Room for diplomacy… but not as you know it?

It’s all about showing respect, the US Ambassador to Paraguay says. Well, it certainly wasn’t part of his diplomatic training, but Ambassador James Cason has been tugging at his host nation’s heart strings by releasing an album of local folksongs, sung in the indigenous Guarani language.
He hopes it’ll improve the US’s image there. Not everyone likes his accent, but the album’s selling well, so the risk may be paying off. How much room should there be for diplomacy from the blind side? Ping Pong famously helped defrost US-China relations in the 1970s. But what are your favourite unorthodox diplomatic masterstrokes? What type of things would you really love to see your own country’s diplomats doing to break down barriers

12 Responses to “Room for diplomacy… but not as you know it?”

  1. July 3, 2008 at 12:49

    To kick this off, I’d like to say that British diplomats have a reputation for being quite stuffy and stiff-upper-lip. Engaging in local sports might help ruffle this up – perhaps a game of the Afghan national sport, Buzkashi? It’s a hard-core variant of polo, with with a headless goat for a ball…and Afghans LOVE it!

  2. 2 selena
    July 3, 2008 at 13:08


    Not a real goat, I hope! 🙂 Tell us more.

  3. July 3, 2008 at 13:28

    Yep, sadly a real goat, Selena. It’s not a game for the faint hearted, that’s for certain! If you’ve got the stomach for it, have a look on the web for photos.

  4. 4 Dennis
    July 3, 2008 at 13:44

    @ Danny Aerberhard,

    When this activity happend?

    Diplomacy can take many strange turns.

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  5. 5 1430a
    July 3, 2008 at 13:54

    Well i would love it if my dad(who is a diplomat)to have to go to the office without putting on a tie.!hehehe
    Jokes apart,i would love it if the diplomats of our country could engulf into different sports and Disco Parties.A disco is the last place you expect a diplomat to visit.So what about a Diplomat’s night out at the Disco???:)
    but its not only the diplomats who have to be very perfect,its also their family.An example is my mom who has been for the past 20 years going to almost every reception or Dinner my dad has to attend.now thats called hard work.:)

  6. July 3, 2008 at 14:13

    Hey Danny… What if Mr Ryan Crocker, the American ambassador in Iraq appears on TV cooking Dolma (the most famous Iraqi meal)?! Why not ?! In my opinion it’ll be very nice of him to do so eh ?! :-)… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  7. July 3, 2008 at 14:37

    Hi, Lubna — I hope Mr. Crocker’s a good cook!

    Dennis, as for the buzkashi, I don’t think it’s really happened, so far at least, but I bet it would get a great deal of publicity if it DID.

  8. 8 nelsoni
    July 3, 2008 at 16:27

    How about Iranian and Isreali Diplomats playing a game of Base ball?

  9. 9 Mark from kansas
    July 3, 2008 at 18:36

    What ever it takes. Presidents kid needs a diaper change? Guy short on the soccer team? Third grade needs gym shoes? You’ve never heard (insert favorite artist), I’ll send you the MP3! Diplomates should be creative, and effective where ever they are at, especialy if there are intense relations between the countries. Maybe PR should be part of every diplomats staff, especially if it helps diplomacy.

    I’d watch

  10. 10 Mohammed Ali
    July 3, 2008 at 22:26

    I would like to see the western ambassadors in Liberia wearing vai shirts to work.

  11. July 4, 2008 at 09:52

    @ Mohammed Ali
    Go on, tell us what a vai shirt is!

    @ Nelsoni
    Any particular reason why it’s baseball?

  12. 12 jacksforge
    July 7, 2008 at 01:20

    hi mark just to let you know , most british diplomats have a non consular role which is all about upping the british interests, business wise.
    And in many posting are know for being pretty good drinkers.
    though t hat is not always a good thing.

    the problem could be if the local passtimes are of an unsavoury nature, like the poor guy who was expected to eat the monkey brains out of the monkey while it was alive.
    local customs are fine but sometimes make the goat (HEAD SURELY) Polo look mild.

    The most important thing for a diplomat rather than sporting prowess could be a strong stomach.

    The problem with the creative and overly friendly type is that you can have situations like the one where the Brit diplomat(lower rank) decided to help the locals in their revolution. that was until he remembered that is not in the job description.

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