Conversations in Diplomacy: Ambassador Thomas Pickering

  • Charles Hobbs
| Feb. 06, 2012 Series: Conversations in Diplomacy


“As a substitute for diplomacy…[military solutions] have not proved [...] very useful,” former Ambassador Thomas Pickering said when he addressed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on a recent visit to the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School. The challenges the United States will face in the coming decade are likely to be much more suited to diplomatic solutions than to military ones, the former State Department official, who served as Ambassador to the UN, Russia, and India, argued.

Iran is one such area where, Pickering argued, diplomacy must be given the time to play a constructive role. Yet he also cautioned that the road ahead would not be an easy one. “I think it is hugely difficult,” he said. “My own feeling is that the trust is not going to improve by sanctions alone and by military pressure alone…we need to find perhaps a viable intermediary who can begin the process of testing both sides.”

Thomas Pickering’s four-decade long career in the Foreign Service included ambassadorships in Russia, India, the United Nations, El Salvador, Nigeria, and Jordan. He holds the rank of Career Ambassador—the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service.

For more from the Future of Diplomacy Project’s interview with Ambassador Pickering, check out the Youtube video above.

Conversations in Diplomacy is the Future of Diplomacy Project's Podcast Series. The podcasts bring together policymakers, academics, and professionals from around the world of international relations for candid discussions of pressing topics in world affairs.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Hobbs, Charles. “Conversations in Diplomacy: Ambassador Thomas Pickering.” News, , February 6, 2012.

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