The Foreign Service Journal, October 2019

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | OCTOBER 2019 47 China’s Dream: The Culture of Chinese Communism and the Secret Sources of Its Power Kerry Brown, Polity Press, 2018, $69.95/hardcover, $24.95/paperback, $13/Kindle, 240 pages. Despite the collapse of similar systems elsewhere, the Chinese Communist Party continues to endure as one of the great political forces of modern times. Kerry Brown investigates the source of the party’s power as a cultural, ethical and ideological entity. Brown also explains the history of the party and how Gen- eral Secretary Xi Jinping is leading a new “cultural revolution” to achieve China’s dream: to become the superpower of the world. Brown, who previously served in Britain’s diplomatic service, is the current director of the Lau Chinese Institute at King’s College in London. He holds a Ph.D. in Chinese politics and language and is a renowned Chinese history specialist. The Costs of Conversation Oriana Skylar Mastro, Cornell University Press, 2019, $39.95/ hardcover, 216 pages. In this work, Oriana Skylar Mastro explores several questions: What factors influence the warring parties’ decisions about whether to talk to their enemy, and when may their position on wartime diplomacy change? How do we get from fighting to talking? According to Mastro, states are focused on two strategic costs of conversation: the enemy interpreting diplomacy as a sign of weakness, and the enemy’s strategic mindset change to this so- called weakness. Therefore, the strategic cost of talking must be lowered before peace talks with the enemy can begin. By exam- ining case studies, Mastro concludes that communication will only happen when a state believes it has demonstrated strength and its enemy is unable to escalate the war. Oriana Skylar Mastro is an officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and an assistant professor of security studies at Georgetown University. The Fixer: Visa Lottery Chronicles Charles Piot with Kodjo Nicolas Batema, Duke University Press, 2019, $24.95/paperback, 224 pages. The Fixer is an engaging and humanizing look at the U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery, a programmuch disparaged by President Donald Trump and his supporters. In the past decade, the small West African nation of Togo has seen more Diversity Visa Lottery applicants per capita than any other country (hundreds of thousands of Togolese enter each year). Author Charles Piot collaborates with Kodjo Nicolas Batema, a Togolese visa broker and “fixer.” Batema helps his clients navigate the process of applying for the lottery—and if they win, the even more challenging process of actually qualifying for the visa. Jumping through burdensome bureaucratic hoops requires sleight-of-hand and insider knowledge that only an expert like Batema can offer. Piot also looks at the disappointments and successes of lottery winners who have made it to the United States. Charles Piot is professor of cultural anthropology and African and African American studies at Duke University. Hope and History: A Memoir of Tumultuous Times William J. vanden Heuvel, Cornell University Press, 2019, $28.95/ hardcover, 296 pages. William J. vanden Heuvel, who served as President Jimmy Carter’s U.S. ambassador to the United Nations’ European offices and deputy U.S. permanent representa- tive to the United Nations from 1977 to 1981, recounts his experi- ences as a second-generation American, a soldier, a lawyer, a political activist and a diplomat. Compiling his work frommore than eight decades and his adventures with some of the most prominent Americans of his time—men like Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Carter—vanden Heuvel addresses issues from desegrega- tion in America to the Holocaust. He also gives a behind-the- scenes view on how individuals like himself have tackled and continue to address some of America’s most challenging issues with ingenuity and goodwill, concluding there is still room for optimism in public life despite the hatred and bigotry present in America.