Friends & Foes - A Narrative History Of Diplomacy

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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01Bosnia: Coercive Diplomacy20170213

They grease the cogs of international relations, yet as agents of history they are all too often overlooked. Professor David Rothkopf explores the emergence of coercive diplomacy in the Balkans conflicts between 1991 and 1999, specifically in Bosnia and later Kosovo.

Professor Rothkopf explores what happens when diplomacy fails and the impact of the Srebrenica massacre in 1995. He asks what happens when diplomacy takes a decidedly undiplomatic turn into militarism.

With contributions from Tony Blair, Malcolm Rifkind, Rory Stewart and General Wesley Clark, the programme explores the new diplomatic doctrine that emerged from these conflicts, assessing how the mistakes and achievements that occurred here shaped the diplomatic world of today.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

01Cuban Missile Crisis: The Wrong Lessons20170207

Professor David Rothkopf discovers how White House narratives about the Cuban missile crisis resulted in the wrong lessons for diplomacy.

The Cuban Missile crisis was said to be a textbook example of how strong unwavering leadership can resolve existential crises. But new evidence reveals that the narrative promoted at the time by the White House was flawed. In fact, the Kennedy administration embarked on a strategy of secret diplomacy which involved missile swaps. It also resulted in behind the scenes negotiations including none other than the lawyer James Donovan, featured in the recent Hollywood spy film The Bridge.

In an episode featuring interviews with academics and members of the national security archive, Professor David Rothkopf separates the fact from fiction surrounding this apocalyptic event which brought the world closer than ever before to annihilation. He argues that the real lessons for diplomacy are very different from the ones we have been fed for years.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

01Embassy Spooks20170208

In 1971, 105 Soviet diplomats were expelled from Britain in the biggest ever action taken against Moscow by any Western Government. The diplomats were accused of spying in a notorious example of the frequent blurring of the lines between diplomat and spy.

Professor David Rothkopf hears from George Walden, the foreign office diplomat who spearheaded Operation Foot, the plan to get rid of the diplomats. He examines the diplomatic ramifications of taking actions like this. We also hear from former covert CIA Operative Marti Petersen on what it was like operating in the American embassy in Moscow while playing courier to one of the Cold War's greatest spies.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

01Omnibus - Part 120170210

Professor David Rothkopf speaks to decision makers from Tony Blair to Malcolm Rifkind , and from Zbigniew Brzezinski to General Wes Clark, to chart the rapid and radical transformation of modern diplomacy.

By focussing on seminal events or turning points, Professor Rothkopf discusses how diplomacy has evolved and - in some cases - lastingly changed.

The Cuban Missile crisis, for example, is a familiar story of brinkmanship but we discover how subsequent accounts of that event were manipulated to create a narrative about strong coercive leadership - one which was not only at odds with the facts but which sent out the wrong messages about the conduct of diplomacy. We also hear how dancing with the back of a chair honed the diplomatic skills of one of the 19th century's most prominent foreign ministers, and how hot drinks by a log fire in Norway broke the stalemate in middle east negotiations. A former spy reveals how espionage and diplomacy can be frequent if uncomfortable bedfellows. And finally, we discover how so called twittocracy is replacing conventional etiquette and laying foundations for the invention of a new diplomacy.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

01Omnibus - Part 220170217
01Omnibus - Part 220170217

Professor David Rothkopf speaks to decision makers from Tony Blair to Malcolm Rifkind , and from Zbigniew Brzezinski to General Wes Clark, to chart the rapid and radical transformation of modern diplomacy.

By focussing on seminal events or turning points, Professor Rothkopf discusses how diplomacy has evolved and - in some cases - lastingly changed.

The Cuban Missile crisis, for example, is a familiar story of brinkmanship but we discover how subsequent accounts of that event were manipulated to create a narrative about strong coercive leadership - one which was not only at odds with the facts but which sent out the wrong messages about the conduct of diplomacy. We also hear how dancing with the back of a chair honed the diplomatic skills of one of the 19th century's most prominent foreign ministers, and how hot drinks by a log fire in Norway broke the stalemate in middle east negotiations. A former spy reveals how espionage and diplomacy can be frequent if uncomfortable bedfellows. And finally, we discover how so called twittocracy is replacing conventional etiquette and laying foundations for the invention of a new diplomacy.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

01Public Diplomacy: Talking To The World20170215

Professor David Rothkopf explores how public diplomacy changed in aftermath of the September 11th attacks.

When the Twin Towers collapsed, so too did many of our assumptions about America herself. All that the West held as self-evident about the States - her position as the world's supreme power, her national security, her place as the seat of freedom and democracy - was thrown in doubt.

Professor Rothkopf looks at the resulting sea-change in diplomatic relations and methods. He hears from Tony Blair, soldier-turned-MP Rory Stewart and former US Under Secretary of State Charlotte Beers, among others, to gain a better understanding of where the practice of diplomacy went wrong in the run up to 9/11. He asks what lessons we need to learn from the methods of the past thirty years of diplomatic endeavour - and what new lessons we need to take on board for the future.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

01Sanctions: Carrot Or Stick?20170214

How effective are sanctions in contemporary diplomacy? Professor David Rothkopf investigates.

