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American Diplomat

English, Education, 1 season, 363 episodes, 1 day, 11 hours, 53 minutes
About
American Diplomat goes behind the scenes to hear real stories from diplomats who lived newsworthy events overseas. Experience the Cuban revolution, Central American insurgencies, the end of apartheid and more through the eyes of those who were there. A project of the Una Chapman Cox Foundation in partnership with the American Academy of Diplomacy.
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Global Fragility Act

Finally, a home at State for what we have learned about global conflicts.  Will it make us smarter?  Will we demand deeper buy in from Allies and friends?  Or do we continue to treat each conflict as a “one-off”? Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Mark Iozzi joins us from State's Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations to share his story from concept to implementation of the innovative Global Fragility Act.
6/13/202444 minutes, 47 seconds
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Geopolitics Thrills!

We talk about cultural diplomacy, but what about diplomacy in culture?  Laura (MFA, Film and Television, NYU) loves movies and TV, and best of all, Laura loves movies and TV about geopolitics.  What do the last fifty years of diplomacy in media tell us about diplomacy in society?  About society more broadly?  And why do so many movies about diplomats turn into spy movies before the second act?  Funny you should ask!  Here's a compendium of said movies for superfans like us, and once you listen to our episode, you may love movies as much as Laura does.  Get thee to the cinema!
6/6/202440 minutes, 21 seconds
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From Harlem Hellfighters to the Jazz Ambassadors, A Leap of Faith

State Department lawyer Mike Peay traces how, during a time of deep racial conflict,  black American jazz artists went overseas to promote the American experiment, winning the hearts of millions with their music and personas, but would it improve race relations at home?
5/30/202450 minutes, 5 seconds
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Will Mexico Dodge the Bullet?

“Hugs, not bullets”, that is AMLO’s mantra for the cartels. This, while homicides have risen to historic highs. Our man in Mexico, retired Ambassador Tony Wayne, is back to discuss the good fight. Will democracy or autocracy win in the June 2 elections?
5/23/202445 minutes, 25 seconds
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Two State Solution - Is the Perfect the Enemy of the Good?

Lieutenant General (Ret.) Fred Rudesheim unpacks the complexities of Gaza. Much is said of the very real moral outrages committed by Israel and Hamas. But what now? In the near term, how viable is a two-state solution? First let's look at what is and how we got here. Hint: what exactly does Biden mean when he speaks of a "revitalized Palestinian Authority"?  
5/16/202446 minutes, 14 seconds
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Russian Mercenaries' Regime Survival Kit

Out with Wagner, in with the Africa Corps. What will happen as mercenaries continue to offer attractive alternatives to vulnerable democracies like Niger, the Central African Republic, Burkina Faso and Mali? Ambassador Hank Cohen, whose new book "Africa, You Have a Friend in Washington", offers a vision of hope via economic self-determination.  For added context, we append our earlier episode on the Wagner Group's activities in the Central African Republic.
5/9/202449 minutes, 30 seconds
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100 Years old and Still Kicking It: The US Foreign Service

Tom Yazdgerdi, President of the American Foreign Service Association reaches back to illustrate how far the Foreign Service has come in the last 100 years and charts how it will meet the complex challenges of the next decades.
5/2/202436 minutes, 39 seconds
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Shakespearean Tragedy: Cuba

Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, author of “Our Woman in Havana”, unpacks the dire circumstances in Cuba driving hundreds of thousands to flee the island and parses the impacts of South Florida exile politics on US diplomacy: the hammer is the only tool left in the box.
4/25/202437 minutes, 43 seconds
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Data Saves Lives

Ever wonder what information you are giving away when you click “agree” each time you download a new app?  Susan Wolfinbarger, geographer, data scientist and head of the Conflict Observatory at State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, walks us through her dream: big data saves lives.  Welcome to 21st Century diplomacy's newest tool.
4/18/202438 minutes, 56 seconds
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Professional Peacemaker

Meghan Stewart, head of the Negotiations Support Unit in State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, knows the peace process – its structures, its history, the perspectives of combatants.  Her team uses its specialized knowledge to help diplomats get peace agreements over the line, saving thousands and thousands of lives each time.  Who knew you could devote your legal career exclusively to ending global conflict? 
4/11/202429 minutes, 54 seconds
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Will Biden Listen to His Base?

Many diplomats urge what the vast majority of voters, including American Jews, want – a restrained Israel and a place for Palestinians.  Former Assistant Secretary Eric Schwartz discusses the letter that he and 67 senior foreign policy professionals recently sent to the White House.  Now in the aftermath of the killing of the World Central Kitchen volunteers, will Biden get tough or will the tail continue to wag the dog?  
4/4/202439 minutes, 54 seconds
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The Next Thousand Years

Our climate: What we do during this decade will determine our climate for a millennium to come. Diplomats not only negotiate multilateral agreements that protect the earth but, even more so, work with nations to follow through on their commitments. But what is the surprising dynamic of domestic politics and global climate policy? And by what mechanisms do market forces impact global action? How does human justice figure in? Ambassador Bob Blake shares the insider view as a climate diplomat.
3/28/202437 minutes, 39 seconds
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Inked

Pete unpacks the antecedents of modern-day gangsterism, going back to his days as Assistant Secretary.  What were the unintended consequences of sending Central American gangsters back “home” to a country they did not know, where their best chance of fitting in was with ex-guerillas?  Boom.  Not even the tattoo removal machines can save this combustible mix.
3/21/202434 minutes, 20 seconds
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The Fire Was Even Hotter

General and Ambassador Doug Lute puts Sweden’s recent NATO membership in context: Has Putin accomplished his goals, or has it all backfired? What is the diplomatic solution to this war? And what should we expect at this year’s 75th NATO anniversary in the US?
3/14/202437 minutes, 17 seconds
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Never in My Parents’ Wildest Dreams

For Women’s History Month, young diplomat Mary Vargas joins us to share her story as the daughter of an immigrant family of farm workers in Fontana, CA, to life as an American diplomat.  How did she achieve her lifelong dream, and why does she seek assignments working with refugees, the incarcerated, and Gazans?
3/7/202426 minutes, 33 seconds
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One Million!!!

We just cleared our millionth download!  Or, you did!  Pete and Laura reflect on early days and share their favorite episodes of the 350 that they have broadcast over the years – the tomfoolery of cybercriminals, the economic party at the border, the astonishing takeover of an African nation by bunch of Wagner guys in flip flops, and the redemption of a family blackballed by McCarthyism, plus a little bonus insight on the continued life after death of Roy Cohn.  Enjoy and THANK YOU!
3/4/202424 minutes, 12 seconds
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Out To Get Us

Tribalism: Who is "other"? Ambassador Bob Beekroft recalls the atrocities in the Balkans of the late ‘90s, after which DNA tests revealed that the victims and the perpetrators of “ethnic cleansing” were no different from one another genetically. The question then becomes, who do we see as “other”, and why do we see them as threats?  Does any of this apply to the US?
2/29/202451 minutes, 41 seconds
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Crowing about President Crow

A Million Downloads! Yes, you did it for us. Here to celebrate with us is ASU President Michael Crow. Think vision meets design meets global reach. The goal?  Access and energize the full level of human potential.  
2/22/202430 minutes, 17 seconds
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"You're Calling Us Global Terrorists? Oooh, Scare Me."

The Houthis: Who actually are these people? And Yemen: What is this place?  Is it really a country? Yemen is engaged in a two-fronted, 10-year civil war, and this began long before the war in Gaza. Does Iran control the Houthis?  (Hint: far from it.) And why this business with the shipping lanes? Join us as Ambassador Jerry Feierstein brings us up to speed on this deceptively simple maelstrom of forces at play affecting our diplomacy in a region where the stakes are higher now than they have been in years.
2/15/202445 minutes, 41 seconds
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A Rangel Fellow’s Journey to Service - BHM

Young foreign service officer Hermanoschy Bernard joins us in honor of Black History Month to share his story of flight from his native Haiti as a child to life in the US as a political asylee, where he turned obstacles into opportunities and achieved his dream of becoming a public servant, inspired originally by the consular officer who listened to his case with empathy and helped him and his family emigrate to safety. 
2/8/202446 minutes, 45 seconds
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Don't Poke the Panda - Taiwan's Election

Ambassador Richard Boucher joins us to contextualize Taiwan's recent election in its deliberately ambiguous relationship with mainland China.  No big news is good news as Taiwan preserves its integrity by not declaring its overt independence, a lesson learned in Hong Kong.  The wild card?  Xi Jinping.
2/1/202437 minutes, 15 seconds
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No More Funny Business in Guatemala (For Now)

Frank Mora, US Ambassador to the Organization of American States, helps us understand a diplomatic win: the (barely) peaceful transfer of power following Guatemala’s election of an outsider who is a threat to the corrupt establishment. Expectations are high, that the new president will both confront those who resist change - who have done much to thwart the transfer of power - and promote inclusive governance. Que viva la democracia!
1/25/202435 minutes, 32 seconds
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The Border, Part 2: This is North America’s Moment

Amb. Tony Wayne is back to go into depth on the US-Mexico border’s two greatest challenges.  How did drug trafficking become even more sinister than it was before?  And can we improve the immigration crisis ahead of the upcoming US election?  What is at stake and what will it take, diplomatically and otherwise, to solve these issues?
1/18/202429 minutes, 5 seconds
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Zone of Opportunity: Trust at the Border

Did you know that $1.5M dollars in trade cross the US/Mexico border every single day?  Did you know that 5 million US jobs depend on the trade that takes place there?  Ambassador Tony Wayne explains that the border is a living membrane and trust is the crux of managing conflicting interests and mutual challenges.  Lethal synthetic drugs are very small!  How do you intercept them on their way north?  And how do you stop the transfer of deadly weapons to the south?  And human lives – people around the entire world are on the move, and where do many land?  On the US/Mexico border.  Ambassador Wayne helps us understand this complex place.  Part one of two.
1/11/202431 minutes, 42 seconds
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Cybercrime: Everybody’s a Target

Cybercrime has many names but what, actually, is it?  Jim Lewis, former Foreign Service Officer, now Senior Vice President and Director of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, gives us a candid description of cybercrime's mechanics: who does it, why, how, and what is the impact of these activities on global democracy and security?  What is the role of diplomacy in managing these unprecedented military, intelligence, economic and political threats?  Join us for an close look under the hood of cybercrime.
1/4/202448 minutes, 13 seconds
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It Wasn't All Bad, Was It?

Pete and Laura close the year with reflections on the diplomatic successes in 2023 that helped create a more peaceful and sustainable world.  Global events have offered up a lot to fear recently, but it wasn't all bad!  Happy New Year from American Diplomat.
12/28/202310 minutes, 15 seconds
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You Are Stuck and Trapped

Psychiatrists David Charney and Ken Dekleva are back to discuss in depth what makes a person into a traitor.  Start with an intolerable sense of personal failure. Then think of parties in Santiago with music, liquor, cigarettes, beautiful women and dancing (a happy hunting ground for spy recruiters). Then, one mistake and you are in for life. There is no escape. Staying alive is now more important than anything else.
12/20/202332 minutes, 27 seconds
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Betrayal and Treason - Why?

Pete's old friend Manuel Rocha is in the news - but in jail as a spy for the Cubans!  Imagine the shock.  You trust someone, and wow.  Psychiatrists David Charney and Ken Dekleva help us understand the mind of the turncoat: the greatest threat of them all is the male ego.  We are gobsmacked.
12/14/202330 minutes, 39 seconds
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How Corruption Destroys Democracy

Ambassador Mark Schneider, former director of the Peace Corps and an expert on corruption in the Western Hemisphere unpacks the Augut election in Guatemala.  Juan José Arévalo was elected on an anti-corruption platform in a 61-39 percent win – bad news for the ruling elites who now seek to overturn the election results before inauguration in January.  Why do we in the US care?  Corruption in Guatemala drives Guatemalans to flee extreme poverty and emigrate to the US and also allows cartels to bring violence and drugs into our country. So, what will happen when Arévalo is scheduled to take office in January? 
12/7/202335 minutes, 36 seconds
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A Win for Democracy in Poland!

The authoritarian government of Poland has just been voted out through free and fair elections.  Dan Fried, former US Ambassador to Poland and Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, has met with the highest officials of both incoming and outgoing governments and helps us understand how it is that Poles view democracy and nationalism as two parts of their fundamental identity.  The separate factions of politics work together, because after all, "politics is not a love affair."
11/30/202346 minutes, 11 seconds
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Thanksgiving with Thievery Corporation: Unity, Love, Positivity

Jeffrey Franca, the drummer for DC's own world music icon Thievery Corporation - the band that generously allows us to use its music to open our show each week - shares with us the value of unity, love and positivity in his work, which is influenced by musical styles found worldwide. Franca also discusses his work outside of Thievery, in the band Congo Sanchez and in his independent project Ethno. This is one of our favorite episodes, originally posted in 2020, and it sets the tone for a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.  May your day be filled with unity, love, and positivity.  
11/23/202334 minutes, 41 seconds
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Dissent and Its Consequences

What do you do if you have a severe crisis of conscience over a policy that you cannot support? Do you speak up? Or do you keep your head down and do your job? If you use State's established Dissent Channel, are you bound by its rules to keep your views in that channel? Do you go public? What is the patriotic thing to do?  What is the morally right thing to do? Our very own Pete Romero is our guest today, on the topic as recently brought to the fore over the war in Gaza.
11/15/202327 minutes, 26 seconds
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Barbados Agreement - Venezuela and the US

Ambassador Larry Gambiner joins us to discuss a new deal in which President Maduro of Venezuela agreed to democratic reforms, including free and fair elections, in exchange for a reduction in US sanctions. But when opposition party candidate Maria Corina Machado won 93% of the primary vote, she was immediately barred from running for public office for 15 years. So now what will the US do?  And will the people of Venezuela rebel?  Unfortunately, if you’re hungry enough, it’s hard to overturn the government.
11/9/202339 minutes, 34 seconds
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What's Your Exit Strategy?

