Welcome Back to DipNote

Posted by Robert Wood
January 20, 2009
Acting Department Spokesman Robert Wood at Computer

About the Author: Robert Wood serves as Acting Department Spokesman and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs.

Welcome to DipNote, the State Department’s official blog. DipNote gives context, clarity and other behind the scenes insights on the foreign policy headlines in which you’re most interested. The information is provided to you by those actually doing the work.

The term “DipNote” refers to a diplomatic note, one of the many means by which governments formally communicate with one another. Aside from the title, we make every effort to minimize the use of jargon and acronyms. When they’re unavoidable, we explain them. We want this blog to be as accessible and user-friendly as possible. This blog represents your opportunity to engage State Department officials, to contribute to the discussion of U.S. foreign policy. We want you to be active participants in a community focused on some of the most important international issues of today.

We live in an age in which there is a greater need for you to be aware of what is happening around the world, and in a time when everyone should be able to contribute to the dialogue. You can join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and submit your video question on the State Department’s YouTube Channel. I encourage you to explore DipNote and these other resources and to provide us your thoughts and feedback. I look forward to hearing from you.

Comments

Comments

John
|
Greece
April 22, 2009

John in Greece writes:

Great change of colors Dipnote staff! Fresh and good balanced, in great accordance with the black background in order to give some "light" to all these art suggestions in the past, concerning black.

However, let me be honest, black and white was great too, on the ground that people who really know "DipComputers" can understand what black&white; "means" for those who use white code on a black screen, all of which is a mysterious platform for creating the perfect art balance for a diplomatic intellectual dialogue. Designers cannot understand this "code" artistic feeling.

Anyway, our "green" now is good too. The only thing I strongly disagree with (design/art/communicational wise) is the selected image concept of the central Dipnote "Logo" at the Home Page. DipNote is not an ecological site, but a diplomatic one. The impression I first got is like visiting "Greenpeace" by mistake.

-I mean, this is certainly something that has nothing to do with the spiritual, founding "co id" of the Blog (of course we love "Eco", though). But, the Blog is Dip? and I think that the head logo should also be "diplomatic".

Except if this is a "special event Blog logo" due to the topic: "Climate change", which I would find it extremely clever then -- I mean special banners -- some times, but not this one permanently. Of course then, you'll have color problems to bring "green" in accordance with the special subjects.

I wish I won't be misunderstood again on this too, 'cause it's getting "fashion". (Chuckle)

@ Susan in Florida -- I absolutely agree with you that Robert Wood and DOS Dipnote staff are doing a GREAT JOB!!! state.gov too, I really loved this "call the Sec idea", among others. Both sites are extremely better than before. That's why I'm trying to "help" (my way), although I may be wrong.

REALLY GREAT JOB guys!

Patricia S.
|
New York, USA
April 22, 2009

Patricia S. in New York writes:

Like the "green theme" for Earth Day. Hope more color will be incorporated on the site. Good to see Mr. R. Wood on television the other night. This site is wonderful and keeps winning new fans daily. Thank you.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
May 7, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

To: State Dept/OBO division

RE: How to earn OSHA's amazement on construction projects, and save a buck.

One of the primary pollutants on any construction project will be gyspsum dust from sanding sheetrock mud in the surface finishing of walls, ceilings, etc..

Little trade secret I learned working around stuff that was worth more than my salary for a year...

Take a scotchbright pad, sponge backed, and a bucket of water and use a damp pad to "wet sand" the walls instead of sandpaper and the typical dry method.

Your contractor will have just saved 90% of his cleanup time, from airborn gypsum on site.

OSHA will love you for it.

EJ

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
May 11, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Just a quick note to say thanks to Mr. Robert Wood for his informative sense of humor he brought to the briefing room.

All the best in your future assignments.

And welcome to Mr. Ian Kelly, The new spokesman for DoS.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Dipnote, sir!

Bill
|
Washington, USA
May 16, 2009

Bill in Washington writes:

First, Kashmir! There should be significant signs of progress towards resolution within six months. Let's see, shall we?

BH

Ronaldo S.
|
Brazil
May 16, 2009

Ronaldo in Brazil writes:

Congratulations! Keep going. You doing well.

I'ts a pleasure to be here to.

I would like to know,if i'ts possible to have a official America flag? I need to post in my international company, here in Brasil.

