Welcome2018-08-31T12:36:28+00:00

Formerly a university teacher, I am now a freelance writer specialising in the theory and practice of diplomacy from the earliest times until the present. As well as hoping to encourage the study of diplomacy, this site provides periodic updating of my textbook (see immediately below). This page contains some news and views. The contents of the rest of the site can be navigated via the column on the left-hand side.

Diplomacy: Theory and Practice

5th edition
(Palgrave-Macmillan: Basingstoke and New York, 2015)
In Editor’s Choice.

Read more about this book
on the publisher’s website.

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berridge diplomacy 5th

From the back cover: ‘Probably the most prolific contemporary writer on diplomacy is Professor Geoff R. Berridge … Each of his many books is impeccably written and full of insights into the fascinating formation of modern diplomacy” (Robert William Dry, New York University, USA, and Chairman of AFSA’s Committee on the Foreign Service Profession and Ethics); “I discovered Geoff Berridge’s book on diplomacy after serving as a diplomat for over 30 years. It is well-researched, sophisticated, inspiring and, where the subject invites it, suitably ironic” (Dr Max Schweizer, Head of Foreign Affairs and Applied Diplomacy, ZHAW School of Management and Law, Switzerland); “Berridge’s Diplomacy is an enlightening journey that takes the student, the practitioner and the general reader from the forefront to the backstage of current diplomatic practice. The thoroughly updated text – also enriched with a stimulating new treatment of embassies – is an invaluable guide to the stratagems and outcomes, continuities and innovations, of a centuries’ long process” (Arianna Arisi Rota, Professor of History of Diplomacy, University of Pavia, Italy).

Diplomacy, Satire and the Victorians

The Life and Writings of E. C. Grenville-Murray

Second edition (digital), revised (DiploFoundation: 2018)

Available on the ISSUU platform here

Diplomacy, Satire and Victorians

Comments on the First edition

‘I can’t disembark at Southampton at the crack of dawn on Tuesday without telling you first what a boon companion your Grenville-Murray on my Kindle has been throughout the voyage and during rare moments of reading time in New York and Boston.  … You tell the G-M tale brilliantly and it cries out to be made into a film.  What a lively society it was then!  Your account puts the Oscar Wilde affair nicely into perspective’ (Brian Barder, former ambassador and author of What Diplomats Do, QM2, 3 November, 2014).

‘Congratulations on your study of Murray. I’ve only just discovered him myself and I am so pleased there is a biography…. I’m reading the online version and enjoying it hugely. This superbly researched work is a model of the kind of study that is so badly needed to help provide the larger picture. There is too much writing on the well-known’ (Richard Grenville Clark, Apocalypse Press).

‘What an astonishing story: I sat up till half-past midnight last night finishing it. It is rare to find such a fund of real research contained in such a readable envelope’ (Robin Fairlie, sometime company managing director, marketing consultant, and author; now historian and collector of English verse epitaphs).

‘The Brexit Express’. Things past and things to come.

After the incident shown in this photograph, the following announcement was overheard: ‘Passengers planning to travel on the next departure of the Brexit Express, the inaugural journey of which left on 29 March 2019, are advised that, due to signalling problems, the service will no longer operate. Please remain until buses arrive to take you home.’ It has been subsequently reported that the signalman, Mr. B. Johnson, formerly a caretaker at the Foreign Office, was temporarily unavailable for comment. It is, however, confidently expected that he will shortly be explaining in the Daily Telegraph who was really to blame for the catastrophe.

September 18th, 2018|

Writing update

I am putting the finishing touches to a very short book called The Diplomacy of Ancient Greece. I completed a draft of this some years ago and dug it out again over the summer. My interest was re-kindled, so I consulted new sources and have refreshed and extended it. I hope to see it joining my much longer book on Grenville-Murray on the ISSUU platform before long. It’s such an important subject in the history of diplomacy and the only other systematic treatment – Adcock and Mosley’s Diplomacy in Ancient Greece – although still of great value, is over 40 years old, has a rather unwieldy structure, and is devoid of maps. It is treated quite fairly, I thought, in this review, even though the writer begins rather disconcertingly by saying that ‘It is impossible to write a book about diplomacy in ancient Greece, and probably a mistake to try.’ Well, that puts me on my mettle!
I hope to publish in the early winter, also on ISSUU, a book called Spooks and Diplomats: The uneasy relationship between diplomats and intelligence officers (working title). This is a vastly expanded version of the chapter on secret intelligence in my textbook and already well advanced. It explains, I’m afraid, why I have not given much attention recently to the updating page on that chapter on this site. I put the Spooks book on hold and switched to the Greek project largely because I wished to wait for the conclusion of the Mueller investigation into the charge that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election campaign, a subject to which I have given quite a lot of attention.