The recent nuclear agreements in Iran and the democratic opening in Burma were both brought about, at least in part, by using sanctions. And although sanctions have been a diplomatic tool since the 5th century BC, when Athens imposed trade blockades on her neighbours, they were rarely used in the 20th century.

Before the fall of the Berlin wall, there were only two UN sanctions - one imposed against Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1965, and another against South Africa in 1986. But after the end of the Cold War, the use of sanctions revived as a means of curbing human-rights violations, ousting belligerent leaders and limiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Professor Rothkopf hears from Lady Cathy Ashton and former diplomat Robert Cooper, leading negotiators in Iran and Burma respectively, to discover what makes sanctions successful.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

01Taking The Middle East Shuttle20170209

Professor David Rothkopf discovers how the fallout from the Yom Kippur war in 1974 resulted in the development of Henry Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy.

In January 1975, the US Secretary of state Henry Kissinger embarked on an exhausting timetable of talks, shuttling between Egypt and Israel and negotiating a disengagement agreement in the aftermath of the so called Yom Kippur war. This was the first time such a tactic had been used and has since became the hallmark of diplomacy where two sides cannot or will not sit down with each other.

We hear how Kissinger navigated the delicate negotiations, second guessing and often wooing the warring nations leaders into accepting a dramatic result, the like of which had never yet been seen in this most bitter of international disputes.

But, as Professor Rothkopf discovers, shuttle diplomacy can only work in the hands of a deft negotiator.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

01Talking To Terrorists20170216

Can or should you negotiate with insurgent groups? Professor David Rothkopf investigates.

Terrorism is a growing problem for diplomacy. Since it emerged as a political means in the 1970s, there have been constant debates about whether it is appropriate or desirable to engage in negotiations with groups who use violence to further their political causes.

Professor Rothkopf hears from Tony Blair and his chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, about why they decided to open up the peace process in Northern Ireland, leading to the Good Friday agreements. Beyond the case of Northern Ireland, Jonathan Powell believes that one should always engage with one's political opponents. For Tony Blair, groups with religious and otherwordly aims can be more difficult to engage with successfully.

Professor Rothkopf also talks to psychologist and terrorism expert Anne Speckhard on the psychological profiles of terrorists, revealing that many suffer from PTSD and other traumas which are often overlooked. Could thinking of the perpetrators of violence through this lens make us more willing to negotiate with them?

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

01The Revolution Will Be Tweeted20170217

Professor David Rothkopf explores how cyber diplomacy is leading to the emergence of a new diplomatic doctrine.

Digital diplomacy has become an indispensable communication tool for governments. Twitter is now used by heads of state and governments in 173 countries. More than half of the world's foreign ministries are now active on social media. Its use is now part and parcel of any diplomatic training for ambassadors and diplomats.

Professor Rothkopf examines the birth of this new cultural ecosystem, where every individual in planet is connected for the first time in a new frontier which is transforming the way our politics, economics, security and diplomacy are conducted. He speaks with Alec Ross, Hillary Clinton's Senior Advisor for Innovation when she was Secretary of State, and Jane Holl-Lute, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

0101A Potted History20170206

Professor David Rothkopf speaks to decision makers from Tony Blair to Malcolm Rifkind , and from Zbigniew Brzezinski to General Wes Clark, to chart the rapid and radical transformation of modern diplomacy.

At the heart of each episode is one seminal event or turning point, through which Professor Rothkopf discuss how diplomacy has evolved and - in some cases - lastingly changed.

The Cuban Missile crisis, for example, is a familiar story of brinkmanship but we discover how subsequent accounts of that event were manipulated to create a narrative about strong coercive leadership - one which was not only at odds with the facts but which sent out the wrong messages about the conduct of diplomacy. We also hear how dancing with the back of a chair honed the diplomatic skills of one of the 19th century's most prominent foreign ministers, and how hot drinks by a log fire in Norway broke the stalemate in middle east negotiations. A former spy reveals how espionage and diplomacy can be frequent if uncomfortable bedfellows. And finally, we discover how so called twittocracy is replacing conventional etiquette and laying foundations for the invention of a new diplomacy.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

0102Cuban Missile Crisis: The Wrong Lessons20170207

Professor David Rothkopf discovers how White House narratives about the Cuban missile crisis resulted in the wrong lessons for diplomacy.

The Cuban Missile crisis was said to be a textbook example of how strong unwavering leadership can resolve existential crises. But new evidence reveals that the narrative promoted at the time by the White House was flawed. In fact, the Kennedy administration embarked on a strategy of secret diplomacy which involved missile swaps. It also resulted in behind the scenes negotiations including none other than the lawyer James Donovan, featured in the recent Hollywood spy film The Bridge.

