Join a Discussion on Multilateral Diplomacy and U.S. Global Leadership

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 9, 2011
Live: Conversations With America: Multilateral Diplomacy and U.S. Global Leadership

Update: Watch the broadcast here.

On Thursday, September 15, 2011, Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs, will hold a conversation with Ellen Laipson, President and CEO of the Stimson Center, on "Multilateral Diplomacy and U.S. Global Leadership." The discussion will be moderated by Cheryl Benton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, and streamed live on DipNote, the Department of State's official blog, at 2:45 p.m. (EDT).

You are invited to participate by submitting questions, some of which will be selected for response during the live broadcast. Submit your questions below on DipNote.

Assistant Secretary Brimmer and Ms. Laipson will discuss "Multilateral Diplomacy and U.S. Global Leadership" in preparation for the 60th annual United Nations General Assembly. Given the transnational nature of current international threats and challenges, multilateral cooperation has become essential to U.S. foreign policy. As the world increasingly turns to the UN to address trans-border issues, U.S. participation in the UN is key.

Through Conversations With America, leaders of national nongovernmental organizations have the opportunity to discuss foreign policy and global issues with senior State Department officials. These conversations aim to provide candid views of the ways in which leaders from the foreign affairs community are engaging the Department on pressing foreign policy issues. From Afghanistan to India, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) to the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and internet freedom to world water issues, the Conversations With America series showcases how both the U.S. Government and civil society are working across the globe on issues that concern Americans most.

View other Conversations With America here and by accessing the Conversations With America video podcasts on iTunes.



Ashim C.
September 10, 2011

Ashim C. in India writes:

South Asian countries like India and Pakistan have been suffering from terrorist violence at an escalated scale recently. What are the possibilities of a strengthened SAARC system as a multilateral regional institution to check further escalation of internationally funded tewrrorism and roll it back as much as possible as a multilateral response mechanism under the auspices of UN as US prepares to withdraw from Afpak region? This is an important question because it is doubtful that Afghan governannce mechanisms by themselves would be adequate post US withdrawal and two flourishing economies abutting Afghanistan, Iran and China, which are incidentally both authoritarian states, which are likely to be more interested in entrenching their short and long term commercial and strategic interests rather than promotion of democracy and democratic institutions building in Afghanistan... Problem also is SAARC has a great deal of potential, which matches and can possibly exceed that of ASEAN... but as of now SAARC is far short of it's potential and needs as much support of international community with US in forefront as ASEAN has got. One's sense is that there indeed is need for a strong multilateral regional institution to tackle and take on terrorism if needed in South Asia. And what happens here can be a model for other hot beds of terrorism

North Carolina, USA
September 11, 2011

Matt in North Carolina writes:

With the success of the rebels in Libya and the key role played by the US and our NATO allies; Do the results of our efforts with our allies in Europe and on the ground signal a new turn for US policy for intervention on behalf of democracy?

New Mexico, USA
September 11, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Esther Brimmer, Ellen Laipson,

It seems to me that the international community, working within its various fora and mechanisms; is burdened by paradox of its own manifestation as many current engagements would indicate.

The paradox between national agendas and the human agenda and the lack of practice of the philosphical underpinnings of civilization creating paralysis in moving humanity forward in social, economic, and political evolution "in greater freedom".

Let's just accept the given that such status quo mindset that seeks to block resolution that are put in blue to resolve crisis generally are party to this conundrum.

I know I may stand on the far side of US foreign policy in saying this, but if Palestinians wish to create a state;

First they have as much right in asking the UN to help them create their own as the Jewish nation had in asking the UN to create their's back in '48.

Fair's fair..and compromise is the basis for peace and fair lasting diplomatic success, generally speaking.

Mideast peace then becomes based on mutual recognition of the state's right to exist, and the people's right to govern the actions of their governments.

So I'm going to pose resolution to the sticky wicket, and ask that in this conversation with America folks consider whether Israel's recognition of, and support in, creating a Palestinian state as they petition to do so in the UN; would in turn bring about universal general recognition of Israel as a state (with every right to exist) by all the nations in the region and beyond that currently do not.

And that a political will to compromise can make it so, if human interests be honored in the process.

Thus creating a climate for the parties to return to the table to hammer out the details, with this mutual understanding as the basis.

