Friday, December 28, 2007

Robert Cooper and "The Breaking of Nations"

Robert Cooper, The Breaking of Nations. Order and Chaos in the Twenty-first century, Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 2003.

Albeit this is not a most recent publication, it nonetheless deserves to be considered for its sweeping interpretation of today’s global predicament. In this small book of essays Robert Cooper argues that two revolutionary forces are transforming international relations: the breakdown of state control over violence, reflected in the growing ability of tiny private groups to wield weapons of mass destruction, and the rise of a stable, peaceful order in Europe that is not based on either the balance of power or the sovereignty of independent states. In this scheme, the Westphalian system of nation-states and power politics is being undermined on both sides: by a postmodern Europe and a premodern world of failed states and post-imperial chaos. Furthermore, Cooper explores how the West should cope with the encroachment of premodern violence. The American approach to such threats is hegemonic. The European Union, meanwhile, aims to expand outward to absorb threatening societies on its periphery. In Cooper’s view, neither approach is sustainable, and he seeks a synthesis that would allow the United States and Europe to confront threats together over the long haul.

Robert Francis Cooper was a British diplomat until 2002 when he assumed the role of Director-General of the Directorate-General E - External Economic Relations, Politico-Military Affairs at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union.
Born in 1947, he joined the Diplomatic Service of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1970. As a diplomat, he has worked at various British Embassies abroad, notably those in Tokyo and Bonn. At the Foreign Office, he was Head of the Policy Planning Staff from 1989 to 1993. He was the UK’s Special Representative in Afghanistan until mid-2002. Since 2007 he has been a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2004, Cooper was awarded the Orwell Prize for The Breaking of Nations.

(Marco Davi')

Sunday, December 16, 2007

French Diplomat Defarges' s book on geopolitics

The French diplomat Philippe Moreau Defarges has published Introduction à la géopolitique (Collection, Points du Seuil, 2nd ed., 2005). As the title already reveals the aim of the book is to introduce the reader to geopolitical thinking. The author provides clear definitions and historical examples, which demonstrate the importance of geopolitics. Moreau Defarges offers an introduction to the geopolitical dimension of the great international issues such as war, international trade or international organisations. The book outlines the importance of geopolitical reasoning, the close link between spatial and political realities and how the geopolitical reality determines inequalities between states, which cannot be ignored.

Philippe Moreau Defarges, Minister Plenipotentiary, is also the co-director of the RAMSES report at the Institut français des relations internationals (IFRI) and professor at Science-Po. He is the author of several publications on international relations and geopolitical issues. These publications include Relations Internationales, Tome 1: Questions Régionales (Poche, 2003), Relations Internationales, Tome 2: Questions Mondiales (Poche, 2007) and Les Institutions Européennes (Broché, 2005).

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Valija diplomatica – Books published by Spanish Diplomats

Spain has a specific series of books exclusively dedicated to titles published whose author is a Spanish diplomat. The series is called “La valija diplomatica” [diplomatic bag] by Editorial Dossoles of Burgos ( The series is directed by Amb. Alonso Álvarez de Toledo and includes some twenty titles written by different Spanish diplomats.
The books vary form International Affairs (Viaje Real a Grecia by Javier Jiménez-Ugarte) to Memoirs (Episodios de un Diplomático by Jaime de Piniés y Rubio), from Novels (La Cumbre by Jorge Fuentes) to Poetry (Rimas en claro. Primera Antología de Poetas Diplomáticos (s.XX)), from Culture (La Magia del Teatro by Enrique Llovet) to history (Las Depuraciones de la Carrera Diplomática Española
(1931-1980) by José Luis Pérez Ruiz).
This series is published under the auspices of the Association of Spanish Diplomats (ADE) which supports it through specific subscriptions of its members.
More titles of books published by Spanish diplomats are also available on the site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain (Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperacción) at the page:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Book on Peacebuilding by the Italian diplomat Alberto Cutillo

The Italian Diplomat Alberto Cutillo has published an interesting and original book (in English) on Peacebuilding with the title: “Reviewing Fifteen Years of Peacebuilding. Past, Present and Future of International Assistance to Countries Emerging from Conflicts and Italy's Contribution”.
The book traces the evolution of Peacebuilding activities since the early 1990s and sheds light in those areas thatrequire further attention. In spite of the considerable efforts and resources invested in years of practice,Peacebuilding activities throughout the 1990s were undertaken by a multitude of actors in absence of an overall political strategy. The main challenges of Peacebuilding are therefore not due to lack of knowledge or lessons learned;instead, they are due to the failure to produce a commonly agreed doctrine and to translate it into meaningful guidelines on the ground. The book further argues that although progress is being made, the United Nations system and donor agencies have failed thus far to address satisfactorily three main gaps: political leadership,strategic coordination and a comprehensive mechanism.

