diplomats

A marquee has been erected on the driveway of the United Nations to deprive potential snipers of a line of site, as world leaders lever themselves out of their limousines. Even inside the headquarters building, blue partitions have been put up, presumably to sequester the leaders from the journalists who work here day in day out. With some 140 heads of state and government scheduled to attend, a record-breaking number, leaders' week at the United Nations is like no other.

Diplomacy is traditionally carried out behind closed doors, in hushed rooms, with perhaps a bowl of Ferrero Rocher to hand to put ambassadors at ease. Diplomacy 2.0, though, is carried out in public and, like everything else on social media, with a fair amount of sarcasm. 

Secretary of State John Kerry warned Wednesday against creeping American isolationism, making the case that U.S. global leadership is essential in uncertain times as he hosted a rare public reunion of five of his predecessors. Speaking at the groundbreaking of a new museum celebrating the achievements of American diplomacy, Kerry said the United States looks inward at its peril and that U.S. engagement is needed more than ever.

The United Nations and the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders each issued urgent appeals on Tuesday for international aid to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Senior United Nations officials urged diplomats to cable their capitals to send money, doctors and protective gear to the affected region. The doctors’ group called for countries to send civilian and military biohazard experts.

The blunt, unsparing language — among the toughest diplomats recall ever being aimed at Israel — lays bare a frustrating reality for the Obama administration: the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has largely dismissed diplomatic efforts by the United States to end the violence in Gaza, leaving American officials to seethe on the sidelines about what they regard as disrespectful treatment.

America is still sore after its World Cup dreams came to an end last week. Aside from the humiliation, it has another reason to be upset – it owed pancakes to the Belgians. In the diplomatic heartland of London, a bet was made this month between U.S. Ambassador Matthew Barzun and Belgian Ambassador Guy Trouveroy. “Since we are both soccer (football) fans and our two countries’ teams face each other tonight in the World Cup, I thought I would offer up a friendly wager,” Barzun wrote. 

The German authorities have summoned the US ambassador in Berlin after a man was arrested on suspicion of spying. The US diplomat "was asked to help in the swift clarification" of the case, the foreign ministry said. German officials confirmed the arrest but released no other details. US-German ties were strained after allegations last year that the US National Security Agency (NSA) bugged Chancellor Angela Merkel's phone as part of a huge surveillance programme.

Twitter has become an indispensable diplomatic networking and communication tool. According to the new study Twiplomacy, more than half of the world’s foreign ministers and their institutions are active on the social networking site. Here are five lessons from our world leaders on Twitter.

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