Opinion / The Art of Diplomacy

Syria and Diplomacy

Remember this one about President Obama’s speech on Syria in 2013? Thus: The real risk in President Obama’s new approach is this. The protracted painstaking negotiation needed to set up a credible international monitoring and destruction regime for Syria’s CW stocks will give Assad and his state apparatus a massive […]

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Brexit; Article 50 Triggered (2)

So. The deed is done. The UK government has respected the 2016 #Brexit UK referendum result and set in motion negotiations (a) to effect the UK’s departure from the European Union, and (b) to create a new UK/EU relationship to replace it. Blimey. This will drag on, in some respects […]

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Brexit: Article 50 Triggered

As I expected, Theresa May and Whitehall wisely took no notice of my thoughts on how best to write the momentous Article 50 letter to EU HQ triggering Brexit. Here is what she sent instead. Some points of interest. She addresses the letter to ‘President’ Tusk. Mr Tusk is president of the European […]

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Public Speaking: The Power of Contrast

I’ve been doing some webinars on public speaking technique: helping people write words for speaking, not words for reading.  One of the things I’ve learned is the Power of Contrast. One exercise involved drafting a short speech (some four minutes max) on The Main Problem facing the UN, as if […]

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Article 50 Triggered

Trigger warning! Any second now TEU Article 50 is to be triggered. Brexit! Wait. What’s Article 50? Always a good idea to read the original, so here it is: 1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. 2. A Member […]

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How to Start a Speech (Continued)

I’ve previously given you the extensive benefit of my free advice on How to Start a Speech (or Presentation). The authorities agree. You start STRONGLY. One good idea is to treat the opening formalities, greetings and expressions of gratitude as not part of the speech. Depending on the occasion they […]

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Writing in English

One of the absolutely hardest things to do is write flawlessly and well in another language. It’s one thing to speak a foreign language to an astonishing level of accuracy and accent, to the point that even native speakers might think you’re one of them. It’s quite another to write […]

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Poland Stands Alone

Remember the noises emanating from Brussels and Warsaw last year over concerns that Poland was slumping away from core European democratic rule-of-law principles? Help! The (sic) Polish Threat to Europe! The European Commission threatened to ‘take action’ against Poland because Warsaw under the Law and Justice party was changing the […]

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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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