Note that a Free Online PDF version of the book is available at:

Bibliographic data:
Cutillo Alberto, Reviewing Fifteen Years of Peacebuilding.Past, Present and Future of International Assistance toCountries Emerging from Conflicts and Italy's Contribution,Universita' di Trento, Scuola di Studi Internazionali,Working Paper 01/2007, Trento, 2007, pp.139

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The European Union and the Western Balkans

Luca Gori, Italian diplomat, is the author of a book on the European Union policies towards the Western Balkans countries in the years 1996 - 2007. Gori who has served at the Italian EU mission in Bruxelles analizes the action taken by the Union and its efforts to integrate the region in the European framework. A very interesting book for anyone who also wants to understand the current situation.

The book is available at:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Book on French Diplomat Paul Morand

A young Italian diplomat, Cesare Bieller, has recently published a book (in Italian) on the famous French Diplomat Paul Morand.

Paul Morand ( 1888 - 1976) was a French diplomat who excelled in writing novels. His books were noted in the Twenties for their elegant and concise narrative style, and for the author's insightful observations of the many countries he visited. Morand's reputation has been marred by his political stance during the Second War War, when he collaborated with the Vichy Regime. After the war he lived in exile in Switzerland and wrote more profound texts.

Paul Morand's books, be they his travel narratives or his moralistic works, are extraordinarily relevant today. Cesare Bieller reveals to us a few of the many facets of this modern and contradictory writer who loved Italy so much that he named his Memoirs, "Venices". It is a journey into the universe of a writer who, although misunderstood during his lifetime, remains compelling to this day.

Here are the bibliographic data:
Bieller Cesare, Paul Morand. Giorno e notte, Liaison editrice, Courmayeur, 2007, pp.79.
The book is available at

Monday, November 05, 2007

Intercultural Communication between Greeks and Italiana

Fabrizio Lobasso, Italian diplomat and former Consul in Athens, is the author with two researchers from University Ca' Foscari of Venice of an interesting book on intercultural communication between Italians and Greeks.

The book is addressed to professionals working in the fields of business, tourism and culture.

The project has been financed by the Italian Foreign Ministry.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Book on Asian Diplomacy by Kishan Rana

The last book published by a former Indian diplomat, Kishan Rana, is titled "Asian diplomacies. The foreign ministries of China, Japan, Singapore & Thailand" (Diplo, 2007, pp.246).
The book contains information and unique data on the structures, operation and the working style of the foreign ministries of the five key countries in Asia, mentioned in the title. The book offers a comparative examination of the performance of these foreign ministries together with new insight into the countries covered, as also for its examination of the cultural dimension of the diplomatic process.
A brief quote from the Introduction: "World Affairs are more fluid than before and therefore demand greater attention. Diplomacy is globalised. One consequence is that almost all foreign ministries are reorganizing themselves, and fine tuning their diplomatic machinery to deliver improved performance. Such MFA adaptation-transformation-reform is a recurring theme in this study."
Further information on the book and order form for the book are available at the page

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Storie diplomatiche brevi e leggere di Ranieri Tallarigo

Segnalo la recente pubblicazione delle memorie dell'Ambasciatore Ranieri TALLARIGO, Storie Diplomatiche, (pagg 112, euro 12) edito dalla casa editrice Rubbettino nell'ambito della collana Studi diplomatici. Una carrellata di ricordi, non sempre legati a grandi avvenimenti, che narrano la vita di un diplomatico.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

F. Springer: Dutch diplomat and writer

The Dutch Diplomat Carel Jan Schneider has published several novels under the pseudonym of F. Springer. He has been posted in New Guinea, New York, Bangkok, Brussels, Dhaka and Tehran. He was the Netherlands ambassador to Angola and the former GDR

He was born in 1932 in Batavia (today Jakarta) in the former Dutch East Indies.

His stories are often located in places where he has served. This is the case, for example, of Teheran, een zwanezang (Teheran, A Swan Song, 1991), considered as one of his best novels.

His book Bougainville, which has been translated in many languages, is the story of a diplomat confronted with the psychological effects of his old friend's death. The bookhas received the Ferdinand Bordewijk award in 1982. He has also received the Constantijn Huygens award for his entire work in 1995

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Where diplomacy meets art

Ugo Colombo Sacco di Albiano, an Italian diplomat, has published an interesting and original book on the history of the buildings that have housed the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Using the words of the author "For the first time, this book presents to the eyes of the general public the interiors of the state receptions rooms in the successive historical buildings of the mother house of Italian diplomacy: Palazzo delle Segreterie di Stato in Turin; Palazzo Vecchio in Florence; Palazzo della Consulta, Palazzo Chigi, the Farnesina, and Villa Madama in Rome."

The book is in Italian, but an illustrated brochure of the book in English can be consulted here.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Discorso ai volontari diplomatici del 1932

Come era la carriera diplomatica negli anni trenta? E quali erano le aspettative del Capo del governo nei confronti dei giovani diplomatici? Leggendo il discorso pronunciato da Benito Mussolini, Capo del Governo, ai volontari diplomatici del 1932, si notera' che molti dei principi sono validi ancora oggi.