Admiral Mike LeFever and Roderick Jones's new book End Game First talks about collaborating with diplomats to rebuild Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake. Effective strategy means having a vision for a successful end result, no matter the crisis. What, for example, is Israel's exit plan in Gaza? We are in a geopolitical moment where global security, militarily and economically, depends on diplomacy. Says Roderick, “If you start defunding diplomacy, well, be careful.”
11/2/202341 minutes, 50 seconds
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Problems Without Passports

Says Richard Verma, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, his job is to help create "the most effective, capable, inclusive, diverse department so that we can deliver for the American people," and so that we can, together with the rest of the world, solve borderless, urgent problems such as climate and cybersecurity. Verma, also former US Ambassador to India, explores our ties with the world's largest democracy.  Did you know that India's constitution, like ours, begins: "We the people..."?  
10/27/202346 minutes, 21 seconds
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Permanent Rage: Palestine and Israel

The atrocities are breathtaking.  But once Israel starts picking up the bodies in the smoking rubble of whatever is left of Gaza, then what?  Will Gaza return to Israeli occupation?  Will there be some form of UN occupation?  The Arab League?  So much of diplomacy is one bad choice or another bad choice.  Ambassador Ron Neumann weighs in with a rich and penetrating understanding of the intractable conflict in Gaza and in the region more broadly.
10/19/202337 minutes, 25 seconds
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Señor Menendez Goes to Washington

How did Robert Menendez fall so hard?  A suspected foreign agent?  Hiding gold bullion?  Pete and John Feeley knew a different man decades ago.  A champion of Latinos in government at the start, a nasty, vindictive, corrupt politician by the end.  Did he change or could you see the germ of his demise from the beginning?  John's view: Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Pete's?  An evolution of personality he has never seen anywhere else.  
10/12/202341 minutes, 48 seconds
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Putin, North Korea, and Why Democracies Last 250 Years

Major General Spider Marks, formerly head of military intelligence for Korea, opines on Putin's recent meeting with Kim Jong Un of North Korea. A game changer?  No!  But what would be? And while you're here, learn why most democracies last about 250 years and how they usually implode. 
10/5/202331 minutes
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A "More Perfect" Union

No union is perfect, but it helps to try. Authoritarians worldwide exploit their citizens' need for public safety to gain and hold power. If you can't walk out of the house at night, bring the guy who makes the streets safe! But then what happens when your loved ones start to disappear? Pete and John Feeley discuss recent examples in the Western Hemisphere, but the phenomenon threatens democracies and human rights worldwide.
9/28/202348 minutes, 44 seconds
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Lawfare and the International Criminal Court

The basis of the International Criminal Court is a treaty, written in part by the United States and signed by 123 countries worldwide.  Why is the US not a signatory?  Is this for some abstruse legal reason, or did the US actively undermine the treaty?  David Scheffer is back to help us understand the machinery of the ICC.
9/21/202327 minutes, 14 seconds
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Putin: Indicted War Criminal

BRICS, the economic alliance of nonwestern powers, just met in Johannesburg, with Putin conspicuously disinvited. Why? Putin is a war criminal indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), and South Africa, a member of BRICS but also a signatory of the ICC, is obligated to arrest Putin upon his arrival there. A complex situation! Which commitment to serve? Are war criminals today at greater risk of accountability than once upon a time? Amb. David Scheffer, a creator of the ICC, is optimistic.
9/14/202328 minutes, 38 seconds
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A Dictator, An Election, and US Interests

Cambodia just "elected" another term for the ruling party, allowing the 38-year dictator Hun Sen to maintain dynastic rule for many years to come. The West does not like this. But what really are our economic, security and even humanitarian interests in the region? How might we reframe our thinking to best promote them?  Amb. Charlie Ray is back to discuss. And here's our previous episode with him, Golf with a Dictator, which gives a real-life story of a time he was right.
9/7/202336 minutes, 14 seconds
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China, National Security and Our Economy

Following the unprecedented executive order by the Biden administration limiting US investment in Chinese tech companies, Cathy Novelli, veteran US diplomat and Apple executive, highlights the balance between protecting our national security and preventing unintended economic consequences. Some people may promote a solution of simply decoupling our economy from China’s, but good policy is in the nuance even if it doesn’t make juicy sound bites.  As a closer, we have The Winner Takes it All from Abba.
8/31/202339 minutes, 24 seconds
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From Deportee to AID

Jesse Gutierrez, USAID officer at Mission Somalia, says it best himself: "I had slept on the floor, been homeless, used subpar health facilities, and been separated from my family as a kid. I empathize with and relate to refugees and USAID’s beneficiaries because I have been in their shoes." Hear his moving tale of humble but unwavering perseverance and positivity. And here's his article in the Foreign Service Journal.  Enjoy!
8/24/202344 minutes, 32 seconds
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Selective Hypocrisy

Hungary, a self-described illiberal democracy. Neighboring Slovakia, with a snap election coming in September. Will Slovakia elect the next Orban? What does that mean for the Western alliance? What if Hungarians don't believe what we believe? Can we export American principles (what are they anyway?), should we resort to transactional diplomacy, or is there another route built on empathy and respect for culture and the history that forms it?  Ambassador Tibor Nagy, born in Hungary, offers his take.
8/17/202344 minutes, 31 seconds
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Israel "Reforms"

The news fist broke weeks ago but now the human stakes have reached the front pages, with thousands of Israelis taken to the streets.  Are Israel's judicial "reforms" simply a way for Netanyahu to skirt the law and consolidate power? Some had felt that the Israeli court had abused its power, but is it a coincidence that Netanyahu faced charges of corruption and abuse of public trust, against which these new reforms would protect him? The Israeli government has few checks. Neuter the courts, and there's only one organ of power, an unchecked parliament.  
8/11/202336 minutes, 16 seconds
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Now's the Time in Ukraine - Gen. Spider Marks

Ukraine: a nation fighting for its life.  Russia's military: leaderless, feckless, inept, but well armed and with lots of conscripts willing to die. With Putin weakened (think, attempted Wagner coup), could Ukraine negotiate a peace? If not, will the war simply become a spectator sport? What are each side's options? General Spider Marks shares his analysis and opinion.
8/3/202335 minutes, 2 seconds
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Go For It!

Margaret Riccardelli, an airline employee in her 40s, stumbled into the foreign service thinking it would be great to serve in Italy. But where did she end up? Bangladesh, where nothing ever happens. What? Instead, she was met with revolution, poverty, an 8,000 person attack on the embassy, tornadoes, a cyclone that washed 100,000 people out into the bay of Bengal, and the fun didn’t stop there. It’s scary and it’s lonely, Margaret explains, but you step up. So what about Rome? For the whole story, read Margaret’s book, Assignment Dhaka: A Foreign Service Memoir.
7/27/202323 minutes, 56 seconds
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Wagner's Ascent to Control in Central Africa

The Central African Republic: a vulnerable democracy with a weak president, failed by the West. Wagner mercenaries arrive in flip flops offering military support and quickly set up lucrative mineral businesses that depend on control of public information, intimidation and sustained conflict, resulting in the highest mortality rate of any country in the world.  Why do we care? This is a model for operations anywhere that democracies and the West falter. Ambassador Larry Wohlers tells the story of the CAR.
7/21/202341 minutes, 16 seconds
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The Stars Over the Red Sea

Alan Eaton helps us appreciate exactly where high level policy meets the work of diplomats on the ground as he works from a Saudi military vessel to evacuate Americans from the war in Sudan.    
7/13/202343 minutes, 27 seconds
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Party on John’s Gunboat! Happy Fourth!

Why don’t the Panamanians hate us? We sliced their country in two to build the Panama Canal, owned and controlled the Canal Zone, disallowed Panamanians from visiting the Canal Zone, and even attacked Panama in 1989, drawing condemnation from the UN and the Organization of American States.  So how is it a good thing to throw our July 4th party on a gunboat right smack in the Canal? We ask Amb. John Feeley, who did exactly that.
7/5/202325 minutes, 46 seconds
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Impeached and Arrested and In Good Company

Pedro Castillo, recently ousted in Peru, is the latest of a succession of Peruvian presidents to be jailed or disgraced. Could this apparent chaos be in fact a sign that the judicial system is working? The devil's in the details.
6/29/202341 minutes, 52 seconds
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Hot Dog Man Gone Bad

Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner Group, opened hot dog stands upon his release from Russian prison as a young man. Now he leads the rapidly growing Kremlin-affiliated private military contractor, the Wagner Group. Mercenaries? Yes. Lethal? Yes. Incredibly rich and working for dictators and unstable regimes on (so far) three continents? Also, yes. Dealing in gold, diamonds, troll farms, shocking brutality, as well as political influence, Wagner's rise has been as fast as it has been unknown by most of us in the West. Tibor Nagy, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, knows more than we thought there was to know. 
6/22/202345 minutes, 3 seconds
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"Wolf Warrior Diplomacy" in China?

Who coined that term anyway? It's true, there have been insults and lots of them. Why? Secretary of State Tony Blinken will visit China this weekend and Susan Thornton, Senior Fellow at Yale University Law School's Paul Tsai China Center and former US diplomat, joins us with her perspective on the complexities of China's diplomacy today.  
6/15/202347 minutes, 33 seconds
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A Diplomat's Gender Transition

All of us belong, even at State. In honor of Pride Month, we again offer the generously told story of Austin Richey-Allen, who recounts his story of gender transition while serving as a US diplomat. From his gender transition to his leadership of GLIFA, Austin shares his experience for the benefit not only of the LGBTQ community, but for all of us who value a more inclusive world.  
6/8/202339 minutes, 51 seconds
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Sex Up This Cable!

24 hours news TV totally changed the State Department comms staple, the cable. Pete hopped on the “wireless” to save a democracy and Amb. John Feeley connected with Panamanians using ridiculous (but very sweet) Facebook videos.  Disruptive technologies including AI will never replace human trust, but they create opportunity for better diplomacy.
6/1/202351 minutes, 22 seconds
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The Diplomat - You Asked!

By listener request, Pete and Laura have binged the Netflix show The Diplomat. Pete answers:  How real is it? Laura answers (even though no one actually asked): How good is it? But importantly, how easy is it to make a story that mirrors real-life complexity and still moves and rolls and satisfies purely from the standpoint of story craft?
5/25/202338 minutes, 5 seconds
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Turkey’s Election - Why a Runoff?

In last Sunday’s election, President Erdogan received almost half of the vote, but not enough to be the winner - yet.  How does he hold onto power?  Turkey’s economy is in great peril and journalists are in prison while Erdogan dismantles democratic institutions.  Is Erdogan, like many other autocratic leaders, a narcissist?  Or is there more to understand about him?  And if he does prevail in the May 28 runoff, what will be the impacts on Turkish lives and global geopolitics?
5/18/202334 minutes, 29 seconds
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Israel's Judicial Reforms

Say what?  "Reforms?"  Or simply a way for Netanyahu to skirt the law and consolidate power?  True, some felt that the Israeli court had abused its power, but is it a coincidence that Netanyahu faced charges of corruption and abuse of public trust, against which these new reforms would protect him? The Israeli government has few checks. Neuter the courts, and there's only one organ of power, an unchecked parliament.  
5/11/202334 minutes, 16 seconds
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Whither NATO?

Years ago, many wondered what had become the purpose of NATO.  Not anymore!  General Doug Lute, former US Permanent Representative to NATO (also former Deputy National Security Adviser) brings us up-to-date on the significance of the organization's acceptance of Finland, rejection of Sweden, relationship with Ukraine, and role in global geopolitics since its inception.  This year NATO will be 75 years old!  Ready to retire?  No way.
5/4/202340 minutes, 45 seconds
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Scarcity Colors Everything - China Policy (Encore)

Today we are reposting one of our most informative episodes on China, which Laura often thinks of when analyzing today's global news:  Why does the West find China so confounding in matters of business and diplomacy? Phil Shull, retired Foreign Agricultural Service officer, explains: China’s culture and history may be best understood by its written character for “population”, which is comprised of symbols for “person” and “mouth”.  Chinese don’t ask, “How’s it going?” but instead, “Have you eaten today?” For more, read Phil’s article, Dealing with the Dragon, in the Foreign Service Journal, at this link: https://www.afsa.org/dealing-dragon  
4/27/202355 minutes, 11 seconds
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City and State Diplomacy

Wait a sec!  Diplomacy is between countries, right? So why does State have a whole office for City and State Diplomacy? Ambassador Nina Hachigian, head of this brand new office, introduces this innovation in diplomacy. Often transnational issues such as economic inequality, climate change, pandemic response, and threats to democracy are felt in cities first, and cities often find solutions most quickly. The upcoming Cities Summit of the Americas in Denver will host thousands of representatives from cities and states, who will share powerful solutions to global challenges.  
4/20/202331 minutes, 48 seconds
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South Korea State Visit, April 26

On April 26, President Biden will host the second state dinner of his presidency, with President Yoon Suk Yeol of South Korea.  Why is this only the second one of Biden's presidency?  Why is South Korea so important for US interests?  What are the economic and political pressures in Asia that impact South Korea that so impact the United States?  When and why did we enter, 70 years ago, into the U.S.-South Korea alliance, to be celebrated at this state dinner?  Ambassador and Korea expert Kathy Stevens joins us to explain.
4/13/202339 minutes, 21 seconds
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Authoritarian Demagogue or Savior?

Ambassador Kevin Whitaker is back to share his knowledge of the populist president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, who has imprisoned thousands and violated human rights brazenly, all in the name of (rather effectively) curbing violence and bringing security to the people of his country.  Pete asks, is Bukele an authoritarian demagogue or savior?  
4/6/202345 minutes, 3 seconds
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Human Rights in Foreign Policy

Jimmy Carter is in hospice and Lizzy Shackelford is back to focus on human rights in foreign policy, the first rules for which began under Carter’s presidency.  Although the rules survive, our government continues to send military support and weapons to repressive regimes throughout the world. Why? Some say that our investment buys us influence – but could the US promote human rights by at least defunding repressive dictatorships that do nothing to support US interests?
3/30/202343 minutes, 54 seconds
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In Case of Democracy Break Glass

Argentina, 1970s.  The president catches a cold and dies.  Who succeeds him?  His VP, also his fifth-grade educated wife, selected expressly because she posed no threat to the president’s power.  So then what?  The word “disappeared” goes from being a verb form to a noun.  Thousands of people become the “disappeared”, and thousands of others are tortured and killed.  What do we learn from this?  It’s important to have a VP capable of true leadership, an important point to keep in mind in the upcoming US presidential election.
3/23/202341 minutes, 6 seconds
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We Live in a Male Culture

For Women's History Month, Ambassador Pru Bushnell returns with leadership tips for women.  A lot of power is theater, and we can use those trappings of power to lead with authority.  One, keep the alphas from using all the air time.  Two, don't throw a telephone across the room (leave that to Henry Kissinger); instead, perhaps use a low voice and speak succinctly.  And, don't carry a purse, don't allow people to address you by your first name in public, and make people stand up when you enter the room.  And, never forget to use your "mother" tone of voice.  
3/16/202341 minutes, 57 seconds
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How'd They Do It?

Pete and John Feeley follow on last week's interview with Felix Maradiaga, freed Nicaraguan political prisoner.  Pete and John learn the diplomatic and human story behind the story with Patrick Ventrell, one of our diplomats overseeing the evacuation of Felix and so many others freed along with him on the same day.  
3/9/202320 minutes, 19 seconds
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You Are Free Now

The greatest threat to the Ortega regime in Nicaragua?  Ideas.  And that’s how Félix Maradiaga, Nicaraguan political activist, ended up in solitary confinement, in darkness, for months on end, with little food, little water and suffering interrogations without end.  And his dearest wish, now, safe in the US?  To be guided not by hate or resentment but by love, to create a different future for not only his grandchildren but those of his torturers.  Welcome to the United States, Mr. Maradiaga.  You elevate us all.
3/2/202338 minutes, 7 seconds
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Human Trafficking – Our Country, Every Country

Who can become a sex or labor trafficking victim? Anyone. We all need food and shelter; we all need to provide for our children, just to name a few. Traffickers are expert at exploiting our needs. Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, Director of the ASU Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research, helps us understand in depth how it is that Arizona, and the rest of the United States, and every country in the world, are impacted, both domestically and through immigration – after all, who leaves their home country? The desperate. And the desperate are exactly the target for traffickers. Watch Dominique’s TedX talk and prepare to be amazed.
2/24/202339 minutes, 6 seconds
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The Triad of US Forces in Ukraine

More on the labrynth of intelligence, strategy and diplomacy in Ukraine. Centralized control works in concert with decentralized execution, diplomacy is working and countries are working together. Pete continues his candid chat with General Ben Freakley and Ambassaor Mike Polt on the combined efforts of intelligence, military and diplomacy in Ukraine.  
2/16/202333 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Three-Legged Stool in Ukraine

Ambassador Mike Polt and General Ben Freakley of ASU's Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab join Pete for a discussion of Ukraine from a combined diplomatic, military and intelligence perspective, covering not only strategy and the situation on the ground but also ideological and even psychological dimensions of the war there. Among the interesting questions: What do we have to blame ourselves for? Part one of a two-part series.
2/9/202330 minutes, 37 seconds
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Women, Life, Freedom in Iran

