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The Continuation of War by More Difficult Means

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Elizabeth had decided a long time ago that diplomacy was not only the continuation of war by other means, it was the continuation of war by more difficult means.

Nobody was willing to cede anything. She’d always thrived on challenges, but right now this was starting to look like the difference between “difficult” and “impossible”, and she wasn't sure whether she wanted to cry or blow the whole damn Baltic region off the map more.

She wasn’t going to do either, of course. They hadn’t flown her in from Washington to have a tantrum, even if they were acting like two-year-olds playing for the first time in the communal sandbox.

Be the playground monitor, Weir, she thought, startling a giggle out of herself.

An undersecretary gave her a strange look.

Elizabeth shook her head. “I’m afraid that won’t do, sir,” she said slowly. Keep going. You’ve taken classes on this. She’d never given up on anything yet; she wasn’t going to let this be the breaking point.

Afterward, Simon told her to breathe (to relax, that she’d done great).

It was years before she remembered she’d been breathing the whole time.