Thank's.

Best Regard.

oreste
|
Arizona, USA
June 23, 2009

Oreste in Arizona writes:

by the time i found a place to post a comment to any government official, i forgot what the comment was

oreste
|
Arizona, USA
June 23, 2009

Oreste in Arizona writes:

this state says one can learn to do most anything in a few short months(3/4); not years of college. sincerely pat...ciochetto

Angie
|
Wisconsin, USA
June 9, 2009

Angie in Wisconsin writes:

I am writing about those two female journalists in North Korea and their sentence to long years of hard labor. I read a book about labor camps that sent chills down my spine. It is titled, "The Great Divide" by T.Davis Bunn. Granted, it is fictional BUT the author is an intelligent and well-educated man: "taught international finance in Switzerland, worked in Africa and the Middle East, and was named managing director of an international business advisory group Based in Dusseldorf..." I have to believe he knows what he's talking about and this book gives "fictional" insight into labor camps eg "factories" in China and what happened to a Georgetown student doing an investigation. This is situation is sooooooooooo not good. I just wanted to share this book in case people would like to get some insight into what these women may face. What a mess.....Prayers to ALL...Angie

John
|
Greece
June 13, 2009

John in Greece writes:

Some minutes ago, I watched on local TV news Mr. H. W. Bush's skydiving. Even this, in his 85, proves why he is still one of the most intelligent brains in the globe.

He is not only sharp, he is always ALIVE!

Happy Birthday Mr. President!

In God I trust (and I wish) that I will also watch you skydiving in 2014, 2019, 2024!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 18, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Wanted to send a "get well soon" card to Sec. Clinton, but I'll just post it on the blog.

Dear Madame Secretary,

I hear you broke your funny bone and it's no laughing matter. I wish you speedy and full recovery from surgery and I have a couple suggestions that might make life easier.

a) Don't eat the hospital food, have your friends smuggle in something edible if your there overnight.

b) Think of this as a long weekend where your priorty is making you better rather than making the world better, as it will be definately be here waiting for you as surely as the sun will rise this morning.

c) There will be the customary cast signing event when you come back in to work Monday, but ask the employees to leave some room on the plaster for signatures of heads of state who will most certainly wish to pay their respects.

Sorry to hear about this unfortunate accident, I wish you all the best, and thanks for serving.

EJ

Ari
|
Hawaii, USA
June 21, 2009

Ari in Hawaii writes:

Dear State Department Peoples et al,

ShALOHA from Hawaii.

Thanks for inviting me into the discussions herein.

They're great fun!

G-d Bless Team Obama, Sec. Dr. Clinton and let's CHANGE the World for the better- AMEN,

Ari, BS, MD, MPH, MPA/MC

Harvard '08 & YAle '95

Kailu-Kona, Hawaii

David
|
Wisconsin, USA
June 21, 2009

David in Wisconsin writes:

Dear Madame Secretary:

You're doing a fantastic job and I wish you a speedy recovery.

Kind regards.

John
|
Greece
June 27, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ Kirk in KY -- What has become of you KY? I miss your excellent posts and analysis.

I hope you are dong fine! I wish you the best!

Al's voice: we need you here! (although 4-5 staff... great brains though)

Best regards my dear friend Kirk!

Looking forward to "read" from you.

Susan
|
Florida, USA
June 28, 2009

Susan in Florida writes:

@John in Greece--

I was just going to say the same thing to you that you said to Kirk in KY! I must be missing your posts. I was concerned about you. It was so good to see your post to Kirk from yesterday. I always appreciate your comments. I hope all is well with you. Best regards. What has become of Kirk?! I hope he is okay, too.

Robert A.
|
North Carolina, USA
June 29, 2009

Robert in North Carolina writes:

Please read Mary Anastasia O'Grady's commentary on the Opinion Page of today's Wall Street Journal. It seems that Honduras did not have a Military Coup as all the news journalist wrote on the front page of our local newspaper and on the front page of the WSJ. The Military was simply carrying out an order from the Honduran Supreme Court.

