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

Kenneth
|
Canada
April 18, 2008

Kenneth in Canada writes:

@ Tony in China -- I think that Tony in China is quite right in his observations. It's double standards to raise the question of Human Rights violations by China in Tiber, by the U.S. without raising the issue of Human Rights violations in Kashmir by the Indian occupation forces. There must be no double standards, even one party is an ally or supposedly neutral country.

But in the case of India it is hypocrisy from the start. The issue is that India signed a UN agreement to the effect that it would permit plebiscite in Kashmir, that would allow its people self-determination in October 1947. But as with all treaties and agreements sign by India, it was abrogated by the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

If the U.S. wants to hold China responsible for the Tbet question, I think that it should also hold India to that very same standard.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 18, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Dear Sean McCormack , I don't think you broke your own rules, you simply stretched the parameters of jargon. If you think about it from the standpoint that all here that contribute comment are "Citizen Ambassadors."

By the way, when I put this site on "my favorites," an odd thing happened. The tag for the site reads on my computer as "Dipnote Official State Department Blob"

That's "Blob," not blog.

I think someone at State must have one heck of a sense of humor.

Please allow me then to "Blob" this thought onto the world stage as a Citizen Ambassador from the U.S.;

"We're all dysfunctional, get over it already!"

World peace can be achieved through the things we hold in common, as long as we all realize what we have in common.

Got to start somewhere. Time now I think for a healthy dose of "Get a grip," globally.

Best Regards.

---
DipNote Bloggers write:

@ Eric in New Mexico -- Hi Eric. You'll be happy to hear that if you bookmark DipNote today, it will say "Blog." Thanks!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 18, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ DipNote Bloggers -- "Hi Eric. You'll be happy to hear that if you bookmark DipNote today, it will say 'Blog.' Thanks!"

---
It was very amusing, and I think I'll leave it as is for posterity's sake. Kind of enjoy thinking of it as the "Blobosphere" anyway. And hey folks, how often do you get to invent new jargon anyway? Gotta love it. Don't thank me, Thank You! for making it so enjoyable to visit!

The IT guys should be given a bonus!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
April 23, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack -- All silliness aside, (chuckle, still amused..) I thought I'd offer a suggestion on improving the reader base of the blog.

If the blog has a link to it on every U.S. embassy website mainpage, that I think will help foster more international participation in commentary from a more diverse readership.

A few shameless plugs for the blog at press briefings might not be a bad idea either...(chuckle)

Point being that there's an urban myth out there that this administration takes no regard for public opinion.
(polls do not influence policy, badly translated )

This blog directly refutes the myth, and is the story.

Whether the press considers this newsworthy or not is another matter.

Keep up the good work folks!

Mark E.
|
Illinois, USA
April 29, 2008

Mark in illinois writes:

@ Ken in Canada -- It's funny that I have speeches on my site (http://regimeofterror.com) showing Saddam praising jihad against the U.S. throughout the 90's and plenty of times before and after the current war. He also trained THOUSANDS of jihadists in terror camps in activities such as carbombing, suicide bombing, IED's etc in the years before the war. These are from Saddam's own documents and the testimony of his own men.

It's alright to want to debate but all opinions aren't equal and someone who reads only misleading news headlines is not of equal opinion who has spent years scouring foreign and domestic reports, interviewing people etc..

Read the original reports. If anyone is uninformed, it is you Dave. It's not that hard to read up and educated yourself.

Jerrie
|
California, USA
May 2, 2008

Jerrie in California writes:

Hello,

I have to write a paper for a cultural anthropology symposium in Mid-May. I decided to write about how technology has changed how people view the conflict in the Middle East. I'm not interested in discussing the complications and problems of the war just how technology has given immediate access to websites like yours that allows open communication between the general public and our government. So I guess my question is how do you think technology has changed communication regarding wars vs. how the war in say Vietnam was brought to the American people? I hope that was clear, I am not use to writing to government officials :)

Kenneth
|
Canada
May 2, 2008

Kenneth in Canada writes:

Mark in Illinois, you have really got to be kidding about the regime of terror.com being real. Most of the stuff that I have read could well be a page out of KGB's propaganda office. I used to think the Soviets were brainwashing the people, but now I am not too sure who was worse, the Soviets or the U.S. I monitor the garbage that is being put over websites across the U.S. and have come to the conclusion that there is really no difference from the Soviet era.

