Welcome to Dipnote

Posted by Sean McCormack
September 25, 2007
Sean McCormack During Morning Press Gaggle

Welcome to the State Department's first-ever blog, Dipnote. As a communicator for the Department, I have the opportunity to do my fair share of talking on a daily basis. With the launch of Dipnote, we are hoping to start a dialogue with the public. More than ever, world events affect our daily lives--what we see and hear, what we do, and how we work. I hope Dipnote will provide you with a window into the work of the people responsible for our foreign policy, and will give you a chance to be active participants in a community focused on some of the great issues of our world today.

With Dipnote we are going to take you behind the scenes at the State Department and bring you closer to the personalities of the Department. We are going to try and break through some of the jargon and talk about how we operate around the world.

We invite you to participate in this community, and I am looking forward to stepping away from my podium every now and then into the blogosphere. Let the conversation begin.

PS - We're new at this. It looks like we broke our own rule and used State jargon in our blog title. "Dipnote" refers to a diplomatic note. It is one of the many ways in which governments formally communicate with each other.

The dictionary definition of a diplomatic note is: "A formal communication between an ambassador and a minister (usually the foreign minister) of this host government or another ambassador."

Comments

Comments

L.W.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
October 8, 2007

L.W. in DC writes:
Yes - the name has to go (despite the explanation). Since the U.S. is so often compared - accurately in many cases - to a dinosaur, I suggest: DiploDoc-US.

Bonnie
|
District Of Columbia, USA
October 8, 2007

Bonnie in Washington, DC writes:
Hello: I am a Georgetown University graduate student and a member of the Pearl Project -- an investigative reporting project into the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002.

I'm looking for people with direct knowledge of State Department actions, communications and involvement in the Pearl kidnapping and murder investigations. Thank you.

Nelson
|
Poland
October 8, 2007

Nelson in Poland writes:
Hi I am Nelson, I work for the U.S. in Poland. It is a great place to be. I am following the Missile Defense project proposed for Poland and Czech Republic.

This is a great idea. However, I think it would be better if we could create accounts to authenticate email addresses. Also the blog seems to just have a long string of posts. It would be nice if it was organized at least by posts related to a continent or subject.

Dipnote Bloggers write:
@ Nelson in Poland -- Thanks for your comments! We recently began implementing a feature that allows you to select posts by topic. There's a "View All Posts By Topic" link in the right column under the "Archives" heading.

Dwayne
|
North Carolina, USA
October 8, 2007

Dwayne in North Carolina writes:
What can we do to improve our image overseas? My guess is that our image has been tarnished around the world with all that we're involved in good or bad.
Other countries spend millions to promote themselves. We spend zero. Is there a plan in place to do some PR work abroad to continue to drive toursim into the U.S.?
This should be a non partisan issue.

Bonnie
|
New York, USA
October 8, 2007

Bonnie in New York writes:
This a great idea.

I have a name suggestion: diplomacy notes.

Bill
|
Thailand
October 8, 2007

Bill in Thailand writes:
Good luck !! Looking forward to great things. Can you help us with any ideas how to help our effort here in Bangkok. As to the name, color, damn the torpedoes full speed ahead!! Bill

Kaelinda
|
West Virginia, USA
October 8, 2007

Kaelinda in West Virginia writes:
So far, this blog seems to be written by the public, not by State Department personnel. While it's nice to know what other people think, most of the responses here relate to the existence of the blog and its name (which, admittedly, has its problems). Where are the posts by the diplomats telling us what is going on in the world? Our American news media does a lousy job of keeping us informed, and I'm hoping this blog will do a better job. Regarding the blog's name, most people have criticized it, and rightfully so, as sounding like a rip one would hear on a school playground. Only one person has come up with a suggestion for an alternative name: DiplodocUS (sounds like the name of a dinosaur). How about DoS_Notes?

Carl
|
Texas, USA
October 8, 2007

Carl in Texas writes:
If he doesn't already know about this official State Department blog -- and I suspect that he already does -- then my international studies teacher will be quite intrigued to learn about it tomorrow. (Yes, international studies is my intended college major.) Personally, I would love to see Sean McCormack's boss offer her perspectives on challenges to American international diplomacy one of these days, particularly Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's apocalyptic machinations and the baleful bedlam in Burma. I'll conclude by agreeing that this blog needs a better name.