In an episode featuring interviews with academics and members of the national security archive, Professor David Rothkopf separates the fact from fiction surrounding this apocalyptic event which brought the world closer than ever before to annihilation. He argues that the real lessons for diplomacy are very different from the ones we have been fed for years.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

0103Embassy Spooks20170208

In 1971, 105 Soviet diplomats were expelled from Britain in the biggest ever action taken against Moscow by any Western Government. The diplomats were accused of spying in a notorious example of the frequent blurring of the lines between diplomat and spy.

Professor David Rothkopf hears from George Walden, the foreign office diplomat who spearheaded Operation Foot, the plan to get rid of the diplomats. He examines the diplomatic ramifications of taking actions like this. We also hear from former covert CIA Operative Marti Petersen on what it was like operating in the American embassy in Moscow while playing courier to one of the Cold War's greatest spies.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

0104Taking The Middle East Shuttle20170209

Professor David Rothkopf discovers how the fallout from the Yom Kippur war in 1974 resulted in the development of Henry Kissinger's shuttle diplomacy.

In January 1975, the US Secretary of state Henry Kissinger embarked on an exhausting timetable of talks, shuttling between Egypt and Israel and negotiating a disengagement agreement in the aftermath of the so called Yom Kippur war. This was the first time such a tactic had been used and has since became the hallmark of diplomacy where two sides cannot or will not sit down with each other.

We hear how Kissinger navigated the delicate negotiations, second guessing and often wooing the warring nations leaders into accepting a dramatic result, the like of which had never yet been seen in this most bitter of international disputes.

But, as Professor Rothkopf discovers, shuttle diplomacy can only work in the hands of a deft negotiator.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

0105Small Nation, Big Diplomacy20170210

Professor David Rothkopf discusses the pivotal role of a small nation in negotiating a landmark Middle East peace agreement - the Oslo accords.

In 1973, a single handshake on the White House lawn between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders marked the end of decades of confrontation and conflict. But this breakthrough was brokered not through superpower intervention but with the help Norway.

Crucially it was done through secret informal communications called 'back channel diplomacy'.

Professor Rothkopf hears from the negotiators about how they brought the two sides together under the cover of an academic conference and how, ultimately, their careful diplomacy resulted in the landmark Oslo accords. But, as he discovers, back channel diplomacy does not always work.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

0106Bosnia: Coercive Diplomacy20170213

They grease the cogs of international relations, yet as agents of history they are all too often overlooked. Professor David Rothkopf explores the emergence of coercive diplomacy in the Balkans conflicts between 1991 and 1999, specifically in Bosnia and later Kosovo.

Professor Rothkopf explores what happens when diplomacy fails and the impact of the Srebrenica massacre in 1995. He asks what happens when diplomacy takes a decidedly undiplomatic turn into militarism.

With contributions from Tony Blair, Malcolm Rifkind, Rory Stewart and General Wesley Clark, the programme explores the new diplomatic doctrine that emerged from these conflicts, assessing how the mistakes and achievements that occurred here shaped the diplomatic world of today.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

0107Sanctions: Carrot Or Stick?20170214

How effective are sanctions in contemporary diplomacy? Professor David Rothkopf investigates.

The recent nuclear agreements in Iran and the democratic opening in Burma were both brought about, at least in part, by using sanctions. And although sanctions have been a diplomatic tool since the 5th century BC, when Athens imposed trade blockades on her neighbours, they were rarely used in the 20th century.

Before the fall of the Berlin wall, there were only two UN sanctions - one imposed against Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1965, and another against South Africa in 1986. But after the end of the Cold War, the use of sanctions revived as a means of curbing human-rights violations, ousting belligerent leaders and limiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Professor Rothkopf hears from Lady Cathy Ashton and former diplomat Robert Cooper, leading negotiators in Iran and Burma respectively, to discover what makes sanctions successful.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.

01OMNI-1Omnibus - Part 120170210

Professor David Rothkopf speaks to decision makers from Tony Blair to Malcolm Rifkind , and from Zbigniew Brzezinski to General Wes Clark, to chart the rapid and radical transformation of modern diplomacy.

By focussing on seminal events or turning points, Professor Rothkopf discusses how diplomacy has evolved and - in some cases - lastingly changed.

The Cuban Missile crisis, for example, is a familiar story of brinkmanship but we discover how subsequent accounts of that event were manipulated to create a narrative about strong coercive leadership - one which was not only at odds with the facts but which sent out the wrong messages about the conduct of diplomacy. We also hear how dancing with the back of a chair honed the diplomatic skills of one of the 19th century's most prominent foreign ministers, and how hot drinks by a log fire in Norway broke the stalemate in middle east negotiations. A former spy reveals how espionage and diplomacy can be frequent if uncomfortable bedfellows. And finally, we discover how so called twittocracy is replacing conventional etiquette and laying foundations for the invention of a new diplomacy.

A Kati Whitaker production for BBC Radio 4.