Edward R. Murrow famously said of diplomacy:
“The real crucial link in the international exchange is the last three feet, which is bridged by personal contact, one person talking to another.”
Maybe Ed didn't know this, but the Claymore anti-personnel mine can do a lot better than three feet. It can extend the maximum range of interpersonal exchange all the way out to 270 yards, although its effectiveness is optimized at 55 yards, where it has a 30 percent chance of making personal contact with anyone standing in a 60-degree horizontal arc to its front.
After the September 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, I had a conversation with a casual acquaintance who asked me, in all seriousness, why U.S. embassies can't be defended with Claymore mines and concertinas of razor ribbon. Well, he was half right, since we do have razor ribbon in quite a few places. But, anti-personnel land mines? Really?
You might think - I used to think - that the practical, legal, and political consequences of that would be obvious. But, apparently they are not. In fact, I get the definite impression that many people conceive of a diplomatic mission such as the one in Benghazi as a military outpost in a war zone.
Since the September 11 attack in Benghazi, I have come to realize that nearly all of the voting, tax-paying, American public gets its information about embassies and diplomacy from ... oh, I don't know, really bad action movies, maybe.
Public diplomacy ought to start at home. Have there been any realistic depictions of diplomatic missions in American popular media? I can't recall any.