Nazi Germany had its morons who hung on to every word the party said. Along came the Stalinist and they too fell into the trap which made them mere puppets. Today we the the U.S. government or the Bush regime which gives its daily dose of propaganda to all and sundry in the, I hope to GOD that not every American is as naive as you are and can see through this garbage, and distances themselves from it.

It's just possible that I am suspicious of every nation that talks of peace while preparing for war, that is the reality America of today. Perhaps having spent time in Mao's China, I got to know the meaning of propaganda and brainwashing. So, I do know what I am talking about.

Kenneth
|
Canada
May 5, 2008

Kenneth in Canada writes:

Has the U.S. government now created a new term Surgical Strike for an unprovoked attack? Today's news came out with a statement that the U.S. was about to make a Surgical Strike on Iran's Republican Guard Training Centres, because they suspected that Iran was training people for service in Iraq. By that statement, I would like to point out that Kapititan Steuben trained American INSURGENTS to fight British troops during the American Revolution. Did this give Britain the right to attack his Steuben's country?

The U.S. must get over the idea that since the Soviet Union was dissolved in the early 1990's, it can now use its power to dictate to the world. If it makes an unwarranted attack on Iran, then any country can use that same option to make SURGICAL STRIKES on the U.S.A. if need be. I personally hope that the U.S. is not foolish enough to attack Iran. Because if it does, I know I will be on the side that strikes mainland U.S.A. with a vengeance, because it might usher in World War III, which I do not want.

No country in the world should ever be so foolish to think that it can get away with murder, and that includes the U.S. So please tell your leaders that one mistake can cost them their own country, by default. Because there are now people around the world that cannot be bought with U.S. Dollars, and will rise against the U.S. if it takes the law into its own hands. That is my warning to the American People,who will suffer whether they are guilty or not, because of the errors made by their naive leaders.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
May 5, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Kenneth in Canada -- Kenneth, Iran's been calling for "Death to America" at Friday prayers since 1979. You'd think these pissed off preachers would grow up and get over it, being as we've not "obliterated" them in all this time.

But facts are facts, see this isn't really about Iran vs. the U.S. It's Iran vs. the world.

Here's a real eye opening article on the instructions the Iranian state media gets from the Iranian leadership.

In their own words.

Stuben wasn't sent by Germany to train the American revolutionary army, he probably had a problem with the British using Hussian mercenaries from his own country to fight in America.

Enjoy the reality check.

http://www.iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2008&m=04&d=16&a=13

Patti
|
Illinois, USA
May 18, 2008

Patti in Illinois writes:

I'm honored to have been born in Kansa City, Missouri, USA.

Mr. President, I respect and admire the hard work you have done while our President of the United States. May our retirement be fulfilling involving worthwhile work in Texas.

ALEX F.
|
Virginia, USA
June 4, 2008

Alex in Virginia writes:

I am a retired U.S. Diplomat/Foreign Service Officer and I rejoined State on March 12, 2008 when I was sworn in at FSI (by the HRO) as a WAE. The NEA/SA Bureau is my Sponsoring Bureau.

Apart from my Management Officer/SGSO duties at Embassies and Consulates in Asia, North Africa, Europe and recently in the Middle East/Gulf Region I have always had an abiding interest in international political events, etc.

In my previous 20 years in the Engineering & Construction/Oil & Gas busines prior to joining State in 1990 I worked in Houston, TX, San Francisco, CA , South Korea, Singapore, Norway and West Africa.

Thank you.

Ronald
|
New York, USA
June 10, 2008

Ronald in New York writes:

Hi Eric;

I occurs to me that we could use the fog-lights as we
travel over the bridge to the New Millennium.

