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American Diplomat

Author: Ambassador (Retired) Pete Romero and Writer/Producer Laura Bennett

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American Diplomat goes behind the scenes to hear real stories from diplomats who lived newsworthy events overseas. Experience the Cuban revolution, Central American insurgencies, the end of apartheid and more through the eyes of those who were there. A project of the Una Chapman Cox Foundation in partnership with the American Academy of Diplomacy.
136 Episodes
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The Merchant of Death

The Merchant of Death

2021-01-1430:48

The worst of the worst: Victor Bout, Russian arms dealer, is not the only one. A a host of other nogoodnicks invest their nefarious proceeds in American cities such as Louisville, Dallas, Cleveland, unbeknownst to city officials. These criminals receive real estate tax breaks but never pay tax, drive up market prices, destroy jobs, and are never held accountable for any of their crimes because American laws have not, up to now, required them to identify themselves. But things are changing.
What exactly is dirty money, and how is it laundered?  How much of it flows through the world, and the United States in particular?  And how does it impact regular Americans going about our daily lives?  Kathleen Doherty, aka "the Dirty Money Tracker", shares her expertise.  
For some even better discussion with Gina, here's our second of two with her:  Religious police stop Gina and terrorists attack the consulate general in Jeddah.  See you next week with new original content.  Happy New Year!
Bet you haven't heard this one!  We recorded this story when we began the show a few years ago and no one knew about us yet. Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley regales, in her first of two episodes. Do you know where to find a hooker in Oman?  And what happens when your boss nixes your husband’s job choice in Saudi Arabia, but you really would like to stay married?   
Pete visits the Huarani Indians, botches up a boar hunt, drinks the mystery drink chicha, and receives upon his departure a marriage proposal, ambiguously addressed either to himself one of the other fine young gringos. Follows first episode, titled “Cowboys and Indian at the Embassy.”  New photos of this wild ride are now available at www.amdipstories.org.  Enjoy!
In this adventure tale in two parts, Pete visits the Huarani tribe in the Amazon jungle while serving as US Ambassador to Ecuador. Today, in light of Covid, Pete feels remorse. We promise that no one contracted any Western illness from Pete, but was he reckless? You be the judge. And in the meantime, meet Moi, tribal ambassador from the rainforest, here in part 1.
You’ve heard a zillion stories of adventures in Foreign Service. How did all of these regular people become such erudite heroes of public service? They took the Foreign Service Test. And so, for your entertainment, Laura did, too. Here’s a hiatus repost of one of our most fun episodes ever. Did she pass? Did she live? Were the questions fair? Were the examiners fair? Pete and Dave Rabadan are tough. Was Laura tough enough?
Join us for some of Pete's jokes (Laura laughed, we promise) and our annual show featuring stories of Thanksgiving overseas.  Enjoy!  Stay safe!  ~Pete & Laura
Bill Burns, one of our favorite guests, is shortlisted for Secretary of State in the Biden administration. Go, Bill! We're reposting our discussion with him from last year about his book "The Back Channel," which is even more timely now than it was when it was first published. Plus, Pete has a story about his recent visit to Trumpland.  Enjoy!
We're on hiatus until January - so we want to hear from you as we look ahead to future programming.  Send us your questions, ideas, comments at amdipstories@gmail.org, on Facebook or at www.amdipstories.org.  And enjoy a rerun, a propos of this week's election, of "The Man of My Dreams."  See you soon!
That Day I Had to Run

That Day I Had to Run

2020-10-2922:13

April 7, 1994, Rwanda. Not a good day to be mistaken for the acting Prime Minister. Linda Thomas-Greenfield shares the tale of her escape from the anti-government militia, while millions of others perished in the country's genocide.
A Few Choice Words

A Few Choice Words

2020-10-2218:08

"I respect your culture, but I do not believe it is your culture to allow women to die," says Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield to the Taliban. And do you know what the Taliban did after that? And why? Listen to find out. Go, Linda!
Hugo Rodriguez, from the banana business in Latin America to the US Foreign Service. Machetes, scorpions, poisonous snakes, starting work at four am in the fruit fields...how does this prepare someone to help bring education to American-born children of Mexican citizens in Mexico? And why does the United States care about these kids anyway?
Malfeasances Aside...

Malfeasances Aside...

2020-10-0726:24

There's a gray area in judging the actions of ambassadors, whether political appointee or career.  What's the difference between what is illegal, inappropriate, or, more to the point, truly unethical?  Harry Geisel puts his subtle mind to the task.  
What's the difference between a political appointee ambassador and a career ambassador? Increasingly, these ambassadorships are offered as rewards for large political campaign contributions. How can these appointments go awry? Harry Geisel helps us count the ways. 
9/11/2012, Benghazi, Libya, an attack on our diplomatic mission, killing four, including our ambassador. The legendary Tom Pickering led the first investigation (of ten), and it was not a pleasant report to write. But, as a consequence of these events, is the world's strongest power now the world's blindest power?
And neither is worldwide democracy, thanks in part to the very fine-tipped pen and tiny notebook of Ambassador William Taylor, a key source in the Congressional investigations into the Ukraine corruption affair of the last year.  Democracy lives another day!
Need a mood lifter?  We do!  Laura likes our music selects so much that she's listening to this one twice!  Go back to simpler times (say, 2019) with AmDip, then sing along to our Covid-era theme song.  Love, Pete and Laura
Ambassador Whitaker tells the story of how the Colombian government fooled the guerrillas into releasing long-held hostages... an operation that would make Hollywood proud. 
Desiree Cormier, one of our favorite guests, is back to share stories learned of her grandfather's life since his recent passing.  We hear not only how he shaped Desiree's life of public service, but also how his very personal commitment to the American anti-apartheid movement and the Black Lives Matter chapter in Los Angeles continue to impact change.  One person can make so much difference to so many.
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Comments (2)

Nathan Viking Henkenius

Great Episode, love the outro music!

Oct 17th
Reply (1)
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