Archive for May 2010
And via Glenn Greenwald: “I wonder what people would be saying if Iran had intercepted a humanitarian ship in int’l waters and killed 15 or so civilians on board.”
The HD’s solution: we use Israel’s crack commandos to fight the Somali pirates.
And from NYTimes on December 26, 2009: “Mr. Abdulmutallab was issued a regular visitor’s visa by the United States Embassy in London in June 2008, the administration official said. There was no ‘derogatory information available’ on him at the time he applied, and he was granted a two-year visa, which is still valid, the official said. He had traveled to the United States once before, to Houston in August 2008.”
Not only will his posts be international relations related, but also practical! His first post? How to spot a diplomatic car in London!
The HD’s license plates when the Mexican and American governments summoned him back to Arizona where he dealt with pressing immigration issues. He had to drive with multiple passports (in addition to having a driver’s license)!
He’s the guy who walked across Afghanistan in late 2001, diplomated (verb) in Iraq in August 2003, taught at Harvard, and successfully ran for Parliament all before reaching his Bartolo Colón year (the age of 40). Apparently, while he was campaigning up in Penrith and The Border (his constituency) in the run up to the May 6 election, he was still grading his students’ papers from Harvard.
There’s a more thorough profile here with this GEM:
“Not only is there a new job in academia but also the movies. Hollywood has started to speak Stewart’s name and after Brad Pitt bought the rights to his life, Orlando Bloom is due to portray the young ‘adventurer’. Jokingly he says he’d really like Judi Dench to play him.”
Brad Pitt once tried to buy the rights to the HD’s life, but the HD’s agent doesn’t answer calls unless interested parties are offering at least eight digit figures.
Tonight’s “lecture” brought out a star-studded cast of scholarly travelers and last Goliaths to the New Academic Building on the London School of Economics’ campus. Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi’s son extolled the virtues of Libyan democracy and even argued that Libya was the most democratic country in the world (in theory)! The HD has eaten cake that was richer than that.
However, the real action was outside (and inside before the talk) the lecture hall where brawling and constant shouting matches took place. Now the HD loves a festive argument as much as the next guy, but apparently a 57 year old man was roughed up outside during the talk. A close friend and colleague, the Ayatollah Grahambini, witnessed and recapped with this picture and these tweets here, here, and here.
In addition, via portable surveillance and tracking device (mobile phone), the HD received another eyewitness account from a most trusted source: “There are about 4 police vans and 12 police cars and at least two dozen officers outside the NAB…. Never seen so much security here. There’s only bout 9 protesters!”
Shocking times. But, if you are interested in democracy in the Middle East, the HD encourages you to read the best piece on the subject by the Doctor of Democracy himself, Professor Larry Diamond of Stanford University.
Coincidentally, the HD shared the same facial expression as the Colonel throughout much of his kid’s lecture. Anyway, be sure to check the event link in a few days time for the full audio/video as “podcasts are normally available 1-2 working days after the event”. However, for some reason the HD is willing to predict that either the LSE will not “receive permission from the speaker to do this” or there will be “technical problems with the recording of the event”.
“You can’t go to a UK university campus without hearing an American accent somewhere. Some 34,000 Americans come here every year to study, and about 9,000 Brits head the other way.”
Interesting to note: (via Colleen Graffy’s Twitter feed; the HD gets his information from a whole HOST of sources!), apparently Sir Christopher Meyer, who spoke the same day at RUSI and was former British Ambassador to US, banned the use of the phrase “special relationship” at British Embassy in DC.
Alas, other obligations prevent the HD from attending, but the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy event looks great.
|Start Time:||May 25, 2010 – 11:30pm|
|End Time:||May 26, 2010 – 1:00am|
|Speaker(s):||Ambassador John Herbst (Moderator), Blair Glencorse, Joshua Gross, Walker Hardy, Victor L. Marsh II, Matthew Parin, Maria Placht, Rachel Posner|
11:30pm huh? Nothing like a little late night diplomacy!
However, it is tougher to show overt successes in diplomacy whereas military success is easier to see.
From the current failures in Zimbabwe, Burma, Sudan and “other godforsaken places”, one could add North Korea and Iran to the mix.
Krauthammer argues for successes in Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, but Afghanistan now leaves much to be determined.
It’s not like the HD to telegraph his location, but he’ll be back in London to hear Saif al-Islam Alqadhafi’s lecture at the LSE. If you see the HD, be sure to holler at him (off the record of course). As the sushi chef at Baby Blue in the HD’s hometown always say, “I like when the champions come out.”
