Weapons of Mass Diplomacy
By Abel Lanzac
London:SelfMadeHero, 2014. Graphic Novel
Arthur Vlaminck is coaxed away from academia to join the staff of the French Foreign Minister, Alexandre Taillard de Worms, as a speech writer. In his new job, Arthur struggles to find his place and his voice in a highly politicized office dominated by the big egos and vindictive co-workers, even as crises erupt around the world. The greatest of these are in the Middle East, where the United States is gearing up for a new war.
In this fascinating graphic novel, Diplomat Antonin Baudry(writing as Abel Lanzac), gives a fictionalized account of his time as an adviser to the French Foreign Minister, during the build up to the Iraq War. Revealing the inner workings of government, the absurdities of Arthur Vlaminck's attempts to craft clear statements of French foreign policy, in spite of the ever shifting demands from his boss and the backbiting of his co-workers, are both hilarious and insightful. The satirical aspects are reminiscent of shows like Alpha House, films such as In the Loop or the Doonesbury comic strip.