A quick note about the US Embassy people I worked with while in Russia. They impressed me. Quick with languages, knowledgeable and insightful about culture and customs, they all moved deftly and thoughtfully through a host of complex situations. I hadn't really imagined what it would be like to have such a career, with its frequent repostings around the world. But I believe our nation must be well-served by such persistent attempts to do nothing more than build friendly relationships among various professionals. At any rate, I was genuinely grateful for their professionalism and competence.