The Ambassadors: Diplomatic insider steers clear of Brexit

Book review: Retired British diplomat Robert Cooper appears to have gone to considerable lengths not to include insights from his own career on the issues analysed

  European political adviser British Robert Cooper beside EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Chinese assistant foreign minister Wu Hailong, at the conference centre near the Swiss mission to the United Nations on December 6th, 2010 in Geneva. Photograph: Anja Niedringhaus/AFP via Getty

European political adviser British Robert Cooper beside EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Chinese assistant foreign minister Wu Hailong, at the conference centre near the Swiss mission to the United Nations on December 6th, 2010 in Geneva. Photograph: Anja Niedringhaus/AFP via Getty

Who are history’s most influential thinkers on the exercise of power and the conduct of relations between states? How has the international system, and the role of small countries therein, changed over time? When does diplomacy succeed and fail, and how are both assessed and measured? Who better to ponder such questions than a retired senior diplomat who worked for not one, but two separate foreign services.

Robert Cooper spent most of his professional life as a British diplomat. He developed quite the reputation as a foreign policy intellectual in the 2000s when he authored a number of acclaimed books and pamphlets. In that decade he moved to Brussels and saw out the remainder of his career working for the European Union’s diplomatic service.

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