“Cumberland Viewpoint” Interview with Amb Thomas Pickering

The World Affairs Council’s Distinguished Visiting Speaker program brings specialists in global affairs to Tennessee to meet with our members and the public at our town hall meetings. It also works to bring speakers to a number of programs in the area as well as media availabilities.  When Career US Ambassador Thomas Pickering was in Nashville he had a non-stop agenda of meetings and conversations at a variety of venues. He also spoke with Dave Johnson host of the “Cumberland Viewpoint” radio show which is broadcast each Sunday on 94.7 “The Giant” and several other radio stations in the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee.

Today we’re pleased to share with you the interview Mr. Johnson conducted with Ambassador Pickering. It was recorded on Monday, September 19th, as Ambassador Pickering was preparing for the Town Hall meeting at Belmont University. We thank Mr. Johnson for sharing this excerpt with you here.

Note: Mr. Johnson is a member of the Tennessee World Affairs Council President’s Advisory Board.

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Timeline  (Run Time: 13:33)

00:01 Opening

02:05 Comment on presidential candidates’ foreign policy positions?

03:10 Relative qualities (male/female) of the candidates in dealing on international stage.

05:25 Question about Amb Pickering’s decades of service.  “57 years of one sort or another”

06:21 What keeps you interested?  “A day you don’t learn something knew is a wasted day.”

07:50 Which ambassadorial positions stand out?

10:05 Reaction to questioning of United Nations value by a presidential candidate.

12:02  Why is there such animus against the UN in the United States?

13:33  Conclusion


Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering holds the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service. In a diplomatic career spanning five decades, he was U.S. ambassador to Israel, the Russian Federation, India, El Salvador, Nigeria, and Jordan. From 1989 to 1992, he was Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, and he then served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Earlier in his career, he was Special Assistant to Secretaries of State William P. Rogers and Henry Kissinger. He also served in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves.


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