Opinion / American Politics

Interfering Ambassadors

Trump! Russians! Russian ambassador! Trump! In all this hubbub about who did or did not ‘meet the Russian ambassador’ in Washington and when and why, let’s look at what diplomats actually do before an election in a country to which they’re posted. When an election looms, diplomats get a little […]

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Oscars Fiasco? Details!

NOTE My first version of this post had an irrelevant and (it turns out!) wrong explanation of a protocol calamity perpetrated by the British Embassy in Warsaw during The Queen’s State Visit. That passage now removed! + + + UPDATE + + + More gory details are emerging. Never underestimate […]

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Russia and Montenegro: What’s Ours?

My latest piece for the Telegraph (££) opines on the startling news that Russian intelligence agents have been found to be implicated in a plot to kill former Montenegro Prime Minister Milo Djukanović last year: The Kremlin has strongly denied any involvement, and the Montenegrin special prosecutor has publically stopped […]

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Balkan Borders (2)

What about the ideas raised by Sir Ivor Roberts for Serbia/Kosovo land-swaps? How to start analysing this? Some considerations as I consider them. First, the ‘international community’ simply does not care where Balkan borders (to be precise here, the borders between former republics and autonomous provinces of the dead Yugoslavia) […]

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Teleprompters? No thanks!

Here is an interesting piece by Nana Ariel at Aeon about the history and ‘meaning’ of teleprompters: Jess Oppenheimer, the producer of the TV show I Love Lucy (1951-57), filed the patent for a mirror extension that reflected the printed text on a transparent board in front of the camera, […]

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Chess and Diplomacy

My latest DIPLOMAT piece looks at the similarities (or not) between chess and diplomacy: One cliché of diplomacy is that it is like chess. It combines patient strategic manoeuvring with sudden flashes of sharp decisive action. In chess, as in diplomacy, there is ‘objective’ strength: political and economic assets and […]

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President Trump State Visit

Scarcely has the invitation been issued to President Trump to make a State Visit to the UK than a million Brits have signed a petition opposing it. Phew. First things first. What is a State Visit? Broadly speaking visits by a head of state (HoS) or head of government (HoG) […]

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President Trump’s Inaugural Speech

Here’s a brief take on President Trump’s inaugural speech that I wrote for The Ambassador Partnership’s Insight series: The inaugural address of a new US President typically answers two questions: What and How. First, to set down unambiguous policy markers: to spell out in broad but more or less specific […]

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Theresa May’s Philadelphia Speech

Here is the official text of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s well received speech to senior Republicans in Philadelphia. And, if you want to see how she delivered it, here she is: This speech has had unusual profile. Mrs May is the first foreign leader to meet President Trump at […]

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Expelling Spies: Negotiation Psychology

Way back in 2009 I wrote a piece for DIPLOMAT about the lore and logic of expelling diplomats, usually for spying. The Internet has eaten it, but here are some extracts: You know the story. Only too well. Your spouse yells at you for what you have done. Or for […]

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