Iranian citizens are being raped and publicly hanged by their government. We are past the point of words of solidarity. Goli Ameri, diplomat and humanitarian, helps us understand not just the complexity of events on the ground, but how this costs us as Americans, in lives lost through armed conflict, in funds spent, in the weakening of the US global position, and by the consequences of Iran's nuclear threat. What can we as Americans do to address this extraordinary humanitarian crisis?
2/3/202344 minutes, 43 seconds
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Brazil – January 8

Were the riots in Brazil on January 8, 2023, a January 6 copycat, or a situation all their own? Ambassador Michael McKinley weighs in (hint – he’s far too subtle and informed to toss off a slapdash comparison). Factors affecting coutries worldwide incluide the usual suspects - resentment politics, fear, economic crises, COVID, changing trade norms - but polarized politics are everywhere. Leaders are old these days. Have they talked to 20-year-olds? 40-year-olds? Today's challenges are different than the old days and politcs as usual are not delivering. Plus, you get to hear Laura's dear friend and Brazilian jazz pianist Helio Alves – or watch him play here. Enjoy!
1/26/202345 minutes, 35 seconds
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Now We Have to Have Women

Kathleen Stephens, former ambassador to Korea, shares her perspective on how the culture of the US Foreign Service has changed, as have the cultures of Korea and the United States concurrently.  From cultures that favored workaholism to ones with greater gender equity, younger people have pushed for greater balance of priorities, in favor of the long view of what a life should be.
1/19/202340 minutes, 22 seconds
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Hostage Diplomacy

Daren Nair, whose show Pod Hostage Diplomacy has brought public awareness and government action to the cases of private citizens held by foreign governments, shares his vast knowlege of this increasingly urgent human crisis worldwide.  Who are these hostages, who is detaining them, and why?  What can families do?  And here's the video for our beautiful closing song, Coming Home, covered by Boyce Avenue.  
1/12/202351 minutes, 52 seconds
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It Could Have Been a Lot Worse - 2022

Ambassador Tony Wayne is back with a survey of trends, remaining challenges and reasons for optimism as we move from 2022 into 2023.  Trends include increased connectedness between domestic and international politics, ecomonmic localism and democractic backsliding, but we've also seen Western partnerships rally and revive, and we've seen heroes of many stripes, not least of whom is the great Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine.  Cheers to 2023!
1/5/202350 minutes, 8 seconds
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Pete Goes Native – Second Part of Pete’s Visit with the Indians – Encore

Pete botches up a boar hunt, drinks the mystery drink chicha, and receives upon his departure a marriage proposal, ambiguously addressed either to himself one of the other fine young gringos. Follows first episode, titled “Cowboys and Indian at the Embassy.”  Again, Pete wants to know what you think. Should he have gone there? Should he have stayed once he got there? Could you have resisted the pull of curiosity? Can anyone? What are the consequences if we visit happily isolated people of the world? Tell us what you think on facebook, at [email protected], or by voicemail (vm link on our website www.amdipstories.org). Part two of Pete's story of his visit with the Huarani, from the archive. Happy New Year!
12/29/202232 minutes, 33 seconds
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Cowboys and Indian at the Embassy - Encore

From the archive, Pete tells the tale of his visit to the jungle to hang with the Huarini.  Did he do the right thing?  Pete actually wants to know!  Tell us what you think on facebook, at [email protected], or by voicemail (vm link on our website www.amdipstories.org).  Here's the original blurb:  “Embassy death squads?  Sure, I made that up!”  ~ Moi, Huarani Indian and tribal ambassador.  Stay tuned for part 2 of this story tomorrow.  Cheers!
12/28/202237 minutes, 56 seconds
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Home (from the Revolution) for Christmas

Ambassador Peter Bodde shares a Christmas Eve tale of rescue and relief as the walls of Communism fell like snow in Eastern Europe, 1989.  
12/22/202235 minutes, 30 seconds
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Rational, Ruthless, Resilient - The 3 Rs of Dictatorship

The authritarian psychology, with Ken Dekleva, our (fascinating) Foreign Service psychiatrist. Dictators respect only strength, negotiating with maximalist demands, getting as much as they can by giving as little as they can. As they grow older, they may become more rigid, threatening their grip on publics and opponents. Contrast Putin, who undid 30 years of progress in the former Soviet Union in the first week of war in Ukraine, with Zelensky's courage and heroism. The difference? One approach grows more isolationist, while the other is often an ordinary person, doing what they are trained to do, to help someone in need. Wow.
12/15/202247 minutes, 48 seconds
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Shrink of the Foreign Service

Dr. Ken Dekleva, former foreign service psychiatrist, explains that for diplomats stressors are always high but especially so in places like China, where US diplomats are subject to Covid lockdowns that separate children from their parents, or war zones, or heavily surveilled postings like Moscow, and many more.  But the part to tune in for is the closing song, written just for Doc Dekleva.  It's not bad!   
12/8/202247 minutes, 7 seconds
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Protests, and China's Endless Complexity

Laura's great old pal Andy Mertha, SAIS professor and China expert, contextualizes recent Chinese protests against Covid policies in the immense time-space continuum of Chinese political and cultural history.  
12/2/202249 minutes, 19 seconds
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Happy Thanksgiving From AmDip!

Our Thanksgiving special featuring pie at the Hague and Turkey in Uzbekistan - Thank you to you, each and all!  Have a wonderful holiday!
11/24/202222 minutes, 30 seconds
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Maikel

A licenced architect in Cuba, our friend Maikel was forced to leave in order to avoid being jailed by the Cuban state.  In a perilous, many-legged journey, here he is, after planes and boats, jungles and rivers, detention centers and now free but unentitled to work until his hearing, which is scheduled for 2025.  And for Cubans, this journey is relatively painless, compared to everyone else forced to migrate by circumstance.  We are honored to hear Maikel share his story of Cuba and his new life here.  
11/18/202232 minutes, 13 seconds
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The Spy Who (I Thought) Loved Me

Can you imaine discovering that your best friend for years, with whom you shared milestones of your life, was in fact a traitor and a spy?  Some time ago, the news covered the case of Ana Montes, called by CNN "the most damaging spy you've never heard of", but less known is the story of Marta Velazquez, the recruiter who introduced Ana Montes to the Cuban government. Marta's dear friend Ambassador Liliana Ayalde had no idea of her friend's duplicity until Marta fled to Sweden.  Who was Liliana's best friend Marta?  Why was she spying?  Was she ever truly a friend?  
11/10/202237 minutes, 41 seconds
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Gender Apartheid and Protests in Iran

Since the morality police arrested and murdered 22-year-old Mahsa Amini - allegedly for wearing her hijab incorrectly - protests have gained intensity. We've seen protests in Iran before. How and why is it different this time? Goli Ameri and Frank Ricciardone offer personal observations and policy perspectives.
11/3/202241 minutes, 56 seconds
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Encore - That Day I Had to Run

April 7, 1994, Rwanda. Not a good day to be mistaken for the acting Prime Minister. Linda Thomas-Greenfield (now US Ambassador to the UN) shares the tale of her escape from the anti-government militia, while millions of others perished in the country’s genocide.
10/27/202222 minutes, 13 seconds
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Yale, Pale and Male?

The story of our very own Pete turns out to be interesting to our intern Lauren!  For Hispanic Heritage Month, Lauren (and Laura) interview Pete about the challenges he faced as a Latino when he joined the Foreign Service, and how he overcame them to become the highest-ranking Latino officer of his time. Hint: The system worked.  
10/20/202246 minutes, 11 seconds
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Niño Maravilla

Juan Carlos Pinzón, the youngest-ever Colombian Minister of Defence, and more recently the Colombian ambassador to the United States, weighs in on hemispheric events, from the valuable perspective of an expert diplomat whose country is not...the United States.  How do worldwide autocracies impact hemispheric immigration and security?  What is, or should be, the US role in these phenomena?  
10/13/202255 minutes, 4 seconds
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Muppets Live

Politics, Kermit the frog, the ABCs and life as an ambassador. Ambassor Charlie Rivkin is back for a second episode, this time discussing his marvelously blended career in media, business and public service. Soft diplomacy is powerful diplomacy.
10/6/202217 minutes, 6 seconds
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Don't Ask About the Elevator

We've had some fun on the topic of political appointees. But here we have Charlie Rivkin, who served as a political appointee ambassador and assistant secretary of state and is also former head of the Jim Henson Company, now head of the Motion Picture Association. He brought managerial acumen, vision and a commitment to public service to the job, showing how much the Foreign Service can gain from a private sector leadership perspective. Just don't ask about the elevator.
9/29/202235 minutes, 52 seconds
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Glamping With the Masters of the Desert (encore)

Ambassador Vicki Huddleston gets around in the Sahara, and even gets the women a place inside the tent. So where did all these terrorists come from?  And what is this cool band that hauls its equipment around on camels? (One of our very favorites, originally posted July 2019)
9/22/202229 minutes, 8 seconds
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Cyberdiplomacy Is....What, Exactly?

Not the same as cybersecurity or digital diplomacy, cyberdiplomacy affects us all, worldwide, our access to information, our privacy, our ability to connect. Jennifer Bachus, senior official of the brand new Cyberspace and Digital Policy Bureau, helps us understand how countries of the world unite to support common values and interests.  
9/15/202243 minutes, 23 seconds
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Does the Knot Hold?

Ken Quinn is back, this time to talk about saving democracy from a coup attempt in the Philippines. Then, as now, democracy is under threat, but it is not the only thing that hangs in the balance...
9/8/202233 minutes, 19 seconds
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Annual Music Ep for the End of Summer!

Hi, everyone!  Enjoy the sound of the cicadas and the cooling of the evenings with our annual music episode.  We'll be back next week with another gripping tale - will our hero, our great democracy, live another day?  (We think it will.)  Have a great week.
9/1/202229 minutes, 36 seconds
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Schedule F, and Why It Scares Us

What is Schedule F?  And its evil twin, the Public Service Reform Act? Ambassador Dennis Jett joins us once again to explain these two important pieces of policy. Is their purpose to make government accountable, or perhaps is it to control the government and undermine the impact of its most senior public servants?  (Plus, Dennis offers some fun ambassadorial history at the top.)
8/25/202248 minutes, 2 seconds
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Media Integrity and the Americas

Worldwide, and in the Americas, journalists live in fear for their personal safety and are muredered in ever-growing numbers in retaliation for their reporting. At the same time, journalists are distrusted in greater numbers than ever before. Representative democracy depends on reliable, accurate press reporting, so John Feeley is back to discuss his new project, The Center for Media Integrity of the Americas.  
8/18/202246 minutes, 42 seconds
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Enemies Foreign and Domestic

Let's say you're a public servant. You've taken an oath to uphold the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, and also to obey the commander-in-chief. What if you can't do both? And what if following the law slaps you with a $100,000 legal bill? And then why bother serving? Eric Rubin, President of the American Foreign Service Association, shares his experience representing the interests of Foreign Service Officers. See also his article in The Foreign Service Journal: https://afsa.org/time-diplomacy-now.
8/11/202237 minutes, 13 seconds
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Empathy For Lived Experiences

Beginning a career at State in the Office of International Religious Freedom, Sameer Hossain visited the Rohingya refugee camps in the country where his parents were born (Bangladesh). Learning of the lived experiences of women and children in these camps, he thought of his own kids, and then switched his focus from international human rights issues to traumatic domestic events, and he now serves in a new but similar role at the Department of Homeland Security.  How does a man so empathetic avoid PTSD and just get the job done?
8/4/202239 minutes, 22 seconds
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"Never, Ever Allow Free and Fair Elections"

This is Fidel’s advice to Daniel Ortega, today’s strongman leader of Nicaragua. Wonder who else was listening? This is no longer a foreign piece of business but a thing threatening our own democracy right here, right now. Bob Callahan describes today’s authoritarian regime in this Central American nation.  Are there any other parallels can we draw?  (Formerly posted as "Nicaragua, Nicaraguita".)
7/28/202230 minutes, 54 seconds
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Take Me to Funky Town

In a fun twist, John Feeley interviews Laura on what she's learned about foreign service officers. Why doesn't the average Joe know how great they are? Is it because they are boring? Or is it just because foreign policy doesn't go "Boom"? Most FSOs pursue the career because while they have no wish to conquer the world, they do want to explore it.  They want a job that will take them to Funky Town.
7/21/202248 minutes, 34 seconds
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In Vodka Veritas

In this glorious encore episode, we say bottoms up to vacay! That's where we are and where you should be, too! Ambassador Dick Hoagland, having served many years in Russia and former Soviet republics, has had ample opportunity to consider the high-stakes drinking game of vodka diplomacy. He will regale you, and let us hope your vacation is less fraught with peril than this!  
7/16/202228 minutes, 58 seconds
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The Merchant of Death is Back in the News

Here's our earlier episode about Victor Bout, reposted, as he is again in the headlines, part of a proposed prisoner swap with Russia in exchange for a WNBA player. What? Yes, indeed. Victor Bout, Russian arms dealer, and a host of other nogoodnicks invest their nefarious proceeds in American cities such as Louisville, Dallas, Cleveland, unbeknownst to city officials. These criminals receive real estate tax breaks but never pay tax, drive up market prices, destroy jobs, and are never held accountable for any of their crimes because American laws have not, up to now, required them to identify themselves. But things are changing. (Or, as of this posting, are they?). Read about it in the NYTimes: link:https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/01/us/politics/brittney-griner-trial-russia.html.  
7/7/202230 minutes, 48 seconds
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The Failure of the Liberal Democratic Model

Ambassador Kevin Whitaker walks us through one of the most significant polticial events in Colombia's history: its recent election of outsider candidate Gustavo Petro. How have political parties lost their ability to mediate between voters and their governments? How has this given rise to populism, nationalism, and more importantly, a global competition of fundamental systems of government?
7/1/202250 minutes, 51 seconds
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Cross-Border Diplomacy

"We build trust," says Marcela Celorio, Counsul General of Mexico in Los Angeles, in our first-ever interview with a diplomat representing another country. Marcela shares stories cross-border diplomatic cooperation to assist businesses, caravans of immigrants in need, and others.
6/23/202231 minutes, 28 seconds
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Gift or Gaffe?