Hat tip to Juha for sending this my way!
The HD took the afternoon off to stroll over to the Royal United Services Institute and attend this event: the launch of the book, Soft Power and US Foreign Policy. There were several big name international relators in da house, including Professors Michael Cox, Inderjeet Parmar, Joseph Nye, and Christopher Hill.
From the invitation email: “Since the American-led invasion of Iraq and the subsequent military occupation of the country, new attention has been brought to the meaning and instruments of soft power, particularly in the context of US foreign policy. In this edited collection of new work by outstanding authors in their field, contributors provide the most extensive discussion of soft power to date.”
The HD has long been a proponent of soft, as well as saucy, power so it was a great honor to see Professor Nye in the flesh. After the event, Professor Nye (no relation to Bill Nye the Science Guy) had to rally race over to Chatham House to speak. A colleague and I were in hot pursuit of the Professor and accosted him on Whitehall so that we could have a picture with him (Pics or It Didn’t Happen). He indicted that he was in a rush, but the HD used his prolific interpersonal skills to swindle the cheekiest of photos (the HD may have even rubbed the good Professor’s lower back to get a smile out of him)! The HD thought about giving the good Professor his business card (you know, the one that says “This certifies that you have had a personal encounter with the HD and that you found him warm, polite, intelligent and funny”) but decided to leave it at a solid handshake.
As always, the HD’s face is redacted for national security and safety reasons. In addition, the HD is no longer in London.
The HD wishes to extend his deepest of gratitudes to his colleague who took this LEGENDARY photo and the Professor.
From the May/June issue of Foreign Affairs comes an article from SecDef Robert Gates which boils down to telling other countries to “Help me help you. HELP ME… HELP YOU!”
From Anglo-American relations: “It dates back to the period before the United States entered World War II, when Winston Churchill famously said, ‘Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.’ Through the Lend-Lease program, the United States sent some $31 billion worth of supplies (in 1940s dollars) to the United Kingdom over the course of the war.”
The Hybrid Diplomat also took a lot of slack from Graham over at Automatic Ballpoint for including development as one of the three Ds in this blog, but the SecDef continues, “I never miss an opportunity to call for more funding for diplomacy and development and for a greater emphasis on civilian programs.”
And for the State Department to continue to be relevant: “any government decision in this area should reinforce the State Department’s leading role in crafting and conducting U.S. foreign policy, including the provision of foreign assistance, of which building security capacity is a key part. Proper coordination procedures will ensure that urgent requirements for military capacity building do not undermine the United States’ overarching foreign policy priorities.”
“Helping other countries better provide for their own security will be a key and enduring test of U.S. global leadership and a critical part of protecting U.S. security, as well.”
You, America, are hanging on by a very thin thread and I DIG THAT ABOUT YOU!!!
Read about “Thailand’s Escalating Violence” here by Joshua Kurlantzick, Fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council for Foreign Relations.
Select quote: “Most critically, there has been a fundamental change in Thai politics, in which the poor and those alienated from institutions like the army, civil service, and palace finally have demanded their rights. If the middle class and elites do not recognize that Thai politics has changed, and that they must change along with it, more demonstrations will break out, perhaps in the run-up to the next election–set for the fall, but still uncertain. Further bloodletting of red shirt demonstrators is not likely to calm the situation.”
WASHINGTON — When military officers and diplomats gathered in a secure room in the Pentagon on a recent Friday to get a video briefing from the Afghan battlefield, they were startled to see a youthful British diplomat in an open-neck shirt, rather than the familiar face and camouflage fatigues of Gen.Stanley A. McChrystal, the American commander.
The diplomat’s name is Mark Sedwill, the new senior civilian representative of NATO in Afghanistan, and on that day, he was acting as General McChrystal’s proxy. It is a role Mr. Sedwill, 45, has taken on with increasing regularity in recent weeks, forging a tight relationship with the general that associates say carries echoes of the one in Iraq between Gen. David H. Petraeus and the American ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan C. Crocker.
Their mission also bears striking similarities to the “surge” those men carried out in Iraq: forging a combined military-civilian offensive to drive out a stubborn insurgency and allow a competent local government to take root. As the protracted struggle to bring order to the southern Afghan town of Marja demonstrates, it has been an uphill battle so far.
The two men travel together every other week to hot spots around Afghanistan. They often team up to visit President Hamid Karzai. And with General McChrystal’s support, Mr. Sedwill has turned what had been a low-profile adviser’s role into a key civilian leadership post — one in which he vies for visibility with the American ambassador in Kabul, Karl W. Eikenberry.
