Posts Tagged ‘america’
The HD watched the much anticipated Countdown to Zero (the documentary without an agenda LOL/JK) last night. Although quite short (approximately 80 minutes), the film helps to scare the sh*t out of viewers without providing a realistic, comprehensive solution towords a world free of nuclear weapons. One learns that the world could be destroyed in the time it takes to watch an episode of LOST (WITHOUT COMMERCIALS)! We have to go back, Kate! WE HAVE TO GO BACK!!!!!
The movie features some prominent players, including Fair Game Valerie Plame, calling for no nukes and international bodies to handle highly enriched uranium and plutonium. Yet the movie doesn’t deal with the question of rogue states like Iran and North Korea (and states that “just want to see the world burn”). How do we deal with the necessity of cutting American and Russian nuclear arsenals while convincing rogue states to do the same and/or not develop nuclear weapons in the first place? Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t deal with that. Without incentivizing every single country that it is in their national interest to have a world free of nuclear weapons, Countdown to Zero is really Countdown to Our Demise! As countries unilaterally cut their nuclear arsenals, each nuke becomes more valuable. If one were to pursue the ideal Countdown to Zero, then at the end the man with one
eye nuke would be king!
AND THE WINNER IS??? Colonel Willie Sharp: Get off… the nuclear… warhead.
Hopefully all are familiar with the flooding in Pakistan and its relevant political implications by now. DiploJournal provides the relevant facts and figures, Ghost Wars’ Steve Coll calls for Americans to recognize the “strategic as well as a humanitarian imperative” of helping the Pakistanis, and David Ignatius says, “Let’s embrace Pakistan in its hour of need”.
The floods have affected more than 20 million Pakistanis (more people than the Haiti earthquake and 2004 tsunami combined) so if you’re asking “What can I do?”, consider texting FLOOD to 27722 to make a $10 donation if you’re U.S.-based or going to the State Department’s website and finding the organization you want to donate to.
If you’re around a computer within the next two hours (the HD is never not at a computer), Steve Coll will be fielding questions at 3 P.M. E.T. today.
The Obama administration has been beefing up its ranks of officials focused on democratization and rule of law issues, democracy hands note. Sarah Mendelson, a human rights and post-conflict specialist most recently with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, has recently joined USAID as the deputy assistant administrator overseeing its democracy center. Tamara Wittes, formerly of the Brookings Institution, who has written extensively on democracy and the Middle East, joined the State Department’s Near East Affairs bureau to head the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) late last year. And former Georgetown and University of Virginia law school professor and Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks, who early on joined Michele Flournoy’s policy shop, had her role elevated and formalized as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Rule of Law and Humanitarian Affairs in May. (Obama nominated Mercy Corps’s Nancy Lindborg to be assistant administrator for USAID’s democracy, conflict and humanitarian assistance bureau this week.)
“We really do have a critical mass of democracy folks here now, across the interagency,” one official said.
On January 12, Freedom House released its findings from the latest edition of Freedom in the World, the annual survey of global political rights and civil liberties. According to the survey’s findings, 2009 marked the fourth consecutive year in which global freedom suffered a decline—the longest consecutive period of setbacks for freedom in the nearly 40-year history of the report. These declines were most pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa, although they also occurred in most other regions of the world. Furthermore, the erosion in freedom took place during a year marked by intensified repression against human rights defenders and democracy activists by many of the world’s most powerful authoritarian regimes, including Russia and China.
Maybe that explains why Thomas Melia is joining the State Department to become deputy assistant secretary of state for democracy issues. Reverse the trend.
—August 6th and 9th respectively—
For the first time a U.S. official (Ambassador to Japan John Roos) attended attended the annual ceremony in Hiroshima. But in light of the future casualties saved (both American soldiers and Japanese civilians), as well as President Truman sending Stalin a message after Potsdam, President Bartlet on possible future atomic confrontations:
“Hans Bethe wrote, ‘If we fight a war and win it with H-Bombs, what history will remember is not the ideals we were fighting for, but the methods used to accomplish them. These methods will be compared to the warfare of Genghis Khan who brutally killed every last inhabitant of Persia.’”
Ronald Reagan: “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. The only value in our two nations possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they will never be used. But then would it not be better to do away with them entirely?”
Ronald Reagan: “Indeed, I support a zero option for all nuclear arms. As I’ve said before, my dream is to see the day when nuclear weapons will be banished from the face of the Earth.”
“There is no point in apologizing now, after 65 years,” said Akihiro Takahashi, 79, the former head of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and a survivor of the bombing, who has spearheaded the effort to bring Mr. Obama by writing four letters of invitation. “We want President Obama to see with his own eyes what really happened here. This will give him stronger willpower to eliminate nuclear weapons.”
“Japan has its past, too, including Pearl Harbor,” said Akeo Fuji, 50, who came from Mie Prefecture. “This is not about hating the United States, but about hating nuclear war.”
