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No doubt it is helpful to have good personal relationships with foreign leaders. However countries have to deal with each other even when the chiefs of state dislike each other.

I think there has been a historic tendency for US Presidents to think that the personal characteristics that made them effective in domestic politics (things like charm, charisma, ability to persuade - the sort of characteristics most Presidents have at least to some extent) could be carried over into international negotiations. I think they have sometimes found stern faced foreign diplomats and leaders a bit of a challenge.

Tony Blair is also an example of someone who has found his personal characteristics were not enough to be a successful diplomat. His failure to make President Chirac move on farm subsidies (totally predictable to anyone who understood Chirac's political history and domestic priorities) demonstrates the limits of Blairplomacy.

by Gary J on Wed Jul 19th, 2006 at 03:20:07 PM EST

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