Kevin
|
Canada
June 20, 2008

Kevin in Canada writes:

I am unfamiliar with the DIPNOTE Jargon however I am constantly learning and improving myself daily and eager to read more jargon terms which are conveyed in other mediums.

Gary Y.
|
Illinois, USA
June 24, 2008

Gary in Illinois writes:

When did the State Dept. start and under what name did it start?

ilyas
|
Pakistan
June 24, 2008

Ilyas in Pakistan writes:

A desirable initiative. I got to learn about it through Atlantic Community wherein I'm a member.

I had recommended to Ms. Gibson, Editor-in-Chief of Dipnote, that history of Afghanistan may be disseminated among the people as there appears to be a blissful ignorance of the same in U.S. etc. The mess that we have created therein may costs us all, including Pakistan, dearly, if history is any guide.

Luke F.
June 24, 2008

DipNote Blogger Luke Forgerson writes:

@ Gary in Illinois -- On September 15, 1789, Congress passed "An Act to provide for the safe keeping of the Acts, Records, and Seal of the United States, and for other purposes." This law changed the name of the Department of Foreign Affairs to the Department of State because certain domestic duties were assigned to the agency.

The answers to your questions are courtesy of the Department's Frequently Asked Historical Questions web page.

You may also find the Timeline of U.S. Diplomatic History interesting.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 25, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

(Chuckle)...Ronald, you're probably right about those fog lights, but you'd still only be using applied probability theory to arrive at your destination.

@ llyas in Pakistan -- Welcome, I just wanted to say I think that folks in America take a high degree of interest in Afghanistan on many levels, including the history.

Most were simply trying to understand the story behind 9/11.

Then you have the fact that our citizens are there helping stand up a nation to be on its own feet, and that I believe makes it of continuing personal interest to all.

HIROSHI
|
Japan
July 3, 2008

Hiroshi in Japan writes:

Dear Sir.

I would like to mention a word of abduction by North Korea.

In the World War Two, south east Asia people devoted their whole life to Japan at that time.

Extremely speaking, it is so natural young Japanese people taken by North Korea around 1970.

How do you think about my thought? Thank you so much.

John
|
Greece
July 9, 2008

John in Greece writes:

This is ridiculous! Another hit against Democracy and Global Diplomacy.

Some minutes ago, I was informed through TV breaking news that we had an attack against the American Consulate in Turkey.

Once again, unjustly, without a cause, terrorism and fanatics hit or attempt to hit another American diplomatic mission.

Unfortunately, there are killed and wounded policemen.

Let's hope that all diplomats and local employees working at the embassy are safe and healthy.

Santi
|
Indonesia
July 10, 2008

Santi in Indonesia writes:

This blog is interesting, i work for the state department and have just found out about this blog by accident. I think this blog needs to be more promoted!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 10, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Santi, it would probably help if a link to Dipnote were avalable on every US embassy home page of their respective websites.

By the way, we don't get a whole lot in the media here regarding the status of recovery from the Tsunami tragedy, as other issues have taken front and center.

So can you give me a sense of where things stand today?

Thanks.

John
|
Greece
July 11, 2008

John in Greece writes:

Eric in New Mexico and Santi in Indonesia inspired a real important "project" in which all of us can contribute. Let's "create" a theoretical brain storming team (through our posts) suggesting promotion ideas that can help and increase the popularity of DipNote.

I had a first idea: all university students should learn about the existence of the Blog. Especially students that study political science, diplomacy, international relations etc.

But, how can we communicate the existence of DipNote to them?

Maybe by organizing an annual international (inside U.S.A. too) diplomacy student essay competition that someone can participate by submitting his work ONLY THROUGH THE BLOG. This would offer us the chance to communicate DipNote's competition to universities and universities to communicate DipNote's address to student bodies.

This is just a simple thought. I will try to come up with more ideas.