Why the US gov. can't turn what we oppose because of hypothetical negaive results of the parties getting back to the table and finding agreement; into something that works to get folks to a point of proper attitude going into it is a bit of a mystery to me.

I don't pretend to have all the answers, but as the failure to recognise may be the initial basis for conflict from the start, then mutual recognition may be the only path to peace the parties have at present.

And so I have to ask why my government seeks to block Palestinian statehood when a "two state solution" has been US policy for quite some time now?

I mean it's one thing to tell Abbas that there's "no free lunch"...but 'cmon folks, you guys must be creative enough to turn your perceptions of a negative into something positive...if "diplomacy is the art of the possible".

Convince me please.



Saul B.
Virginia, USA
September 12, 2011

Saul B. in Virginia writes:

Based on the latest developments in regards to Bolivia and the clear involvement of Bolivian Gov with drug traffic to the United States I want to know why we have not imposed sanctions and why Obama is so condecendent with George Soros pro-drug legalization in South America?

Prem M.
September 12, 2011

Prem M. in Pakistan writes:

United Nation has launched many welfare projects ( Marshal Plans) for Pakistan but due to poor monitoring system they were not successful what do you say about it?

Donna F.
United States
September 12, 2011

Donna F. in the U.S.A. writes:

What is the most common barrier in your attempts in mediation and conflict resolution?

Connor N.
Pennsylvania, USA
September 12, 2011

Connor N. in Pennsylvania writes:

Seth D. Jones's "in the Graveyards of Empires" addresses the US's war in Afghanistan and Iraq as wars that we should have finished off, but due to a lack of resources and our transfer of military and diplomatic resources from Afghanistan to Iraq we still fight in Afghanistan today among disgruntled Arab youth nationalists. Obviously Europe has become accustomed to the US's regional Hegemony and will simply pass the buck as the US does all the brunt work. As Foreign Affairs has pointed out: Europe's defense spending continues to be nearly negligible compared to the US's. How much longer will the US be willing to act "unilaterally" and if a war with Pakistan is in the future as Seth Jones predicts, will the US be able to sidestep congress and the American people (yet again) in the US's seemingly endless and unilateral bout against terror?

September 12, 2011

Khalil in Afghanistan writes:

Who is the main competitor with USA in world in ten years ... will be that China, Russia, India, Germany, Brazil?

hedi b.
September 12, 2011

Hedi B. in Spain writes:

The aproach of the US in handling the Arab Spring is successfull. Will it carry on by giving chance to moderate Islamic political parties in sharing power in Arab countries?

Martie W.
Oklahoma, USA
September 12, 2011

Martie W. in Oklahoma writes:

Two questions:

How does or, in your opinion, should the concept of 'responsibility to protect' play in mutlilateral diplomacy?

What is the role of international development aid in sustaining such diplomacy? Does such aid make for a safer world?

Matthew K.
Indiana, USA
September 13, 2011

Matthew K. in Indiana writes:

How will the US balance regional relationships in the Middle East; with the prospects of Palestinian statehood?

Stephen D.
Washington, USA
September 13, 2011

Stephen D. in Washington writes:

Please could you predict how America's relations with the arab and muslim world would change by supporting Palistinian statehood for Palestinians without first asking permission from Israel?

frederick k.
Illinois, USA
September 14, 2011

Frederick K. in Illinois writes:

Disaster Relief, Sports competitions, Human rights and voting assistance/monitoring, military exercises &interventions;, fancy State dinners, what gives US the most bang for the buck?

Arizona, USA
September 14, 2011

Dr. H. in Arizona writes:

As sure as we dropped bombs in Libya to topple a terrorist leadership in support for rebels we still know little about, it is clear our efforts backed factions comprised of The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Al Qaeda.

Is this strategy designed to ultimately strengthen Israel's enemies to quicken their demise or was it just mean-spirited ignorance?

We are not fooled by wars started by presidents that spend our treasure without the approval of congress. Its hideous.

Israel used to be our friend. Our only friend in the Middle East. What is it about Obama that we must now live with embarrassment for his disdain of our allegiance to them?

The Bizzaro world where our enemies now fight our foreign policies for us and we build up our enemies to kill off our friends is alive and well. Will we continue to allow this administration to stay in power with such misguided plans or do we stand up and rid the world of this kind of leadership?

