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Raymond F. Smith


The opening article in this issue’s Commentary section describes a Soviet deputy foreign minister “gifting” the Brezhnev doctrine to then-US ambassador Jack Matlock during Christmas season, 1989. Matlock describes the Brezhnev doctrine and then details how the US “accepted” it, rechristened it the Liberal World Order, and made it the basis for a hubristic and overly militarized foreign policy in the decades since the end of the Cold War. The two articles that follow offer complementary views on the propaganda/disinformation efforts that emanated from Moscow during both the Soviet and post-Soviet eras. John Katzka offers the perspective of someone who dealt with these matters while serving in Moscow. Todd Leventhal dealt extensively in Washington with US efforts to counter Soviet disinformation programs. Both authors see major elements of continuity and also note the new opportunities afforded to disinformation efforts by the technological changes of the last decades. W. Robert Pearson recounts the Turkish economic crisis of 2001 from the perspective of the US ambassador in place. His efforts to engage the US government and the International Monetary Fund were ultimately successful and led to a robust recovery. Looking at current developments, he concludes that political and economic developments leave the prospects for future US-Turkish economic cooperation uncertain. Finally, we have somewhat, but only somewhat, tongue-in-cheek advice to the current generation on how to approach their diplomatic careers from Polonius, a retired US ambassador who describes himself as old-school.

Our Eyewitness section contains Jonathan Rickert’s explanation of how an ambassador is credentialed, highlighted by his eyewitness description of the Romanian ambassador’s presentation of credentials to President Clinton in the White House oval office.

We are highlighting in this issue’s Archives section two articles we have published on Henry Kissinger, a statesman of extraordinary influence whose legacy will be debated for years to come.

In Moments in Diplomatic History, we offer a then-junior officer’s personal account of the first months after Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba, as embassy personnel gradually became convinced that a productive relationship with the new regime would not be possible, and Phil Wilcox’ recollections of the first Palestinian Intifada in 1987 and the US policy response.

I have provided Links to a fairly conventional, center of the road analysis of the US role in world affairs, a controversial, broad-level critique of decades of US foreign policy from an Indian international affairs commentator and the State Department announcement of a new program to counter foreign information manipulation.

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