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Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Crocker

Flooding in Pakistan and What America Should be Doing

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With massive flooding, President Asif Ali Zardari out of the country, and banned militant organizations providing basic services to Pakistanis,

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.


Written by hybriddiplomat

August 2, 2010 at 11:19

Cocktail Parties and Flak Jackets

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My Friends,

Please listen to the five segments of “Diplomacy Under Fire”.

“When I worked in the state department, we made the decision to put diplomats into the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s an entirely different proposition than serving in Rome.”
– Former Ambassador Nicholas Burns

The cocktail parties and communiqués of traditional diplomacy are giving way to counterinsurgency and crisis management missions in places like Iraq and Colombia. American diplomats are now required to serve in both embassies and embeds. But the Foreign Service is short on folks with the language and technical skills to fill these modern posts. Add to that a bureaucratic State Department short on funds and slow to adapt and you end up with the 82nd Airborne as the face of American foreign policy to the world.

Big names, big issues!

Written by hybriddiplomat

August 1, 2010 at 23:15