Catalogue


Talking to strangers : improving American diplomacy at home and abroad /
Monteagle Stearns.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1996.
description
xxv, 201 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0691011303
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1996.
isbn
0691011303
general note
"Twentieth Century Fund book."
catalogue key
1669707
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 179-192) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"It would be hard for me to overstate my opinion of the book. It is, at least to my knowledge, the best work on this subject ever written by an American, and should become a standard treatment of the subject, particularly for students of the structure of international relations."-- George Kennan, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study "We watched Monty Stearns talk to strangers during some difficult days in Greece, and we know how good he is at doing what a diplomat is really supposed to do. This book serves both as a how-to for others who would engage in the task and as an explanation to the rest of us of how a comprehensive foreign policy should work. Talk about timely!"-- Cokie Roberts, ABC News and National Public Radio , and Steven V. Roberts, U.S. News and World Report
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1996-09-01:
A career diplomat and ambassador, Stearns presents a powerful and persuasive analysis of the historical weaknesses of US foreign policy making, policy administration, and foreign intelligence. He argues that US foreign policy makers do not need a new doctrine but a new attitude toward international relations and new ways of learning from the Foreign Service. The book shows what must change if the US, with reduced military and material resources, is to maintain its status as a major power in a world confronted with unprecedented problems. The introductory chapter discusses how traditional European diplomacy evolved, describes certain features of the US approach to diplomacy, and analyzes changes in the international environment that affect the diplomatic methods of all states. The next three chapters ("The Diplomacy of Reason," "The Diplomacy of Doctrine," and "The Diplomacy of Process") treat historic phases of American diplomacy that embody distinguishing characteristics. The latter compares the performance of the US Foreign Service with that of leading European powers. The next four chapters take up the core skills of diplomacy, representation, management, communication, and negotiation. Stearns examines how well US diplomats have mastered those skills, how productively they use them, and how they fit into the policy-making process. The final two chapters provide conclusions and recommendations designed to make US diplomacy a more effective instrument of foreign policy. This book is certain to become a standard for critics and supporters of an independent Foreign Service. General; upper-division undergraduates through faculty. R. M. Bigler University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Appeared in Library Journal on 1996-01:
How the United States conducts its foreign policy has been the subject of scores of volumes, some written by historians, others by political scientists, but few by practitioners below the level of Secretary of State. Stearns, who sports a résumé as long as his arm as a diplomat and ambassador to places as diverse as the Ivory Coast and Greece, provides an insider's account of the "practice" of diplomacy-the point where policies from Washington are implemented locally. Stearns traces the history of American diplomacy from the days of Franklin and Jefferson but spends most of his time with the past 50 years. He examines the effects of the 1924 Rogers and 1980 Foreign Service acts on the roles and responsibilities of foreign service officers. This is not a long book, but between its covers the author imparts a great deal of wisdom. For general collections.-Edward Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An engaging and delightfully written plea for restoring the role of the professional diplomat in American foreign policy."-- Foreign Affairs
"Mr. Stearns has given us a thoughtful study of the foreign service, its role in diplomacy and how it may have to operate in the future. Written in admirably lucid prose, it will be of interest to everyone concerned with foreign affairs."-- Sol Schindler, The Washington Times
"[P]rovides an insider's account of the 'practice' of diplomacy--the point where policies from Washington are implemented locally. . . . This is not a long book, but between its covers the author imparts a great deal of wisdom."-- Library Journal
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, January 1996
Choice, September 1996
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
"It would be hard for me to overstate my opinion of the book. It is, at least to my knowledge, the best work on this subject ever written by an American, and should become a standard treatment of the subject, particularly for students of the structure of international relations."--George Kennan, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study "We watched Monty Stearns talk to strangers during some difficult days in Greece, and we know how good he is at doing what a diplomat is really supposed to do. This book serves both as a how-to for others who would engage in the task and as an explanation to the rest of us of how a comprehensive foreign policy should work. Talk about timely!"--Cokie Roberts, ABC News and National Public Radio, and Steven V. Roberts, U.S. News and World Report
Unpaid Annotation
In this discerning book, Monteagle Stearns, a former career diplomat and ambassador, argues that U.S. foreign policymakers do not need a new doctrine, as some commentators have suggested, but rather a new attitude toward international affairs and, most especially, new ways of learning from the Foreign Service. True, the word strangers in his title refers to foreigners. However, it also refers to American foreign policymakers and American diplomats, whose failure to "speak each other's language" deprives American foreign policy of realism and coherence. In a world where regions have become more important than blocs, and ethnic and transnational problems more important than superpower rivalries, American foreign policy must be better informed if it is to be more effective. The insights required will come not from summit meetings or television specials but from the firsthand observations of trained Foreign Service officers. Stearns has not written an apologia for the American Foreign Service, however. Indeed, his criticism of many of its weaknesses is biting. Ranging from a description of Benjamin Franklin's mission to France to an analysis of the Gulf War and its aftermath, he offers a balanced critique of how American diplomacy developed in reaction to European models and how it needs to be changed to satisfy the demands of the twenty-first century.
