Test For Diplomats:”Go Over To The Globe And Prove To Me That You Can Identify Your Country”
In the light of my post African Immigrant And US Ambassador In Financial Scandal, and remembering that Zalmay Khalilzad, the former US Ambassador to Iraq, was born in Mazar Sharif, and Madeline Albright was born in Prague, I thought I`d post this quote.
This is a story I`ve heard in slightly garbled form, but this is how George Shultz, who was Secretary of State in the Reagan Administration, told it to Brian Lamb on C-Span`s Booknotes:
SHULTZ: Oh, no, I think that the important things are all there. There`s one incident that somehow or other is not in there, and I don`t know why it got left out. But it`s an interesting thing that happened. When I was — in the first period when I was secretary of state, there was in my office a big globe. And when ambassadors, who were newly going to their posts or in their posts and coming back to visit me, would get ready to leave, I would say to them, “Ambassador, you have one more test before you can go to your post. You have to go over to the globe and prove to me that you can identify your country.” So unerringly, they would go over and they`d spin the globe around and they`d put their finger on the country they were going to, pass the test.
So Mike Mansfield, great elder statesman in America, former Senate majority leader and who had been ambassador to Japan for a while before I was there, and he was a close friend of mine from back when I was in the Nixon administration — so he was visiting and he got ready to leave. I said, “Mike, I got to give you the same test I give everybody else. Before you can go back to Japan, you got to show me that you can go over to the globe and put your finger on your country.” So he went over and he spun this globe around and he put his hand on the United States, said, “That`s my country.”
So I`ve told that, subsequently, to all the ambassadors going out, “Never forget, you`re over there in that country, but your country is the United States. You`re there to represent us. Take care of our interests and never forget it, and you`re representing the best country in the world.”
Query: do you suppose that test will be popular in the Obama Administration?