What does it take to be a successful diplomat? How does one best "train" or prepare for this type of work? And how, if at all, does the art of diplomacy differ from how it was, say, twenty or thirty years ago? A recent change of leadership at the U.S. State Department --- in the wake of last year's deadly attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens as well as three other Americans --- has reminded us, once again, of the serious challenges now facing the U.S. Foreign Service.
How will U.S. relations with Afghanistan and Pakistan change once NATO forces start withdrawing from Afghanistan in 2014? It's a question (or a pair of questions) that's been widely discussed, and widely debated, of late. But what about, moreover, our relations with the so-called "stans" of Central Asia --- namely, the five republics of the former Soviet Union: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. On this installment of ST, we welcome Dr. Charles E. Ziegler, Professor of Political Science and Distinguished University Scholar at the University of Louisville.
On this installment of ST, we welcome Dr. Elizabeth Colton, who's still pursuing an active, long-running, and wide-ranging career in diplomacy, journalism, foreign-relations scholarship, and U.S. and international politics and education. Such work has taken her to more than 100 countries; she's taught and/or delivered lectures on six different continents. Last night, Dr. Colton addressed to the Tulsa Committee on Foreign Relations on the topic of "Foreign Policy Challenges for the New Administration" --- which will be, of course, in this case a second Obama Administration. Dr.
In this age of instant worldwide cell-phone communication, pervasive and incessant Internet connectivity, and 24-7 airline transport, geographical borders and topographical boundaries don't really hold us back anymore. People with the appropriate financial and legal ways and means can basically go wherever their passports might lead them, and those who blog about revolution or social change in one country might well help to trigger the downfall of a government in another country. So, does the old notion or subject (or field of study, for that matter) called geography still matter today?
On this installment of our show, which originally aired earlier this year, we speak with the author and journalist Mei-Ling Hopgood, formerly of Buenos Aires, now living and working (and parenting) in the American Midwest. Hopgood's new book is called "How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting (from Argentina to Tanzania and Everywhere in Between)." It's an engrossing and accessible book about what we as Americans can learn from how other cultures approach the challenges all parents confront: bedtimes, potty training, feeding, play dates, teaching, and so forth.
On this edition of ST, we speak with Dr. Robert H. Donaldson, the Trustees Professor of Political Science here at the University of Tulsa; he's also a former President of TU. Dr. Donaldson is a leading expert on Russian and Soviet politics and policies; he joins us to discuss the contemporary state of US-Russian relations.