What is it: Any malady feigned to avoid an awkward political situation; also called diplomatic illness. It is unrelated to diplomatic immunity.
Who has had it: Boris Yeltsin (former president, Russia) had repeated bouts of mystery “heart trouble” that absented him from several tense events. Critics blamed diplomatic flu; others believed it was genuine ill health caused by heavy drinking. Henry Kissinger (diplomat, United States) caught diplomatic flu in Pakistan in 1971 and secretly travelled to China ahead of a visit by Richard Nixon.