Lynda Y.
Missouri, USA
September 14, 2011

L.M. in Missouri writes:

There are many concerns regarding a Palestinian statehood, while most countries around the world, and humanitarian agencies talk of Israel with distain. Why is it that no one ever discusses The Hamas Charter? It begins with an introduction followed by 35 Articles, referring to the 36th Article as an Epilogue titled, "The Hamas Are Soldiers." Every Article discusses Nonbelievers, which includes anyone who does not share their specific beliefs, including support of this Jihad. They proudly declare that the Jihad will continue until all Nonbelievers no longer stand on holy ground. Article 13 should be of particular interest to every country, organization and person who does not trust Israel; There they explain that the "so-called peaceful solutions and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement."

Please explain why The Hamas Charter, which appears to be a terrorist manifesto much like Mein Kampf was Hitler's, is not questioned or publicly discussed among the leaders of media?

September 14, 2011

John in Canada writes:

@ EJ in new mexico - Well said -

If the past 50 years has shown us anything is that policies everywhere from around the world have been a failure. Continuing failed policies are not going to cut it anymore.(if we collectively around the world want a better future.)

Not all Palestinians support Hamas the way many try to spin it - Just like many Israelis do not support BN.

In some respects the failings to deal with the Palestinian issue for so long has given birth to Hamas.

What will continued failed policies produce in the future? (think Hamas is bad?)

The Palestinians are often painted as the fundamentalist. However the state of Israel is completely religious. What kind of person moves from the relative safety of western nations, to what is a front line of a war?

A fundamentalist.

While some bang on about Muslim fundamentalist - we have exported our own fundamentalists to Israel (they cause problems for other Jews not just Palestinians)

What kind of peace can we have when we export fundamentalists to such an area?

Seems to me, the best way of preventing settlement building is to disallow these people from traveling from America, Europe, Russia and if they do - strip them of citizenship and put them on a no fly list.

Israel has supreme responsibility in this and should not welcome such fundamentalism if they truly care about peace and security for Israel.

Fundamentalists of all types are a danger to peace and security of every nation.

Not all fundamentalists are Muslim.

New Mexico, USA
September 14, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John in Canada,

Thanks for thoughts, I kind of look at this Palestinian/Israeli cluster...(*) as more like a really dysfunctional long-term marraige and another annaversary has come;

"We've been married since time immemorial and it's amazing we've had only one fight this whole time we've been together, and even mora amazing it's still going on."

Ah, but for a lack of "get a grip"....

The US has perpetually been like a good friend to both, trying to bust up a domestic dispute whenever they threaten to burn each other's house down, and urban renual will come, one way or another, squatter's rights or no.

Folks either learn to share the land or "forgettaboutit".

The world toaday has been demarked in national boundaries in such a way that the past tends to catch up with the international community as folks deal with long term conflict and dispute (the Durand line between Pakistan. and Afghanistan as one example), from lines on a map drawn up in a previous century in diplomatic compromise and the leftovers from the colonial era.

Granted, most folks just want a place they can call home and not be messed with, and I doubt that Kurdish aspirations will cease to exist until the nations of the region give them the space to create one, having donated it to create contiguity to resolve a problem long present in the region.

I'm drawing loose comparison with an equally long struggle for unless Israeli's have forggoten thier history, they would have the least grounds to object upon to a people creating a homeland next to them.

And likewise no Palestinian has grounds they may stand on to deny Israel's right to life, liberty and country while they seek to create and build a nation of their own, in their own image.

This shouldn't be a big freekin' deal...knowing it's a given for successful negotiations between the parties.

But whether folks can apply the logic of this is another question entirely, and that's what I'm hoping folks will discuss tommorrow.



Lee A.
Pennsylvania, USA
September 14, 2011

Lee Ann in Pennsylvania writes:

International colleagues and friends have heard frequent anti-Obama rhetoric via international newspapers and TV, and have expressed concern that the American people do not seem to support our own president. How does the left/right split in our country, and the accompanying negative rhetoric and absence of a centrist perspective impact our ability to be a global leader?

Maryland, USA
September 14, 2011

Melissa in Maryland writes:

I hear U.S. officials say the UN is an essential but flawed organization. If it is flawed, why is it still essential? What is being done to address its flaws?


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