Looking Back on Five Years of ‘Diplomatic Fallout’

Looking Back on Five Years of ‘Diplomatic Fallout’
Ban Ki-moon hugs his successor as U.N. secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, at Guterres’ swearing-in ceremony, Dec. 12, 2016 (AP photo by Seth Wenig).

The festive season may be over, but if you still have any leftover champagne lying about, pop the cork. This column, Diplomatic Fallout, is five years old today. Or, to be more precise, five years and a day: The first edition appeared on Jan. 7, 2013.

Since then, occasionally pausing for bouts of paternity leave and public holidays, I have churned out just over 200 pieces—very roughly 200,000 words—for World Politics Review. That’s about the same as Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” in terms of the quantity of words involved, if not necessarily the quality.

The column has at times strayed into odd territory. In October 2013, following revelations that U.S. spooks had hacked German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone, I typed up “Three Good Reasons to Spy on Germany.” In December 2014, I looked for negotiating lessons for diplomats in the Christmas story. But the focus of Diplomatic Fallout has always been international crisis management, and United Nations diplomacy in particular.

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