DipNote: The Week in Review

November 7, 2011
USAID Administrator Shah Shakes Hands With Vice President Biden

On November 3 and 4, President Barack Obama met with leaders of the world's 20 major economies for a G-20 Summit in Cannes, France. Summarizing progress made at the summit, the President said, “…[W]e agreed to stay focused on jobs and growth with an action plan in which each nation does its part. In the United States, we recognize, as the world's largest economy, the most important thing we can do for global growth is to get our own economy growing faster.”

Earlier this week, Vice President Joseph Biden addressed the London Conference on Cyberspace, where high-level representatives of 65 nations, high tech multinationals, academics, and Internet activists came together to discuss how to preserve all the benefits of cyberspace, while managing the increasing security challenges. The Vice President said, “…The Internet itself is not inherently -- to state the obvious -- is not inherently a force for democracy or oppression, for war or for peace…It's up to us to decide whether and how we will protect it against the dangers that can occur in cyberspace while maintaining the conditions that give rise to its many benefits.”

In a speech to the World Affairs Councils of America National Conference, Deputy Secretary William Burns underscored Secretary Clinton's vision for “America's Pacific Century.” He said, "…The growing economic and political ties across the Pacific are part of a broader narrative of the politics of integration of the 21st century that stretches and challenges traditional geographic concepts and bureaucratic structures. In each of these regions, the United States is bolstering relationships with existing strategic partners, and enlisting emerging powers to address global problems and join us in crafting the 21st century rules of the road.”

The Wellington Declaration, a roadmap for deepening and expanding the bilateral relationship between the United States and New Zealand, demonstrates practical cooperation and enhanced dialogue in the Pacific region.

Deputy Secretary William Burns also led the U.S. delegation to the Istanbul Conference for Afghanistan on November 1 and 2. He said, “…I am especially encouraged to note that every country here has committed to stand behind an Afghan-led process of reconciliation. While outsiders cannot impose a solution, we should facilitate contact and provide support.”

With respect to Turkey, Secretary Clinton highlighted Turkey's growing role in the region and on the global state at the 2011 Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkey relations. She said, “…[W]e are confident that as Turkey assumes the responsibilities that come with increased influence, our partnership will become even more productive in the years ahead.”

To promote Secretary Clinton's vision of “economic statecraft,” Deputy Secretary Thomas Nides joined Ambassador David Jacobson at a conference to spur economic recovery and create jobs in the United States and Canada. Similarly, Ambassador Phyllis Powers highlighted how the approval of the Panama Free Trade Agreement will benefit U.S. companies and strengthen the strategic partnership between the United States and Panama.

In an op-ed for the International Herald Tribune, Ambassador Ivo Daalder and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Admiral Stavridis underscored that NATO's success in Libya was a result of the contributions of 14 NATO members and four partner countries.

Ensuring that women's issues are fully integrated in the formulation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy is a priority at the Department. This week, Ambassador Melanne Verveer spotlighted efforts to strengthen women's entrepreneurship in the Western Hemisphere via Pathways to Prosperity, and Ambassador Pamela Spratlen highlighted her experience witnessing the role of women in the recent Kyrgyzstan elections. Furthermore, Foreign Service Officer Joseph Bertini discussed the graduation of Afghan women corrections professionals, who recently completed a training course in Nebraska.

In Africa, Cape Verde's former President, Prime Minister and veteran political figure Pedro Pires received the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership for his contribution to Cape Verde as a "model of democracy, stability, and increased prosperity."

In other news, Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia Daniel Rosenblum described efforts to mitigate the consequences of the Chornobyl disaster for future generations.

Marking important milestones this week, Secretary Clinton congratulated USAID on its 50th Anniversary, while Senior Population Policy Advisor Elizabeth Schlachter discussed the UN-designated “Day of 7 Billion” and addressed the opportunities and challenges that this population milestone presents.

I'd like to thank all of our readers for their feedback and comments from this last week, and we look forward to hearing from you in the week ahead. In particular, I encourage all of our readers to submit questions for a discussion on recent trends in anti-Semitism on November 9.

Comments

Comments

DrG
|
West Virginia, USA
November 7, 2011

Dr. G. in West Virginia writes:

Excellent summary. I'm glad we're partnering with New Zealand.

Pam
|
West Virginia, USA
November 7, 2011

Pam in West Virginia writes:

So glad to see the secretary involved in the world's economic crisis. Also sincere sympathy to Secretary Clinton on the loss of her great mother.

