Henry Kissinger. Nuff said.
So I recently read a book about the Vienna Congress (Harold Nicolsen and worth a read) and have always been a great fan of Talleyrand having read Duff Coopers biography and various other books. Nicolsens book specificaly on the Vienna talks realy shows how good he was. France, from having been subjugated, firstly managed to get herself into the 'top table' talks and then ally with Britain in 'resolving' the 'Polish problem'. I therefore nominate M. de Talleyrand-Périgord as one of the greatest diplomats of all time.
I would welcome other suggestions with reasons given.
Henry Kissinger. Nuff said.
No such thing as a good tax - Churchill
To make mistakes is human. To blame someone else for your mistake, is strategic.
yes, henry kissinger...greatest self-promoting diplomat of all time
on a more serious note, talleyrand was quite impressive. the fact that he managed to get what he got despite holding almost no cards is an absolute diplomatic feat. bismarck was also quite impressive as well, although not quite on the same level.
li hongzhang, known in his time as the "bismarck of china", was also quite good.
Last edited by astralis; 03 Apr 12, at 19:07.
The human mind cannot grasp the causes of phenomena in the aggregate. But the need to find these causes is inherent in man’s soul. And the human intellect, without investigating the multiplicity and complexity of the conditions of phenomena, any one of which taken separately may seem to be the cause, snatches at the first, the most intelligible approximation to a cause, and says: “This is the cause!"
War and Peace
Another vote for Bismarck. Built what was then the most powerful nation on the continent essentially from scratch, and almost single-handedly kept the peace in Europe for decades by means of a juggling act that I don't think we've ever seen equaled.
"Nature abhors a moron." - H.L. Mencken
How about Mahatma Ghandi? Not a traditional diplomat, but he served in that role at points during his life, and his motivations and acts were very commendable. I believe he did a lot to help India gain independance without a war against Britain.
"If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees.
If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children."
Benjamin Franklin belongs on the list. He, John Jay and John Adams laid the foundation of a super power. However his work in Britain earlier sowed the seats of British defeat through internal rot of the support for the crowns war on Englishmen and on support for Parliament's virtual representation and rotten boroughs. He was also an inventor, scientist, publicist, grave robber, hedonist, librarian, fire marshall and naturist. Quite possibly the greatest mind alive at that time.
Personaly, while I acknowledge the achievements of Bismark I do not consider him a 'diplomat' pure and simple. He was MORE than a 'doplomat' if anything and no one Congress (as is the case of Telleyrand and Vienna) can be attributed to Bismarks skill as a diplomat.
"He was also an inventor, scientist, publicist, grave robber, hedonist, librarian, fire marshall and naturist." Hmm are these required in a diplomatic negotiation?
Talleyrand also had no qualm about chopping wood in America,IIRC.A bastard(and a father of bastards),to be sure,bt quite a man.
Those who know don't speak
Fools seem to be artificially made,'cause there's a hell lot of them and they have no disease
If a 'good' diplomat is supposed to be duplicitous, one thing to commend Talleyrand is that Napoleon thought him to be 'Merde en bas de soie' ('Sh1t in silk stockings').
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