“Partly because of his interpersonal skills and partly because of his backing by McChrystal, he has emerged very fast,” said Richard C. Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. “McChrystal immediately and with great skill began using Sedwill as his political arm, thus improving his effectiveness.”
Inevitably, Mr. Sedwill’s rise raises questions about the relationship between General McChrystal and Ambassador Eikenberry, a retired general who was once himself the commander in Afghanistan. Both men insist that they work closely together, too, and that reports of tension between them are inaccurate. With a multinational coalition like that in Afghanistan, Ambassador Eikenberry said, it is essential to have non-Americans in leadership posts.
“That’s a very powerful signal that this is a true alliance,” he said, adding that Mr. Sedwill was an “absolutely superb diplomat.”
A career member of the British Foreign Office who once worked as a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq, Mr. Sedwill first crossed paths with General McChrystal in 2009 when he was the British ambassador in Kabul. General McChrystal had just assumed command of the International Security Assistance Force, the combined NATO and American presence in Afghanistan.
“We kind of hit it off personally, straightaway,” Mr. Sedwill said in a telephone interview from Kabul. General McChrystal was traveling this week, his aides said, and unavailable for an interview. Referring to the general’s ascetic lifestyle, Mr. Sedwill said, “We’ve obviously got very different backgrounds. I certainly eat more than him; I sleep less than him. I hit the gym, but not as much as he does. As far as an undisciplined diplomat,” he joked, “I’m about as close to Stan as I could be.”
Mr. Sedwill expanded what had been a sleepy NATO civilian operation under his predecessor, Fernando Gentilini, an Italian diplomat. Mr. Gentilini had a staff of just 6 people; under Mr. Sedwill, the staff is expanding to 24, drawn from the United States, Britain, Denmark, Canada and Australia. His goal, he said, is to better coordinate NATO’s far-flung civilian operations so that the so-called provincial-reconstruction teams sponsored by European countries in Afghan districts work more closely with one another and with the local Afghan authorities.
As a British diplomat, it is easier for Mr. Sedwill to press fellow Europeans than it would be for an American. NATO officials said he had ruffled feathers among some European countries for criticizing the way they ran their civilian operations. Mr. Sedwill “is not shy about poking some of NATO’s sacred cows,” a senior alliance official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic protocol.
Mr. Sedwill said he was trying to get the civilian teams to help the local Afghan authorities deliver services rather than doing it themselves. That would address what he conceded was a hurdle in the campaign so far: the lack of trust Afghans have in their government. In Marja, for instance, the troops drove out the Taliban with little trouble, but the Afghans and Americans have struggled to put a credible local government in place.
“If I can claim credit for anything, it is for really getting people involved in the political issues that fuel the process,” he said. “The language we now use is that we talk about a political campaign with a military phase.”
Mr. Sedwill is trying to apply the lessons from Marja to Kandahar, a much larger city with a more complex political landscape. There, a big question is how to deal with Mr. Karzai’s brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, the head of the Kandahar provincial council and a divisive figure whom many American and Afghan officials accuse of having ties to drug traffickers and Taliban insurgents.
“Ahmed Wali plays a very powerful role,” Mr. Sedwill said. “We’re in a close dialogue, and are encouraging him to use his influence, his power, to build a genuine political deal.”
While it may be too much to suggest that General McChrystal engineered Mr. Sedwill’s appointment, NATO officials said he clearly made his preference known when other candidates’ names surfaced first.
Mr. Sedwill’s emergence also laid to rest a long-simmering debate over how to structure the civilian leadership of the Afghan campaign. The United States had initially wanted to install a powerful viceroy who would have functioned as a counterpart to the military commander. Previous efforts to install a powerful civilian chief had foundered because of Hamid Karzai’s objections and European fears that a viceroy would dilute the authority of the United Nations’ special representative.
Now, Mr. Sedwill fills out what Mr. Holbrooke described as a quartet of civilian leaders: Ambassador Eikenberry; Staffan de Mistura, an Italian-Swedish diplomat who represents the United Nations; and Vygaudas Usackas, a Lithuanian who is the European Union’s special representative.
Of these four, though, only Mr. Sedwill can call himself General McChrystal’s wingman. “I wouldn’t have taken the job if I hadn’t been confident in my relationship with McChrystal,” he said. “He probably would have sought to block anyone he didn’t have confidence in.”
