Coda: Ten Questions for a Diplomat
Thomas Niles served as a United States foreign service officer from 1962 to 1998. His service included three terms as ambassador: to Canada, the European Community, and Greece. He reflects here on the continuities in the diplomatic profession, and, in particular, on embassies, during a period of notable historic change. While many of the protocols and responsibilities of embassies remained more or less the same as they had been for over a century, there were hints that those, too, were about to change in unforeseen ways, even calling into question the central role of embassies as representing and serving the nation-state, as the other articles in this issue discuss. Nevertheless, to this ambassador, at least, even dramatic changes in technology, politics, and culture rarely happen all at once; and the institutions and the people adapting to them may be more cautious or durable than they sometimes appear in retrospect.