diplomacy | WAMC

diplomacy

In his long career as an acclaimed journalist covering the “hot” moments of the Cold War and its aftermath, bestselling author Robert D. Kaplan often found himself crossing paths with Bob Gersony, a consultant for the U.S. State Department whose quiet dedication and consequential work made a deep impression on Kaplan.

Gersony, a high school dropout later awarded a Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam, conducted on-the-ground research for the U.S. government in virtually every war and natural-disaster zone in the world. Gersony’s behind-the scenes fact-finding, which included interviews with hundreds of refugees and displaced persons from each war zone and natural-disaster area, often challenged the assumptions and received wisdom of the powers that be, on both the left and the right. In nearly every case, his advice and recommendations made American policy at once smarter and more humane.

All over the world, diplomacy is under threat. Diplomats used to handle sensitive international negotiations, but increasingly, incendiary Tweets and bombastic public statements are posing a threat to foreign relations.

In their new book, "The Art of Diplomacy," the former US ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman, and his partner, Vicki Heyman, spell out why diplomacy and diplomats matter, especially in today’s turbulent times.

The Heyman’s arrived in Canada intent on representing American interests, but they quickly learned that to do so meant representing the shared interests of all citizens—no matter what side of the 49th parallel they happened to live on.

“Speak softly and carry a big stick” Theodore Roosevelt famously said in 1901, when the United States was emerging as a great power. It was the right sentiment, perhaps, in an age of imperial rivalry but today many Americans doubt the utility of their global military presence, thinking it outdated, unnecessary or even dangerous.

In The Big Stick, Eliot A. Cohen—a scholar and practitioner of international relations—disagrees. He argues that hard power remains essential for American foreign policy.

  In his new book, Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman, acclaimed historian Greg Grandin argues that to understand our never-ending wars abroad and political polarization at home--we have to understand Henry Kissinger.

Examining Kissinger's own writings, as well as a wealth of newly declassified documents, Grandin reveals how Richard Nixon's top foreign policy advisor, even as he was presiding over defeat in Vietnam and a disastrous, secret, and illegal war in Cambodia, was helping to revive a militarized version of American exceptionalism centered on an imperial presidency.

Going beyond accounts focusing either on Kissinger's crimes or accomplishments, Grandin offers a compelling new interpretation of the diplomat's continuing influence on how the United States views its role in the world. Greg Grandin is an author and professor of history at New York University.

Iran Nuclear Deal: Analysis With James Ketterer

Jul 14, 2015

The agreement has been announced, but the many details of the nuclear deal  between Iran and six world powers will be looked over and scrutinized in the coming weeks. Professor James Ketterer, the director of International Academic Initiatives at Bard College, says there are many moving parts to the agreement.

The framework agreement with Iran: historic diplomacy or grave mistake?

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York representative Paul Tonko tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that Congress is taking a close look.

Stephen Gottlieb: Israel, Iran And American Diplomacy

Mar 3, 2015

Some people are angry at Israel because they are against Israel. But some of us are angry because we care so much about its survival and think it is being stupid. Popular foreign policy here and everywhere is about waving swords and shooting anyone in their way. It's a quick and simple solution. But depend too much on the sword and die by the sword.

    Madeleine Albright served under President Clinton as U.S. Ambassador to The United Nations beginning in 1993. In 1997 she was appointed Secretary of State, at that time she was the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. During her years as Secretary, Albright became known for wearing a wide variety of distinctive brooches that conveyed her views about the diplomatic or political situation at hand.

Now, the traveling exhibition Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection, is on display at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY.