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December Books 4) This Was Not Our War

4) This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace, by Swanee Hunt

I have to speak about this at an event later tonight, and if I'm happy with my speech I'll post it here. Swanee Hunt was the US ambassador to Austria for the later stages of the Bosnian war and the immediate aftermath, and one senses that as an outsider - a political appointee in the US diplomatic service - she was trying also to bring other outsider voices into the process. But she keeps herself largely in the background, and the book is a collection of interviews with twenty-six Bosnian women of diverse backgrounds, with the interviews edited and assembled by theme, to give a rounded picture of, say, perceptions of history, actual wartime experience, the chance of reconciliation. Moving and thought-provoking.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
applez
Dec. 7th, 2006 03:44 pm (UTC)
Does that really make one much of an outsider? After all, most US ambassadors, especially to European posts, are politically connectedappointed.

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Sidenote: interesting thing about this latest administration is that the preferential appointments have extended to several layers of bureaucracy below the ambassador, and this President has doubled the peerage by sending ambassadors for half the usual time, replaced by another appointment. You can imagine the effect that has on embassy staff, and functional international relations.
applez
Dec. 7th, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC)
Okay, maybe 'peerage' is overstating it. ;-)
nwhyte
Dec. 7th, 2006 04:02 pm (UTC)
Does that really make one much of an outsider? After all, most US ambassadors, especially to European posts, are politically connectedappointed.

Sure; but there are political appointees and political appointees. The current US Ambassador to the EU, for instance, is not a career diplomat but is very much a Washington insider - a 63-year-old lawyer who was previously White House Counsel to the first President Bush and whose cousin, incidentally, is the chief financial officer of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Admittedly, Hunt is not a total stranger to privilege either, but I doubt that made her automatically an easy colleague for the State Department's career diplomats - not least because she must, in her mid-forties in Vienna - have been somewhat younger than her senior underlings.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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