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Our Philosophy

Let’s face it:  diplomacy is boring.  Even the word is unexciting.  It brings to mind images of striped pants, tortured doublespeak, tedious people, and unbelievably dull cocktail parties.  Diplomacy not only makes people yawn, it often puts them to sleep.  It’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of words like sexy or fun.  And then there’s that whole Beavis-and Butthead “heh heh heh he said dip” issue.

Think about it:  how many really good films have been made about foreign policy?  No, Lawrence of Arabia and other war movies don’t count; neither do Goldfinger and other spy flicks.  I can think of only two where diplomats are characters (Notorious and Roman Holiday), but none where diplomacy is central to the plot — unless you count Ingrid Bergman’s decision in Casablanca to leave Humphrey Bogart to become First Lady of Czechoslovakia, and that’s really stretching things.

HBO isn’t looking at a pilot called Diplomacy in the City, and Disney isn’t going to produce a movie called Foreign Service Institute Musical.  Even The West Wing almost never covered diplomacy — except in that really bad episode where a cranky Hal Holbrook yammers the whole time and drives Martin Sheen nuts.  Blizzard won’t be making World of Diplomacy anytime soon.  And I don’t think Green Day, Michael Franti, or Li’l Wayne are lining up to sing/rap about NAFTA or the OECD.  Okay, maybe Billy Bragg.

Yet few things are as important as how the United States relates to the world.  It affects everything:  our jobs, our families, our taxes, and our freedoms.  Not a day goes by where every single one of us isn’t affected by foreign policy — and by how our government conducts it.

Think I’m wrong?  Have you filled up the tank or bought food lately?  Prices don’t just go up randomly — they’re usually the product of decisions made by our government or other governments.  And then there’s that whole Iraq thing…and Afghanistan…and climate change…among numerous other global challenges.  As the Bush Administration so ineptly and unartfully demonstrated, the United States can’t solve the world’s problems on its own.  What happens around the world affects all of us, and what happens here affects the rest of the world.

Here at Undiplomatic, we believe that talking about foreign policy doesn’t have to be painfully dull.  In fact, we think we can make diplomacy sexy.  Maybe not George Clooney-Angelina Jolie sexy, but we’re going to try our best anyway.  And when we cover the world,  we won’t sound like that teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

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  1. 1 On August 7th, 2008, Digger said:

    There was that attempt at a series, American Embassy, back in 2002. It lasted for one episode, maybe two.

    But lest you lose hope, there are some, this rowdy lesbian among them, trying to make it more interesting!

    I’ll be reading your blog, and adding a link to my blogroll.

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