Jen
|
Virginia, USA
November 7, 2011

Jen in Virginia writes:

I'd like to sing a chorus with Pam and Dr. G -- great to see continued U.S. involvement around the world. My condolences to Secretary Clinton.

Scott
|
District Of Columbia, USA
November 7, 2011

Scott in Washington, D.C. writes:

The Associate Editor should be commended for her clear writing style and her ability to organize a collection of news items in such a fluid way. This blog has all the highlights of FP's Morning Brief, yet also provides some context to understand each event within the global scope of U.S. foreign policy interests and objectives.

Tim
|
China
November 7, 2011

Tim in China writes:

Well written. Thanks for keeping me updated on the happenings of the State Department through your writings.

palgye
|
South Korea
November 8, 2011

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Political is political, also, must be economy is flow just like water at the Pipelines, stable and on time when we want. Just my's. We are, The Person. .

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
November 8, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Sarah Goldfarb,

You know what's really sad?

Well besides what Assad is doing to his people that is, and any number of other humanitarian crisis...

I think I'm correct in saying that in not one national US televised news broadcast were any of these "happenings" given air-time as "news worthy".

So if you're game, and Sec. Clinton will allow this citizen to experiment with her Public Diplomacy dept. ( actually it's the taxpayer's, so at least I can ask,...chuckle.);0

I'm wondering what greater public awareness of an informed citizenry will result by having you do the "week in review" on video, and do it as a Public Service Announcement in an "Around the world in 80 seconds on the coat-tails of diplomats." news segment.

These State Dept. PSA's to be aired over radio and provided, like all other PSA's to the various TV networks.

I would definately agree with the usefulness of the summary, and more broadly, if the US dept of State and USAID (happy 50th guys and girls!) is to be appreciated for doing so much on a thin taxpayer's dime by the American public, this format would keep folks in the loop, wheras most haven't a clue today, unless they read about it in the Wash Post, or the NYTimes or another publication.

Being a guy who's always loved to punch the envelope and am still alive to write this, I think it's time to take this public outreach format to a completely different level.

(grin)

And if the Sec. of State were to say to me, "Nice idea, but we can't get mainstream media to air them."

Then I will be convinced that they intend to leave the American Public in the dark for as long as possible about what you folks are up to in the world.

And I would have to respond, " Then please tell them that dumbing down the citizenry is not allowed, Madam Secretary,...and give them to Jon Stewart and have him make fun of them for not airing your efforts and denying the public's "need to know"...he's up for just about anything if it truly serves the public's interest and gets a laugh that has a point. If you have to shame them into giving your dept it's "right to inform" the citizenry then that's probably more effective than a battalion of lawyers."

And if the big "neg." comes from on high and inside, well I don't know how the dept will get its budgets to what they need to be sans any threat of cuts in the future without solid public support; would be my answer to that.

I look at public diplomacy in terms of public relations on some levels, especially where it involves telling the State dept's story as "America's face to the world", to the American people.

If we don't "get it" who will?

Keep up the good work, and to the rest of Dipnote's staff as well..,

EJ

Maureen
|
Massachusetts, USA
November 8, 2011

Maureen in Massachusetts writes:

@Eric in New Mexico

@Sarah Goldfarb, Dipnote Associate Editor

This may also be of interest "Ten Things You Should Know...by Deputy Secretary Nides" Aug. 26,2011. I was thinking along the same lines. State Dept. and a media blitz campaign(see posted comments).

Also, as a individual citizen I can say that it is quite enjoyable to speak about some of the initiatives and the "one percent" budget invokes surprise. People smile when they learn that DipNote is available to "expresso thyself".

Have you seen and heard the spots on Famine, War Drought? How about a larger campaign encompassing "Ten Things..." by Thomas Nides being put out to the airwaves. That could stick. Thank you for your comments.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
November 9, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Maureen,

If I recall, I think I suggested an 11th "thing" in my comment on that thread to the Deputy Sec.

Something about US diplomacy "saving the world on occasion".

I guess my thinking here involved simply informing the public proactively about State's weekly activities on behalf of the American people. I'm not intending for the dept. to "sell policy" to the American public.

I think there are constitutional provisions that demand an independant media and only through a PSA could the Dept inform the public of what it is doing and why- to the American public as an external media (not aired via in house production) iniative, (other than C-span covering daily breifings) without pre-empting the media's role in reporting it's own assesments of these goings on in print media format and other types.