Main Description
In this discerning book, Monteagle Stearns, a former career diplomat and ambassador, argues that U.S. foreign policymakers do not need a new doctrine, as some commentators have suggested, but rather a new attitude toward international affairs and, most especially, new ways of learning from the Foreign Service. True, the word strangers in his title refers to foreigners. However, it also refers to American foreign policymakers and American diplomats, whose failure to "speak each other's language" deprives American foreign policy of realism and coherence. In a world where regions have become more important than blocs, and ethnic and transnational problems more important than superpower rivalries, American foreign policy must be better informed if it is to be more effective. The insights required will come not from summit meetings or television specials but from the firsthand observations of trained Foreign Service officers. Stearns has not written an apologia for the American Foreign Service, however. Indeed, his criticism of many of its weaknesses is biting. Ranging from a description of Benjamin Franklin's mission to France to an analysis of the Gulf War and its aftermath, he offers a balanced critique of how American diplomacy developed in reaction to European models and how it needs to be changed to satisfy the demands of the twenty-first century. Full of examples drawn from Stearns's extensive experience, Talking to Strangers addresses the problems that arise not only from an overly politicized foreign policy process but also from excessive bureaucratization and lack of leadership in the Foreign Service itself. Anyone interested in our nation's future will benefit from reading Stearns's pull-no-punches analysis of why improving American diplomacy should be a matter of urgent concern to us all.
Main Description
In this discerning book, Monteagle Stearns, a former career diplomat and ambassador, argues that U.S. foreign policymakers do not need a new doctrine, as some commentators have suggested, but rather a new attitude toward international affairs and, most especially, new ways of learning from the Foreign Service. True, the wordstrangersin his title refers to foreigners. However, it also refers to American foreign policymakers and American diplomats, whose failure to "speak each other's language" deprives American foreign policy of realism and coherence. In a world where regions have become more important than blocs, and ethnic and transnational problems more important than superpower rivalries, American foreign policy must be better informed if it is to be more effective. The insights required will come not from summit meetings or television specials but from the firsthand observations of trained Foreign Service officers. Stearns has not written an apologia for the American Foreign Service, however. Indeed, his criticism of many of its weaknesses is biting. Ranging from a description of Benjamin Franklin's mission to France to an analysis of the Gulf War and its aftermath, he offers a balanced critique of how American diplomacy developed in reaction to European models and how it needs to be changed to satisfy the demands of the twenty-first century. Full of examples drawn from Stearns's extensive experience,Talking to Strangersaddresses the problems that arise not only from an overly politicized foreign policy process but also from excessive bureaucratization and lack of leadership in the Foreign Service itself. Anyone interested in our nation's future will benefit from reading Stearns's pull-no-punches analysis of why improving American diplomacy should be a matter of urgent concern to us all.
Table of Contents
Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
The New Frontiers of American Diplomacyp. 3
The Diplomacy of Reasonp. 20
The Diplomacy of Doctrinep. 38
The Diplomacy of Processp. 55
Diplomacy as Representationp. 72
Diplomacy as Managementp. 92
Diplomacy as Communicationp. 112
Diplomacy as Negotiationp. 132
Improving the Reach of American Foreign Policyp. 148
Improving the Grasp of American Diplomacyp. 164
Notesp. 179
Indexp. 193
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem