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The Back Channel

by William J. Burns
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2019-03-12
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Pages: 544 pages
ISBN 13: 0525508872
ISBN 10: 9780525508878
Format: PDF, ePUB, MOBI, Audiobooks, Kindle

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“A masterful diplomatic memoir” (The Washington Post) from CIA director William J. Burns, a career ambassador who served five presidents and ten secretaries of state—an impassioned argument for the enduring value of diplomacy in an increasingly volatile world. Over the course of more than three decades as an American diplomat, William J. Burns played a central role in the most consequential diplomatic episodes of his time—from the bloodless end of the Cold War to the collapse of post–Cold War relations with Putin’s Russia, from post–9/11 tumult in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle East to the secret nuclear talks with Iran. In The Back Channel, Burns recounts, with novelistic detail and incisive analysis, some of the seminal moments of his career. Drawing on a trove of newly declassified cables and memos, he gives readers a rare inside look at American diplomacy in action. His dispatches from war-torn Chechnya and Qaddafi’s bizarre camp in the Libyan desert and his warnings of the “Perfect Storm” that would be unleashed by the Iraq War will reshape our understanding of history—and inform the policy debates of the future. Burns sketches the contours of effective American leadership in a world that resembles neither the zero-sum Cold War contest of his early years as a diplomat nor the “unipolar moment” of American primacy that followed. Ultimately, The Back Channel is an eloquent, deeply informed, and timely story of a life spent in service of American interests abroad. It is also a powerful reminder, in a time of great turmoil, of the enduring importance of diplomacy.
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“A masterful diplomatic memoir” (The Washington Post) from CIA director William J. Burns, a career ambassador who served five presidents and ten secretaries of state—an impassioned argument for the enduring value of diplomacy in an increasingly volatile world. Over the course of more than three decades as an American diplomat, William J. Burns played a central role in the most consequential diplomatic episodes of his time—from the bloodless end of the Cold War to the collapse of post–Cold War relations with Putin’s Russia, from post–9/11 tumult in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle East to the secret nuclear talks with Iran. In The Back Channel, Burns recounts, with novelistic detail and incisive analysis, some of the seminal moments of his career. Drawing on a trove of newly declassified cables and memos, he gives readers a rare inside look at American diplomacy in action. His dispatches from war-torn Chechnya and Qaddafi’s bizarre camp in the Libyan desert and his warnings of the “Perfect Storm” that would be unleashed by the Iraq War will reshape our understanding of history—and inform the policy debates of the future. Burns sketches the contours of effective American leadership in a world that resembles neither the zero-sum Cold War contest of his early years as a diplomat nor the “unipolar moment” of American primacy that followed. Ultimately, The Back Channel is an eloquent, deeply informed, and timely story of a life spent in service of American interests abroad. It is also a powerful reminder, in a time of great turmoil, of the enduring importance of diplomacy.
The Back Channel
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The riveting story of many of the most dramatic international crises and conflicts of recent years, including everyone from presidents, warlords and 'the noble, the brutal, the cunning and the just-plain unhinged'. The Back Channel recounts with vivid detail and incisive analysis some of the seminal moments of a legendary diplomatic career--from the bloodless end of the Cold War to relations with Putin's Russia, and from post-9/11 tumult in the Middle East and secret nuclear talks with Iran to America's rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific and its deepening strategic partnership with India. Career diplomat William J. Burns draws on his treasure trove of newly declassified cables and memos to offer a rare peek at US diplomacy in action. He illuminates the back channels of his profession, and its value in a world that resembles neither the zerosum Cold War of his early career, nor the 'unipolar moment' of American primacy that followed. His dispatches from war-torn Chechnya and Qadhafi's camp in the Libyan desert, and his memos warning of the 'perfect storm' unleashed by the Iraq War, will profoundly reshape both our understanding of history and the policy debates of the future. The Back Channel is an eloquent, deeply informed and impassioned argument for renewing diplomacy as the tool of first resort in American statecraft.
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