Challenges Facing Transatlantic Diplomacy


P1000417By Simon R. Bone

British prime minister Harold Macmillan was once asked what a leader most feared he answered: “Events, dear boy, events.” This was very much the topic of Sir Peter Westmacott’s (UK Ambassador to the US) talk to HKS last week.

The speech covered a wide range of topics from Libya to Iraq and recent events in the Crimea. The ambassador cautioned that in the light of the global economy and with the last decade’s military bill in the region of $6 trillion that we need to ask serious questions for any further intervention.

Sir Peter became British Ambassador to the United States in January 2012. This is his second posting in Washington, having previously served as the British Embassy’s Counsellor for Political and Public Affairs in the mid-1990s.

Prior to his service as ambassador to the United States, Peter served as the British Ambassador to France—from 2007 to 2011—and as Ambassador to Turkey starting in 2002. Peter’s forty-year career in the British Diplomatic Service has included postings in Tehran and Brussels, time as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Director for the Americas, and a seat on the board of the Foreign Office as Deputy Under Secretary. In addition, he served as Deputy Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales from 1990 to 1993.