October 18, 2018

Two Podcasts for the Diplomat in All of Us

By Matthew Wright

From left to right, Host, Ambassador Deborah McCarthy, Rear Admiral John Kirby, and Ambassador Michael Hammer discuss effective public affairs strategies for our military and diplomats.

As Americans continue to debate the cost and importance of our country’s participation on the world stage, it is more important than ever to understand just what the men and women of the U.S. State Department really do. Thankfully, two new podcast series – The General and the Ambassador: A Conversation and American Diplomat: Real Stories Behind the News – offer listeners an inside look into how America’s diplomats advance and defend U.S. interests around the world.

Projects of the Una Chapman Cox Foundation in partnership with the American Academy of Diplomacy, the two series provide fresh perspectives from sometimes unexpected sources. While The General and the Ambassador features conversations between senior U.S. military leaders and senior Ambassadors on their partnerships overseas, American Diplomat offers personal recollections and reflections of active duty and retired U.S. diplomats. Here’s why you should give them a listen.

A Rarely-Told Story

The General and the Ambassador pulls back the curtain on one of America’s biggest secrets to its foreign policy success – the essential partnership between our military brass and top diplomats in some of the toughest areas of the world.

Hosted by Ambassador Deborah McCarthy (ret.), this podcast is a series of conversations discussing the results of strategic and operational teamwork in key hotspots and during major international humanitarian crises. As Ambassador McCarthy notes, “The General and the Ambassador clearly shows that America needs both the negotiating ability of its diplomats and the might of its military to keep America safe.”

Host, Ambassador Deborah McCarthy talks with Ambassador Kathy Stevens and Commander Gen. Walter "Skip" Sharp regarding U.S.-North Korea-South Korea relations

Host, Ambassador Deborah McCarthy talks with Ambassador Kathy Stevens and Commander Gen. Walter “Skip” Sharp regarding U.S.-North Korea-South Korea relations

With 13 episodes to date, each installment of The General and the Ambassador features a different diplomat and military officer duo with a wealth of knowledge and experience— including appearances by General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker on the surge in Iraq, General Philip Breedlove and Ambassador Victoria Nuland on Russia and NATO, General Kip Ward and Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates on AFRICOM, Admiral James Stavridis and Ambassador William Brownfield on Colombia and the drug war, and General Kurt Sonntag and Ambassador Thomas Kelly on the Horn of Africa.

Tales from the Experts

American Diplomat: Real Stories Behind the News provides perspectives from our nation’s most senior diplomats. These conversations seek to help listeners understand the very human dimensions of those serving on the front lines of war, crises, and conflict around the world.

Hosted by Ambassador Peter Romero (ret.) and writer and producer Laura Bennett, American Diplomat focuses on conversations with active duty and retired U.S. diplomats. As Laura describes the show, “it’s like having a dinner party conversation with the most fascinating guests you could possibly invite”. These intimate, lively and informative discussions center on the personal recollections and reflections as they succeed, fail, and enter the fray again to advance our national interests overseas. Guests discuss what they really think about working with foreign leaders and reveal their innermost thoughts on dealing with tribal leaders and regional militias.

Hosts Laura Bennett and Ambassador Peter Romero reflect on Pete's time with the Indians of the Ecuadorian Jungle.

Hosts Laura Bennett and Ambassador Peter Romero reflect on Pete’s time with the Indians of the Ecuadorian Jungle.

Comprising more than 50 episodes, American Diplomat has featured discussions with former Ambassador to Russia Sandy Vershbow, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to Venezuela Brian Naranjo, and former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake. Host Peter Romero also recommends the American Diplomat series “Is It Happening Here?” which allows listeners to “walk with our diplomats as they observe the rise of populist strongmen and attacks on democracy,” in countries such as Venezuela, Russia and Turkey.

Both podcasts are featured on iTunes and on the American Academy of Diplomacy’s website. The American Diplomat and The General and The Ambassador podcast episodes can also be viewed on their own sites.

Destiny Clements of the American Academy of Diplomacy contributed to this post.