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The publication of books on diplomacy as a distinct discipline has increased recently.

Hopefully, it is a trend that will continue.


Robert Dry, a retired FSO, is chairman of AFSA’s Committee on the For-

eign Service Profession and Ethics, and teaches at New York University.


e are witnessing a new

high-water mark in

important works on diplo-

macy not seen since the

early 18th century, when

De la manière de négocier

avec les souverains


the Manner of Negotiating

with Sovereigns”) and


Ambassador and His Functions

, by de François Callière and

Abraham de Wicquefort, respectively, made their appearance.

In arguing this, I adhere to the distinction between works on

diplomacy and those on foreign policy, a distinction often

credited to the eminent diplomatic thinker of the 20th century,

Sir Harold Nicolson.

Granted, the printing presses constantly bring us books and

articles on foreign policy and diplomatic history, including

the many memoirs of diplomats and statesmen, but the high

incidence of works concentrated on diplomacy as a separate

discipline or institution is remarkable, and very welcome.

Hopefully, this trend will continue and lead to a greater under-

standing of the diplomatic instrument of power.

Former Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns, in his

swan song presentation to State Department employees on


A Practitioner’s Guide

to Recent Books



Oct. 23, used the expression “measures short of war,” alluding

to George Kennan’s seminal lecture on preventive diplomacy

on Sept. 16, 1946, at the National War College. Kennan’s lec-

ture remains noteworthy and should be read by every entrant

into the Foreign Service. In many ways, it is a platform to build


While practitioners of diplomacy may possess an intuitive

understanding of “how” their profession works, close study

of the institution of diplomacy can improve the knowledge of

even seasoned practitioners. What I would have given, when

I rst entered the Foreign Service, to have been able to read

former FSO Harry Kopp’s

Career Diplomacy


University Press, 2011); AFSA’s

Inside a U.S. Embassy: Diplo-

macy at Work,

now in its third edition (FS Books, 2011); or any

of the works of former Indian ambassador Kishan Rana of the


Similarly, I would have bene ted from exploring the books

I discuss below, which draw on the legacy of earlier diplomatic

thinkers. Each provides rich context for the e orts performed

daily at diplomatic and consular missions in the eld, or at