Jary
|
North Carolina, USA
July 18, 2009

Jary in North Carolina writes:

I just read an article by Fox News regarding the Islamic Supremacist group "Hizb-ut-Tahrir". It states how the group actively recruits terrorists and advocates terrorist acts. Additionally, the article states that the group is not even on the terror watch list. I'm in disbelief and completely apalled that such an organization like this one is permitted to operate so freely on our own soil. I can only hope that our government is taking measures to protect us from this threat. As a member of the military, it sickens me to think that my friends die overseas fighting terrorism simply to have terrorists freely operating and recruiting on the homeland.

Cynthia
|
Oregon, USA
July 27, 2009

Cynthia in Oregon writes:

Dear Mr. Wood,

Thank you and everyone at State who maintains the encyclopedic, invaluable resource that is state.gov and DipNote.

Sadly, I do not read DipNote except when a particularly pertinent note is posted -- or when it's forwarded to me -- because reading white type on a black background is terrible on the eyes, especially if you must read all day, which I do.

Would you please consider switching to the more traditional black type on white, or perhaps a subtle gray background? Or, as some bloggers do, make it possible to select the b-on-w version.

Thanks again

Susan
|
Florida, USA
July 30, 2009

Susan in Florida writes:

@ John in Greece -- Missing your posts again. I took a short vacation and am now catching up on the blog postings. I hope all is well with you. I miss your thoughtful voice. Best regards.

Michael
|
United States
August 4, 2009

Michael in U.S.A. writes:

A Final Rule was posted in the Federal Register of 22 July 2009 with a new definition of what constitutes an 'immediate family member' for the purposes of issuing visas to foreign government officials. It looked like the U.S. Government was preparing to offer reciprocity to those foreign states that provided Vienna Convention privileges and immunities and employment authorization to unmarried opposite-sex and same-sex partners of U.S. Government officials assigned to those states, in accordance with Secretary Clinton's announcement of 18 June 2009. Is this the case? Or will State extend privileges and immunities only to unmarried opposite-sex partners (as it does now) and Homeland Security extend employment authorization only to those lawfully married and of opposite sex (as it does now?

Jaclyn
|
Pennsylvania, USA
August 8, 2009

Jaclyn in Pennsylvania writes:

This is such a great resource! Thank you all for your work on this. I particularly appreciate your tweets that have short summaries of what's going on and that don't necessarily link to articles. Keep up the good work!

John
|
Greece
August 8, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ Susan in Florida -- Coming Soon 2 DipNote (LOL!). Once again, thank you Susan for making me feel so special. However, Eric in NM is right, we are too old to get a "health clearance".

July was not a great month for me. For more than 20 days I had a fever problem. So, during my illness, I thought of his teacher's old saying: less writing, more sitting. Basically, I did it for security reasons. I wouldn't like to write something stupid due to my "fever illusions". So, I had to play "safe", as we say in billiards. Call it a respect for our great Blog. (You know, when you are ill, you may misunderstand things, especially if English is not your native).

I really appreciate your personal interest and I love you all in DipNpote. I will also attempt to catch up on the Bog postings and soon -- I wish -- I'll be back with more posts, although you do not need me, as long as DipNote's "writing-voices" are so spiritual anyway, with or without me.

Thanks again Susan.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 9, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

That's a heck of a long time to be running a fever, John.

Good to see you kicked out the infection, and that you're feeling better.

Generally antibiotics or acyclaveres tend to destroy all the good bacteria in your gut along with the infection, so if you've been on them and finished the course, I'd recomend yogurt w/ acidopholis culture to restore digestive balance.

By the way, the quote was "Less thinking...more sitting."

I have this tendancy to over analyze the path to enlightenment...(chuckle).

nate
|
California, USA
August 9, 2009

Nate in California writes:

The black ground makes it very difficult to read this site. Can't you use a white ground and black print???

Lev S.
|
Israel
August 9, 2009

Lev S. in Israel writes:

Hi, Please pass my open letter to President Barack Obama.

Dear Mr. President,

Over the past few months we are ever more frequently hearing about the US State Department's objections toward Israeli building in existing settlements (even those that have been established three to four decades ago) in general and in Jerusalem as well. In particular the negative commentary given in regards to building of a new house in East Jerusalem on private land owned by a private citizen who has received all the necessary municipal permits because of strange explanations to the effect that it would "upset the demographic character of the area".

Was it not just over one year ago on June 4, 2008 that you (at the time a senator and presidential candidate) delivered an inspiring speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in which you declared to all present that "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided"?

