Baroque politeness of diplomatic notes is what the world needs now

Last month, Mr Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to the United States, was forced to resign following the leak of a cache of British cables in which he called President Donald Trump "insecure" and his administration "inept" and "dysfunctional". The incident placed a rare spotlight on how diplomats communicate with their colleagues back home.

But perhaps equally interesting - though often overlooked - is the bizarrely baroque, exceedingly polite and occasionally menacing writing style that diplomats from different countries use when communicating with one another.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2019, with the headline 'Baroque politeness of diplomatic notes is what the world needs now'. Print Edition | Subscribe