The late American diplomat Richard Holbrooke once said diplomacy was like jazz – “a constant improvisation on a theme.” It’s something Ambassador William J. Burns would know. He spent 33 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, playing the role of negotiator in many of the crises of our time. He was ambassador to Russia and Jordan, and he rose to become Deputy Secretary of State, only the second serving career diplomat elevated to that role. He retired from the Foreign Service recently to run the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Host Tom Gjelten speaks with Ambassador William Burns on his lengthy career and current issues facing today's world.

This broadcast originally appeared on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show.