Author Archives: James Thomas Snyder

About James Thomas Snyder

NATO fan, ex-diplomat, author, critic, translator, and former U.S. Congressional speechwriter. All opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. government or any employer, past or present.

Not too late to seek a newer world (Blogging Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)

“My dear, I know I have inconvenienced you terribly by making you take your holiday now, and I know you did not really want to come to Yugoslavia at all.  But when you get there you will see why it … Continue reading

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The Bridge on the Neretva (Blogging Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)

“To look at it is good; to stand on it is as good.” (Black Lamb and Grey Falcon) THE COVER OF nearly every edition of Black Lamb and Grey Falcon prominently features the same extraordinary architectural, cultural, and pontine monument … Continue reading

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Working Titles (Blogging Black Lamb and Grey Falcon)

“I write books to find out about things.” (Paris Review, 1981) FOR THIS PROJECT I have four individual editions of Black Lamb separated in publication by 80 years. More than 25 years ago I started reading the 1994 Penguin Books … Continue reading

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Blogging ‘Black Lamb and Grey Falcon’

“What is Kaimakshalan?  A mountain in Macedonia, but where is Macedonia since the Peace Treaty?  This part of it is called South Serbia.  And where is that, in Czechoslovakia, or in Bulgaria?  And what has happened there?  The answer is … Continue reading

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Don’t worry, Emily Bazelon, you’re wrong

It’s hard to explain why Emily Bazelon’s New York Times Magazine article, sarcastically titled “Free Speech Will Save Our Democracy,” bothers me, so let me start here: Hannah Arendt was not a political philosopher.  Hannah Arendt was a political theorist. … Continue reading

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“A Means of State Control” (Part Two)

In the first part of this post I dismantled the consensus definition of propaganda, arguing that in part and in total “propaganda” is indistinguishable from any other form of political expression.  The only obvious distinguishing aspect between the two definitions … Continue reading

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“A Means of State Control”

The Origins of Propaganda (Part One)   The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum held an exhibition titled “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda” in Washington, D.C., from 2009 and 2011.  This dramatic collection of German National Socialist state … Continue reading

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Garry Wills’ Qur’an (Part One)

Is Islam as American as apple pie?  Both are early imports from Asia Minor – Islam from the Arabian Peninsula by way of Africa and Iberia, apples from southern Kazakhstan by way of Europe – that have grown deep roots … Continue reading

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UPDATE: The Price of Promotion – Diversity and Retention

This is a follow-up to my earlier article, “The Price of Promotion,” which criticized the U.S. Foreign Service promotion system.  The following analysis is based on the Department of State Bureau of human Resources “Foreign Service Promotion Statistics by Cone, … Continue reading

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The Price of Promotion

The State Department’s employee evaluation process is worse than terrible.  It is no better than a gamble. Consider this career choice: you are a second-tour FS-04 consular officer serving your country in an American embassy abroad.  You have tenure, which … Continue reading

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