The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 36

history of Adams and Louverture also demonstrates the power of
individual leaders during key moments in history.
“John Adams’ presidency and Saint Domingue’s revolution-
ary regime rarely get the attention they deserve in explaining
the acquisition of Louisiana and shifts in the slavery debates in
the United States,” says historian Nancy Isenberg, adding that
Johnson’s book is “a fascinating and original study of diplomacy
across the color line.”
Ronald Angelo Johnson is an assistant professor of history at
Texas State University. He has served as a U.S. diplomat in Gabon
and Luxembourg, and has worked as an analyst at the Central
Intelligence Agency. He is also associate minister at Mount Olive
Baptist Church in Austin, Texas.
Talking to Strangers: The Struggle
to Rebuild Iraq’s Foreign Ministry
Ghassan Muhsin Hussein and David
Dunford, Southwestern College Academic
Press, 2013, $18.95/paperback,
$12/Kindle, 212 pages.
The existential threat posed by the Islamic
State group underscores just how far Iraq
still has to go to recover from the 2003
U.S. invasion. Against that backdrop,
Talking to Strangers: The
Struggle to Rebuild Iraq’s Foreign Ministry
has only become more
prescient in the year since its publication.
The task on which Iraqi Ambassador Ghassan Muhsin Hus-
sein (no relation to Saddam Hussein) and retired U.S. Ambas-
sador David Dunford collaborated after the American military
victory was daunting but relatively straightforward, at least on
paper: reconstituting the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, essentially from
scratch. Working under the aegis of the U.S. Office of Recon-
struction and Humanitarian Assistance, the pair initially made
considerable progress at professionalizing Iraqi diplomacy.
But then ORHA made the colossally shortsighted decision
to bar all senior members of the Baath Party from holding any
position within the Iraqi government. Amb. Hussein, who had
spurned enticements to join the ruling party, retained his post,
but the directive quickly stripped the foreign ministry and other
Iraqi offices of their most experienced civil servants, with dire
consequences for the society’s stability.
Talking to Strangers
in the March
, Jack Binns
hails the book as “a most valuable addition to the literature
about working-level diplomacy and governance.”
Ambassador Ghassan Muhsin Hussein is a retired Iraqi career
diplomat and artist. Ambassador David Dunford, an adjunct
instructor at the University of Arizona’s School of Government
and Public Policy, retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 1995
after a distinguished career. He worked for the Coalition Provi-
sional Authority in Baghdad from April to June 2003.
Counterinsurgency in Eastern
Afghanistan, 2004-2008:
A Civilian Perspective
Robert Kemp, Vellum/New Academia,
2014, $26/paperback; $9.99/ebook,
246 pages.
In this authoritative overview, Rob-
ert Kemp looks at the U.S. and allied
engagement in Afghanistan following
the 2001 ouster of the Taliban. Drawing on his experience on
the ground, Kemp gives a firsthand, unfiltered view of how U.S.
military and civilian officers coped with a confusing, constantly
changing situation. He analyzes the policies and practices the
allies developed while learning to work with the Afghans—and
each other—and offers lessons learned.
Kemp also looks at the insurgency—how it gained momen-
tum beginning in 2005, turning into a multifaceted challenge
involving groups such as the Taliban, the Haqqani network and
al-Qaida. He describes the complexities of the border with Paki-
stan, tribal and ethnic relations, poppy and opium production,
corruption and how the army and police developed.
The book is “a must-read for all those following develop-
ments in Afghanistan since 2001,” says Arturo Muñoz of the Rand
Corporation. “It succeeds both as thoughtful analysis and as a
practical guide for military and civilian personnel in the field.”
With a foreword by Ambassador Ronald E. Neumann,
Counterinsurgency in Eastern Afghanistan, 2004-2008: A Civilian
is part of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and
Training’s Memoirs and Occasional Papers series.
FSO Robert Kemp served in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2005,
from 2007 to 2008 and for two shorter assignments. He was
deputy director of the Pakistan desk in Washington, D.C., and
also completed several short-term assignments in Pakistan. He
has also served in China, the Philippines, Belgium, Bolivia and
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