Last month American Diplomacy included my review of Ambassador James R. Bullington’s Foreign Service Memoir, The Road Less Traveled. The book recounts a career that began with the U.S. military build-up in Vietnam and took the author to Burma, Chad, Benin, and Burundi, where he served as Ambassador, and Niger, where he served from 2001-2006 as Country Director for the Peace Corps. Or, as he likes to call it, ‘Hard core Peace Corps.’
Also tucked away in American Diplomacy’s collection of Foreign Service despatches and reports on U.S. foreign policy was an excerpt from Two Pumps for the Body Man (New Pulp Press 2016). Set in Saudi Arabia, the satire does for American diplomacy what Catch 22 did for military logic:
The enemy in the War on Terror can’t kill us
if our institutions kill us first.
In the excerpt, lead diplomat Vanna Lavinia contemplates the various threats to her career, including ineptitude, obsequiousness, and direct challenges to her authority. Given these impediments to her sanity, Vanna seems to miss the biggest danger of all as she represents the United States on the front line of the War on Terror.