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Condoleezza Rice

Larry Downing/Reuters

Pioneering Black American leaders in US foreign policy

Who exactly are the people representing America to the world? Chances are they’re “pale, male, and Yale”, as the saying goes. Even in 2024, the US Foreign Service – especially in senior positions – doesn’t look like the rest of America. African Americans, people of color, and women continue to encounter barriers to influential roles.

However, some Black diplomats — like UN Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield — have broken this racial ceiling and helped reimagine what an American envoy can be. Her predecessors, through the sweep of US history, encountered discrimination and racism both domestically and abroad and left an indelible mark on US foreign policy. To mark the end of Black History Month, GZERO highlights the stories of a select few:

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At the Munich Security Conference, Trump isn't the only elephant in the room
At the Munich Security Conference, Trump isn't the only elephant in the room

At the Munich Security Conference, Trump isn't the only elephant in the room

The Munich Security Conference (MSC) is all about providing a space to address the elephant in the room and fostering discussion on that one big topic people would rather avoid, says Benedikt Franke, the forum’s vice-chairman and CEO. But there’s more than just one elephant this year — a herd.

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U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan attends a session during the 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 16, 2024.

REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

US and China set up back-channel meetings as pressure over Yemen grows

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will reportedly meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi behind closed doors in the coming days to discuss the Middle East and Taiwan.

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How will Henry Kissinger be remembered in Europe?
How will Henry Kissinger be remembered in Europe? | Europe In: 60

How will Henry Kissinger be remembered in Europe?

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics from Stockholm.

How will Henry Kissinger be remembered in Europe?

There's always an amount of controversy around the person who's been around in politics in powerful positions for such a long time as he was. But primarily, I think he would be remembered as a great European. He was an American, no doubt. But he came out of the tragedy of Europe and he was deep concerned with all of the lessons that could be learned from the failure to preserve peace in Europe time after time. His first academic and his first book was about the Congress of Vienna. And then book after book after book, that was really around the same theme, how to preserve peace also in the age of nuclear weapons. And that, of course, from the European point of view, is not an insubstantial issue.

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Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has died at age 100.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Negotiating with Henry Kissinger and his legacy

I was writing my column today about the Israel-Hamas cease-fire when I heard the news that Henry Kissinger had died at the age of 100. For a media company like ours, which focuses on geopolitics, Kissinger is one of the most defining, controversial, and complicated figures of the last century.

It is hard to find anyone who has worked seriously on politics or studied foreign affairs who has not had an encounter with or held a view of Henry Kissinger. Statesman. War criminal. Genius. Failure. You name it, the allegations have been thrown at him. Kissinger embodied the possibilities and the perils of power. You will hear the debate over his legacy play out – as it has been playing out for decades – in the days and weeks to come. But the first thing you have to know about him is this: Everything and every moment with Kissinger was a negotiation. Including his legacy.

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Podcast: Death and diplomacy: A look at India-Canada tensions with Samir Saran


Listen: The GZERO World Podcast takes a look at an international murder mystery that dominated headlines in September: Canada's allegation that India was involved in the assassination of Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia in June. New Delhi has dismissed the accusation as “absurd” and demanded any evidence be released publicly, which Canada has yet to do. But the diplomatic fallout has been swift: Canada expelled the head of India’s security service in Canada, and New Delhi demanded dozens of Canadian diplomats leave India.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to members of the media before leaving Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday.

Jacquelyn Martin/Pool via REUTERS

World powers weigh in on Israel-Hamas War

As the crisis in Israel and Gaza deepens, various world powers are weighing in and offering to help mediate, some for their own geopolitical interests.

Washington repeatedly offered unwavering support to Israel following the Hamas attacks, but it is now also trying to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In a phone call Saturday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – whose authority extends primarily to the West Bank – President Joe Biden pledged his full support for "urgently needed humanitarian assistance to Palestinian people, especially in Gaza."

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken plays guitar at the State Department, September 27, 2023.


What we’re listening to: US tries out Hoochie Coochie diplomacy

To be honest, if you told us that the US secretary of state, a 61-year-old white guy, was gonna grab a Stratocaster and belt out some Delta Blues in public, we’d have braced for a much more awkward outcome than this.

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