Could the Middle East become a nuclear-free zone? “If major countries wish to address Iran’s nuclear dossier, they can do that by bringing Israel and Iran to the negotiating table.” -Egyptian Ambassador to the UN Maged Abdel Aziz
Article VI of the TREATY ON THE NON-PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS (Signed at Washington, London, and Moscow July 1, 1968): “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
And watch this amazing mash up by the Daily Show between President Reagan’s and Obama’s statements on nuclear weapons.
And the Doctor of Diplomacy himself, Henry Kissinger, on the effort to be “Toward a Nuclear-Free World”.
“Sweden has expelled a high-ranking Syrian diplomat for allegedly planning to abduct his daughter, Swedish media report. A Swedish politician, who is alleged to have helped the diplomat plan to kidnap the girl, was arrested on Monday. Syria was informed Tuesday by Swedish officials that the diplomat was “no longer welcome in Sweden”, according to Swedish daily Expressen.se”
In a flurry of diplomacy (a flurry is similar to an offensive), the travel-sized Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discuss Israel’s nuclear weapons.
And for those keeping score at home, you’ll recall the legendary story of “The French spy, the CIA, and the Syrian reactor” in which “the French military attaché in Damascus simply took it upon himself to drive out to the reactor on his own and take pictures.”
Man, that would have made for an interesting Facebook album!
Blast from the past:
and from the inscription on the book Freedom (TM):
“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.” — Theodore Roosevelt, 1906
In an UNPRECEDENTED move for the Islamic Republic of Iran, The Official Iranian Salute Guy decided to open his already truly revolutionary blog up to questions. Of course, in true Hybrid fashion, the HD exercised his diplomatic contacts to ensure that the Official Iranian Salute Guy answered the Hybrid Diplomat’s question:
I GIVE ANSWER TO QUESTION ASKED INFIDEL
“I sit here enjoy beautiful morning in greatest Tehran whole entire world, which infidel cannot even imagine. There sunshine and fresh air like none other ever created before on earth.
Is good time to reach into Inbox and find new question from infidel to me answer, yes?
Greetings to the Iranian Salute Guy (Peace Be Upon You),
Thank you for revolutionary blog and glorious insights!! I featured your blog on
my website along with the other GREAT leaders of Iran.
The question I have is this: within the international system, do you ever face “salute-offs” against another country’s salute guy? If so, are you undefeated in these salute-offs? I can only believe so!
The Hybrid Diplomat
O diplomat (as-salamu alaykum) of great nation Hybrid, I salute you and wish peace unto you as well! May all far and wide know powers wielded by great nation yours and tremble at its might!!
I not able find Hybrid on map right now, so will assume it one of great Islamic nations rise amongst ashes of Europe, yes?
As far as how competitive salute guy, let me be first tell you: is VERY competition! When two salute guy stand behind president each, which like what you do in Hybrid I bet, we both make our best to show proud nation face. And longer ceremony take, more prouder we get.
I illustrate you with picture this one.
Here you see–>
Is sultan of Oman, very powerful man that help roll bank of greatest Islamic Republic of Iran, and next to me, salute guy his. He start ceremony by show off fancy walk he say greater than all salute guy in all of world, which make me counter by use super stiffer salute, as taught to me by great professor Fairouz Mehranzadeh. Then he show off colonial English style of salute, which like that of dog. This make me rage, so I top off ceremony with Ultimate Power of Lean Into Salute, which is greatest trick in all of salute guy world.
And yes, this mean I greatest salute guy in all of whole entire earth. That not even up to competition to decide!! This one skill, which I only one in Salute Department of Tehran University to master, my greatest power of all against every other salute guy in whole of earth, which also prove Tehran Iran is most glorious nation over all of entire world!!
I hope that help explain how salute guy job one of most competition of all jobs, and is answer most acceptable to great President of Hybrid!”
What an honor!
Dearest readers [Peace Be Upon Y'all (P.B.U.Y.)],
Astute followers of Mahmoud Ahma… Ahma… Ahmadinejad know that the Iranian president used to blog at ahmadinejad.ir as far back as March 2008 when the HD first discovered the revolutionary blog. In the interest of free speech, the president even allowed comments on his posts! Truly a man of the people… and internet savvy too! However, it appears that the Iranian president stopped paying his hosting fees.
One source alerted the HD to this memorable response from the president to an American woman regarding her son being “forced” to go to Iraq. You have to commend the president on his secrecy to defend her from the evil American regime!!…..
“In regard to statement you have made, since I did not want my reply lead to any problem for you, did not send it through e-mail, because if some agents are getting into private life of the American citizens and eligitimatley control them, may create problem for you. Instead, I decided to post the reply on the web log that those who may have the same views such as yours, get the answer …”
Written by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at 14:27
In addition, readers may enjoy the Supreme Leader Sayyid Ali Khamenei’s two websites here and here. In the same way that the regime consolidated, the Supreme Leader should consider consolidating his websites.