Inatomi Takashi, 27, of Nagasaki, said “We became prosperous because of America, so we don’t see America darkly.”
Historians say such sentiments are widely if quietly shared in this nation, where the war remains a touchy, often taboo topic. They said the moral ambiguity was one reason for the almost total lack of hostility toward Americans in Hiroshima, now a pleasant city of trolley cars in the shadow of forested mountains.
On the HD’s first tour of Japan, he made sure not to tell any Japanese that the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, was built in the city that most people think he is from.
The HD has hollered before about a nuclear-free world but a close confidant has said, “Yes, that is ideal but it will never happen.” However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Without letting the perfect become the enemy of the good, Team Obama and Mother Russia are pushing more cuts in nuclear weapons (Rockhound: No nukes! No nukes!), but the Senate is stalling on ratification.
The treaty has been endorsed by six former secretaries of state and five former secretaries of defense from both parties, and nearly all former commanders of U.S. nuclear forces. French Ambassador Pierre Vimont said recently that after diplomats cabled home that the treaty could run into problems, “People ask us, ‘Have you been drinking?’ “
And when you get some free time this summer, read about and see the two latest non-proliferation movies, Countdown to Zero(a movie without an agenda!) and Nuclear Tipping Point (order the free DVD on their website!).
“Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident, or miscalculation, or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.” -President John F. Kennedy
The HD has always advised policymakers that the ideal number of nuclear weapons is zero. When that happens, the HD will reveal his ONE coveted nuke and the Hybrid Diplomat will become *puts on sunglasses* the Hybrid Dictator… YEAH!!!!! In all seriousness though, we should keep at least one nuke in case of what The Bible calls “Armageddon” – the end of all things. In addition, the HD’s backchannels have been abuzz with information that North Korea has released a movie on called “Countdown to Kim” in which Kim Jong-il takes over the globe after everyone else unilaterally disarms!
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad announced Sunday that the United States would donate $10 million toward disaster relief efforts and would provide more money if requested. The United States, which is deeply unpopular in Pakistan, has also supplied helicopters, boats, prefabricated steel bridges and more than 100,000 meals.
It wouldn’t hurt to let the average Pakistani know that aid is coming from the good ole U.S.A. With suffering and frustration due to the Pakistani government’s inability to lead, Amerucca is in a unique position to gain some desperately needed good will. Ambassador Crocker reminds us:
Building confidence is a long process, but sometimes you can take great strides in a short time. In 2005 an earthquake killed more than 70,000 Pakistanis in two minutes. The United States responded immediately with what became the largest and longest airborne relief effort since the Berlin Airlift 60 years ago. Early on, some of us thought it would be a good idea to put big American flag decals on the Chinook helicopters that had been ordered out of Afghanistan into Pakistan to deliver aid. “Are you completely crazy?” said the commander of the helicopter contingent. He’d just come out of a war zone, after all. “Why don’t we just save time and paint a big bull’s-eye on them?”
“No, no. Trust us on this,” I said. “It’ll work.” And it did. The Chinooks became an emblem of the whole international relief effort. After a couple of months, little toy Chinooks even started appearing in stores with big American flags on the side. (Of course, they were made in China.)
There’s nothing we can do about natural disasters, but this is an opportunity the Americans shouldn’t miss. Drone attacks are effective in killing militant leaders, but it’s unknown how many civilians are killed in each attack as well as the amount of blowback each attack generates. Providing aid and letting Pakistanis know that it is coming from the Americans gives America the chance to help out those that are suffering while accomplishing vital strategic goals in the region.
“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”-Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776
“There is nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed with what is right with America.” -President Clinton
“There is nothing wrong with America.” -the HD
“The one thing that IS wrong with America is the mere existence of quotes that even suggest that something might not be perfect with America.” -the HD’s Legal Attaché
Ambassador Nicholas Burns is speaking at the LSE on Tuesday the 13th at 6.30pm on the “Global Challenges for Europe and America” (so basically the global challenges for America… The HD kids, he kids, he just makes a little joke).
He is speaking again at the House of Commons the following day on “The U.S. Perspective on Afghanistan and Iran”. Both events are not to be missed! The HD will be rolling with his usual entourage so be sure to holler if you see us! As Under Secretary for Political Affairs at the State Department, Ambassador Burns was the third-ranking official after the Secretary of State and the Deputy Secretary of State.
ADDED: Be sure to skip lunch and catch Marc Sageman speaking (quote: “Afghanistan is not in our vital interest – there’s nothing for us there.”) on “Understanding Terror Networks- The Turn to Political Violence” at the House of Commons on Tuesday the 13th at 1pm! If you can’t skip lunch, read his book at your desk! The HD has been led to believe that Juha will be in attendance. His academic specialty is political violence so the HD looks forward to some festive questions!
Hat tip to Juha for sending this my way!