As nationalism may seduce the masses, so may vanity have the same effect upon individual diplomats engaged in conflict resolution. While some may debate what strategic interests, conspiracies or prejudices are at play in motivating policy, too frequently it may be the egos of the personalities involved.
Two musk oxen for a pair of giant pandas. Who would make that trade? The Chinese did, when President Richard M. Nixon was on his world-changing trip to China in 1972. [...] Panda diplomacy has had a long history, but before Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing arrived in the United States (not long after Nixon returned from his trip), there hadn’t been a giant panda here for more than 20 years.
The steadily downward trend in Sino-American relations was to be at least partially halted as a result of geopolitical and political developments, two in particular. The first was the fact that the 1960s had seen a major falling out between the Soviet Union and China. [...] The second development was the accession to office in Washington of Richard Nixon and of his National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger.
For more than two thousand years, from circa 550 BC to 1700 AD, Persian high cuisine was as important to the politics of Eurasian states as French gastronomy would become to international diplomacy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Despite repeated attempts by reporters to bait him into dredging up lingering resentments against Japan, a senior South Korean diplomat bit his tongue, downplaying 70-year-old tensions at a trilateral meeting in Washington. “Diplomacy is about trying to find a way to work together while we have healthy differences on issues,” South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong told reporters at the State Department on Thursday.
A push by Japan to correct perceived bias in accounts of the country's wartime past is creating a row that risks muddling the positive message in a mammoth public relations campaign to win friends abroad.
Japan is stepping up a campaign to promote a “correct understanding” of its wartime past, in a move that may anger China and South Korea ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in August.