I read a quote from George Kennan (who was born and bred in Milwaukee) in Gladdis’ biography that made me think that I have, perhaps, been judging our current Secretary of State incorrectly. By this standard, Monsieur Kerry may be our nation’s greatest diplomat. Kennan said that diplomacy in most places requires:
a facile tongue, unhampered by any sincerity; you must have a great capacity for quiet, boring dissipation: not great brawls, but continual rich food, irregular meals, enervating liqueurs and lack of sleep; you must have a deep interest… in golf and bridge, in clothes and other people’s business; you must have an utter lack of conscience for the injustices of the world about you and not the faintest intention of ever doing anything about them; you must, in fact, be able to rid yourself of every last impulse to distinguish between right and wrong.
– “George F. Kennan,” John Lewis Gladdis, p. 94