What has happened in that short time since? In addition you and your staff from the State Department are continuously speaking about Israelis settlements as the main obstacle to peace. as if they did not exist then peace would instantly reign in this area. In your speech to AIPAC the word "settlements" is mentioned only once with your advice to Israel "to refrain from building new settlements -- as agreed with the Bush administration at Annapolis".

Personally I can attest to have been captivated by you during your presidential campaign. Your speeches were deeply inspiring, and gave a message of hope to many throughout the USA and indeed the world. "Yes we can" is a simple statement, a hope and a belief in a better world, and our individual and collective ability as nations to bring about much needed change to the good. But implicit in "Yes we can" is also the promise that "Yes we will do what we promised to do". Now is the time to convert those presidential campaign promises into action, in recognition to the words of Benjamin Franklin "Well done is better than well said".

Your strong promotion of the idea of two states for two nations may be commendable as a purely theoretical solution; however the reality of the situation is that today three states are needed for two nations if Hamas which is the de facto power in the Gaza strip is taken into account.

Having the U.S. object to building in Jerusalem and inside existing settlements to account for natural growth is sending to our adversaries precisely the very wrong message, and it practically guarantees greater intransigence and belligerency in the future. In searching for the solution to peace in our area it is of key importance to understand the internal thinking of Islam, and in particular radical Islam from their perspective, in order to avoid repeating some of the tragic mistakes made by the West in dealing with Iran before and after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

In conclusion, I would like to recall a story about the Russian woman who asked Mr. Gorbachev: "Who invented communism -- Politicians or Scientists?"

Mr. Gorbachev replied that he was not sure but he thought that it was Politicians. The woman responded that she thought so as well, as scientists would have first experimented on mice, frogs, and only then tried it out on live people.

We should learn the lessons of history here, and tread slowly and cautiously so that we do not create irreparable damage with our very good intentions.

John
|
Greece
August 9, 2009

John in Greece writes:

At least, I'm trying!

Cutter
|
New York, USA
August 10, 2009

Cutter in New York writes:

What do you mean by "reforming some of our entitlement programs?"

Fareed Zakaria/08.09.09

Please respond.

Regards,

Cutter

Susan
|
Florida, USA
August 10, 2009

Susan in Florida writes:

@ John in Greece -- It was so good to see your posts today. I was getting very concerned about you. When I first started posting last year, all of you, Kirk, Eric, Joe in TN, and you, John, really were encouraging, even when we did not agree! I have missed your always gracious voice. I have been checking, at this site, hoping to find that you are all right. I am glad that you are "back". And you are wrong, John, we do need you. Take care. Best regards.

William W.
|
Netherlands
August 10, 2009

William W. in the Netherlands writes:

This morning heavy attack with 2 trucks in Bagdad! at least 50 dead! Possible reason: Would the kurds atttack the kurds? NO! Would the baath party attack? NO! Only explenation: The secret service of Irak!!!

John
|
Greece
August 10, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ WW in Holland -- Secret Service? OK! Can you define what you mean by Iraq SS? Actually you cannot. I will tell you why you can't:

It's because, when you accept the fact that there is a "bath" party, Kurds etc. you automatically accept another fact: that there are at least two "parties" and plenty of "factions". So, it's getting much more complicated than your "Secret Service" accusation of yours.

It's the tenth time I write this. I DO NOT KNOW THE AREA and according to my opinion, Middle East is Hell. Too many groups, without a common socio-political id, plus a complicated religion puzzle, without a final "portrait" to reach, even if you could make it to the puzzle icon.

Any sober guy can understand how difficult this BIG/STRANGE area is for the American Diplomacy. (If there is one thing I could wish for me is that: I would never like to be a Middle East analyst: Believe me, these guys are really genius and heroes!)

OK! No more silly "poetry" of mine. The reason I answered back to your post is the fact that Secret Service in the U.S. of America is something HOLY! They are the BEST of the BEST! So, when we use this term: we better respect the term.

No other country has a Secret Service. U.S. ONLY. So, define your position, because it's getting propagandistic.

@ Susan in Florida -- We never left the building (Chuckle)! We are all here. You, me, Joe and Eric. By the way (again), where is this "hotel boy" Kirk? I wish him the best anyway. I miss his posts though.

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