Christopher Stevens

Cup-of-tea diplomacy


In the spring of 2008, I was invited to give a briefing on human rights to a Bush-appointed US ambassador scheduled to be posted to the Middle East. But the ambassador had little interest in talking about human rights.

“What I want to know is this,” he said. “Is Islam the problem here? Is Islam retarding progress—economically, socially, politically?”

I tried to steer the meeting back to human rights but the ambassador kept persisting. “I mean you’re a Muslim…so do you think Islam is standing in the way?” Read more »