When Chris Stevens first took the Foreign Service Officer Test, he was asked to compare American democracy and jazz music. A friend remembers spending hours discussing the question. Later, he would come to think of Chris as a kind of “jazz diplomat,” and not just because he played the saxophone. Jazz musicians master the technique and then begin to improvise. Their art lies in the space between structure and spontaneity. That was how Chris approached diplomacy.
He found his second home in the Middle East. He climbed the Atlas Mountains, wandered through Syrian suqs and jogged through Libyan olive groves. When the revolution broke out in Libya, Chris arrived on a cargo ship. He read memoirs of former Libyan leaders and delighted in cracking jokes, not just in Arabic but also in the local dialect. After Chris was killed in the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, thousands of people poured into the streets to mourn. Some held signs that read, “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans.”
Chris understood that there is no substitute for American leadership, especially in the hard places where our interests and values are at stake. He represented the best traditions of a bold and generous nation. And we are safer and stronger because of his service.
Clinton is the 67th Secretary of State of the United States
Next Teófilo Stevenson