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The Delicate Dance of Diplomacy

Posted By: Nneka Opene | Filed under: General | Apr 04, 2017

Just like on any dance floor, participants must look out for another in order to move in unison and try to avoid collisions and missteps, so it should come as no surprise that these same rules also apply to the world of politics.

Recently Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have reportedly been conversing back and forth using a slew of clever catch phrases and dance lingo not often heard in politics.

Beginning at lunch with fellow NATO foreign Ministers in Belgium last week, Tillerson attempted to reassure allies of the US’s commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty, despite repeated dissent from Pres. Trump. 

Another politician in attendance told Tillerson that “It takes two to tango” to build better relations with Russia, to which Tillerson responded, “You can dance with Russia and you might also gain something out of it. But for sure you cannot tango with Lavrov because he is not allowed to dance that one.” Source, Politico.eu.

This dance laden response was met with spirited applause from others in attendance, and helped to ease concerns over the current administrations perceived wavering and conditional allegiance to NATO, proclaimed Politico’s inside source. 

On Tuesday the international showdown took center stage in Moscow when Lavrov reportedly struck back, stating, “
My mother forbade me from dancing with boys,” and continued, “If Rex Tillerson feels that he cannot yet dance with everyone, we are ready to help. He is a very experienced man, and I am sure that he will prove to be a fast learner.”

In other words, Lavrov offered the former Exxon executive turned diplomat a dance lesson of his own. Surely the worlds eyes will be fixed upon
 on the international political stage awaiting the next set of choreographed movements from these public figures. 

With Tillerson reportedly implying that there was no point diplomatically around with Lavrov because Russia is believed to have just one choreographer in Putin, and Lavrov reportedly replying that he could teach his US counterparts a few moves, all is quite clear with these catchphrases.

Not only does this demonstrate the intricacies of dance in some of its parallels to politics, but this also shows that the delicate dance of diplomacy both on the political floor and dance floor require a certain level of skill and precision, along with the ability to collaborate cohesively along side others. 


With the art of negotiation and world politics consisting of intricate, well choreographed movements just as in the art of dance. While the dance off has clearly begun, hopefully, for all of our sakes, there will be an intermission of reflection followed by a peaceful ending with some polite words, a show of graciousness, and even a cordial bow or two to end this global showdown.

About the author:

Having fearlessly explored every continent, she is passionate about culture, wildlife and the arts. A SDSU alumni, she has hosted programs for CNTV, interviewed notable figures, interned at KTVU Fox, and has written features for The San Leandro Times. Also a seasoned performer and fitness professional, Nneka has shared the stage with Pete Escovedo, Carlos Santana, and has appeared on various TV Shows.

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