Raymond F. Smith
I plan to use this page primarily to introduce the articles in the current issue. I am going to digress a bit in this issue, however, since it is my first as editor, to thank my predecessor and introduce myself.
Bea Camp has edited this journal for the past 5 years. During her tenure, she sought out new writers, expanded the journal’s readership, and maintained a consistently high professional standard for the publication. She has also been most helpful to me, giving her time to educating me, responding promptly to my many questions, and promising to continue to do so. American Diplomacy has been fortunate to have her.
I spent about 25 years in the Foreign Service, retiring as a Minister-Counselor. I worked primarily on the Soviet Union and Russia, as well as on Africa. Subsequently, I consulted with the State Department for 10 years on nonproliferation and disarmament matters. My first book, Negotiating with the Soviets, was published while I was still a Foreign Service officer. After retirement, I wrote my second book, The Craft of Political Analysis for Diplomats, as well as a number of articles for international affairs journals, including this one. The highlights of my non-professional retirement activities have been climbing Kilimanjaro and skippering my sailboat across the Atlantic and, after four years in the Mediterranean, bringing it back.
This journal is about the art and practice of diplomacy, particularly American diplomacy. We’ll continue to publish both analytical and personal perspectives on the subject, some illustrative historical articles, and, hopefully, some trenchant commentary on the key issues of the day. When we know a point of view is controversial, we’ll try to present alternate views, or at least point our readers to where such alternate views can be found.
Let’s turn now to the current issue.
Ambassador Robert Blake’s How Climate Diplomacy is a Pillar of Efforts to Address Climate Change reviews both public and private sector efforts on climate change, recounts his own experience working with Secretaries Kerry and Yellen to achieve a significant commitment from Indonesia to limit coal production, and recommends structural and policy changes to enable the State Department to play a more agile role in this area. Our Links section will direct you to a Duke University webinar featuring Ambassador Blake on this subject, and a Duke Today article on the webinar.
In Honoring Diplomats Punished for Doing their Job Well: The Case of George Horton, Ismini and Chris Lamb argue that the State Department should take steps to honor U.S. Consul General Horton, who was the senior U.S. diplomat on site during the events leading to the sacking and burning of Smyrna (now Izmir), Turkey in 1922. Their research has led them to conclude that his reputation was unjustly besmirched both at the time and later. They take serious issue with an article in this journal in 2010 that was highly critical of Horton. A link to the 2010 article is in the Links section.
Mark Wentling, in Coming to Grips with Poverty in Africa, points out that poverty is experienced in a variety of ways, depending on the cultural, climatic, social and other factors in each African country. He says that U.S. and other international assistance efforts, which are falling well short of their goals, need to be tailored more precisely to those factors.
Lisa Rotondo has been working to eliminate neglected tropical diseases, particularly Guinea worm, for more than 20 years. In The Guinea Worm, President Carter and Me, she pays tribute to the support these efforts have received in the public and private sectors, particularly from former President Carter and the Carter Center. While encouraged by the progress that has been made, she believes that continued diplomatic and financial engagement will be required to complete the task.
Our Eyewitness section contains Jonathan Rickert’s encounter with a cartoonist whose “Glasnost” drawing illustrated what Bulgarians thought of the concept in 1987; Renee Earle’s background on the Marshall Center’s 20th anniversary and her own experience working in the building that houses it, the historic Hôtel de Talleyrand; and my own recollection of attempting to uphold U.S. policy in the face of a personal appeal from Shirley Temple.