Archive for April 2010
The Oral Assessment to become an U.S. diplomat has a section called the Structured Interview in which Department of State assessors ask about your experience and motivation for joining the Foreign Service. They also ask you about how you would act in hypothetical scenarios at an embassy.
The NDA (non-disclosure agreement) prevents applicants from talking about specific examples. However the HD brings you exclusive information: to prepare for potential hypothetical scenarios, imagine the quote from the movie Speed:
Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper): “Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do? What do you do?”
So it’s pretty much like that.
The HD’s Afghan source relays this information (a bit outdated): “Whilst we are eradicating poppy fields in Hellmand, British farmers can’t have enough it, over 10,000 hectares of land in Oxfordshire andNorthamptonshire is dedicated for growing poppy this year because of shortage of morphine in the National Health Service UK.
A Scottish pharmaceutical company called Macfarlan Smith has an exclusive contract from the home office to grow poppy in the UK. under freedom of information act you can ask MS to provide you to full account of poppy growing in the UK.”
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.
My deepest diplomatic apologies as blogging will be light in the next few days. The Hybrid Diplomat has been summoned by the powers that be to an undisclosed location for an undisclosed amount of time. I will try to write when I can (if technology permits), and especially when heads of state and notable academics request HD counsel.
In the meantime, I suggest you check the blogs on the right. As always, the HD can neither confirm nor deny any relationship, whether personal or professional, to any of the fellow bloggers.
As President Obama has set a deadline (I like deadlines; I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by) to withdraw troops from Afghanistan beginning in July 2011, analysts are beginning to examine the power vacuum that might exist in the region. Foreign Affairs magazine looks at the emerging Afghan-Chinese relationship HERE.
Astute readers will also recall Robert Kaplan’s piece regarding China-US interest convergence in Afghanistan back in October HERE.
Select Kaplan quote:
“Everyone keeps saying that America is not an empire, but our military finds itself in the sort of situation that was mighty familiar to empires like that of ancient Rome and 19th-century Britain: struggling in a far-off corner of the world to exact revenge, to put down the fires of rebellion, and to restore civilized order. Meanwhile, other rising and resurgent powers wait patiently in the wings, free-riding on the public good we offer. This is exactly how an empire declines, by allowing others to take advantage of its own exertions.
Of course, one could make an excellent case that an ignominious withdrawal from Afghanistan is precisely what would lead to our decline, by demoralizing our military, signaling to our friends worldwide that we cannot be counted on and demonstrating that our enemies have greater resolve than we do. That is why we have no choice in Afghanistan but to add troops and continue to fight.
But as much as we hone our counterinsurgency skills and develop assets for the “long war,” history would suggest that over time we can more easily preserve our standing in the world by using naval and air power from a distance when intervening abroad. Afghanistan should be the very last place where we are a land-based meddler, caught up in internal Islamic conflict, helping the strategic ambitions of the Chinese and others.”
SCATHING: “MILITARY: Troops exchange weapons for pens for lesson in geopolitics”
In what internet analysts are already calling a *shocking* blow to the once powerful blogger over at Automatic Ballpoint, comes this story out of Camp Pendleton. Automatic weapons will always remain important. Indeed, the United States will remain the DOMINANT land, air (especially), and sea power for generations to come. If we are going to remain TOP DAWG as the HD often likes to refer to any hegemonic power in history, we are going to need to have a stronger population centric, America as friend approach rather than the shoot ’em up, kick ass domination that has suited us so well in the past.
As a Pakistani diplomat observed, “When a child is killed in a [Pashtun] village, that village is lost for 100 years.”
So check out the posts over at Automatic Ballpoint as well as some David Kilcullen counterinsurgency over at the Road to Academia HERE and HERE . As always, the Hybrid Diplomat can neither confirm nor deny any association, whether personal or professional, to these great bloggers.
“Each company, each platoon, and each Marine is the instrument of national power,” said Professor Russell Burgos, an expert in Middle East military security. “Whatever you do in the places you visit will be what the people in those regions know about the U.S.”
“In the past, we may have not paid as much thought to the political and cultural aspects of the countries we might visit and not been as aware of the background of the people we interact with,” said Lt. Col. Todd Oneto, 47, a pilot with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165.
Retired Rear Adm. Stephen Loeffler, who provided an overview of Indonesia, stressed that any humanitarian and civil affairs projects the troops take part in can have profound consequences.
“It can literally change the entire dynamics of a region,” he said. “You are the ambassadors of the Marine Corps, the military and for the entire country.”