Runway Diplomacy

Sometimes Nyet Just Means Not Quite Yet

Coming back from a quick trip to Asia late last month, Secretary of State MADELEINE ALBRIGHT'S plane made a normal refueling stop--in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The city has historical significance: it's where locals executed the last Russian Czar on orders from Lenin in 1918. Little did Albright know the locals are still pretty rigorous about following directions.

Despite a prohibition against travelers' deplaning without a visa, Albright breezily suggested aides get off and stretch their legs. As stern-looking border guards in drab green uniforms stood watch, two of Albright's top staff members were dispatched to ask permission politely for all to get...

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