There are two ways of reading John Norris’s ‘Collision Course: one can read it as a student of diplomacy and perhaps be soberly impressed with its contents; or one can read it as a complete outsider, as an Outsider in Albert Camus’ sense, as simply a fellow human who identifies with not only Americans but also Russians and Serbs, be totally depressed by the stark bullying of the stronger power that poses as “diplomacy”. Not only the bullying, but the willingness of the stronger power to quite knowingly risk full scale great power war and treat the slaughter of civilians as a “pressuring bargaining chip”. I suspect many Americans would be shocked to read a US diplomat having no discomfort with identifying openly with Chairman Mao’s dictum of “fight, fight, talk, talk”.
I have been wanting to finish a review of this book for weeks now and still have not had the chance to structure, cut down and complete my notes, especially the brief chapter by chapter contents. It shouldn’t be that hard. Maybe I want to achieve too much with it. But for anyone interested in the meantime here are my raw notes and quotations from the book: