I have a fascination (bordering on obsession) with embassies. When I was a freshman at my university, there were quite a few career events with the State Department. I went to all of them and loved hearing about the Foreign Service. I had dinner with a diplomat who was posted to Romania during the overthrow of Ceausescu and listening to his foreign service stories was fascinating. To make a long story short, I would love to be a foreign service officer someday.
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, there have been many attacks on American embassies and consulates in North Africa and the Middle East. The first attack was on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and it left four American diplomats dead, including our ambassador there, J. Christopher Stevens. That happened Tuesday and I’ve been too sad and angry to write ever since. I think there is a lot more to what happened than meets the eye, and the US media is doing a typically sloppy job of reporting. For example, this story from The Independent (a UK publication) says that US officials had advance warning of the attack, but neglected to tell this crucial bit of information to the diplomats in Libya – I have not seen this mentioned in any US media. If that is true, then it is a crime our government should have to answer for.
So, the first link is a tribute to Stevens by one of his friends, Persian writer Roya Hakakian. It’s a beautiful piece of writing, except for the ending, which cuts off rather abruptly.
Nicholas Kralev has an excellent article on Foreign Policy called America’s Other Army. The bottom line is being a diplomat is a lot more dangerous than one might initially think. Mr. Kralev has also written a book (with the same title as the article) that I desperately want to read. Unfortunately, it is inordinately priced and not in ebook form. I believe the book is self-published, so he ought to consider offering it as an ebook.
And finally, an article about how US consulates are more dangerous than war zones.
If you’ve made it to the end of this, congratulations. Enjoy exploring this fabulous little resource from the State Department called “Discover Diplomacy.” It’s wonderful because you can see photos of US embassies around the world. Here’s Moscow.