Wendy Sherman, US diplomat known for ‘tough talks in tough places’, to retire

Wendy Sherman, US diplomat known for ‘tough talks in tough places’, to retire

After Russia amassed 100,000 troops along Ukraine’s borders in what appeared to be preparations for an invasion, the Biden administration sent one of its top diplomats to talk with his Russian counterpart to warn Moscow of a full-scale war. Sent to try to stop him.

In January 2022, the Deputy Secretary of State at the US Mission in Geneva, Wendy R. Sherman hired Sergei A. Ryabkov met. Mr. Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, went to lunch and returned demanding that the United States respond in writing. Draft treaties on security issues that his country had submitted earlier.

The documents were a nonstarter for President Biden, and Ms. Sherman then realized that Mr. Rybakov’s demands were a cover for an inevitable war.

“We knew we were going to be out of the running,” she said in an interview Thursday night.

In an email to State Department staff on Friday morning, Ms. Sherman spoke 30 years after she stepped into the agency’s headquarters for her first diplomatic job and after the United States became embroiled in the most consequential military operation in Europe since World War II. Announced retirement after 30 years of War II. She plans to quit her job on June 30.

Ms. Sherman, 73, a fixture in foreign policy circles in Washington and capitals around the world as a go-to diplomat for tough negotiations with US rivals and opponents: Iran, North Korea, Russia and, most recently, China Have been

Additionally, Ms. Sharman became a role model for women in foreign policy institutions. She was the first woman to serve as Deputy Secretary of State and, under the Obama administration, as Under Secretary for Political Affairs, the third-ranking post in the State Department. She has served under three Democratic administrations and five Secretaries of State. In his job as Deputy Secretary alone, he has visited 39 countries.

“For many of us, especially as a senior woman in national security – there have been very few effective or consequential leaders in foreign policy in recent memory, and then add on top of that even fewer women,” Suzie said George, chief of State Department staff and an aide to Ms. Sherman since 1995.

Warren M. Christopher, the first Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton, offered Ms. Sherman, who was then working in a media consulting company, her first job at the State Department as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs. tapped for. Later, under Madeleine Albright, the first female secretary of state, Ms. Sherman worked on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and North Korea talks. She accompanied Ms. Albright to Pyongyang during the first visit to North Korea by a US Secretary of State.

His most difficult diplomatic assignment was arguably leading US negotiators in negotiations with Iran on the nuclear deal during the Obama administration. In 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry announced a final deal that imposed limits on Iran’s nuclear program but came under attack from Republican politicians for what he said was a failure to address certain military activities. President Donald J. Trump had withdrawn from the deal in 2018, which Iran was following.

In Ms. Sharman’s current position, she has been the point person at the State Department on China policy. He has had to balance competing priorities: to maintain channels of communication while countering China’s policies around the world, Secretary of State Antony J. Working with Blinken. She left for Tianjin in 2021 to meet then-foreign minister Wang Yi, and men in white hazmat suits escorted Ms Sherman and her aides to a hotel.

When the Pentagon spotted a Chinese spy balloon flying over the United States this year, Ms. Sherman called in a Chinese diplomat to deliver the demarche.

Cho Hyun-dong, the South Korean ambassador to Washington, said, “She’s like the Iron Lady of American diplomacy.”

Jonathan Finer, principal deputy national security adviser, said Ms Sherman was the default diplomat of the Biden administration, sent to “difficult talks in difficult places”.

Mr. Finer and Ms. Sharman visited Kiev in January, but it was not their first time in Ukraine: In a photo in front of her desk in Washington, she is laying flowers on Maidan Square in Kiev in 2014, where security forces have subject to supporters. -The President of Russia shot dead dozens of peaceful protesters.

In August, Ms. Sherman visited the Solomon Islands with Carolyn Kennedy, the ambassador to Australia. One goal was to signal US commitment to a region where China is making inroads. But Ms. Sharman was also on a personal mission: The occasion was the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal, a signature battle of World War II in which her father, a Marine, was wounded. She took her green military beret on trips and brought it with her to the podium when she gave speeches.

“It was a very powerful time,” Ms. Sherman said. “I landed on the same airstrip where Marines fought in World War II, and I landed on a plane marked USA.”


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