Editor’s note: Guest columnist Richard Gowan is filling in for Stewart Patrick, who will return on July 12.

The United Nations diplomatic corps is about to say farewell to one of its best-known members. Christoph Heusgen, Germany’s permanent representative in New York since 2017, departs at the end of June. During his tenure, which included a stint on the Security Council in 2019 and 2020, Heusgen has impressed and sometimes infuriated other diplomats with his plain-speaking, principled brand of diplomacy. He will be missed.

Heusgen has always cut an unusual figure among other ambassadors, as he came to the U.N. after a decade as one of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s principal foreign policy advisers. A spell representing their country in the Security Council would be the pinnacle of most diplomats’ careers. For Heusgen, it was almost a coda to years of service in the G-7, G-20 and other powerful forums.

Perhaps as a…

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