William Burns: The Back Channel
Multimedia | March 07, 2019

William Burns joins Cameron Munter to discuss the art of diplomacy—past and present—and his latest book, The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal

In advice to the next generation of diplomats, Burns notes, "It’s really important for us to balance that recognition of the dangers of overreach—understanding of history and where we’ve been before—with this sense of initiative and a willingness to seize opportunity."

"Smart, effective diplomacy not only begins at home in a strong political and economic system, but it ends there too—in better jobs and a healthy environment and more prosperity and better security. We haven’t always done as good of a job over the years in making that case to the American people."

William Burns ranks among the most recognized American diplomats of his generation, serving five presidents and ten secretaries of state over a thirty-three-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service. He is president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the oldest international affairs think tank in the United States. 

Producer: Conrad Jarzebowski
Editor: Alex Schulman
Creative Development: Dragan Stojanovski