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The Summer of the Cockroaches

Pardis Mahdavi relays her experience of the Iranian sexual revolution and similar movements in the Middle East, including Afghanistan. Why was the summer of the cockroaches her favorite? There weren’t enough cockroaches for everybody! And this...

9/11, Personal Inventory and a New Career

Nancy Ostrowski experienced the events of 9/11 first-hand, which inspired her to embark on a journey to a more satisfying, new career with USAID.  See also her article in the Sept 2021 Foreign Service Journal, “Getting Off the...

The Last Officer at Abbey Gate

Consular officer Alan Eaton helped scores of Afghans at risk evacuate from Kabul, working from inside the Abbey Gate the airport at exactly the moment when our friend Toobah was on the other side of the gate, trying to get through.  As Alan...

Whaddaya Do?

Whaddaya Do?

People’s lives are at stake in the most urgent way.  Policy is a macro-level thing, and utterly necessary.  But what about the people themselves?  What about Toobah?  What should Biden have done?  People are hanging...

These Are Not My Beautiful Feet

These Are Not My Beautiful Feet

For Pride Month (belatedly posted due to events in Afghanistan and our coverage of those), Austin Richey-Allen recounts his story of gender transition in the Foreign Service.  A trans kid, he discovered in adulthood that there is a term for his...

The Future of American Diplomacy

Eric Rubin sums it up with one word.  If we want to be successful in our diplomacy, we need to adopt a position of humility with respect to the rest of the world.
Check out this episode!

And What of Our Friend Toobah?

And What of Our Friend Toobah?

Wouldn’t we all like to know.  She’s alive, at least.  Bad luck becomes good luck as she is turned away on her way to the airport just before the bombs go off. 
Check out this episode!

Encore: The Ugly American

Or a traitor, anyway.  In an eerily quiet region during the Vietnam war, from a banana grove in the middle of the night, Lionel Rosenblatt discovers that a US military official is guilty of supplying the enemy with life-saving medicine from the...

Encore: Bahrain, So Small, So Important

Encore: Bahrain, So Small, So Important

The Arab Spring – Tunisia, Egypt – we know about these places. But Bahrain is almost never in the news.  What is its geopolitical significance, and strategic importance to the US?  And why was Ambassador Tom Krajeski in a tight spot when...

They Will Cut Our Heads, Of Course!

Amb. Ryan Crocker, Middle East expert, explains the value of Foreign Service Nationals and brings it all home with a story of the day that local staff saved his life. Toobah, a former employee of USAID, then tells us of her life, stuck at home in...

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American Diplomat Podcast