 

August 26th, 2018|

Diplomacy, Satire and the Victorians

Diplomacy, Satire and Victorians

Diplomacy, Satire and the Victorians

This is the new title under which DiploFoundation has re-launched my biography of E. C. Grenville-Murray on the ISSUU platform. Previously called A Diplomatic Whistleblower in the Victorian Era, I have chosen the new title in the hope that it will attract the attention not only of those interested in diplomacy but also of those with a passion for nineteenth century English literature and journalism. For as well as being a controversial diplomat, ending his career when sacked as British Consul-General in southern Russia, Grenville-Murray was a brilliant satirist and wrote many novels, some widely praised. He was admired by Charles Dickens, who published him for many years (under the pseudonym ‘The Roving Englishman’) in his weekly magazine, Household Words. Among the most important of his non-satirical, non-fiction works, and the one that first aroused my interest in him, is Embassies and Foreign Courts, which is available on the Internet Archive here. Diplomacy, Satire and the Victorians is still the only biography to have been written of this mysterious and influential – but routinely misrepresented – man, and it took me some years to research and put together. As re-issued on the attractive ISSUU platform, the book now has its illustrations – all in their original colours – lodged on or adjacent to the relevant pages rather than tucked away at the back, and here and there I have refreshed the text. It also has a striking new cover. We are now selling this ebook, such proceeds as are earned being divided between myself and DiploFoundation. It can be bought here. About 10 per cent of the text is freely available by way of a sample.

August 11th, 2018|

‘It looks like the cops are finally arriving.’

So exclaimed the Switzerland-based data expert, Paul-Olivier Dehaye, on seeing the hard-hitting Interim Report on Disinformation and ‘fake news’ of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee of the British House of Commons, published officially on 29 July 2018. Available here, it is essential reading not only for those seeking confirmation that the narrow June 2016 referendum victory for the Brexiteers was achieved by anti-democratic tactics and flagrant breaches of electoral law but also for everyone keen to see steps taken  to protect popular voting procedures from being deviously manipulated in the future.

July 29th, 2018|

Donald Duck could have got Kim to Singapore

Out of sheer despair, I have been silent for a long time on Trump’s new style of ‘diplomacy’, as well as on the dangerous clowning of Boris Johnson at Britain’s Foreign Office. And when BBC Radio Five Live asked me to do a pre-recorded telephone interview on the Singapore summit, I declined; partly on the grounds that it would take them too long to delete all the expletives, and partly because it would be better served by a theatre critic or B-movie aficionado. However, a disappointing piece in The Guardian by Simon Jenkins, a columnist whose writing I usually admire, has stirred me to speak. Playing to the Trump narrative, he suggests that only the great deal-maker himself could have pulled off anything like the Singapore summit – but because of his spectacular vulgarity rather than his alleged mastery of negotiating skills honed over years of achieving coups in the real estate business and boasted of in a book with his name on it but which he didn’t write. This vulgarity, says Jenkins, was the ace in Trump’s manicured paw which enabled him to exploit the vanity of Kim Jong-un as well as gratify his own. Should Trump achieve the ambitious aims of his Korea policy, he ‘could,’ says Jenkins, ‘justly claim that his methods have made the world a safer place. It will be back to the drawing board for traditional diplomacy,’ he concludes.

The main problem with this argument – as with Trump’s own claim to diplomatic exceptionalism – is that it overlooks the blindingly obvious fact that never before has the situation been so ripe for diplomatic progress on Korea. Donald Duck, let alone Donald Trump, could have got Kim to Singapore. This is a result chiefly of the rapid and unanticipated progress made by the DPRK’s nuclear weapons programme and its control by a ruthless and adventurous government. Combined with the increasingly dire condition of its brutally sanctioned economy and an erosion of Chinese sympathy towards it, such a situation would have given any administration in Washington both the incentive and the means to give unprecedented priority to Korea diplomacy – and Pyongyang the confidence as well as the incentive to respond seriously. There has been a welcome breakthrough of sorts over Korea but it has been in spite of Donald Trump rather than because of him – and he could easily wreck it yet. If the touchy feely, self-congratulatory theatrics of Singapore are to be built on, it will be traditional diplomacy that will have patiently to put in the so-far-absent foundations (see Freedland) and lay the bricks – while somehow preventing the worst president in US history from once more getting well ahead of the real professionals and trying to place a gaudy roof on thin air.

June 13th, 2018|