The leaders and politics of the Soviet Union seen through the eyes of an experienced ambassador.
Robert A.D. Ford had a distinguished diplomatic career that included an unprecedented sixteen years as Canadian ambassador to the Soviet Union during some of the most turbulent and important years of the Cold War (1964-80). Relying heavily on first-person testimony, including several interviews with Ford himself, Charles Ruud takes the reader behind the official announcements, revealing Ford's thoughts and actions as he dealt with what was then seen as the great arch-enemy of Western democratic nations.
During his tenure as ambassador Ford was in frequent contact with Moscow's rulers and aware of their struggles, hopes, plans, and fears. Although they appeared powerful, Ford insisted that they sat uneasily on their Kremlin thrones. He showed their shortcomings and the flaws of their system at moments of apparent triumph and warned against miscalculating their strength. Shaped by centuries of Russian tsarism and by Communist ideology, Soviet leaders distrusted the world outside their borders and often failed to understand it, making mistakes and then compounding them, always without acknowledgment.
The Constant Diplomat uncovers the experiences that informed Ford's capacity to understand the Russians and provides a clear picture of the evolving Soviet domestic, political, social, and cultural scene from the late Stalin era through to the end of the Brezhnev regime.