Three Cups of Tea and Hillary

Americans want to do business upfront, then maybe they will find time for a bit of pleasure. This is because most are impatient and want the deal done. The priority is to do the work, then relax and get to know the people across the aisle or maybe not.

Knowing the other is more often than not a U.S. mission. Alternatively, most countries spend hours, days, months and sometimes even years getting to know another party before establishing trust, only then can the real work be done and, I might add, that relationship will usually last a lifetime.

In his book, Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson outlines how learning this enabled him to make incredible strides in Pakistan. Apparently our new Secretary of State has learned it as well.

As news stories and blogs analyze Hillary’s style as a cross between stern diplomat and cultural inquisitor who is redefining the role of Secretary of State, field experts like myself are wondering why this type of diplomacy took so long!

I, for one, was completely unsure of Hillary in this job. I did not like her campaign’s hawkish rhetoric. Quite frankly the world has had enough of Americans shoving self-interested policy down their throats.

I am now tentatively saying that Hillary may actually know what it takes. A firm stance with honesty and relationship building gets you a lot further internationally than the use of any weapon ever did or ever will.

Dare I say Hillary may be at least one member of this Administration who is truly implementing the change in strategy that more than a few foreign policy experts have spent a long time hoping for. Let’s see.

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