DipNote: The Week in Review

March 14, 2011
Japanese Resident Walks Past Damaged Homes

President Obama and Secretary Clinton offered their condolences for the tragic loss of loss of life and damage caused by the earthquake and tsunamis that struck Japan on March 11. Secretary Clinton said the United States is absolutely committed to helping Japan respond and recover.

In Libya, the United States continues to be a leader in supporting the work of international agencies in the region, and addressing the urgent needs of those who are fleeing, as well as those remaining inside Libya.. Ambassador Ivo Daalder participated in a NATO meeting to address the situation, and on March 10, the U.S. government announced an additional $17 million in humanitarian assistance, bringing the total to $47 million.

Assistant Secretary Eric Schwartz and USAID Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy Lindborg traveled to the region. They highlighted the conflict and the national security challenge it represents in an op-ed.

At the State Department and at embassies around the world, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. In an op-ed featured in the Bloomberg News Wire and in her remarks at the Second Annual Women in the World Stories and Solutions, Secretary Clinton said supporting women worldwide is a critical element of U.S. foreign policy. She also spoke about reducing maternal and newborn deaths around the world.

In Washington with First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary Clinton hosted the 2011 International Women of Courage awards ceremony. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Kyrgyz Republic President Roza Otunbayeva, an honoree of the award, were also on hand to recognize these women.

The Secretary also delivered remarks at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and testified before the House Appropriations Committee.

For International Women's Week, Ambassador Goosby demonstrated how PEPFAR is addressing gender and the needs of women through the prevention of mother-to-child HIV/AIDS transmission, partnering to eliminate sexual violence against girls, and uniting against gender-based violence (GBV).

In Afghanistan, where a courthouse opened in Helmand Province, USAID sponsored an event to mark International Women's Day.

In other news this week, we celebrated 50 years of USAID and the Alliance for Progress, and the Vermont Passport Agency opened 17 miles from the Canadian border.

Ambassador David Huebner shared stories of how the United States responded to the Christchurch earthquake, and our dedicated contributor Tom Weinz announced Pacific Partnership 2011.

In Haiti, Vice Consul Ajani Husbands drew attention to the celebration of Kanaval, and Public Affairs Officer Sharon Hudson-Dean highlighted a photojournalism program at the U.S. Embassy Harare in Zimbabwe.

As always, we appreciate your feedback and comments and look forward to hearing you from you in the week ahead.

Comments

Comments

Jen
|
Virginia, USA
March 14, 2011

Jen in Virginia writes:

Kudos to the State Department for their quick response to the Japanese earthquake and hard work on so many foreign policy initiatives.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 14, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Sarah Goldfarb,

You forgot one notable event within the State dept. this week, and that was PJ Crowley's resignation as Assistant Sec. of State for Public Affairs.

I guess it becomes self evident that after 30 years in public service a man's entitled to his opinion, but not entitled to express it in his official capacity on the record.

Well as a member of the RED SOX NATION, I feel I must expess my solidarity with PJ for taking a verbal baseball bat to stupidity.

Bein' placed in irons in the brig is so 18th century that it defies all modern logic and reason, when there's other means to protect the prisoner from himself if he is suicidal.

PJ's absolutely correct in his voiced assesment, and whether an official of the State dept has commented on another agency of this government's dysfunctionality in this regard, it speaks volumes about the government as a whole that he resigned over it.

Whether he was asked to tender it or did so voluntarily.

And here I was telling John in Greece the other day;

"The nice thing about living in a democracy is never having to say you're sorry for registering one's disgust in the face of political stupidity."

I guess that doesn't include public servants who are citizens too, at least on the record anyway.

So now that the man is once again a private citizen, I sure hope he'll grace these pages of Dipnote and respond to a few questions and comments I've put to him in print here over his tenure.

Starting with why there is absolutly zero feedback to the citizen's questions regarding policy on this blog?

See, I'm getting the impression that folks would have to resign if they did.

And I don't think that serves America's interests.

Least not the public interest.

This should be the go-to forum as a place where personal opinion is held sancrosant by all who would offer comment here, public servant or no, after all this is the State dept's blog, in celebration of our democracy and an interactive government.

So perhaps you would be kind enough to explain to me what it would take to make it so?

Best regards,

EJ

P.S.

@ PJ, if you're reading this...this year is the year for you to toss out that first pitch.

Good luck and much success in future endeavors.

DrG
|
West Virginia, USA
March 14, 2011

Dr. G. in West Virginia writes:

I want to sound a chorus with Jen from Va for our quick support for Japan

bobby h.
|
Georgia
March 16, 2011

Bobby H. in Georgia (U.S.A.) writes:

IT NEVER CEASES TO AMAZE ME HOW THIS COUNTRY CAN ALWAYS COME UP WITH MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO SEND TO OTHER COUNTRIES IN TIMES OF DISASTERS, BUT WHEN PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY (TAX PAYERS) NEED ASSISTANCES IT'S A WHOLE DIFFERENT BALL GAME. FOR INSTANCE; SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIANTS CAN'T RECEIVE COST OF LIVING INCREASES BUT ALL THESE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ARE READILY AVAILABLE TO SEND OUT OF THE COUNTRY. THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE....FUELS PRICES ARE EXTREMELY HIGH WITH NO REASONABLE EXPLANATION..YOU PAY TAXES ALL YOUR LIFE BUT AT THE END, YOU WONDER FOR WHAT!!!!!!!!!!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 16, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Bobby H. in Georgia,

What comes around goes around, and because we the taxpayer have helped so many around the world (50 years of peace corps being celebrated in all this), when we Katrina'd, when we were 9/11'ed, folks return the favor bro...and offer their help to us.

It's a macro scale neighbor helping neighbor kind of thing.

That's less than 1% of this government's total budget supplied by you and me and the rest of America who pays taxes.

And by the way my 80 year old mom who's on social security isn't complaining about that measly 1%.

It's how this government is spending the other 99% she's got a problem with....(chuckle).

Maybe when the DoD has to hold a bake-sale to build an A-bomb, we might be able to pay for educating our kids properly.

But my government thinks spending 10 billion on a new Metalurgical lab at Los Alamos in my state is a higher priority.

You know what Bobby? Forest Gump was right.

Take care,

EJ

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