Diplomatic Casualties

The morning of December 6, 2004, five heavily armed terrorists stormed the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I remember loud pops from the AK-47s and the muffled thud of improvised explosive devices; I remember hours hunkered under a desk and a scramble for protection when the Marine called “Gas!; I remember crouching through our … Continue reading Diplomatic Casualties

Chain Your Muse

I heard this gem last week, sound advice to anyone who bleeds ink: I keep my muse on a chain. And when I get 20 minutes I yank on the chain and say, 'C'mon, muse.' The man with the chain is Matthew Palmer, novelist and Foreign Service Officer, speaking at the American Foreign Service Association … Continue reading Chain Your Muse

Murder and the Father of American Diplomacy

We all know Ben Franklin as one of the nation's earliest Renaissance Men: scientist, printer, writer, businessman, scholar, politician, diplomat. Fireman. In David R. Andresen's short mystery Murder in a Blue Moon Ben takes a break from his more gentlemanly pursuits, such as chess, to solve a serial murder in Philadelphia. It's fall of 1752, the American Experiment … Continue reading Murder and the Father of American Diplomacy

Foreign Service Blogs (II)

Discovering more blogs kept by Foreign Service Officers, old and new, from DC to Bucharest, from cat-lovers to chess masters. Cross Words Among the most interesting aspects of this blog is the lack of a lapel pin declaring the author a Foreign Service Officer. Instead we see a chess enthusiast and writer of fantasy and science fiction. Currently … Continue reading Foreign Service Blogs (II)

Foreign Service Readings

Continuing a short list of blogs and independent websites offering an insider's view of U.S. diplomacy steeped in experience. Not  officialdom. I previously posted this Foreign Service blog list. https://diplopundit.net Opinionated and often edgy, DiploPundit has no official connection to the U.S. Department of State. It wades into leadership issues, Foreign Service realities, international current events, and other developments in the … Continue reading Foreign Service Readings

The Foreign Service v Zach Galifianakis

The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) included this discussion of  Two Pumps for the Body Man in their new Digital Exclusives series. Unlike the great Between Two Ferns, the AFSA studio had only one bamboo to offer. Lean budget times, I guess. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9x6SVKdYqg AFSA writes: Foreign Service Officer Ben East brings to the table a satirical … Continue reading The Foreign Service v Zach Galifianakis

December 06, 2004

Remembering those we lost. Remembering those who survived. Remembering this awful day and its  protracted aftermath. It's the aftermath that sticks most. The long period that stretched through weeks when our broken mission pulled itself together again. We pulled ourselves up from piles of ash and dust; from the pulverized concrete and glass shattered by bullets fired … Continue reading December 06, 2004

Avery Dick Disappoints

I had high hopes for the Avery Dick series. Diplomatic Security (DS) Agents have some of the most colorful stories in the Foreign Service trade. They walk like cops. They talk like cops. They’re security professionals steeped the gritty detail of protective service. Their beat is peculiar: sniff out bombs and throw up barricades; investigate … Continue reading Avery Dick Disappoints

Not Graham Greene

Amazon asked me if my novel, Two Pumps for the Body Man, met my expectations. "Well, the author's no Graham Greene," I say. "Please send me some of that." Why should I (or anyone) read a story about a foot-fetishist diplomat doing time in Saudi Arabia when I (or anyone) could be reading about a vacuum cleaner salesman making bank in Cuba? But then … Continue reading Not Graham Greene

Cover Story

To my colleagues in the foreign affairs community, known and unknown, I regret that the artwork of my novel about your service has misrepresented the truth. “BOO-ring," LousyBookCoversDotCom hooted. "Showing you just how dramatic diplomacy can be.” What an insult my cover must seem to those of us who serve our country. What an insult to those who've worked in … Continue reading Cover Story