Posts Tagged ‘state department’
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.
Back in April, the HD wrote about the Washington Times’ criticism of the beloved Department of Having a Good Time.
Well, well, well. “The Washington Times owes the State Department more than $15,000 in long-overdue travel expenses.” That’s about as funny as the time the HD was flying in his ROTFLCOPTER with his Loller skates on, landed, and then drove his Lolvo into a Lolcano!
To loosely quote Cool Runnings:
Commentator One: And you’re not the only one to get excited about that. I think the fans here have an extreme case of hypocrisy fever.
Commentator Two: Al, so do I.
Commentator One: Oh no, no, no. So do we.
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.
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!
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!!!
The previous post has generated some chatter on the wires so the HD is posting the best response from an Irish source:
“In reply to a recent post “Newspaper Criticizes State Department for HAVING A GOOD TIME!” a little perspective would go a long way Before your time in my country a high ranking government official spent 1000′s of Euro of tax payers money to fly across this tiny country to open an off-licence. $300,000 for whiskey, I’d say the Irish government run that sort of bill on an idle Tuesday.
Have a good day.”
The conservative Washington Times unjustly attacked the State Department on Tax Day for its liquor expenditures. The HD always welcomes political viewpoints of all stripes but this was clearly just a partisan attack on America’s drunk diplomats. Both liberals and conservatives can agree that alcohol fuels peace and security in crisis situations and that America’s diplomats need a little Jack Daniels to achieve America’s foreign policy goals around the world.
Do you think Henry Kissinger was able to achieve an opening with China in the 1970s without several Mai Tais?
Ask yourself, was Viscount Castlereagh, Prince von Metternich, Cardinal Richelieu, or Otto von Bismarck able to accomplish what they did in life without copious amounts of alcohol?
Shame on you, Washington Times for this unjust cheap shot.