Ambassador Rufus Gifford, Chief of Protocol for the United States, knows the very real power of setting the stage for successful diplomacy, especially post-pandemic, as we all hunger for personal human connection.  And why are gifts so very important?   Which ones are the best kinds to give?
6/16/202223 minutes, 51 seconds
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Planning the Summit

Dave Silverman, Deputy National Summit Coordinator, Summit of the Americas, talks about the complexity and diplomatic significance of setting the Summit's agenda.  Democracy, climate change and other urgent topics are set forth for negotiation between the leaders of the hemispher's nations.  Who weighs in on the topics chosen?  Are agreements binding? Dave brings years of experience to the discussion.
6/9/202234 minutes, 19 seconds
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The Assistant Secretary of State on the Summit of the Americas

Brian Nichols, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs brings us up to speed on the most pressing issues on the agenda for the upcoming ninth annual Summit of the Americas. Income inequality, Covid impacts, climate change, access to health care, and disinformation are all on the marquis. How do thes issues impact average people throughout the hemisphere, and how do they put democracies under pressure?
6/2/202231 minutes, 5 seconds
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Climbing the Summit

The Summit of the Americas is coming up in ealry June. Who will be there? What's at stake?  Is it a big party for all the heads of state of the Western Hemisphere or is it for democracies only? John Feeley will join Laura and Pete in LA to cover the summit, and he weighs in here with his thoughts and expectations.
5/27/202246 minutes, 17 seconds
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We Are Going to Win

The night before the war begain, a calm confidence prevailed in President Zelensky's office.  Peter Van Praagh, President of Halifax International Security Forum, recently returned from Ukraine where he spent the first hours of the war. His stories are as powerful as his message that Putin did not unite the West; the Ukrainians did. And this is all of our fight.  Here's a way to help Ukraine win: https://halifaxtheforum.org/ukraine-victory-fund/.
5/19/202242 minutes, 10 seconds
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Enchiladas and Golumpkis

Assimilation is better than integration, counsels Ambassador Michael Polt of ASU's Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab.  Assimilation says: "I really want you to be a part of us."  Assimilation means our new friends are expected to stay and become a valued part of who we are.  Besides, hating people is exhausting.  In the end, it all comes down to character.  (And this is why we love our friend Michael Polt.)
5/13/202242 minutes, 25 seconds
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Tweeting Is Not Acting

Immigration expert Eric Farnsworth is back to parse what he describes as our unilateral disarmament diplomatically in the Western Hemisphere, due to bipartisan failure to compromise.  "We're doing it to ourselves," explains Eric. And here comes the Summit of the Americas in LA in June.
5/5/202256 minutes, 19 seconds
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Encore: Desiree Cormier – Africa and Tijuana

Bringing Europe and China to Africa and Granola Bars to Jail - originally posted in March 2018.  Enjoy!
4/28/202229 minutes, 50 seconds
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Threats to the Foreign Service

Overseas and at home, Foreign Service officers face danger to themselves and their careers, from Benghazi to McCarthyism to the Trump presidency. John Naland and Harry Kopp discuss these risks and why we take them in their book Career Diplomacy: Lfe and Work in the US Foreign Service.
4/21/202231 minutes, 47 seconds
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Countering Genocide

War crimes and genocide, from the Holocaust of World War II to Ukraine today, and many other places on earth.  Moved by his experience of the civil rights movement as a youth in the South, Ed O'Donnel devoted his life to preventing the emergence of genocides worldwide and bringing justice in their aftermath.  
4/14/202237 minutes, 39 seconds
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Ukraine: The Will to Fight

No one guessed Ukraine could succeed in combatting Putin. How has the country done it? What has Putin got wrong? General Ben Freakley is back with insights on the will to fight, military strategy, and values-based leadership.  
4/7/202235 minutes, 52 seconds
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Memories of Madeleine, "The Serpent"

The world has lost a great stateswoman; Pete has lost a mentor. Reviled by autocrats, loved by Cuban Americans, Madeleine Albright is mourned by lovers of democracy worldwide.
3/31/202222 minutes, 10 seconds
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Do Sanctions Work?

What, exactly, is a sanction?  An embargo?  How do they help Ukraine and the West defeat Putin's aggression?  Are they working? Why not put boots on the ground instead?  Elizabeth Shackelford has a lot to say on the matter.  
3/24/202233 minutes, 56 seconds
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I Would Rather Be America

The Ukraine war - a threat or an opportunity, or both?  It's too early to tell, says congressional candidate and USAID veteran Dave Harden, but in a rise of great power competition - Russia, China and the US - I would rather be America, says Dave . Tune in and find out why.
3/17/202239 minutes, 17 seconds
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Energy Diplomacy and the War in Ukraine

Gas and Oil, Russia, Europe, the US, Azerbaijan, China and the war in Ukraine.  Rich Kauzlerich, expert on energy diplomacy, explains that sanctions work, but that this is certainly no time for a victory lap.  
3/10/202246 minutes, 58 seconds
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Where Is Latin America on Putin's Aggression?

Most of the world is united in its condemnation of Russia's aggression in Ukraine, with the conspicuous absence of comment from Latin America.  Why?  Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, unpacks.
3/3/202236 minutes, 56 seconds
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There Is Always Hope

What better way to launch a depressive episode than to leave a beloved job as US Ambassador to Panama, at the pinacle of one's career, all because one cannot in good conscience act as the personal representative of a particular US President?  Ambassador John Feeley shares candidly the painful but surmountable experience of depression and recovery upon departure from the Foreign Service. May we all share as generously as our friend John. There is always hope.
2/24/202238 minutes, 52 seconds
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Black History as Experienced by Michael Peay

For Michael Peay, one of the first African Americans to serve in the Office of the Legal Adviser, the (incredibly hard) work was "tremendous fun!" When faced with racial prejudice, his wisdom carried him through: "You treat everyone with respect because you have respect for yourself." May we all, of every race, live by this credo.  
2/17/202252 minutes, 33 seconds
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Ukraine - What's Putin's Game?

Russian mothers, mud season, urban warfare. These are among the threats limiting Putin's ability to agress in Ukraine. Bill Courtney, expert on Central Asia, weighs both Putin's and Ukraine's options and risks in the increasingly dicey situation in Ukraine today. What are Putin's fears and what are some of his tools?
2/10/202238 minutes, 20 seconds
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Spider Schneider

Agnes Schneider, would-be opera singer, saver of lives, confiscator of passports.  She was a living expression of an incredible period of history, from World War I to the Cold War.  Savior or villain, or both?  Lindsay Henderson, consular history expert, shares.  See also her article on this topic in the Foreign Service Journal, Jan/Feb 2022 edition.
2/3/202234 minutes, 30 seconds
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Want to Be a US Ambassador? Pay Up.

Working your way up to an ambasssadorship is such a slog, if you can just buy the honorific instead. Ambassador Dennis Jett, author of a recent article by the same name as this episode, illuminates.  Bonus question: Which embassy is the most expensive to buy?  See also Jett's newly revised book, American Ambassadors: A guide for Aspiring Diplomats.
1/27/202239 minutes, 59 seconds
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Kazakhstan: Popular Uprising or Palace Intrigue?

Dick Hoagland, Central Asia expert, is back to help us understand recent violence in Kazakhstan.  Was the populace upset about rising fuel prices, or was there an internecine power struggle?  Or both?  What is the US interest in this ambiguous and evolving situation?
1/20/202241 minutes, 47 seconds
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He's Not Miss Universe, but He'll Have to Do

Bernie Aronson, who led the US effort to end wars in El Salvador and Colombia, shares insight on resolving the most intense geopolitical conflicts: "You should never forget that they are human beings and they can be moved as human beings."  
1/13/202249 minutes, 23 seconds
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Democracy Threatened

Are we talking about Chile or the US, or any of a number of other countries worldwide? Deb Derrick recounts recent unrest in Santiago, and we ask ourselves, how similar to this are events in our own country? Today we are forced to remember the events of last year on this day, January 6, 2021. Do we care enough about our democracy to save it?
1/6/202231 minutes, 19 seconds
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In Vodka Veritas, with Dick Hoagland

Ambassador Dick Hoagland, having served many years in Russia and former Soviet republics, has had ample opportunity to consider the high-stakes drinking game of vodka diplomacy. Bottoms up and happy New Year!  
12/30/202128 minutes, 58 seconds
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Holiday Encore - Unity, Love, Positivity

Jeffrey Franca, drummer for DC's world music icon Thievery Corporation - the band that generously allows us to use its music to open our show each week - brings us on the journey he took to become a musician. He shares with us the value of unity, love and positivity in his work, which is influenced by musical styles found worldwide. We'll be back next week with an original show on vodka diplomacy.  See you then!
12/23/202135 minutes, 6 seconds
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Our Time to Serve

General Ben Freakley, in charge of the eastern region of Afghanistan during the war, urges us to remain focused and do the right thing for those who remain in danger in Afghanistan. He calls for a whole of government approach and implores the American people: It's our time to serve.
12/16/202136 minutes, 14 seconds
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Haiti - What Went Wrong?

Ambassador Dan Foote departed the State Department over a crisis of conscience relating to recent events in Haiti.  Why, and what actually happened from his perspective?  
12/9/202149 minutes, 9 seconds
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A Badge of Honor?

The Zambian government has no love for its country's LGBTQ community. When repressions go simply too far to ignore any longer Ambassador Dan Foote speaks up, and for political reasons on both continents is forced to return home.  Any regrets?  Of course not. LGBTQ rights are human rights and everyone on earth deserves those.
12/2/202131 minutes, 57 seconds
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Annual AmDip Thanksgiving Special

We're back with some of Pete's jokes (Laura laughed, we promise) and our annual show featuring stories of Thanksgiving overseas.  Enjoy!  Stay well!  ~Pete & Laura
11/24/202140 minutes, 3 seconds
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One of the Most Pointless Wars in History

An eye for an eye and pretty soon everyone is blind, said Mahatma Gandhi, now quoted by Ambassador Tibor Nagy who is as expert as he is compassionate in his discussion of the current conflict in Ethiopia. Are we witnessing a genocide, presided over by Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy? Does it matter? Why did Abiy receive the Nobel Prize?  
11/18/202131 minutes, 42 seconds
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From the Middle East to Rural America

Dave Harden, formerly of USAID, compares service within AID to the mainstream Foreign Service (where is most of the money and the leadership opportunity, for example?), and connects the economic dimension of international development to American domestic politics.  Harden is running for Congress, using his development experience and lifelong knowledge of rural voters' needs.  
11/11/202143 minutes, 11 seconds
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Powell's Inimitable Leadership

Inclusive, powerful leadership.  Colin Powell not only engaged Americans of every level on his team, but also eased the worries of potential adversaries.  Powell led with insight into human needs for respect and belonging.
11/4/202131 minutes, 53 seconds
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Love Letter to Colin Powell

Humility, respect, sense of humor, honor, but above all, empathy.  Colin Powell is remembered by many who loved him.  Tune in for stories of the man he was.
10/28/202130 minutes, 28 seconds
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Nothing is Impossible, with Ted Osius

Ted Osius retired from his post as US Ambassador to Vietnam when asked to implement covertly-devised deportation policies he found morally repugnant and un-American.  Hear about his crisis of conscience and also of the heroic service of senators John McCain and John Kerry, Vietnam vets who did the right thing at great political cost.  And read Ted's new book "Nothing is Impossible: America's Reconciliation with Vietnam".
10/21/202135 minutes, 35 seconds
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From Soaking Wet to Very Big Business

It's 1990, and Ian Brownlee, out walking his dog, meets a man whose visa application he had refused just that very morning. The man is about to swim across the river to his probable death, so Ian advises him of a much safer spot to cross, about 200 yards thataway. These are the old days of immigration. When and how did immigration become a multibillion dollar business and a hot-button in domestic politics?  Ian is the expert.
10/14/202150 minutes, 11 seconds
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Toobah is Free!

But what of the rest of her countrywomen?  Here's a quick midweek update with our Afghan friend Toobah, in her words.  Enjoy!
10/12/20214 minutes, 5 seconds
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Nicaragua, Nicaragüita

"Never, ever allow free and fair elections" is Fidel's advice to Daniel Ortega, today's strongman leader of Nicaragua. Bob Callahan describes today's authoritarian regime in this Central American nation.
10/7/202130 minutes, 54 seconds
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The Summer of the Cockroaches

Pardis Mahdavi relays her experience of the Iranian sexual revolution and similar movements in the Middle East, including Afghanistan. Why was the summer of the cockroaches her favorite? There weren't enough cockroaches for everybody! And this is to say nothing of the orgies.  Listen and find out what all of this could possibly mean.
10/1/202134 minutes, 23 seconds
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9/11, Personal Inventory and a New Career

Nancy Ostrowski experienced the events of 9/11 first-hand, which inspired her to embark on a journey to a more satisfying, new career with USAID.  See also her article in the Sept 2021 Foreign Service Journal, "Getting Off the X", and her book, Unplugged, published under the name Nancy Whitner-Reiter.
9/23/202137 minutes, 55 seconds
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The Last Officer at Abbey Gate

Consular officer Alan Eaton helped scores of Afghans at risk evacuate from Kabul, working from inside the Abbey Gate at the airport at exactly the moment when our friend Toobah was on the other side of the gate, trying to get through.  As Alan explains, "This is Jews in Germany, 1940: These people have to get out."  Some did get out, some didn't.  Alan shares these human moments.
9/16/202134 minutes, 33 seconds
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The Future of American Diplomacy

Eric Rubin sums it up with one word.  If we want to be successful in our diplomacy, we need to adopt a position of humility with respect to the rest of the world.
9/9/202132 minutes, 57 seconds
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Toobah Evacuation Update

Our friend is still there, fearing for her life.  What is going on in Afghanistan right now?  Laura shares Toobah's most recent experience as evacuations stall and no one really knows why. Pete helps us understand what it all means.  
9/7/20219 minutes, 55 seconds
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These Are Not My Beautiful Feet

For Pride Month (belatedly posted due to events in Afghanistan and our coverage of those), Austin Richey-Allen recounts his story of gender transition in the Foreign Service.  A trans kid, he discovered in adulthood that there is a term for his experience: gender dysphoria.  From transition to leadership of GLIFA, Austin shares his story for the benefit not only of the LGBT, transgender and non-binary community, but for all of us who value a more inclusive world.
9/3/202139 minutes, 51 seconds
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This Didn't Have to Happen

Our disastrous departure from Afghanistan. Hugo Llorens shares his knowledge of the Taliban's subgroups (hint: none abide by the Geneva Convention), his perspective on US domestic politics and its impact on the human tragedy in Afghanistan, and his view on what we might have done to exit the country with a conditions-based agreement focused on preserving human lives and dignity, instead of a wholesale surrender and the carnage that has ensued.
8/30/202129 minutes, 54 seconds
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And What of Our Friend Toobah?

Wouldn't we all like to know.  She's alive, at least.  Bad luck becomes good luck as she is turned away on her way to the airport just before the bombs go off. 
8/27/20212 minutes, 55 seconds
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Whaddaya Do?

People's lives are at stake in the most urgent way.  Policy is a macro-level thing, and utterly necessary.  But what about the people themselves?  What about Toobah?  What should Biden have done?  People are hanging from the fuselage. Afghanistan, August 2021.
8/20/202132 minutes, 45 seconds
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Encore: The Ugly American

Or a traitor, anyway.  In an eerily quiet region during the Vietnam war, from a banana grove in the middle of the night, Lionel Rosenblatt discovers that a US military official is guilty of supplying the enemy with life-saving medicine from the United States.  Lionel is saved from a murderous reprisal through the assistance of his friends, the Vietnamese mountain people.
8/12/202140 minutes, 57 seconds
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Encore: Bahrain, So Small, So Important

The Arab Spring – Tunisia, Egypt – we know about these places. But Bahrain is almost never in the news.  What is its geopolitical significance, and strategic importance to the US?  And why was Ambassador Tom Krajeski in a tight spot when the Arab Spring came to Bahrain?  Can we walk and chew gum at the same time?
8/5/202150 minutes, 47 seconds
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They Will Cut Our Heads, Of Course!

Amb. Ryan Crocker, Middle East expert, explains the value of Foreign Service Nationals and brings it all home with a story of the day that local staff saved his life. Toobah, a former employee of USAID, then tells us of her life, stuck at home in Kabul at all times because if she goes outside she will be killed in a most gruesome manner. And why? She worked. Not only that: She helped other women get jobs. Point being? They saved our lives. We must act fast to save theirs.  
7/29/202122 minutes, 48 seconds
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Don't Let Us Be Killed

HT, an Afghan interpreter who worked alongside US forces and has been denied a visa to come to the United States explains how he served, who in his family has been killed as a consequence of his service, and how difficult it is for him to find safety as the US departs his country.  Tony Wayne opens the episode, speaking from the perspective of a US diplomat.
7/23/202130 minutes, 36 seconds
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Encore: Send Lawyers, Guns and Money

Consular officer Kate Canavan on the many things that can go wrong in Tijuana. Two air traffic controllers, fired for going on strike, go into (very) private industry. Pete’s words: “Breaking Bad, in the skies.”
7/15/202123 minutes, 23 seconds
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Encore: We’ll Always Have Paris

Communism drives immigration decisions, 1956. Hank Cohen is in love. It’s his first tour, and he’s in Paris. The Soviets invade Hungary and Hank helps thousands of refugees flee Communist aggression and make new lives in the US. But what about heartthrob megastar Yves Montand, who is an avowed Communist?  How can Hank get him a visa? And about that girl…
7/10/202122 minutes
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Encore: Who Lost China?

