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Former U.S. Ambassador Reflects On An 'Oblivious' America

NPR | June 16, 2013 7:20 a.m.

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NPR Staff

Then-U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker (left) shakes hands with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on July 25, 2011. During his 37 years as a diplomat, Crocker served as ambassador for six Muslim countries.

Then-U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker (left) shakes hands with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on July 25, 2011. During his 37 years as a diplomat, Crocker served as ambassador for six Muslim countries.

Presidential Palace, AP

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Ryan Crocker is a long time U.S. diplomat who served as ambassador in six Muslim countries. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian award from President George W Bush.

Born into a military family, Crocker says he was drawn to the foreign service because he grew up overseas and spent time traveling in the Middle East.

“I thought well, you know it pays better than the Army; which I was also looking at. So let’s see what it’s like. I thought I’d take a two year tour and, you know reevaluate and maybe go on to something else. After every tour, I asked myself the same question. Is this what you want to do? Is there anything else you’d rather do? And for just about four decades, the answer was consistently no.”

After 37 years as a diplomat, he left to become the Dean of the Bush School of Government and Public service at Texas A&M University. He’s spent the last year as a senior fellow at the Johnson Center for the Study of American Diplomacy at Yale.

This week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin speaks to him for the Sunday conversation as he reflects on his career and the specific dangers of the life of an American diplomat in the Muslim world.

Join Our Sunday Conversation

Former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker says America has been Oblivious to the war. Do you agree? Tell us on Weekend Edition’s Facebook page or in the comment section below.


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