So as media blitz might be construed as "selling policy" or more like a political plug for the President's foreign policy, what I'm suggesting is a lot more low key with a simple public awareness effort to let folks know what the State dept did for the American public last week...a la...if Sarah can read the whole enchilada in 80 seconds on tape then the dept has its own non-political version of what the White house does without "selling policy" in the President's video-taped weekly address.

That's pretty much part of his job anyway...(chuckle).

State simply implements his policy, and that's what the public never gets exposed to, generally speaking.

IE:

" Oh and by the way USAID just helped feed several million folks globally with your taxdollars this week ( and every week) by some small miracle of logistics, otherwise they would have starved to death by now. ""All the while USAID agriculture programs are helping nations get off the humanitarian aid "dole"."

It's just basic stuff...

But I watched the last administration fail to take up the same argument I posted here long ago (on some dipnote thread or another back in the Bush era) and all the public got to go on in being informed on Iraq was car bomb after car bomb, and numbers of US casualties and not a wit about what folks were getting done to help the Iraqi people live in peace and good governance or the nation building going on in partnership. These things having failed to be noted by the American public have helped drive opposition to the effort and purpose in removing Saddam from power in the first place.

With us involved in any war, just give the press two weeks into it and they'll call it a "quagmire" every time from that point on till you've won the bloody thing...that's a "given".

You look at the public approval rating about how it thinks Afghanistan is going for us right about now and I see the same trend line taking shape in the public thinking...so "smart power" being the key instigator here,...part of that is simply not making the same mistake twice in a row in how the facts get presented to the public.

It's nice to know I'm not the only one using what brains I've got to try to help, State/USAID need all the help they can get given the state of the union...as well as the world.

Best,

EJ

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
November 9, 2011

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

I would say that with dates like 11/9/11 or 11/11/11 could be a warning date, we should never take the dates for granted, Keep security tight and without panic, people should use caution on these dates when travelling. Just because Osama bin laden is dead, doesn't mean the end of terrorism. I agree with President Barack Obama that our Nation will have to stay vigil to win the war against terrorism around the world. Be safe and think safe... use secuirty awareness... if something doesn't feel right, hairs on your back standup, or a gutt feeling happens, look around your environment, and see if anything is strange or unusual and if so, ensure to report it, "Use those 5 senses or 6 senses if you have it." Just make sure it is strange, another words use good common sense, don't make unnessary reports if it does not apply. Use good security sense. "If your ever in a fire, smoked filled building, just remember to walk like a duck... feel with the back of your hands to evacuate safely out! If you used the open parts of your hands, in darkness you might grab and stick to power cables and perish. The use of the back of your hand you pull away quiickly, like a knee jerk effect. Walk like a duck because more oxygen low then when standing straight up. This life saving tip could save you and your families. Good luck and Godspeed!

voice98
November 9, 2011

W.W. writes:

Everybody can shake hands

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
November 10, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ WW,

According to a long time public servant (now retired) that only happens in Wash. D.C., a city renoun for folks walking around shaking their own hands at the expense of other's.

(chuckle)

Maureen
|
Massachusetts, USA
November 10, 2011

Maureen in Massachusetts writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico

Thanks for your analysis. My thinking was that if the State Dept. initially had an informational campaign listing “Ten Things...” it would not be considered as “selling policy” nor the President's policy but a first glance introduction explaining in list format to the public what it is that the State Dept. does (people may decide to investigate further) and about how much of the taxpayers dollars are spent doing this “stuff”.

I found the “Ten Things....” by Deputy Secretary Thomas Nides to be so clear and well explained in short format- ready for the airwaves if you will. It jumps off the page for me. In summary, I guess it is about “presenting” the State Dept. and not selling it.

Your 11th thing PSA is well thought out and I agree. Do you think the target audience would be reached better by radio- NPR'ers, televised or social media? A video-taped State Weekly Address...who will go to it other than the policy people unless it gets disseminated in an inventive way? I just wonder about that aspect.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
November 11, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Certainly a better understanding of what State is about and doing about the dysfunctionality of the world we live in is as important to the public as it is to political pundits and talking heads, policy wonks, and the endangered species called dictators world wide...so as I don't have the end-all be -all solution to this folks have to take from a bare bones idea put forth here and put their own flesh to work on it and make it work for them if they think they can.

I'll be curious to see if anything at all comes from this conversation between Maureen in Mass and myself, but without any imput from the folks that should be most interested, as to whether it has promise or not...I've got nothing further to add to it, being a hypothetical can only go so far without being fed some hope that it has.

EJ

nobinfirm
|
Zambia
November 17, 2011

N. in the Zambia writes:

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