It is the 1950s. Senator Joseph McCarthy and his henchman Roy Cohn target and humiliate our diplomats for accurately reporting an eventual Mao victory in China. Jack Service and his family are at the center of the storm. How are things different today?
6/30/202130 minutes, 56 seconds
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Encore: Stay Home and Pour the Tea

A social worker by profession, Bonnie Miller traveled the world with her spouse Ambassador Tom Miller and created the first-ever course in Psychosocial Consequences of War in response to trauma she witnessed in Sarajevo. But the life changing moment came when she met victims of sexual trafficking.  And that’s when Bonnie Miller really got started.  
6/24/202132 minutes, 48 seconds
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Dull, Duller, Dulles

Trick Question: What happened in Yalta in 1945?  Probably more than you think!  And why did those proceedings hold up the confirmation of Ambassador Avis Bohlen's father Charles Bohlen as Ambassador to the Soviet Union?  Plus: Are things better in American politics today than during the McCarthy era, or worse?For the full story, see Avis's article in the May 2021 Foreign Service Journal, or this link: https://afsa.org/victory-against-mccarthy-bohlen-confirmation.
6/16/202132 minutes, 54 seconds
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Encore: Pedro Pan and the Guerrillas

Pete sends Phil Chicola to guerrilla country to investigate the deaths of American linguist missionaries, and both Pete and Phil are accused of negotiating with the FARC. All of this concurrent with the Clinton impeachment, and as Pete explains, it got ugly. Especially with Baby Huey.  
6/12/202132 minutes, 22 seconds
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The Sky is Green!

Phil Shull is back, this time connecting our earlier discussion of Chinese culture to practical business and policy challenges faced by Westerners doing business in that country.
6/4/202127 minutes, 10 seconds
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Scarcity Colors Everything

Why does the West find China so confounding in matters of business and diplomacy? Phil Shull, retired Foreign Agricultural Service officer, explains: China's culture and history may be best understood by its written character for "population", which is comprised of symbols for "person" and "mouth".  Chinese don't ask, "How's it going?" but instead, "Have you eaten today?" For more, read Phil's article, Dealing with the Dragon, in the Foreign Service Journal, at this link: https://www.afsa.org/dealing-dragon    
5/28/202155 minutes, 11 seconds
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A Bag of Doritos: It's Happening

What do 840 people, 96 hours, a hamster, a newborn, a bag of Doritos and a husband expecting to fly first class all add up to? The zombie apocalypse, or, the evacuation of Americans from Wuhan, China, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Consular officer Alan Eaton makes it all sound like fun. For more, here's an article that Alan wrote for the Foreign Service Journal: https://afsa.org/sites/default/files/flipping_book/070820/50/
5/20/202132 minutes, 55 seconds
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Biden Gets an Incomplete (So Far)

Dennis Jett, recidivist American Diplomat guest, regales and opines on hostage-taking in Peru, the Cuban missile crisis, the JFK assassination, and (drum roll, please) Joe Biden's first 100 days in foreign policy. Quiz: State dinners or the Iran nuclear deal - which one is a foreign affairs food fight?
5/13/202136 minutes, 58 seconds
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The Mother of All Conspiracy Theories

In our third of three episodes on the assassination of JFK, we learn what the eminently reasonable Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, former CIA operations officer, has learned by focusing purely on the facts.  But questions remain. Among them: Can we trust our own government?  Can we handle the truth?
5/6/202146 minutes, 15 seconds
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Her Fathers' Death: It Just Doesn't Add Up

Why did her diplomat father take his own life? Her mother kept her in the dark. Why? To protect her? From what? Zelda just wants some answers.
4/29/202132 minutes, 27 seconds
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A JFK Assassination Tipster's Demise

Charles Thomas had intel, valuable intel, on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. And to thank him for his efforts to share this intel, he was "selected out" of the Foreign Service, or, fired. This led to his suicide not long after. We chat with award winning author Phil Shenon who wrote the book on this topic, literally: A Cruel and Shocking Act.  Shenon unpacks what is known and what is not known about the assassination and the life and death of Charles Thomas.
4/22/202134 minutes, 21 seconds
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Diversity Across the Generations at State

Ambassador Jim Gadsen and mid-career officer Paloma Gonzalez share their stories of diversity and inclusion, one a Black man whose career was launched in part by the Civil Rights Movement, the other a Latina whose parents came to the US to be where the Civil Rights Movement was changing lives. In the end, though, is diversity of skin color among officers only as important as the diversity in thinking and experience that it creates?
4/15/202152 minutes, 37 seconds
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Is 757 Years Enough?

It's 5:30am, and Kala Bokelman of the Diplomatic Security Service is one of many staking out a professional photographer named Solano's house on a skinny on a dead-end street in Costa Rica. Together with Costa Rican security, the DSS helps bust a child pornography ring resulting in 757 years in prison (that's right, 757) for the perpetrators.  
4/8/202127 minutes, 31 seconds
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Smuggling Cubans

Party at Carla's house!  Kala Bokelman, diplomatic security special agent, tells of a raid on a house straddling the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border.  The goal?  To stop coyotes smuggling people from Cuba to the US via Ecuador and every state in between.  The problem?  Her jurisdiction ends in Carla's back yard.
3/31/202127 minutes, 48 seconds
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Combatting Anti-Blackness as a Diplomat of Color

As a diplomat of color, how did the murder of George Floyd inspire Christian Loubeau, Security Council negotiator for the United States mission to the United Nations, to create change at USUN? And, how exactly do you conduct multilateral negotiation on behalf of the US?
3/26/202135 minutes, 31 seconds
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Onboarding Online

Andrew Shinn onboards as a new Foreign Service Officer during the pandemic.  But what is he onboarding to?  There's no place to go, and even State doesn't really know what to do with these newbies.  Do you swear in wearing your underwear?
3/18/202118 minutes, 51 seconds
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F.W. de Klerk, Winnie Mandela and Cyril Ramaposa

We all know the importance of Nelson Mandela, but great as he was, he did not work alone. Each of these figures brought their motives and personalities to shape South Africa's transition from apartheid to the present. John Campbell, political counselor in Johannesburg during the collapse of apartheid, shares the human perspective on these powerful world events.  Everyone in the country wanted a change to democracy, from right-wing Afrikaners to Marxist liberationists.  Why?    
3/11/202139 minutes, 15 seconds
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Trifecta

It all began with a call from the police. Andrew Byrley, a young officer and former robotics expert, shares tales of a harrowing month assisting Americans in crisis in Belize. What can, what cannot, and what must the American consulate do for you in a foreign country?  
3/4/202135 minutes, 38 seconds
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Bahrain, So Small, So Important

The Arab Spring - Tunisia, Egypt - we know about these places. But Bahrain is almost never in the news.  What is its geopolitical significance, and strategic importance to the US?  And why was Ambassador Tom Krajeski in a tight spot when the Arab Spring came to Bahrain?  Can we walk and chew gum at the same time?
2/25/202150 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Shining City on the Hill?

"But we're Americans. We don't lose wars."  False!  Ambassador and former National Security Advisor Tony Lake takes a hard look at American leadership in the world from Kennedy until the present time, when like so many countries, our democracy needs shoring up as well.  For more about Tony Lake, see this article in the Foreign Service Journal.
2/18/202146 minutes, 42 seconds
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The Secret Dinners

Like Chicago mobsters, hard line parties grab to divvy up the riches after the genocide in Bosnia has stopped. Ambassador Tom Miller, together with the British ambassador, organizes "secret dinners" that lead to a peaceable coalition of factions that brings stability and to great surprise wins the election 2000.  But after the noxious blue smoke clears, then what?
2/12/202137 minutes, 23 seconds
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The Ugly American

Or a traitor, anyway.  In an eerily quiet region during the Vietnam war, from a banana grove in the middle of the night, Lionel Rosenblatt discovers that a US military official is guilty of supplying the enemy with life-saving medicine from the United States.  Lionel is saved from a murderous reprisal through the assistance of his friends, the Vietnamese mountain people.  
2/4/202140 minutes, 57 seconds
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Bonus Repost: That Day I Had to Run

Again in honor both of Black History Month and Linda Thomas-Greenfield's recent appointment as US ambassador to the United Nations, we repost our second chat with Linda from last summer: April 7, 1994, Rwanda. Not a good day to be mistaken for the acting Prime Minister. Linda Thomas-Greenfield shares the tale of her escape from the anti-government militia, while millions of others perished in the country’s genocide.
2/1/202122 minutes, 13 seconds
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December 17, 2010

Mohammed Bouazizi, an underemployed fruit seller, sets himself on fire, launching what we later began calling the Arab Spring.  Ambassador Gordon Gray walks us through life on the ground in Tunisia, when things in the Arab world began to change.  Plus, read Gray's article in the Foreign Service journal for greater insight, at this link: https://www.afsa.org/sites/default/files/flipping_book/010221/41/
1/27/202133 minutes, 31 seconds
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Bouns Repost - A Few Choice Words

In honor of upcoming Black History Month, and in honor of the new administration, we repost our first episode with Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden's new Ambassador to the UN.  Go, Linda!  Here's the episode: “I respect your culture, but I do not believe it is your culture to allow women to die,” says Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield to the Taliban. And do you know what the Taliban did after that? And why? Listen to find out. 
1/25/202118 minutes, 8 seconds
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The Nile Just Keeps Flowing

Dan Kurtzer, Ambassador to both Egypt and Israel, parses this complex part of the world from his experience on the ground. Why was Anwar Sadat killed? What social forces produced the revolution of February 2011? And how is the average Egyptian living now? Better or worse than before?  
1/21/202144 minutes, 43 seconds
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The Merchant of Death

The worst of the worst: Victor Bout, Russian arms dealer, is not the only one. A a host of other nogoodnicks invest their nefarious proceeds in American cities such as Louisville, Dallas, Cleveland, unbeknownst to city officials. These criminals receive real estate tax breaks but never pay tax, drive up market prices, destroy jobs, and are never held accountable for any of their crimes because American laws have not, up to now, required them to identify themselves. But things are changing.
1/14/202130 minutes, 48 seconds
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The Dirty Money Tracker

What exactly is dirty money, and how is it laundered?  How much of it flows through the world, and the United States in particular?  And how does it impact regular Americans going about our daily lives?  Kathleen Doherty, aka "the Dirty Money Tracker", shares her expertise.  
1/7/202131 minutes, 35 seconds
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Hiatus Post - More with Gina Winstanley

For some even better discussion with Gina, here's our second of two with her:  Religious police stop Gina and terrorists attack the consulate general in Jeddah.  See you next week with new original content.  Happy New Year!
12/31/202047 minutes, 50 seconds
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Hiatus post: Gina Winstanley's Adventures in the Middle East

Bet you haven't heard this one!  We recorded this story when we began the show a few years ago and no one knew about us yet. Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley regales, in her first of two episodes. Do you know where to find a hooker in Oman?  And what happens when your boss nixes your husband’s job choice in Saudi Arabia, but you really would like to stay married?   
12/26/202026 minutes, 9 seconds
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Hiatus Post - Pete Goes Native

Pete visits the Huarani Indians, botches up a boar hunt, drinks the mystery drink chicha, and receives upon his departure a marriage proposal, ambiguously addressed either to himself one of the other fine young gringos. Follows first episode, titled “Cowboys and Indian at the Embassy.”  New photos of this wild ride are now available at www.amdipstories.org.  Enjoy!
12/17/202032 minutes, 33 seconds
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Hiatus Repost - Cowboys and Indian at the Embassy

In this adventure tale in two parts, Pete visits the Huarani tribe in the Amazon jungle while serving as US Ambassador to Ecuador. Today, in light of Covid, Pete feels remorse. We promise that no one contracted any Western illness from Pete, but was he reckless? You be the judge. And in the meantime, meet Moi, tribal ambassador from the rainforest, here in part 1.
12/10/202037 minutes, 44 seconds
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Hiatus Post - Foreign Service Test? Quiz Show? You Decide.

You’ve heard a zillion stories of adventures in Foreign Service. How did all of these regular people become such erudite heroes of public service? They took the Foreign Service Test. And so, for your entertainment, Laura did, too. Here’s a hiatus repost of one of our most fun episodes ever. Did she pass? Did she live? Were the questions fair? Were the examiners fair? Pete and Dave Rabadan are tough. Was Laura tough enough?
12/3/202040 minutes, 15 seconds
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AmDip Thanksgiving Special!

Join us for some of Pete's jokes (Laura laughed, we promise) and our annual show featuring stories of Thanksgiving overseas.  Enjoy!  Stay safe!  ~Pete & Laura
11/25/202044 minutes, 24 seconds
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Hiatus Post - Bill Burns: The Back Channel

Bill Burns, one of our favorite guests, is shortlisted for Secretary of State in the Biden administration. Go, Bill! We're reposting our discussion with him from last year about his book "The Back Channel," which is even more timely now than it was when it was first published. Plus, Pete has a story about his recent visit to Trumpland.  Enjoy!
11/18/202039 minutes, 45 seconds
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Hiatus Post - The Man of My Dreams

We're on hiatus until January - so we want to hear from you as we look ahead to future programming.  Send us your questions, ideas, comments at [email protected], on Facebook or at www.amdipstories.org.  And enjoy a rerun, a propos of this week's election, of "The Man of My Dreams."  See you soon!
11/6/202037 minutes, 26 seconds
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That Day I Had to Run

April 7, 1994, Rwanda. Not a good day to be mistaken for the acting Prime Minister. Linda Thomas-Greenfield shares the tale of her escape from the anti-government militia, while millions of others perished in the country's genocide.
10/29/202022 minutes, 13 seconds
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A Few Choice Words

"I respect your culture, but I do not believe it is your culture to allow women to die," says Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield to the Taliban. And do you know what the Taliban did after that? And why? Listen to find out. Go, Linda!
10/22/202018 minutes, 8 seconds
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Bananas Was His Business

Hugo Rodriguez, from the banana business in Latin America to the US Foreign Service. Machetes, scorpions, poisonous snakes, starting work at four am in the fruit fields...how does this prepare someone to help bring education to American-born children of Mexican citizens in Mexico? And why does the United States care about these kids anyway?
10/15/202028 minutes, 51 seconds
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Malfeasances Aside...

There's a gray area in judging the actions of ambassadors, whether political appointee or career.  What's the difference between what is illegal, inappropriate, or, more to the point, truly unethical?  Harry Geisel puts his subtle mind to the task.  
10/7/202026 minutes, 24 seconds
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My Job is to Keep You out of Jail

What's the difference between a political appointee ambassador and a career ambassador? Increasingly, these ambassadorships are offered as rewards for large political campaign contributions. How can these appointments go awry? Harry Geisel helps us count the ways. 
9/30/202032 minutes, 54 seconds
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The World's Blindest Power?

9/11/2012, Benghazi, Libya, an attack on our diplomatic mission, killing four, including our ambassador. The legendary Tom Pickering led the first investigation (of ten), and it was not a pleasant report to write. But, as a consequence of these events, is the world's strongest power now the world's blindest power?
9/23/202039 minutes, 29 seconds
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Ukraine is Not Dead Yet

And neither is worldwide democracy, thanks in part to the very fine-tipped pen and tiny notebook of Ambassador William Taylor, a key source in the Congressional investigations into the Ukraine corruption affair of the last year.  Democracy lives another day!
9/17/202041 minutes, 43 seconds
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Second Annual AmDip Greatest Hits!

