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The Ambassadors Reviews

The Ambassadors by Robert Cooper

The Ambassadors: Thinking about Diplomacy from Machiavelli to Modern Times

Robert Cooper

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2 reviews

Imprint: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publication date: 18 Feb 2021
ISBN: 9780297608530

Diplomacy in the West from Richelieu to Kissinger: the great diplomats of history and what their achievements tell us about the most important issues of our time

4 stars out of 5
26 Feb 2021

"An examination of how statesmen can play a decisive role in shaping foreign policy"

The author’s reflections on the nature and uses of power as on the art of negotiation deserve full attention. He makes the point that “big powers don’t bluff”, when referring to the manner in which Finland misread Stalin’s intentions before the Soviet Union’s attack in 1939. One could add that when they do bluff, as Barack Obama did with his “red lines” during the Syrian crisis of 2013, the consequences can be unfortunate if the bluff is called.


4 stars out of 5
20 Feb 2021

"a subtle analysis of the nature of international relations"

Robert Cooper has a lifelong experience of diplomacy in the British Foreign Office and the European Union. His new book is based on wide reading and meticulous attention to detail. It is fluently written in a limpid and comfortable prose. Despite its title, it is not really about ambassadors at all, though it shows in passing how Anatoly Dobrynin, the wily and well-connected Soviet representative in Washington, played just the role an ambassador should in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis.