January 10, 2012, 6:07 PM — Diplomats accredited to foreign governments can't be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned by the country that hosts the embassy in which they work.
It sounds like an idiotic rule when you look at the number of traffic and parking tickets UN diplomatic cars pick up in New York, but it's the only way governments can keep non-suicidal negotiators on staff who can be sent to talk to a potentially hostile governments with a reasonable chance of coming back with all their body parts attached in the traditional way.
Sunday the U.S. broke new ground in the throwing-out of diplomats by declaring Venezuela's consul in Miami to be persona non grata after she was implicated in an alleged plot to launch cyberattacks on U.S. nuclear power facilities.
This is the first time a diplomat has been thrown out of the U.S. for involvement in cyberwar.
Though it could be treated more simply as just response to a crime, adding a new offense to the list of those that will get a diplomat deported is a big deal.
Being mean to the diplomats of other countries tends to have serious consequences, first for your own diplomats based overseas, but often consequences far more reaching.
First rule of subtle diplomacy: don't massacre the ambassadorial delegation
Not to put too heavy an emphasis on the region of Afghanistan just because everyone who does anything but fly over quickly ends up mired in an extended war there. But the destruction of the Muslim civilization in the 13th century – civilization concentrated in half a dozen kingdoms and empires all of which were far more advanced in science, mathematics, poetry, metalworking and other skills than anyone in Europe at the time – began in 1219 with a bit of poor diplomacy from the leader of the Khwarezmid Empire in what is now southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Rather than respond politely to envoys sent to negotiate trade and political terms with the growing empire of Genghis Khan, the emperor Ala ad-Din Muhammad massacred the whole caravan.
Genghis Khan replied in kind (in cruel, actually) by massacring everyone in the Khwarazmian empire's capital city and destroyed every city in the empire, before moving on to do much the same to the rest of the world of Islam, ending its golden age and the lives of many of its people at the same time.