Need a mood lifter?  We do!  Laura likes our music selects so much that she's listening to this one twice!  Go back to simpler times (say, 2019) with AmDip, then sing along to our Covid-era theme song.  Love, Pete and Laura
9/10/202029 minutes, 36 seconds
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Colombia: Bloodless Theater in the Jungle

Ambassador Whitaker tells the story of how the Colombian government fooled the guerrillas into releasing long-held hostages... an operation that would make Hollywood proud. 
9/3/202024 minutes, 35 seconds
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A Grandfather's Love and Legacy

Desiree Cormier, one of our favorite guests, is back to share stories learned of her grandfather's life since his recent passing.  We hear not only how he shaped Desiree's life of public service, but also how his very personal commitment to the American anti-apartheid movement and the Black Lives Matter chapter in Los Angeles continue to impact change.  One person can make so much difference to so many.
8/27/202037 minutes, 39 seconds
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Bonus Episode - The Lovely Miriam Gutierrez

Who really holds the Foreign Service together?  Spouses, who raise children and start their lives again and again every couple of years in support of their partners' career.  Miriam Gutierrez is perhaps the loveliest of them all.  Here's her story.
8/25/202022 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Day Beirut Exploded

Were the recent explosions in Beirut the last straw, the end of the corrupt political elites, or a new opportunity for militant political party Hezbollah? Ambassador Patrick Theros parses beautiful Lebanon, once heralded as the Paris of the Middle East, now on fire.
8/21/202029 minutes, 25 seconds
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TikTok: Dance Party or Trojan Horse?

Is Trump's forced sale of TikTok to an American company another China-bashing "Kung Flu" episode, or does the tech giant pose a genuine national security threat?  Nova Daly, former chairman of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, breaks down the complexity of this deal.
8/13/202032 minutes, 30 seconds
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Quiz: What Do Bernie and Trump Agree on?

Trade!  Similar attitudes about trade protections.  Is a free trade agreement a free-for-all or a deal to optimize countries' competitive advantage?  (Hint: Remember Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations?  Or did you snooze during that segment of 11th grade?)  Controversy aside, Tony Wayne and Shaun Donnelly break down the impact of trade on human lives and campaign politics.
8/5/202041 minutes, 7 seconds
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A Black Diplomat? You're Lying.

The sting of American racism when you come home. Black diplomats face harassment and humiliation at the border at the hands of Customs and Border Patrol. Senior diplomats Charlie Ray and Alonzo Fulgham discuss reentering the States while Black.
7/30/202031 minutes, 38 seconds
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This Ain't the Manhattan Project

And it should be. Cybersecurity is one of the biggest threats we face. The cost to bad actors is minimal, the benefits great. An enemy can hide its attacks, divert attention from other aggressive actions, benefit economically, sow geopolitical chaos and impact elections, all at very low cost. Chis Painter explains why we haven't done nearly enough to protect ourselves.
7/23/202028 minutes, 11 seconds
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Who Stole My Axe?

Many early adopters of technology are criminals, and their crimes are best done across borders.  From stock manipulation, to stealing trade secrets, to weaponizing information in election interference, Chris Painter has investigated a lot of bad actors. As the nation's top (and first-ever) cyber diplomat, he explains all of this, plus the story about the stolen axe.
7/16/202027 minutes, 34 seconds
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The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend?

A young Foreign Service officer posted to Vietnam, his girlfriend, a ride in the country, and what?  Cambodia is on fire?  Why?  The first ever Cambodian refugees tell Ken Quinn, the first person ever to report on this, that the Khmer Rouge has turned.  No longer boy-scout revolutionaries, they operate like Stalin, like Hitler, but no one in the United States listens.  Why?  It was easier not to.  Until the skulls piled up.
7/9/202037 minutes, 5 seconds
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The First Woman Ambassador to Thailand

The royal family requests that the Ambassador wear a skirt.  What?  Ambassador Kristie Kenney can come up with a skirt, fine, but what about Secretary Clinton?  She has only pantsuits!  Don't the Thai royals know about Pantsuit Nation?  (That came later, yes, but the woman wore only pants.  We know this.)
7/3/202016 minutes, 21 seconds
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The Man of My Dreams

He's charismatic, he's exciting, he's strong. How do elected autocrats woo their publics and then destroy the very countries they promised to elevate? What happens to the populace?  Kristie Kenney, ambassador to Ecuador, Thailand and the Philippines has a thing or two to say about these folks and the reasons that people elect them.
6/25/202035 minutes, 22 seconds
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Hong Kong: The Chinese are Coming!

Chinese President Xi wants one-man rule, but pesky Hong Kong must be put in its place. Is there any future for "one country, two systems"? And why is Xi doing this now? Richard Boucher shares some nuggets of his vast experience with China and Hong Kong.
6/18/202025 minutes, 1 second
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The State Department Spokesperson's Dilemmas

Ever had that dream where you sit for an exam and you haven't been to class once?  And you're not wearing any pants?  Welcome to the world of the State Department Spokesperson, as told by Richard Boucher.  
6/11/202034 minutes, 27 seconds
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The Scorpion and the Frog - Egypt's Morsi

The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 meant to oust authoritarian President Mubarak, at which time the armed forces took over until Mohamed Morsi was elected by popular vote in 2012. Why did Morsi last only one year before being removed in a coup-d'etat led by General El-Sisi? Has anything really changed for Egyptians? Ambassador Anne Patterson shares her experience.
6/4/202020 minutes, 47 seconds
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I'm an Inspector General and I'm Here to Help

No one likes the Inspector General, but they're here to protect the taxpayers' money through inspections, audits, criminal investigations and advisement. They are impartial (read: strictly not partisan). The ethos is independence.  Ambassador Anne Patterson shares her expertise.
5/28/202035 minutes, 28 seconds
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Saving Lives: Collaborate or Vilify?

Jimmy Kolker, who ran the largest AIDS program in the world, discovered the power of diplomatic skills in saving lives during numerous worldwide health crises. So what happened in Wuhan? Have we "self-disarmed"?
5/21/202026 minutes, 36 seconds
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"Get Me Out of Here!"

From "Pearl of the Pacific" to epicenter of COVID 19 in Latin America. Consular Officers Gabriel Kaypaghian and Ian Hayward share their tale of evacuating Americans fast during the sudden outbreak in Ecuador. But is this a tale of misery and woe? Far from it, friends. Kindness knows no borders.  
5/14/202045 minutes, 26 seconds
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Stay Home and Pour the Tea

A social worker by profession, Bonnie Miller traveled the world with her spouse Ambassador Tom Miller and created the first-ever course in Psychosocial Consequences of War in response to trauma she witnessed in Sarajevo. But the life changing moment came when she met victims of sexual trafficking.  And that's when Bonnie Miller really got started.  
5/7/202032 minutes, 48 seconds
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When You Shouldn't Follow the Rules (Repost)

A repost of Pete's chat with Laura Lane, one of our most inspiring guests ever. Ambassador Laura Lane served in Rwanda during its period of genocide in the 1990s and learned when you need the courage not to follow orders. Here is the audio track of her TED talk on the subject, bookended with comments from Pete.
4/29/202023 minutes, 27 seconds
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Repatriating Americans During COVID

Ian Brownlee, head of the State Department's Repatriation Task Force, tells us how it's been to preside over an unprecedented effort to bring back well over 60,000 American citizens in very short order.  How do you do get these people home?  Go, Ian!
4/23/202029 minutes, 50 seconds
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Unity, Love, Positivity

Jeffrey Franca, the drummer for DC's own world music icon Thievery Corporation - the band that generously allows us to use its music to open our show each week - brings us on the journey he took to become a musician. He shares with us the value of unity, love and positivity in his work, which is influenced by musical styles found worldwide. Our chat also highlights his work outside of Thievery, in the band Congo Sanchez and in his indpendent project Ethno.  We love this music and we hope you will, too!
4/16/202035 minutes, 6 seconds
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School Scandal in Jakarta

Lainie McKeating and her spouse launch a husband-wife career change and land in Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia.  How does she get a substantial job of her own at their very first post?  She puts the pedal to the metal and lands the huge job of Community Liaison Officer, just in time for a terrifying scandal to unfold involving the embassy's schoolchildren.  Lainie and Ambassador Bob Blake rise to the occasion.
4/9/202053 minutes, 31 seconds
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AmDip Carries On

We're all stuck at home, as we should be.  But we still love you!  This little mini-dealio tells you how we will continue to share our diplomats' so very human stories despite these strange times.  Be well and be safe, and we wish your families the same.  
4/7/20205 minutes, 7 seconds
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Glamping With the Masters, and with Vicki, Again

One of our best episodes ever (in Laura's humble opinion) about just another day in the Amazing Vicki Huddleston's life in Mali.  This repost offers good company and a virtual adventure for these days at home.  Enjoy!  
4/2/202029 minutes, 30 seconds
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Vicki Huddleston is Back as Well

Who would we rather hang out with than Vicki Huddleston?  No One.  And right now, No One is exactly the alternative we're all faced with.  So, here's a repost of one of our favorite episodes with one of our most delightful guests, Ambassador Vicki Huddleston, who shares with us tales of the amazing yet little-discussed Mali.  And do not fear!  We are still working to get you new content.  Cheers!
4/1/202038 minutes, 10 seconds
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The Great Bill Burns is Back

Something inspiring for our days at home...Remember the capture of Osama Bin Laden?  The Syria Red Line situation? What Laura remembers best from this previously aired episode with Bill Burns is the call to service.  All of us can make this a better world, by staying at home when we must, through international service when we can, or via an infinite number of other ways.
3/25/202033 minutes, 14 seconds
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Ralph Bunche, Accidental Diplomat

The life of Ralph Bunche, recently celebrated by the State Department as a Hero of US Diplomacy, as relayed by his grandson, Ralph Bunche III and UCLA professor Kal Raustiala. Bunche, academic, pathbreaker, civil rights activist, and early planner of the United Nations, handled crises occurring in the newly independent African nations and brokered the first armistice in the Middle East.  He was the first African American to be awarded the Nobel Prize.  
3/18/202038 minutes, 27 seconds
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Tales from the Vault

Ambassador Romero, how would you describe your head? Your chin? And whose gaudy suit is that, covered in paint? (Not Pete's.) Passports from 100 years ago, a suit from a protestor's assault, and Chinese language flashcards from the 1930s, plus sooooo much more. Director Mary Kane and Public Historian Alison Mann talk share tales of these artifacts as well as the incredible diplomacy simulation learning program all offered at the National Museum of American Diplomacy.  
3/12/202030 minutes, 39 seconds
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We Are In!

Climate advocate Ambassador Bob Blake is back:  Climate change, international business, government and our individual selves.  No one can do everything but everyone can do something.
3/4/202034 minutes, 27 seconds
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Democracy Wins!

In four days in April, Bob Service helps save Paraguay from dictatorship (this is the 1990s).  Laura's favorite part:  The psychology of diplomacy, of helping those caring human beings who may find themselves among the world's heads of state, faced with military overthrow.  
2/28/202028 minutes, 47 seconds
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A Student of Leadership

Most of us are not born with leadership skills, explains Marc Grossman, one of the highest-ranking career Foreign Service Officers ever. We learn to become leaders. We fail a lot, we pick ourselves up and knock on more doors, and we learn.  (Laura loves this episode and is now ready to take over the world.)
2/21/202051 minutes, 38 seconds
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All Peace is Local

In helping stabilize failing states, what do you do about disaffected, potentially dangerous citizens?  How do you help citizens own their country’s peace?  Keith Mines, now with the U.S. Institute of Peace, is back with more on nation building.  Laura's favorite takeaway:  A good leader is empathetic.  
2/19/202049 minutes, 23 seconds
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Could This Happen to Me?

Eric Rubin, President of the Foreign Service Officers' "union", compares the treatment of Foreign Service Officers during the McCarthy era and support that is available today, during "the biggest political battle of a generation."
2/14/202032 minutes, 23 seconds
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What is Nation-Building?

And why is it a bad word?  How could Thailand kill 40 million chickens without a state?  Former Foreign Service Officer Keith Mines, now with the U.S. Institute of Peace, explains all of this and why we care, drawing on his vast political, military, economic, and humanitarian nation-building experience. 
2/12/202050 minutes, 11 seconds
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Foreign Service Test? Quiz Show? You Decide.

Laura's Foreign Service Test, finally. Did she pass? Did she live? Were the questions fair? Were the examiners fair? Pete and Dave Rabadan are tough. Was Laura tough enough?
2/6/202040 minutes, 15 seconds
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Pedro Pan and the Guerrillas

Pete sends Phil Chicola to guerrilla country to investigate the deaths of American linguist missionaries, and both Pete and Phil are accused of negotiating with the FARC. All of this concurrent with the Clinton impeachment, and as Pete explains, it got ugly. Especially with Baby Huey.  
1/28/202032 minutes, 22 seconds
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Who Lost China?

It is the 1950s. Senator Joseph McCarthy and his henchman Roy Cohn target and humiliate our diplomats for accurately reporting an eventual Mao victory in China. Jack Service and his family are at the center of the storm. How are things different today?
1/23/202030 minutes, 56 seconds
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Rohingya Genocide in Myanmar

Shari Villarosa, Chargé in Myanmar, helps us understand why the leader of Myanmar, Aung Sun Suu Kyi, who was once awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, did not stop the genocide of the resident minority group Rohingya.
1/15/202035 minutes, 49 seconds
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Sidebar - Parsing Iran Brinksmanship

Pete quickly parses recent events in Iran for Laura.  (Please note that we recorded this the day before the Ukrainian jet went down).  As international news gets weirder and weirder, Pete and Laura will offer brief breakdowns of events in our new bonus series called The Sidebar, in addition to our usual weekly discussions with diplomats.  Cheers!
1/14/202014 minutes, 31 seconds
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Perils of the Press, in Mexico-US Relations

Why is public diplomacy especially important in Mexico?  Mi casa es su casa, or put another way, we have 35 million US citizens of Mexican heritage, a 2000 mile border, 1 million people going in both directions over the border every day, and billions of dollars in trade annually.  So you'd better get it right.  And what about all those tweets?  Tony Wayne illuminates, and offers the best music Laura thinks we've ever had on the show!
1/8/202025 minutes, 42 seconds
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War and Peace in Trade

How do trade agreements affect regular people?  Tony Wayne, former Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs and US Ambassador to Mexico, breaks down both the recent US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the preceding North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and explains why everything that happens between the US and Mexico is "intermestic," or both international and domestic.
1/1/202032 minutes, 55 seconds
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A Life of Significance

What's so important about devoting your life to service?  What are the rewards?  How have the changing times impacted the work of diplomacy, and how have they not?  One thing never changes:  You have the opportunity to promote and protect and defend the interests of the United States of America.
12/26/201931 minutes, 30 seconds
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Immunity, Reciprocity, Espionage

Why was a stash of Nazi spy payoff money stuffed up Pete's chimney? Why was the Iran hostage crisis of the 70s such a huge aberration of norms?  And why can it be difficult to tell the difference between diplomatic reporting and espionage?  David Stewart is back with more stories.
12/18/201930 minutes, 40 seconds
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Diplomatic Immunity?

Is immunity the same as impunity?  Sadly for some, there are always consequences for a bad act. David Stewart, former State Department attorney, explains the reality.
12/12/201937 minutes, 44 seconds
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When Ambassadorships Are for Sale

Sondland, the Ukraine affair, and what this episode in history teaches us about the risks of appointing ambassadors who donate heavily to presidential campaigns. With Ambassador Dennis Jett, author of the new book titled, American Ambassadors: The Past, Present and Future of America's Diplomats.  
12/5/201928 minutes, 27 seconds
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Thanksgiving with AmDip!

