On FiveBooks Diplomacy Week we studied diplomacy’s history, it’s future and everything in between, from Northern Ireland to the Middle East.
During the India-Pakistan crisis in 1971 the US State Department favoured democratic India on the ‘merits of the issue’, but Henry Kissinger swung policy behind authoritarian Pakistan because its government was a bridge to China. Diplomacy expert GR Berridge says diplomacy needs amateurs like medicine needs snake oil pushers
‘There was a big debate between Barack Obama and John McCain during the U.S. presidential election about whether you should talk to adversaries like Iran. Looking at twenty precedents, I find that the answer is yes – unequivocally.’ Georgetown University’s Professor of International Affairs says rivalries are replaced by friendship through diplomacy not coercion.
The author of Diplomatic Baggage describes being in Ethiopia in the 1970s. ‘I visited a camp where there were five thousand people and no food. The man running the camp had gone mad. I went back down South thinking that I must get the news out, make them send food up. When I returned to the camp a week later everyone had died. I lie in bed at night and think: I should have taken just one person out.’
The veteran diplomat, ambassador to the UN and the UK’s whistle-blowing Special Representative to Iraq , says the mission in Iraq was wrongly set and the resources were wrongly allocated. ‘The magnificent work that was done was largely wasted, and lives with it – both Iraqi and outsiders.’ He talks about the history and future of diplomacy.
The ex-diplomat who served as Special Advisor to both UK Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd and later to Carl Bildt, International High Representative for Bosnia, says wars of the future will not take place with hard power, or in terms of traditional military logistics, but will be about the soft power of peoples’ minds, and trying to get inside them. He chooses five books on the glamour, the reality and the future of the people trained in the art of letting someone else have their way.
The co-founder of www.distasterdiplomacy.org, Ilan Kelman says 150 countries around the world offered assistance to the USA after Hurricaine Katrina, including Iran, Venezuala and Cuba. Initially, these offers weren’t acknowledged and later much of the assistance wasn’t taken. After the Iranian earthquake in December 2003 the US offered assistance to Iran and Iran accepted. Kelman chooses five books on disaster diplomacy.
The editor of the New York Times Book Review and author of The Death of Conservatism, Sam Tanenhaus says the regulatory agencies routinely mocked by the right are instrumental in creating confidence in the market as a whole – without a motor vehicle safety department you’d be a nervous about buying a car.
Don’t miss Mad World week starting today with Oliver James!