But, most importantly, do not forget the Life and Times of the Official Iranian Salute Guy!
The Hybrid Diplomat realizes that this experiment began in earnest with the intent of posting from the Anglo-American-Irish perspective. Also, as promised, this blog has also seen its fair share of cheekiness as well.
In an effort to blog more, the Hybrid in Hybrid Diplomacy will now not only reflect the hybrid nature of the Hybrid Diplomat, but also the necessity for hybridity (of course that’s a word!) in the pursuit of a country’s national interest through the successful conduct of its foreign policy. The hybrid focus, you ask? “We are elevating development and diplomacy as core elements of our foreign policy, alongside defense.” -the U.S. Secretary of State (or just S as the HD knows her).
So there you have it, folks: a focus on the three Ds – defense, diplomacy and development.
The HD will continue to work tirelessly to bring in guest perspectives, analysis from specialists, and new information from confidential sources.
Two points this evening, dear readers:
Iran hosts a cheeky dinner for friends in New York City that American Deputy Ambassador Alejandro Wolff calls “very good”.
And in the battle for longest, most difficult to pronounce, last names comes this interview (VIDEO) of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as he is interviewed by George Stephanopoulos.
Enjoy this CHEEKINESS of it all:
Ahmadinejad: “I heard that Osama Bin Laden was in Washington, D.C.”
Stephanopoulos: “No, you didn’t.”
Ahmadinejad: “Yes, I did… Rest assured, he’s in Washington. I think there’s a high chance he is there.”
Analysis from the HD’s closest, most trusted Central Asia specialist:
“oh MY goodness…stephanopolous realllly doesn’t know how to talk to/understand persians. ahmadinejad did answer his question…just in a very typically persian way.furthermore, in many parts of the persian world, countering a laughable proposition (such as bin laden being in tehran) with an even more absurd proposition (bin laden is in DC) is a conversational tactic not meant to provide a serious argument, but rather a way of emphasising just how laughable the first proposition is. i am confident this is the conversational tactic ahmadinejad was employing because of his sly smirk while doing it. i know that i’m making generalisations, but these are very real differences between persian culture and its american counterpart. there is an element of strange politeness inherent in the debating style of a lot of iranians and other persophones that prefers roundabout ways of pointing out absurdity over direct accusations and rebuttals. My hypothesis is that, as an Iranian politician, A-jad is well practised in this and it went right over stephanopolous’s head. For more evidence to my statements that this is a common style of debating/refutation in persian, see videos of the iranian election debates from the last pres. election. of course, there is the other approach, which is that A-jad really thinks that bin Laden is in Washington…but i doubt it.”
History can teach but it also can mislead. Scholars and military experts concede that there are crucial differences between the Philippines and Afghanistan.
The Philippines had already been colonized by Spain before its war with the United States, while Afghanistan has resisted conquest by various nations for centuries.
The Philippines was, and still is, a majority Roman Catholic country, while Afghanistan is predominately Muslim. And the U.S. military was able to isolate the Filipino guerillas on several islands, while it’s more difficult to isolate the Taliban since Afghanistan shares a porous border with Pakistan, experts say.
Yet the U.S. still can learn several lessons from its war in the Philippines, scholars and military historians say.
One is what not to do. The U.S. military can’t employ the brutal tactics it once did against Filipinos in a world where there is a 24-hour news cycle, historians say.
“I don’t think we’re willing to do what it took back then and that’s a good thing,” says historian Hinshaw.
“Modern counterinsurgency is focused on winning the support of the population,” says Silverman, the Iraq war veteran and counterinsurgency expert. “The Philippine counterinsurgency strategy was to ‘kill them all.’ ’’
Perhaps the primary lesson from the war in the Philippines is that the United States must be willing to settle in for the long haul, said Dan Roberts, a Vietnam veteran and host of the public radio history program, “A Moment in Time.”
Though the war was declared over in 1902, American soldiers continued to die in the Philippines for 46 years – up to the onset of Word War II, Roberts says. The United States granted independence to the Philippines in 1946.
“I don’t think the U.S. wants to stay in Afghanistan for 46 years,” Roberts says. ”But that’s the way you do these things. You have to be willing to stay there and shed blood decade after decade.”
The Crixus style “Kill them, KILL THEM ALL!!!” no longer works or is acceptable.