We love Thanksgiving, and our diplomats especially love the holiday when celebrated overseas.  What better way to celebrate an American tradition of thanks than to share it with our friends abroad?  Plus, what's the best way to slaughter a turkey?  Better ask the Uzbeks because the Americans really don't know. Cheers!
11/27/201940 minutes, 3 seconds
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When ISIS Comes Home

They left to join the recruiter-imams' war.  Now they're back home in Kosovo.  How to make these young men peace-loving Kosovars once more?  Greg Delawie explains.  
11/21/201941 minutes, 55 seconds
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Remember the Last Impeachment?

Jim Dobbins, National Security Advisor to Bill Clinton, riffs on what it's like to work for Bill under the cloud of impeachment more than 20 years ago.
11/14/201924 minutes, 16 seconds
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Estonia's Success Story

Mike Polt, who previously shared his experience in Serbia, shares a contrasting tale of successful adaptation to new circumstances in Estonia.  What can we learn from these two tales?
11/7/201922 minutes, 3 seconds
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Diplomacy After the Bombs Have Fallen

Michael Polt shares his perspective on the honored tradition of the State Department dissent channel, and discusses his experience in the former Yugoslavia when he arrived as Ambassador to Serbia in 2003, just after the bombings in Kosovo.  What actually was Yugoslavia, anyway?  How did its dictator Tito's death give rise to Milosevic's era of bloodletting in Serbia? And how did the United States lead diplomatically to restore stability in the region?    
10/30/201927 minutes, 9 seconds
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Heroes of US Diplomacy - Lizzie Slater

Brand new to the job, Lizzie Slater arrives at Embassy Dar es Salaam ready to begin work on embassy communications of every kind. Then the bomb falls. She is buried and seriously injured. But once pulled from the rubble, does she stop working? Many of us would, but Lizzie climbs trees to place satellites and does every task needed to ensure communications between the embassy and the US. 
10/24/201936 minutes, 28 seconds
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Corruption vs. the Ambassador

Ambassador Prudence Bushnell puts Marie Yovanovitch's recent testimony on Capitol Hill in the context of the Certificate of Commission for all Foreign Service Officers, emphasizing the integrity, prudence and ability that are the guiding principle from which all American diplomats work. The message from Pete and Pru to current FSOs: We've got your back.  
10/17/201931 minutes
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Sequoia is a She

The Sequoia: A presidential yacht? A floating icon of American and diplomatic history? A loan gone south? Pete schools Laura on the proper pronoun for a thing of such great beauty (a "she", not an "it") and Mike Cantor does his best to answer our nosey questions about what really went on onboard. https://youtu.be/S1NcM6BW2Jo
10/10/201920 minutes, 37 seconds
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Send Lawyers, Guns and Money

We're in LA right now promoting a TV script we've written, inspired by many of AmDip's greatest stories including this one from an interview with Kate Canavan on the many things that can go wrong in Tijuana. Two air traffic controllers, fired for going on strike, go into (very) private industry. Pete's words: "Breaking Bad, in the skies."
10/1/201923 minutes, 23 seconds
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Love in the Time of Tweet Diplomacy

AMLO, or Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico, takes the long view, and so does the Mexican populace, in the face of insults and other perhaps spontaneous diplomatic communiques conveyed by tweet.  As the 13th largest economy in the world, expected soon to be the eighth, they have big enough plans not to take the bait.   
9/25/201923 minutes, 38 seconds
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Jim Jones (Not the One You're Thinking Of)

This one went to work in the Lyndon Johnson White House at the tender age of 25, became Johnson's Appointments Secretary (a role now called the Chief of Staff) at 28, and later became a congressman and US Ambassador to Mexico.  Do you know how much time Lyndon Johnson spent in his pajamas?  And what do Mexicans really think about their neighbor to the north?  Find out both, in the first of two episodes with Jim Jones.
9/19/201918 minutes, 32 seconds
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We'll Always Have Paris

Communism drives immigration decisions, 1956. Hank Cohen is in love. It's his first tour, and he's in Paris. The Soviets invade Hungary and Hank helps thousands of refugees flee Communist aggression and make new lives in the US. But what about heartthrob megastar Yves Montand, who is an avowed Communist?  How can Hank get him a visa? And about that girl...
9/12/201922 minutes
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Desiree, Encore!

We're refreshing one of our earlier (and best!) episodes from the early days, before anyone had heard of us.  But now you have!  And so we offer you the joy you may have missed, of learning what it is to be black, creole or colored, all words that have been used to describe Desiree Cormier, both here in the US and during her posting in South Africa.  Enjoy!
9/4/201937 minutes, 6 seconds
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Rock On, AmDip!

We love music.  We love it almost as much as we love listening to our friends tell stories about life overseas.  So here's our end-of-summer look back on some of our favorite music in the series.  Enjoy!  Your pals, Pete and Laura
8/29/201931 minutes, 59 seconds
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I'm Goin' to Kathmandu

Larry Dinger regales us with tales of tires on fire, pollution, trekking, and one of the most bizarre episodes in monarchy in the world.  Now Laura wants to join the Foreign Service and all of us want to go to Kathmandu.  
8/21/201928 minutes, 59 seconds
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Freedom for Ethiopian Jews

It's 1991 in Ethiopia. President Mengistu and the rebels are at war. Drought and famine are killing thousands. As Charge d'Affaires in Addis Ababa, Bob Houdek oversees the evacuation of 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel, and why? Because, as Bob explains, "Immigration is one of the fundamental human rights under the UN convention."  
8/12/201930 minutes, 8 seconds
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Think About a Career in Public Service

Bill Burns says it best: "This is exactly the moment when you need to attract the best in our society to lives in public service, whether it's in the State Department, the US military or elsewhere. I am a passionate believer in that." We are, too! Uncle Sam needs you.
8/5/201930 minutes, 41 seconds
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Bill Burns - The Back Channel

Burns shares stories from his engaging new book, The Back Channel.  
8/1/201933 minutes, 52 seconds
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Glamping with the Masters of the Desert

Plus, a few good works. Vicki Huddleston gets around in the Sahara, and even gets the women a place inside the tent. So where did all these terrorists come from? 
7/23/201929 minutes, 5 seconds
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Mali - Most Dangerous Peacekeeping Mission on Earth

Vicki Huddleston, our ambassador in Mali (not to be confused with Bali), helps us understand the Sahel, the Sahara, and their vast range of inhabitants.  Everyone got along so well, so how did this land become what the UN now calls the most dangerous mission on earth?
7/18/201937 minutes, 9 seconds
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Sandinismo 2.0

Now that Ortega is back, how is the revolution going? Nicaraguans are being shot, hauled off and denied medical services, while the president's coffers swell. A how-to kit, on how to steal democracy.  
7/11/201934 minutes, 42 seconds
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Liberation Day, Nicaragua!

We have Independence Day, and for Nicaraguans Liberation Day is just as important.  Celebrated July 19, this is the day the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dynasty in 1979.  But what really is a Sandinista, and what's up with their leader Daniel Ortega now?  Most importantly, how is life today for Nicaraguans?
7/3/201920 minutes, 25 seconds
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Ajani Husbands, Dreadlock Diplomat

Grass to tree roots: Ajani helps us understand how the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott in 1955 impacts lives today in Eritrea and the area that is now South Sudan.
6/27/201931 minutes, 34 seconds
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AIDS - Health Diplomacy

Jimmy Kolker is back to tell us how, as Ambassador to Uganda, he helped stem the spread of this deadly disease and save scores of human lives.  
6/21/201931 minutes, 21 seconds
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12 Days in the Hotseat

How did Tom Shannon end up Secretary of State for 12 days?  How do transitions work, when one president leaves and another takes office?  
6/13/201932 minutes, 22 seconds
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Slip Out the Back, Jack

We revisit Pete's stories about Naples, with a couple of bonuses at the front. Happy summer!
6/6/201935 minutes, 20 seconds
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Money, Money, Money

Social Democracy in Northern Europe, not to be confused with socialism of any stripe.  And what is socialism, anyway?  With Ambassador Jimmy Kolker.  Plus knowledge test:  What fabulous 70s band brought us the name of this episode?
5/30/201939 minutes, 48 seconds
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Bromance? Trump and Brazil's Bolsonaro

Peas in a pod?  Or something much more complex?  As it happens, each country is different, even if each would-be strong man looks much the same.  Join Tom Shannon and Melvin Levitsky for an expert look at a fascinating polity. Part of our "Is It Happening Here?" series.
5/23/201935 minutes, 19 seconds
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What, More Feeley and Brownfield?

Will Cops-in-a-Box keep Fulanita home?  What else do these guys have for us?
5/16/201941 minutes, 24 seconds
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Foreign Service Day

You think of your loved ones first:  Honoring the lives of those who sacrificed theirs in the line of service.  With remarks from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the story of Ambassador Jonathan Addleton.  
5/9/201923 minutes, 18 seconds
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Here I Am, Now What?

What happens when Fulanita arrives? And what is this wall, really? And what do drugs have to do with all of this?  Bill Brownfield and John Feeley, together with Pete, unpack the deets in our second of three episodes on the border.  Plus, a barnyard narco song you do not want to miss.
5/2/201941 minutes, 50 seconds
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Fulanita's Progress, An Immigration Tale

Episode One, in which John Feeley, Bill Brownfield and Pete lay it all out: How and why does Fulanita, our Guatamalan every-gal, end up at the US border with young son Javier, delivered by the cartels' fancy coach service?  
4/25/201934 minutes, 4 seconds
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Plastics

Remember the movie The Graduate?  Fifty-two years on, here's where we are with plastics.  It ain't pretty, but Bob Blake is on the job.
4/18/201926 minutes, 29 seconds
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Quick Bonus ep! Future of the Foreign Service

Miss us? Here's a midweek extra: Ashley Inman, a master's student at Georgetown who will become a US diplomat upon completion of her studies, shares her passion for service and her reasons for joining.  Go, Ashley!
4/16/20194 minutes, 44 seconds
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The Diplomat Environmentalist

The life and (near) death of Indonesia's Palm Oil Pledge, a guy named Anderson and an air pollution monitor in Jakarta.  Bob Blake works with private industry and government to foster lasting change in Indonesia.
4/11/201926 minutes, 39 seconds
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Ever Hear of Ebenezer Bassett?

Me, neither.  Chris Teal, filmmaker, author and diplomat, shares the little-known tale of integrity and courage of the first African American diplomat, appointed 1869, preceding longtime friend Frederick Douglass by 20 years.  
4/4/201945 minutes, 42 seconds
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Immigration Made Simple

Michele Bond parses immigration and solves the whole conundrum. So what's the problem? (Hint: Pete thinks it's us.)
3/27/201932 minutes, 7 seconds
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And How Long Will You Be Staying?

Courtesy, respect, denial (painful, but often true).  Tourist visas to visit the US, with Michele Bond, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs.  Can you guess why Pete is admitted and Laura is not?
3/21/201939 minutes, 36 seconds
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Remember Ron Brown?

In case you don't (say, you were born after 1960), Lauri Fitz-Pegado remembers him for us: his vision, his vim, his leadership, his significance to our participation in the worldwide economy.  With bonus continuing comment from Pete on Venzuela.
3/15/201954 minutes, 21 seconds
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Wonderful, Weird, Incredibly Dangerous Naples

Pete explains "the Neapolitan solution" in this love letter to his first European posting.  Plus, he connects this to gangland diplomacy today.  
3/7/201931 minutes, 30 seconds
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Baby's Got the Bends

You might survive your coca eradication crop duster plane going down, but then the mosquitoes will  get you, which is still better than ripping the crops out of the Colombian earth.  But, says Virginia Bennett, many small people in many small places doing small things can change the world.  Perhaps it does.
2/27/201925 minutes
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Only the Paranoid Survive

Virginia Bennett's security detail made sure no one hurled bricks at her, while the Greek populace contemplated boiling the family bunny for dinner.  Bennett helps us understand what the U.S. did to help average Greek people during their economic disaster of 2011-2014.
2/20/201931 minutes, 29 seconds
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Jeff DeLaurentis Knows a Lot About Cuba

It's hard for an American to make friends in Cuba, circa 1990.   But Jeff DeLaurentis finds a way, and learns that Communists can be complicated.  And what are all of those old cars doing in Havana, anyway?  
2/14/201922 minutes, 4 seconds
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Chavez Gives Pete Four Pinocchios

The Chavez/Maduro kleptocracy in Venezuela masquerades as a people's revolution.  Almost two decades later, millions flee en masse.  Pete was there when it all began and explains why Venezuela is suddenly all over the news.
2/7/201935 minutes, 26 seconds
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Anwar Awlaki and Abrar

Anwar Awlaki destroys, Abrar starves.  Yemen today, with Gerald Feierstein.  
2/2/201929 minutes, 10 seconds
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Hysteria or Reality? China in Panama

What do Teddy Roosevelt, China, and the band Afrodisiaco all have in common?  Panama!  Learn why concerns that Pete once thought were partisan paranoia might be a serious, unrecognized source of concern today.  
1/24/201942 minutes, 40 seconds
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Counterterrorism - The Diplomat's Perspective

Gerald Feierstein, counterterrorism expert for the State Department, helps us understand how violent extremist groups attract young men, and what different nations do to bring them back to the fold, according to local values and customs.  
1/17/201928 minutes, 53 seconds
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More Fun Facts about Trade

Did you know that over 11 million jobs in the U.S. come from exports?  And that they pay U.S. citizens 15-20% more than non-export related jobs?  Dan Crocker debunks our most intrenched myths about trade.  Plus, why does Pete ask if he's a meatball? Learn this and more, workin' at the Car Wash!  (If you weren't alive in the 70s, this song will fill your heart with longing for the decade you missed.)
1/10/201930 minutes, 28 seconds
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Questions, Questions...

Why do we care about diversity in the Foreign Service?  When did you know this job was "the one"?  How do you do your job with so much danger out there these days?  Students visiting the State Department as Cox Fellows have some pretty good questions.  Julie Chung, Stacy Williams and Luis Mendez, plus of course Pete, give their two cents.  Even Laura chimes in, when truly moved.
1/3/201929 minutes, 22 seconds
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College Students Visit State

The American dream is alive and well at the U.S. Department of State.  Stacy Williams, Luis Mendez and Julie Chung share with visiting Cox Fellows inspiring stories of their journeys from where they began to leadership roles in the Foreign Service.  And to keep the inspiration going, music from Funkadelic:  One Nation Under a Groove!
12/27/201827 minutes, 35 seconds
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A Public Servant in the Private Sector

Did you know that 95% of the world's consumers live outside the United States?  As President, Global Public Affairs at UPS, former Economics Officer Laura Lane helps reduce corruption at borders, in turn helping small and midsize businesses prosper, while advancing global rights for women and reducing poverty throughout the world.   
12/20/201818 minutes, 24 seconds
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When You Shouldn't Follow the Rules

Economics Officer Laura Lane served in Rwanda during its period of genocide in the 1990s and learned when you should, and when you should not, follow the rules.  Here is the audio track of her TED talk on the subject, bookended with comments from Pete.
12/14/201823 minutes, 27 seconds
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Secretary of State James Baker Reflects on Bush and Our Times

James Baker, Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush, remembers President Bush and puts today's foreign policy events in perspective as he receives the Walter and Lenore Annenberg Award for Excellence in Diplomacy.  "A golden age for humanity," he calls our times, and recalls a day when "we all sang from the same hymnal, which meant that our allies and our adversaries clearly understood U.S. policy and could not twist differences to their advantage." 
12/6/201821 minutes, 27 seconds
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The Dictator Hit Parade

Ambassador Joe Sullivan has known a lot of dictators.  Who are they?  What are they like?  How do they do it?  "All I want to do is make this a prosperous, democratic country," is a good thing to say to Americans, these charming men have found.  
11/29/201820 minutes, 48 seconds
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President vs. Strongman: No Peace in Angola

Diamonds, Petroleum, widespread human suffering and a decades-long civil war.  Ambassador Joe Sullivan talks about the U.S. role as monitor of the peace and demobilization process: "It was time to choose, and choosing was not between the angel and the devil; we had to chose the less bad option."
11/23/201832 minutes, 53 seconds
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Bonus Chat - Is It Happening Here?