Martin
|
California, USA
October 8, 2007

Martin in California writes:
Why is Chevron exempt from the "sanctions" on Burma! What good are the "sanctions" if you exempt the oil business? Another "Oil for Food" program. Pfft.

Mike E.
|
Illinois, USA
October 8, 2007

Mike in Illinois writes:
This is a great idea! It open's windows of opportunity to make the Us Dept. of State more transparent and open so that the average citizen might really have a feeling for what goes on behind the political and propaganda wall imposed by our leaders. It'd be great if some of the other Departments in government did the same. Open up and trust that American citizen are not non-caring fools, give us a chance. Not all decisions made by our government should be on a need to know basis or made strictly for our welfare without our knowing what brought about a decision!
Great Idea!!

james
|
China
October 8, 2007

James in China writes:
Well, I like this kind of forum to communicate with the public, and we will also know the general discipline of the Sino relationships and it's updated processes.

Martin
|
California, USA
October 9, 2007

Martin in California writes:
Wouldn't it be nice not to lose Kandhar to chaos? How about giving a hand to small efforts like Arghand? Crumbs can go a long long way. Even sending them an autographed picture of yourself might be pleasant.

Martin
|
California, USA
October 9, 2007

Martin in California writes:
The search feature does not show the comments that have the searched for text, only the Dipnote that have comments that match the searched for word. IT does not seem like the best implementation of the feature. Should I be using Google to search this site?

Jim
|
Wisconsin, USA
October 9, 2007

Jim in Wisconsin writes:
Thank you for sharing. Very interesting

Elizabeth
|
California, USA
October 9, 2007

Elizabeth in California writes:
Good idea. Can't wait to see how it developes and I'm eager to participate.

karen
|
Lebanon
October 9, 2007

Karen in Lebanon writes:
It is such a good idea to let us in the state department and maybe you would listen to our humble suggestions, to improve America's foreign policy.

Laurie
|
Illinois, USA
October 10, 2007

Laurie in Illinois writes:
I would like to know what America is doing in helping the people of Darfur. I did research on it to present the situation to my 7th grade students. I was appalled that all this killing, raping, and torture is still being allowed. Didn't we learn anything from the Holocaust?

Dipnote Bloggers write:
@ Laurie in Illinois -- Thanks for writing. Ending the destruction and murder in Darfur is a priority for the United States government. The Administration has been at the forefront of the international communities efforts to bring peace to the region. Those efforts are summarized here http://www.state.gov/r/pa/scp/92492.htm. In addition, take a look below at the blog entry by Andrew S. Natsios, the President's Special Envoy for Sudan, on his latest travel to Sudan.

Tag
|
China
October 10, 2007

Tag in China writes:
Just a suggestion. I'm not intending to avoid some issues like pet food and toys for children. I deeply understand the influence of these issues on American people and feelings you're having. Due to my observation, quality problems does exist in China although government is taking more strict control. Chinese people deserve rights of life and safety as other people around the world. And these issues, e.g. product quality, always bear the direct impact on us here in China. Through continuous effort from people and government, things are improving, which brings hopes that these problems can be solved. In addition, central and local government have taken various measures to solve these problems, which is on the contradiction of some U.S. people's remarks that I've seen on MSN bulletin. As a Chinese, I feel deeply sorry for what has happened and actually we are in the same situation because that influeces our life as well. As I saw those remarks on MSN bulletin of "the mistakes made by Communists" or some like that, I feel so upset. I'm not interested in politics and this is not about so-called difference of "communists and capitalists". This is about human rights, which is also the fundamental principle in China. We want to live a life peacefully, enjoy happiness with families and friends, have good education, get married and have babies. Nowadays we place problems aboveboard to find ways to solve them. And we see improvement and hopes.

I'm thinking that whether Dipnote can provide the opportunity to share opinion of American government and people, as well as of people from other countries. To communicate through direct conversation may help people from different places understand each other more, therefore it may come up with better ideas to solve problems both of us are facing.

