Wednesday, August 10, 2005

For Diplomacy to Succeed…

"For diplomacy to succeed, the people working at our posts abroad, at
their professional best, should be students of our own and other
cultures who see the shadings in a pluralistic world. Instinctively
they should be courteous, honoring the dignity and self-respect of
others, shunning arrogance precisely because they represent the
economically and militarily most powerful nation on earth…

"Our diplomats should be language buffs and dispassionate judges of
character, hardheaded negotiators alert to body language and knowing
when and why to compromise…

"The qualities of diplomats should include loyalty, integrity,
knowledge, judgment, vision, experience, and moral courage. Good
diplomacy requires precision in thought, speech, writing, and
especially in timing…needed too are a passion for learning and an
ability to limn the scenes around them. Diplomats should have a sense
of humor, lacking which they might still be successful diplomats but
probably not popular or happy ones.

"The influence abroad of our diplomats…depends on the wisdom of
what they are instructed to advocate and on their skills, character,
ingenuity, intuition, and resilience—and also on a bit of

"America's diplomats are ordinary people with exceptional abilities
working in a dangerous world. They choose to go into that world to
talk with strangers…and what they do needs to be demystified.

"In the end, a diplomat's task is to explain and justify to foreign
governments and peoples the why of his or her country's actions and

Quoted from "Behind Embassy Walls" by Brandon Grove, University of
Missouri Press, 2005. Pages 311-312.