Turkey, Russia, Venezuela:  In what ways is the rise of strongmen in those countries similar and different from what we're seeing in the United States?  What role do press freedom and demonizing adversaries play in the rise of a dictator?  
11/21/20189 minutes, 49 seconds
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The Cult of Jim Jones - Murder-Suicide in Guyana

November 18 is the anniversary of the Jonestown massacre (40th, can you believe it?).  Chuck English walks us through his experience as the first American diplomat to witness the aftermath.  With bonus discussion about Congressman Leo Ryan, an "experiential congressman", whose arrival on the scene immediately preceded the tragedy.  
11/15/201835 minutes, 42 seconds
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How Did Erdogan Do It? - Is it Happening Here?

Populism and religiosity:  Erdogan begins as a reformer, then builds a corrupt government that leads Turkey into economic peril and total political control through a narrative that stokes fear of victimization at the hand of external enemies.  Bob Pearson shows us how Turkey got where it is today in the second part of our discussion with him as part of our series, "Is It Happening Here?"
11/8/201842 minutes, 14 seconds
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Turkey's Erdogan - Is It Happening Here?

Corruption, hostage-taking, and a populace divided over Erdogan's Muslim Brotherhood-style government.  Ambassador Bob Pearson helps us understand Turkey's era of us-vs.-them politics in the newest episode of our series Is It Happening Here?
11/2/201833 minutes, 1 second
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Stove-piped to Death?

Why was the Nairobi attack not prevented?  How was it planned, and why did al-Qaeda choose that embassy?  Ambassador Prudence Bushnell helps us answer these questions and tells how she led in the aftermath, in ways that only a woman can lead.  
10/25/201821 minutes, 5 seconds
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Take Care of Your People: Bombing in Nairobi, 1998

"I could not take away people's pain or anger or injuries or post-traumatic stress,  but I could accompany them."  Ambassador Prudence Bushnell leads the US Embassy in Nairobi through the aftermath of a massive bomb attack on August 7, 1998.  213 people died instantly, 500 were wounded, 750 businesses were blown up.  Says Bushnell, "Take care of your people, the rest will follow."
10/18/201832 minutes, 59 seconds
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Expeditionary Diplomacy is What, Exactly?

Mongolia, Turkmenistan and the Marshall Islands:  What do they all have in common?  Mike Senko opened the first American embassies in each one!  And he lived to tell the tale.  
10/14/201831 minutes, 29 seconds
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Can We Make a Diplomat of Laura? Laura in the Hot Seat

Reporting from fictional Sulandia, a skill that can be developed. Dorothy Mayhew and Michael Gray, diplomats who teach at The Foreign Service Institute, lead the way. Plus bonus info on the life of a State Department cable: What is it? Who writes it and who reads it? What is its impact?
10/4/201826 minutes, 1 second
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Who Knew? Diplomatic Training, Revealed

Are Foreign Service Officers made or born that way?  And what, exactly, is a "demarche"? A tour through basic training, Foreign Service style, with Dorothy Mayhew and Michael Gray.  
9/27/201829 minutes, 16 seconds
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Bouazizi, Arab Spring, SiriusXM and Is It Happening Here?

Pete and Laura's recent appearance on SiriusXM with host Eric Ham, bookended by discussion of the psychology of frustration, even humiliation, that can lead whole populations to support strongmen.
9/20/201823 minutes, 31 seconds
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Tamil Genocide - History Repeats Itself?

Bob Blake offers an alternative to genocide, but his help is refused.  How similar is the tragedy in Sri Lanka to the current crisis in Myanmar?
9/18/201830 minutes, 4 seconds
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Tamil Tigers - The Memory Still Haunts Sri Lanka

Want to go to jail in Sri Lanka today? Just mention the Tamil Tigers in a positive manner and you will be on trial.  That's how upset people still are about the war that ended almost ten years ago.  Bob Blake unpacks this time of terror in Sri Lanka.
9/13/201829 minutes, 6 seconds
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Russia - Is It Happening Here? Putin Consolidates Power

Sandy Vershbow, US Ambassador to Russia 2002-2005, recounts Putin's gradual seizure of power over more and more of the Russian State, leaving ordinary Russians with little, if any, voice in the policies that affect their lives.
9/8/201832 minutes, 15 seconds
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Russia - Is It Happening Here? "He Must Be Like Putin"

Conditions precedent and the rise of populist autocrat Putin, via Sandy Vershbow, US Ambassador to Russia, 2001-2005. Plus bonus Russian hit song "One Like Putin". Your internal soundscape may never be the same. The second country in American Diplomat's series, "Is It Happening Here?"
8/30/201825 minutes, 58 seconds
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Pete Goes Native - Second Part of Pete's Visit with the Indians

Pete visits the Huarani Indians, botches up a boar hunt, drinks the mystery drink chicha, and receives upon his departure a marriage proposal, ambiguously addressed either to himself one of the other fine young gringos.  Follows first episode, titled "Cowboys and Indian at the Embassy."
8/23/201832 minutes, 33 seconds
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Cowboys and Indian at the Embassy

"Embassy death squads?  Sure, I made that up!"  ~ Moi, Huarani Indian and tribal ambassador
8/16/201837 minutes, 56 seconds
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Soybean Laura Goes to Washington

Trade, demystified. And accompanied by a stiff drink. Plus bonus song "Soybeans!"  Shaun Donnelly tells all.
8/9/201830 minutes, 29 seconds
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Venezuela: Is it Happening Here? Chavez Takes Control

Once elected, how does Chavez systematically seize control of the politics and economy of his country, and how does this erode Fulano's choices and way of life?  
8/3/201830 minutes, 24 seconds
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Venezuela: Is It Happening Here?

Brian Naranjo describes life for a middle-class voter during the lead-up to the election of Hugo Chavez, a former coup plotter who becomes the elected dictator of Venezuela.  This is the first episode in a series within American Diplomat titled, "Is it happening here?"
7/27/201834 minutes, 36 seconds
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Is It Happening Here?

Pete and Laura introduce a new series within American Diplomat, in which they talk with diplomats who witnessed the beginning phases of democracy's doom and who can tell the story from the perspective of the individual voter who unwittingly elected a dictator. 
7/19/201811 minutes
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I've Been Kicked Out of Better Countries Than This

A social media battleground for hearts and minds in Venezuela, an American in prison on false charges of espionage and terrorism, and a prison riot.  Brian Naranjo puts his neck way out there to protect Joshua Holt.      
7/12/201826 minutes, 23 seconds
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Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Venezuela today: People are starving and the currency is almost worthless. The government is stealing as much as it can and destroying democratic institutions. The message to American diplomats: Welcome to Venezuela, let me show you the door.
7/5/201829 minutes, 49 seconds
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Send Lawyers, Guns and Money

Two air traffic controllers, fired for going on strike, go into (very) private industry. A naked American, on a balcony and intent on self-destruction, finds safety. More tales of what can go wrong in Tijuana, via Kate Canavan, plus tips on how to make your own travels abroad much safer.
6/28/201823 minutes, 23 seconds
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Who Says America Never Wins Anymore?

We're here to show you how America wins on a grassroots level every single day.  We share with you our interview with Eric Ham on the Midday Briefing, POTUS channel, SiriusXM.  
6/21/201829 minutes, 25 seconds
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Tijuana: What Could Go Wrong?

Assault, conviction, life and death across borders. US Citizen Services, with courage and commitment, helps Americans abroad in every imaginable conundrum. Kate Canavan shares her tales.
6/14/201822 minutes, 10 seconds
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Go With God, Children!

Cherie and John Feeley find a way to care for a child with learning differences in Columbia, a country riven by violence from insurgencies and narco trafficking.  
6/7/201822 minutes, 57 seconds
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Little Elian Gonzalez

Poor Elian!  He's left Cuba with his mom, who has now drowned.  Possibly aided by dolphins, he arrives alone on the shores of Florida, to be made into perhaps the youngest pawn ever to be used in international and domestic policy wars.
6/1/201827 minutes, 29 seconds
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Fidel's Eyes Are Everywhere, and Cuba's Special Period

Surveillance can be good - if you need a potato, just ask. But if you're a Marine, be careful! And what made Cuba's Special Period in Time of Peace so special? Deprivation, starvation and flight. Vicki Huddleston connects the dots and helps us understand our relationship with Cuba today.  
5/25/201836 minutes, 52 seconds
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Fidel and Our Woman in Havana

Vicki Huddleston spars with Castro, as one of the few women in senior roles in the State Department, and one of the only people who actually stood up to the dictator.  
5/18/201822 minutes, 27 seconds
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John Feeley & the FARC: Colombia's Guerilla Revolutionaries

Feeley visits FARC guerrillas and records the group's fantastical vision of world leadership, and upon his return is faced with politicized accusations of negotiating with terrorists.  
5/11/201825 minutes, 21 seconds
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Iran Deal - Wendy Sherman Negotiates

The Iran nuclear deal explained.  What was it, and how did our chief negotiator Wendy Sherman help make it happen?  
5/9/201821 minutes, 40 seconds
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John Feeley - Panama Papers

Feeley's ambassadorship begins with the leak of the Panama Papers, a trove of documents exposing massive international financial fraud.  When the US is accused of orchestrating the leak, what's an ambassador to do?  Video diplomacy is born.  
5/4/201832 minutes, 41 seconds
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Andrew Albertson - Three Explosions in Afghanistan

From an evangelical upbringing, Albertson studies in Kenya and then devotes his life to international development.  He survives three bombs in Afghanistan while working with USAID, and now leads the diplomacy advocacy organization Foreign Policy for America.
4/27/201817 minutes, 12 seconds
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Gina Winstanley, Oman and Saudi Arabia

Do you know where to find a hooker in Oman?  Go to the hospital!  And what happens when your boss nixes your husband's job choice in Saudi Arabia, and you are intent on preserving your marriage?  Reposted from October 2017
4/20/201826 minutes, 22 seconds
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Jonathan Addleton - The Dust of Kandahar

Addleton shares his haunting experience as the only one left standing after a suicide bomber attacks his party while visiting a school in Afghanistan.  Was it worth it?  
4/13/201818 minutes, 3 seconds
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Ajani Husbands - Islamabad and Port Au Prince

In places like Pakistan where governments may not be friendly, cultural diplomacy, a form of "soft power", is power indeed.  And in Haiti, Husbands gains the nickname, "dread la ki te refize m '," or "the dread who refused me."
4/6/201830 minutes, 3 seconds
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Desiree Cormier - Africa and Tijuana

How does diplomacy help stem a public health crisis like Ebola?  And what can a diplomat do (and not do) to help Americans in Mexican prison?
3/22/201829 minutes, 50 seconds
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Desiree Cormier - Creole, Colored or Black?

Cormier, raised in part by her civil rights activist grandfather, identifies as African American, or, black.  So why does everyone in Pretoria tell her she's not black at all, but instead, "colored"?  And how does she persuade our government to stop considering Nelson Mandela a terrorist?  Also hear how she comes to dance to Pata Pata during Barack Obama's state visit.
3/16/201828 minutes, 36 seconds
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Robert Blake - Sri Lanka, Terror Escalates

Secrecy, executions, and human shields in Sri Lanka.  Our diplomats make a difference in thousands of people's lives.  
3/8/201829 minutes, 18 seconds
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Robert Blake - Terror in Sri Lanka

Who are the Tamil Tigers?  Hint: This is no baseball team and they aren't playing ball.
2/28/201828 minutes, 14 seconds
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Pete Romero - Plan Colombia, Part 2

Crisis averted:  Where there might have been massive flight, and/or a narco state, Colombia instead enjoys stability and prosperity amid a new peace agreement.
2/23/201836 minutes, 28 seconds
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Pete Romero - Plan Colombia, Part 1

Cocaleros, paramilitaries, a dirty war and a failing state in Colombia.
2/15/201826 minutes, 29 seconds
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Wendy Sherman - Iran Deal

She wasn't Wendy Sherman or a woman or a Jewish American. She was the United States of America.
2/7/201821 minutes, 10 seconds
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Wendy Sherman - Baltimore to Pyongyang

An unwavering belief in public service propels Wendy Sherman from local activist to international negotiator.  
2/1/201825 minutes, 41 seconds
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Charles Ray - Golf with a Dictator

Putting pedophiles in prison with the help of one of the world's most loathed autocrats.
1/25/201833 minutes, 13 seconds
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Charles Ray - Zimbabwe's Authoritarian

Zimbabwe's elected authoritarian, Robert Mugabe, seen from a human perspective.
1/18/201829 minutes, 29 seconds
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Charles English - Murder-Suicide in Guyana

Charles English, 26 and new to the Foreign Service, is among the first American officials on the scene of the Jonestown massacre in 1978.  
1/11/201832 minutes, 25 seconds
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Mike Senko - Grenades and Guns

Mike Senko describes rocket-propelled grenades exploding outside his office, driving a car at gunpoint, and the reason Foreign Service Officers volunteer to take these risks.  
1/4/201821 minutes, 33 seconds
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Tom Miller - Soldiers Without Weapons

Tom Miller discusses the decapitation of Greece's November 17 terrorist group, and reminds us that life in the Foreign Service can be very dangerous.
12/27/201723 minutes, 39 seconds
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Tom Miller - Drugs and Thugs

Tom Miller assists refugees and reports on the opium and heroin trade in Asia's golden triangle.  A close friend is murdered in retaliation for DEA success.
12/21/201727 minutes, 29 seconds
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Dennis Jett on Lori Berenson and Why He Joined the Foreign Service

Jett explains that many Americans are not aware that other countries' laws apply to them, and shares the personal rewards of a Foreign Service career.  
12/13/201723 minutes, 48 seconds
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Dennis Jett and Liberia's Civil War

Dennis Jett describes three warring factions in Liberia, evacuations and a flotilla of Marines off the African coast.
12/6/201728 minutes, 17 seconds
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Ron Neumann - Vietnam to Afghanistan

From Vietnam to Afghanistan, from infantry to embassy - how were these two wars the same, and how were they different?  How does a military background inform an ambassador's work?
11/28/201728 minutes, 7 seconds
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Lino Gutierrez - Part 2

Service in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Nicaragua, all leading up to plans for US immigration reform that are stopped short by 9/11.
11/22/201724 minutes, 2 seconds
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Lino Gutierrez - Part 1

Lino Gutierrez experiences the Cuban revolution, Columbian "Violencia", and the American struggle for civil rights first hand, all before he is nine years old.
11/14/201723 minutes, 55 seconds
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Tim Carney - Part 2

Says Tim: "Nobody foresaw ISIS.  Nobody foresaw the failure to deal with the chasm between the Sunnis and the Shia.  The personal foreboding was that this can't end well."
11/7/201723 minutes, 32 seconds
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Gina Winstanley - Part 2

Religious police stop Gina and terrorists attack the consulate general in Jeddah.  
10/31/201747 minutes, 52 seconds
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Gina Winstanley - Part 1

Do you know where to find a hooker in Oman?  Go to the hospital!  And what happens when your boss nixes your husband's job choice in Saudi Arabia, and you are intent on preserving your marriage?  Let's ask Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley.   And don't forget to subscribe to the podcast!
10/26/201726 minutes, 9 seconds
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Tim Carney - Part 1

Vietnam, Cambodia, Haiti, South Africa - Tim was part of each country's inflection point; some got better, and some got much worse. Why?  And what happens when Washington muzzles reports from the officers in the field?  
10/26/201724 minutes, 29 seconds