The Foreign Service Journal, September 2006

the Baghdad morgue every day than al-Qaida and its allies, and it would be nice to know to what extent they were doing so with U.S. government en- couragement. Another useful parallel between the two situations that deserves more careful attention than this book gives it is how the myth of U.S. success in Central America was invented, because it is essential to the myth of Reagan’s presidency being a success. It will be interesting to see how the future apologists for the current pres- ident will distort events in Iraq to prove he is something other than one of the worst presidents in our history. Dennis Jett is a retired FSO who served as ambassador in Peru and Mozambique, among many other post- ings during his 28-year career. He is currently dean of the International Center at the University of Florida in Gainesville. The author of Why Peacekeeping Fails (Palgrave, 2001), he has published over 70 opinion pieces in major newspapers. Leadership by Example Mission to Algiers: Diplomacy by Engagement Cameron R. Hume, Lexington Books, 2006, paperback, $24.95, 186 pages. R EVIEWED BY J ONITA I. W HITAKER The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training, and Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired, initi- ated the Diplomats and Diplomacy book series in 1995 to expand an understanding about the role of U.S. diplomats in world history by the gen- eral public. Mission to Algiers: Diplomacy by Engagement , the most recent volume in the series, details the efforts of Ambassador Cameron Hume to strengthen bilateral rela- tions during his tenure in Algeria from 1997 to 2000. He currently serves as chargé d’affaires in Khartoum. This is Amb. Hume’s third pub- lished work; he previously wrote The United Nations, Iran and Iraq: How Peacemaking Changed (Indiana Uni- versity Press, 1994) and Ending Mo- zambique’s War: The Role of Media- tion and Good Offices (U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 1994) . Mission to Algiers presents a day- by-day chronicle of the embassy’s con- certed efforts to foster democratiza- tion, the rule of law, human rights and a market economy in Algeria follow- ing the country’s economic tailspin and the canceled elections of 1991, which fueled an Islamic insurgency that would result in the killing of more than 100,000 people. Amb. Hume skillfully relates how his team used the tools of diplomatic tradecraft — principally personal engagement with Algerian counterparts, matched by public diplomacy — to broaden and strengthen the bilateral relationship. Once he arrived at post, Hume’s first priority was getting to know his mission team and address the many challenges they faced. These includ- ed the inherent stress of service at a one-year, unaccompanied hardship post; limited Arabic- and French-lan- guage skills; a rapidly changing securi- ty profile; poor housing and living con- ditions; rudimentary communications and information technology systems; and limited access to Algerian leaders. Fortunately, all these problems im- proved with time, paralleling improve- ments in the bilateral relationship. Hume’s extensive background reading and consultations prior to departure had led him to understand that Algeria faced three challenges in achieving stability and progress: its search for identity as a former French colony, a single-party political scene, and gross economic mismanagement. Yet because U.S. policy centered on “positive conditionality,” with Wash- ington supporting Algiers as it imple- mented political and economic re- forms, the embassy was limited to a reactive role, rather than proactively seeking areas for constructive engage- ment. Accordingly, Hume quickly famil- iarized himself with government, business, media, diplomatic and civil society leaders, probing for areas of engagement. The election of Abdel- aziz Bouteflika as president of Algeria in 1997 facilitated those efforts, which eventually opened the door to visits by Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk, congressional delegations, mil- itary officers, trade and development officials, and many other high-level individuals and groups. As the cycle of political violence subsided, and both sides came to value a closer relationship, engage- ment grew to include a meeting abroad between Presidents Bouteflika and Clinton, expanded U.S. commer- cial activity in Algeria, and a visit to Washington by Algerian presidential envoys. All these initiatives helped to lay the foundation for a new partner- ship, as did working together on the Eritrean-Ethiopian border dispute. Reflecting on the improved ties, Hume underscores that U.S. missions in similar situations should choose the right goals, empower people, collabo- rate with others, opt for action and use the chief of mission as the “point of the spear.” The road to success is often paved with small steps, and sometimes requires the reversal of past policy. For instance, Hume pushed the Federal Aviation Adminis- tration to provide Algeria with airport security training, even though insta- S E P T E M B E R 2 0 0 6 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 83 B O O K S