Skip to main content

Applying Diplomacy

April 2017

by William Harrop When I arrived as Chief of Mission to the Republic of Guinea in May 1975, Sekou Touré, the father of “African Socialism”, had been president for 17 years. He had founded a repressive Communist dictatorship. Guinea was … Read more

Duty Calls

April 2017

Chapter 1 of Dead Cow Road – Life on the Front Lines of an International Crisis by Mark Wentling The famine had already killed tens of thousands. The Somali landscape was littered with ragged lumps of human scraps. Death by … Read more

Africa’s Great Hunger Handicap

October 2016

by Mark Wentling The hefty burden of widespread hunger prevents Africa from realizing its full potential. Accepting that good nutrition is the foundation of life and human progress, Africa is clearly falling behind other regions. As long as Africa remains … Read more

Angola Terrorist Report

May 2016

by Robert Baker Until I did my report on the March, 1961 terrorist uprising in Angola, I had done well at my job as an intelligence analyst, especially at the hard slog of scanning thousands of pages of reports to … Read more

Getting Sick in Africa

March 2016

by Bob Baker Malaria was like having a pain X-ray of all your bones, but after a fever bout, shaking chills diverted attention from your aching bones. I had taken all the anti-malaria pills but had evidently bumped into a … Read more

Uganda—and triggered observations

March 2016

by Robert Baker Rajat Neogy declared himself referee and demanded a formal exchange of insults contest between Paul Theroux and me. It was the fag end of a very Scotch evening in Rajat’s cluttered, dusty living room up in the … Read more

Final Tribute to ‘My’ Ambassadors

January 2016

by Mark Wentling What is an embassy? What is an ambassador? ‘Embassy’ and ‘Ambassador’ were practically new words for me in 1967 when I encountered them firsthand in Tegucigalpa. Way back then, I and other members of 8th group new … Read more

A Most Unusual Christmas Feast

December 2015

by Michael Cotter The summer of 1984, my wife Joanne and I headed off for assignments—our first as a tandem couple—to Kinshasa, capital of what was then Zaire and is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. My parents, inveterate … Read more

The Mind of the African Strongman

November 2015

Reviewed by Anthony Quainton Herman J Cohen, The Mind of the African Strongman: Conversations with Dictators, Statesmen, and Father Figures, New Academia Publishing/Vellum, 2015, ISBN-13: 978-098643530, 288 pp. $34.00 (Hardcover), $24.00 (Paperback) In the course of a forty-year career working … Read more

Making Aid Work by Building Strong Institutions

June 2015

 Observations on aid after over four decades of practicing development in Africa by Mark Wentling Abstract All agree that strong institutions are necessary for the achievement of lasting progress. It is widely recognized that strong institutions are essential for nation-building … Read more

Comment On: Edmund DeJarnette

June 2015

Dear Editor, I have just learned that our former colleague Edmund DeJarnette has died. Here is the obituary which appeared last month in the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Ed DeJarnette was one of the most accomplished Africanists in the Foreign Service, … Read more

Visions of Freedom

January 2015

Review by Ambassador (ret.) Herman J. Cohen Visions of Freedom: Havana, Washington, Pretoria, and the Struggle for Southern Africa by Piero Gleijeses University of North Carolina Press, 2013, ISBN-13 978-1469609683, 672 pp., Hardcover $40.00, Amazon hardcover $32.00, Kindle $18.19. The … Read more

The Islamic World Faces Its Future

January 2015

by Benjamin L. Landis It is apparent without further explanation that the world of Islam from the shores of the Atlantic to the extremities of the Indian Ocean is today in tumult. The causes for these chaotic conditions are rooted … Read more

A Disappearance (1977)

October 2014

by Larry LesserJust a few days after I arrived in Rwanda, my secretary Melanie Webb (not her real name) asked to meet with me to discuss a very urgent personal problem — a life-or-death issue involving her boyfriend. I was … Read more

Africa’s Hunger

March 2014

by Mark Wentling  “Cram-cram,” replied Hadjara, when I asked her what she was eating. She and about thirty other women and a dozen children dressed in flimsy black rags were camped by the last water well in a vast barren … Read more

My last years in Africa

February 2014

by Bob BakerMy last years in Africa, 1968-1969, were in Mali, mostly sahel or desert except around the Niger and Senegal rivers. It was called “a hardship post” because of the isolation, heat, diseases, and the local Marxist anti-American dictatorship. … Read more

Political, Economic, and Security Situation in Africa

January 2014

By Thomas Joscelyn, Senior Fellow, Foundation for the Defense of Democracy Reviewed by Renate Z. Coleshill, Foreign Service Officer, retired Thomas Joscelyn testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian … Read more