Pundit Wire

Author Archives: Charles Crawford

DIPLOMACY: IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU

John Kerry - Lassana BathilyThe planet gawps at the spectacle of US Secretary of State John Kerry descending on hapless French President Hollande (who has enough to worry about these days without weird foreigners embarrassing him in public) and hug-kissing him in no little profusion.

As if this were not enough, John Kerry brought with him to Paris James Taylor to play “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”. But this highest-profile gesture of American solidarité after the Paris terrorist attacks was bungled: the organisers made the rookie error of not checking and re-checking before the performance started that the practical sound arrangements were working. Watch the whole ghastly spectacle unfold here. Poor James Taylor is perched high on a stool but hunched awkwardly over a useless microphone so that you can’t see his face. John Kerry stands there in ill-suppressed tension. As diplomatic self-mutilations go, this is right up there.

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Speechwriting for Leaders

Final_Cover_vivzyl Why, do leaders or generally important people have speechwriters at all? And why might foreign leaders engage experts not from their own country? Self-indulgence, or a good investment?

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Supporting Freedom in Cuba

ministerio del ineriorIf they succeed in breaking the back of the communist system, how might a new democratically elected government start to put things right?

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President Putin Addresses the Nation

putinOn 4 December Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his ‘state of the nation’ address to the Federal Assembly and an audience of over 1000 people. So, how was it as a speech?

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President Obama’s UN Speech: Negotiating with Terrorists

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 5.25.40 PMThe speech by President Obama at the UN General Assembly this year did not please everyone…

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Scotland Votes: the Logic and Rhetoric of the Independence Campaign

Scotland vote noScotland has voted decisively against breaking from the United Kingdom and becoming an independent country. Some thoughts on the big picture logic and rhetoric of the campaign.

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The diplomacy of the Ukraine autonomy deal explained

UkraineDiplomacy often looks like a precise, punctilious activity: dapper, discreet officials armed with quill pens and cucumber sandwiches crafting cunningly worded documents with multifarious shades of meaning. That’s an important part of it. But peep behind the curtain, and you see all sorts of squalid manoeuvrings and double-crossing.

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How to Stop Students Peeping at Their Mobile Phones?

cell phone in class One of the worst things about being a teacher or trainer these days is the fact that the joys of the classroom have to compete with Rival Attractions.

Back in the 1960s when I was at school in St Albans in England, our Maths teacher kept steely control. When (as he invariably did) he spotted you fiddling with something beneath the level of your desk instead of paying attention, he would stroll across the classroom to where you were sitting. He would then daintily pick up the offending object between thumb and forefinger, give you a nod of thanks, walk across to the window, drop the article out of the window.

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