Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Third diplomatic suspense novel for Adrian de Hoog

Adrian de Hoog, former Canadian diplomat, has just published a new diplomatic suspense novel. 

The novel is called Natalia’s Peace .  It is a story about a confidential diplomatic initiative in The Hague aimed at developing new ideas to advance peace within the framework of today’s security challenges.  It explores the causes of conflict today, such as kinship, belief systems and collective memories and fresh approaches for addressing them.  The substantive ideas are carried forward with a lively plot.
More information is available on the book’s website:
This is  the third de Hoog's diplomatic suspense novel.  The Berlin Assignment (2006) was a spy story set in Berlin just after the Wall came down and unfolded against the backdrop of German reunification.  Borderless Deceit (2007) provided a foretaste of the loss of privacy in today’s digital world and the many challenges posed to the security of cyberspace diplomacy'.
Natalia’s Peace is widely available on Amazon sites in many countries and through numerous on-line retailers. 

DE HOOG Adrian, Natalia's Peace, Adytum Publishing, 2011, pp. 322.
Adrian de Hoog was in the Canadian diplomatic service for 30 years with postings in Nairobi, Bonn and Berlin (as consul general).  He worked in areas such as development assistance, nuclear non-proliferation, the global environment, G-7 and international economic issues, and as head of diplomatic training.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Victor Comras and the Flawed Diplomacy

Victor Comras, former US diplomat, has published a new book: "Flawed Diplomacy: The United Nations and the War on Terrorism" (Potomac Books, November 2010). It provides an insider's look at, and tells the story of the United Nation's efforts to respond to terrorism as a threat to international peace and Security and how these efforts were shaped and sometimes sabotaged by conflicting forces and interest groups inside and outside the United Nations. It also provides some key recommendations for strengthening this international effort.

The book stems, in part, from his own experiences as one of the original five International Monitors charged by the Security Council with reporting on the actions taken by countries to respond to terrorism. It also delves into the history of the UN response to terrorism and provides extensive discussion of the roles played by the Security Council and General Assembly as well as the 1267, 1373 Counter Terrorism Committee, and the 1540 Committees.

The book has particular relevancy as we consider, ten years after 9/11, the progress made, and steps that still need to be taken to deal with the threat of international terrorism.
It is possible to review the Table of Contents and read the introductory chapter of the book on line at

The Washington Institute held a special event to launch the book. They have posted a report of that event (and the audio) at

The book is available through all major and on line bookstores, including, inter alia, at

It is now also available on Kindle at
Victor D. Comras led the State Department's foreign policy trade control and sanctions programs for nearly a decade. He retired from the State Department in 2001 with the permanent rank of Minister Counselor. In May 2002 he was appointed by the UN Secretary General to serve as one of five international monitors charged with overseeing the implementation of Security Council measures against al Qaeda and the Taliban. And, in 2009 he was selected to serve as a member of the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea sanctions. Mr. Comras is a leading expert, author and lecturer on international trade regulation, sanctions, export controls and the global effort to combat terrorism and terrorism financing.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Final words of departing UK Ambassadors

Matthew Parris (and Andrew Bryson) is the author of an interesting and original book titled "Parting shots. The undiplomatic final words of our departing ambassadors" (Penguin, 2010).
The book is a based on a BBC 4 radio series (broadcasted in 2006)  concerning final telegrams UK Diplomats wrote when leaving their country of assignment. They could say whatever they wished in their final telegram home, and they could be very frank about the cultures and countries in which they served. Some of these files were released to the BBC by the Foreign Office under the Freedom of Information Act. The older despatches - those written more than thirty years ago - are from the National Archives in Kew. Some of the text of the dispatches are available online (

Here is a short description of the book provided by the publisher:
"When leaving a foreign posting, Britain's ambassadors were encouraged to write a valedictory despatch until the practice was abolished in 2006. Unlike the usual style of the diplomatic bag, these last reports from foreign posts were unbuttoned, indiscreet and often very funny. There was much settling of scores, some poking fun of foreigners, a degree of moaning about the privations of Embassy life - and sometimes a bit of serious analysis too. Based on a very successful BBC radio series, Matthew Parris, who once worked for the Foreign Office and had the task of distributing the despatches, and Andrew Bryson have compiled an always entertaining and frequently hilarious volume of the best of them."

The book is available in many online libraries. provides the opportunity to read the initial pages

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Career Diplomacy: Life and Work in the US Foreign Service

Harry Kopp and Charles A. Gillespie, former US Diplomats, are the authors of the book Career Diplomacy: Life and Work in the US Foreign Service, which has been just published in its second edition and provides insights into the inner workings of the diplomatic service.
According to Lawrence S. Eagleburger, former Secretary of State the book is “The best description of life in the foreign service—its challenges, dangers, satisfactions, and fun—I have ever seen. It paints a superb picture of life abroad and at home, including both its good and bad aspects, and does a brilliant job of pointing out how our diplomacy must change if it is to meet the tremendous changes and challenges of the twenty-first century.”
The book has four parts: the instruction, the profession, the career, and the future foreign service.
Some excerpts of the volume can be downloaded at the dedicated site
Harry Kopp, Charles A. Gillespie, Career Diplomacy: Life and Work in the US Foreign Service, Georgetown University Press; 2011, pp. 301
The authors
Harry Kopp is a former foreign service officer and consultant in international trade. Kopp was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for international trade policy in the Carter and Reagan administrations. His foreign assignments included Warsaw and Brasília. Kopp left the foreign service in 1985 More information about Mr. Kopp can be found at:
Charles A. Gillespie entered the foreign service in 1965 and retired in 1995. His career included assignments as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs; American ambassador to Grenada, Colombia, and Chile, and Special Assistant to the President on the National Security Council Staff. He was a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Business Council for International Understanding, and the Forum for International Policy. Gillespie passed away March 7, 2008.