Steve
|
Florida, USA
October 10, 2007

Steve in Florida writes:
This is an interesting venue, no doubt. All other matters aside, however: our nation's concern is focused on Iraq and the seemingly endless violence associated with this mission. I have only one question. "Why are we characterizing the military mission as one in which we will stay in Iraq until al Qaida is defeated, a mission which only draws more violence into the paradigm (if you will)? Why don't we characterize the military mission as on in which we stay in Iraq until the end of hostilities between Iraqis, a mission which immediately states to the belligerents that when they stop fighting and killing each other we will leave?" I know I don't have sufficient information to actually analyze this matter, but I am curious as to the mission statement of the U.S. Military in Iraq. Thank you for your time.

rob
|
Thailand
October 10, 2007

Rob in Thailand writes:
For decades the standard arts of diplomacy have been tested and found wanting over the Burma question. The international community remains moved but effectively motionless, the brothers of ASEAN remain very Asian. China drives along iron rails of self interest. By definition, then, useful non-violent measures if they exist lie outside the well-handled box.

Here's one.

The junta has one collective point of some vulnerability: they are all soldiers. It's a matter of self-definition, and in their emptiness of anything else to point to, probably the determining element.

Take every country in the UN that has voted in support of condemnations of Burma. Take several ranking officers of the armies of each country into a league, dozens of them in toto, and ask them to participate in a sort of professional condemnation of the behavior of the Burmese officers as supposed guardians of the people who are instead oppressing them--and the mockery this makes of the honorable profession these signers have followed...you see my point.

This alone would hardly topple the regime. But it would be a telling shaft to their pride; most importantly to the pride of the younger Burmese officers whose questioning would be sharpened.

If a commission like this could be kept in being and called to conference from time to time, it might become a useful tool against other regimes too, increasing in stature and influence (like Amnesty International, for example) over the years.

The effect on the members of the junta, no longer invited to international military conferences, ignored at the ones they do attend, could be notable. Shunning has proved pretty powerful in a number of societies through the ages. And this is one form of international sanction, maybe the only kind, that doesn't hurt the people themselves in a targeted country.

martingugino
|
California, USA
October 11, 2007

Martin in California writes:
Another follow-up to your April 8th, 2006, statement after Ambassador Brownfield's car was pelted with fruits and vegetables by people on motorcycles. You said our response would be "asymmetric" - meaning that there would not be an axis of symmetry to out response. Was that intended to rule out the use of motorcycles - since that would create a symmetry along the vehicular axis, as well as to rule out the use of fruits and vegetables which would create a symmetry along the food axis? Or did you intend to take off the table only the option of American personnel on motorcycles who at the same time used fruits and vegetables as being a possible response? That is, did you intend to rule out a maximal-axis or only a mono-axis of symmetry? The common interpretation would be the mono-axis I believe, but I am not sure if this is what you intended.

West S.
|
Florida, USA
October 12, 2007

If the U.S. Congress is considering a resolution to condemn the Turkish/Ottoman "genocide" of erstwhile Armenian collaborators with Russian enemies of Turkey, why not condemn the British attacks on American patriots at Cowpens? Why not condemn the American indiscriminate bombing of Cambodian civilians under Pres. R. Nixon? Why not condemn the Israeli genocide of Palestinians? Why not condemn the Kahn's genocide of anyone who stood in his way? How many centuries of world history do you want to cover, Congressmen?
Better pay attention to the Farewell Address of President George Washington - avoid entangling alliances - even with Armenians!?

West S.
|
Florida, USA
October 12, 2007

WBCHS in Florida writes:
If the U.S. Congress is considering a resolution to condemn the Turkish/Ottoman "genocide" of erstwhile Armenian collaborators with Russian enemies of Turkey, why not condemn the British attacks on American patriots at Cowpens? Why not condemn the American indiscriminate bombing of Cambodian civilians under Pres. R. Nixon? Why not condemn the Israeli genocide of Palestinians? Why not condemn the Kahn's genocide of anyone who stood in his way? How many centuries of world history do you want to cover, Congressmen? Better pay attention to the Farewell Address of President George Washington - avoid entangling alliances - even with Armenians!?

