Episode 5 (28.48-44:35)

Before you watch

1. Study the following words and phrases

To grapple with the crisis – to tale a firm hold of something and struggle with it 

Deteriorate – to become worse 

Out of the blue – unexpectedly

At short notice – without warning or time for preparation

A thorny issue — causing difficulty or disagreement

On sufferance – when you do something on sufferance, somebody allows you to do it, although they do not really want you to

Integrity – the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles

Breeding ground for terrorism – a place where something, especially something bad, is able to develop

2. Study the information on the following

Jonathan Allen has served as chargé d’affaires to the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York since March 2020. He was appointed UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York in August 2017. He was the Director, National Security at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office from 2015 until 2017.


While you watch

Watch the episode and answer the following questions

1. What unexpected crisis interrupted the work of the Security Council? 

2. What format of the meeting on Burma crisis was suggested by Ambassador Rycroft?

3. What concessions does Sir Matthew Rycroft have to make for the Burmese authorities to turn up for the meeting? 

4. Who is going to represent the Burmese side at the meeting? 

5. Is the event going to be high-profile? 

6. What key issues are reported to Boris Johnson by his advisors? 

7. Why does Britain put such an emphasis on the relations with Burma? 

8. Is Britain’s interest in Burma purely humanitarian? 

9. Dan Chugg, the appointed ambassador to Burma, turns to Sir Simon for advice. What is the difficulty that he mentions? 

10. Why is Britain concerned about failed states elsewhere? 

After you watch

  • Matthew Rycroft mentions private diplomacy. What does he mean by it?
  • Jonathan Allen says ‘One has to have the right framing in order to have the right debate’ Can you elucidate on this phrase? How far do you agree with it?
  • Sir Simon mentions the principle the UK uses to deal with the countries that have poor human rights record and, at the same time, are useful business partners. Do you think it is an honest approach? Or do you think it is hypocritical? Is integrity compatible with politics?
  • ‘Ends do not justify the means, but we must be more flexible about the ends.’ Elucidate on the phrase; support or refute it.