Luke F.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
July 11, 2008

DipNote Blogger Luke Forgerson writes:

@ John in Greece --

Great idea! We're open to other suggestions, and look forward to hearing from our readers.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 12, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John in Greece -- John in Greece, that's easy. State get the "Diplomats in Residence" at their respective universities to put flyers up on the campus bulletin boards.

Dipnote would get 100,000 hits extra within the first week I bet.

Kirk
|
Kentucky, USA
July 12, 2008

Kirk in Kentucky writes:

Greetings!

The discovery of this blog has made for some great reading the last few days. The articles are so wonderfully written and some of the contributors have really impressed me with their breath and depth of the issues.

I think an exciting and popular addition would be a "Submit A Question" area where officers and staff can answer the questions that inquiring minds want to know, much like the State Dept.'s "Ask An Ambassador" segment. Despite all the press statements and such, most of what we get told revolves around the State Dept's major policy thrust & immediate reactions to world events, and there isn't much opportunity for the average person to get answers to some of the other issues out there. Most reporters seem to be interested in only a few head-line grabbing key issues and their insatiable appetite for play-by-play updates seem to overshadow the less breaking-news interests. I think this would be a nice way to have a relaxing and informal dialogue and see what's on the minds of everyone here and abroad.

So how about it?

John
|
Greece
July 14, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Kirk in Kentucky -- Fantastic idea Kirk, especially if this "Submit A Question" section is "dedicated" to journalists ONLY, around the world and U.S.A.. That's how we can gain huge worldwide promotion for the Blog:

Journalists can ask a question (maybe on the pick of the week issue), get their answer, present it as their own exclusive "interview" and publish it or air it nationally or internationally, referring to the source: "Sean MacCormack told us" through DipNote" ...etc.

This is real web worldwide promo that takes advantage of media coverage!

Of course DipNote should think of a logistic limit concerning the number of questions being answered weekly (especially Mr. Lambros...), otherwise Sean will kill us for this idea, when he gets the first 1000 question in a few days (I'm joking, he's doing a great job! Tom too!).

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 17, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I just don't think a State Dept press briefing would be quite the same without the essential Mr. Lambros asking off-the-wall questions. And I'm just dying for him to ask Sean one of these days if the Dept of State has done any contingincy planning for State's diplomatic role when and if little green men ever pay us a visit?....(chuckle).

Kirk
|
Kentucky, USA
July 15, 2008

Kirk in Kentucky writes:

@ John in Greece --

Those are great suggestions! However, in this context I must admit that, as non-journalist, I would be looking forward to being able to query the State Dept. on its stances that sometimes are not the current vogue news; and I think a lot of other people would like to have that opportunity, as well.

That said, I still think your idea has great merit. The only issue that could be a concern, as I see it, would be redundancy. In that, to give a response to a blogger, a State Dept. employee would probably only have to "stick to the policy line" but could offer their thoughts in an informal manner. But to make a statement to a journalist is akin to the Press Releases they have everyday, and one would have to be authorized to make official statements. That muddies the water a bit and almost infringes on the Press Spokespersons. With a little bit of sculpting, though, your idea could be quite useful! I am interested in seeing what they have to say....

Luke F.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
July 15, 2008

DipNote Blogger Luke Forgerson writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico --

Great suggestion, Eric! The State Department's Diplomats in Residence are valuable resources on their university campuses and in their respective regions. They provide information about the State Department and Foreign and Civil Service careers and internships. The Diplomats in Residence are definitely aware of DipNote, and you'll be pleased to know that we'll be working more with them in the coming academic year.

Thanks to John in Greece and Kirk in Kentucky for your great suggestions, too. We're taking your comments into consideration and look forward to additional feedback.

John
|
Greece
July 16, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Kirk in Kentucky

I think that we suggest the same idea from a different perspective. It's great anyway! (I mean thinking almost the same, but in a creative way)

In fact, (please allow me to explain myself) I think that you are suggesting this new area ("Submit A Question") in order to enrich the Blog's content, while I "used" your idea in order to enrich the promotion "channel" of it.

Again, very good idea Kirk!

Keep on posting things. Best regards.

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