Dipnote Bloggers write:
@ WB in Florida -- Your question seems to be directed toward the U.S. Congress, not the U.S. Department of State. The State Department's view on this matter, however, was expressed by Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey during yesterday's Daily Press Briefing:

"As you've heard from Dan Fried and from others and Nick Burns yesterday, we just don't think that this resolution is the right response to the mass killings at the beginning of the last century. We recognize that this was a great tragedy and we're not trying to minimize or deny the enormous significance of this. But the determination of whether these events constitute genocide is something that we believe should be a matter for historical inquiry not for political debate."

Robnert
|
Connecticut, USA
October 12, 2007

Robert in Connecticut writes:
What are the State Department officials doing in Iraq? ...That we need to spend 1 billion dollars to protect them. Doing???

Anonymous
|
Florida, USA
October 15, 2007

A in Florida writes:
Why didn't the U.S. arrest the President of Iran for war crimes based on his being a guard during the Iran Hostage Crisis?

Martin
|
California, USA
October 16, 2007

Martin in California writes:
What was the role of the IMF in Burma's decision to raise gasoline prices? I hear that the IMF generally ignores the impact of its recommendations on the poor, as in, for example, the Aristide situation.

Scott
|
New York, USA
October 18, 2007

Scott in New York writes:

What is the Interagency Guidance on Response Programs for Unauthorized Access to Customer Information and Customer Notice, or Response Guidance, and how does this help protect against crimes such as identity theft?

Edward
|
China
October 18, 2007

Edward in China writes:

It's a great idea to have such kind of channel for people to know more about what U.S. diplomats are thinking and doing. Hope that there will soon be a similiar website for their Chinese counterparts to say something......

Martin
|
California, USA
October 21, 2007

Martin in California writes:

Regarding the genocide question, at what point, if ever, did the State Department, in its wisdom, decide that Rawanda was genocide?

khosro J.
|
Iran
October 21, 2007

KJ in Iran writes:

Hello, First I am very glad to find this chance to have close by contact with the U.S. Second please encourage me for my English,(and excuse me for my mistakes). I am a student in Iran. They call my brand the "activists" and then brand us to be linked to you. We had our last demonstration which to our surprise was covered finally by some press, but disappointingly, declared to be only 100.For us, we were happy to see some sort of coverage any way. I like to be in touch with you. It is not easy to do so, as you know the whole system in Iran is monitored, many of us either risk or take lots of precautions, such as software to remind the supervisory monitoring section of the RGC on the internet that we are not in Iran, and could not be reached. I am studying civil Engineering in Tehran University, I myself am from Mashad, but had to come to Tehran. In our last demonstration, I think by our slogans you know by now what we want. But to make sure I like to underline them here once again; Regime change but not a reform. We know that by now with the whole system unified and hardliner, there is no chance for reform. It was a mirage from the start. But now that the Guards are in the list, and there is the chance of a military attack, we shall take this opportunity to do the best in all chances, with demonstrations. Our friends are still in prison under torture, and we shall not quit till they are freed or till we are also taken to the last drop. let it be known that the Iranian people donãt want this regime. You should be decisive, that the only way to stop its advances in Iraq and other places is to choose. Of course the choice would bring consequences but if you don't take this chance the whole world will fall because of mistakes of an appeasing policy. International community does not understand the nature of the mullahs , we do, they are deceptive and live by their pockets till death. Already many have moved great lumps of sums abroad to escape the anger of the people. But we think you are helping them in staying on, in a way you are a helping hand in every day hangings. Because of difficulties you yourself have obviously in the U.S., and the lobbies backed by Iranian money, to destabilizes your policy of firmness. But unlike what you think the mullahs are very much weak. They had to apologies to us after the demonstration we organized by the help of the opposition in France. They had retracted their threats. All the reactions you see are hollow. The threat about the missiles and so...we laugh in Iran when we read all this ..you call it much ado about nothing? in English. So please hear us out. This is a very important opportunity for us to have our say.

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