“They say that diplomacy is a gentle art. That its finest practitioners are subtle, sophisticated individuals for whom nuance and subText are meat and drink. And that mastering it is a lifetime’s work. But you do need a certain inclination in that direction. It’s not something you can just pick up on the job.
Which is a shame if you find yourself dropped unaccountably into a position of some significant diplomatic responsibility. If you don’t really do diplomacy or haven’t been to school with the right foreign bigwigs or aren’t even sure whether a nod is as good as a wink to anyone, sighted or otherwise, then things are likely to go wrong. It’s just a question of how badly…”