Archive for the ‘diplomacy’ Category
“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”
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.”
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 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.
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.”
As one source close to the Hybrid Diplomat commented, “I hope they catch every one of these selfish jerks. Our citizens put their lives on the line every day to collect that information and when some jerk decides to compromise it, I think they should use the harshest punishment possible. It absolutely disgusts me.”
Wow, tell me how you really feel! Well said though, and exactly on the money.