not last long because of a political impasse caused […]

Suicide Bombers and the Rapper M.I.A. — The Sad Legacy of the Sri Lankan Civil War

Artistic inspiration, such as it is, can come from the most unexpected of places. Case in point, Grammy-nominated one-hit wonder rapper M.I.A. (2007’s “Paper Planes”), who fills many of her songs with references to the violent conflict in Sri Lanka. Her father, Arul Pragasam, founded the Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students (EROS), a political Tamil […]

Resigning Over the Conflict in El Salvador

Central America in the 1980s became a proxy battleground as the United States supported right-wing leaders against leftist socialist guerrillas who, in turn, were usually funded by the Soviet Union, Cuba and others.  In El Salvador, the struggle for power took an ugly turn when  Archbishop Óscar Romero, who had openly pleaded for the government […]

Evacuating Uganda — With Style

From 1971-1979, Uganda was under the control of the mercurial Idi Amin, one of the most brutal military dictators ever to rule in Africa. Towards the end of 1973 it became clear that the United States could no longer maintain its embassy in Kampala and would have to shut it down. Deputy Chief of Mission […]

The Queen of Thailand Deep in the Heart of Texas

There are many hallmarks of a good diplomat — the ability to understand foreign cultures, communications skills, flexibility, the ability to think on one’s feet. One usually thinks of such skills being used in negotiations on peace accords or bilateral treaties and not with what amounts to a high-level sales trip to Nieman Marcus. However, […]

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 […]

An Axe Murder Triggers a Standoff in Korea’s DMZ, 1976

The United States and North Korea have not had the best relations, to put it mildly. Even in a place like Cuba, which Washington does not recognize diplomatically, the U.S. has an Interests Section which can get a better idea of the situation in country and which can serve as a channel, however imperfect, with […]

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 […]

Slobodan Milosevic and the Road to Dayton

Slobodan Milosevic was in many ways a paradoxical figure. Long criticized for being a corrupt opportunist, he could also be engaging and charming. Often described as being a paranoid psychopath, he could quickly swing from the role of staunch Serbian nationalist to conciliatory peacemaker. As Yugoslavia disintegrated in the early 1990’s, leading to violent conflict, the United States began […]

Negotiating the Dayton Peace Accords

During the 1990s, the world witnessed the worst conflict since the end of World War II.  The violence, bloodshed and ethnic cleansing within the Former Yugoslavia was unthinkable. The conflict began after Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence on February 29, 1992. As a result, a group of Bosnian Serbs rebelled and created their own […]