THE PRESIDENCY by HUGH SIDEY: The World Is Listening

The Presidency

The words and phrases of power fly like intercontinental missiles, finding targets both intended and accidental within minutes of launching. The analogy, mercifully, is inexact: declarations sometimes can be corrected in flight or even called back. Yet each year, in our taut environment of colliding political interests and swelling military arsenals, careless words grow more dangerous and create an alarming impact on strained alliances or suspicious adversaries.

A large part of international politics today is a ritual followed by 50 or so men and women around the globe trying to figure out each morning what their counterparts in other nations are...

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