I am concerned not only for the safety of our diplomatic corps, but also from the growing perception that they are not a priority concern. Right now we are busily chopping the Pentagon's budget, which in my view is long overdue, but at the same time we need to beef up our diplomatic budget.
In the annals of U.S. foreign policy, Afghanistan stands as a typical case where a flawed military strategy has sidelined viable political solutions. Washington incentivized war through perks and privileges, and four-star promotions and undermined peace efforts. The U.S. has had a war strategy, but no political strategy or a clear exit strategy.
The Srebrenica genocide was a dark chapter in an already nasty Balkan conflict. One group committed ethnic cleansing against another, as a largely passive international community helplessly, and needlessly, watched it from the sidelines.
From the massacre of all its defenders, "Remember the Alamo" became the call to victory. Executing all the defenders of Srebrenica and expelling all its Bosniak residents was the tactic that was intended to also wipe away all of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
The question that I have been asked is: Will Samantha Power be more inclined toward her idealist roots or the vast policy/political apparatus?
Foreign policy writing is not meant to be passionate. Perhaps for just that reason, in foreign affairs big personalities can look even bigger, and passion is spoken of in code phrases like "political will." Richard Holbrooke was one of those big personalities.
Lady Thatcher invited me to her home as the Special Envoy as well as BiH UN Ambassador. The home, conversation, and the tea served was what one would expect: neat, direct, and English.
The Holbrooke/Obama controversy is heating up again. One of Holbrooke's closest advisors, Vali Nasr, claims that Holbrooke tried to convince President Obama that the best solution to the Afghan conflict was to seek a diplomatic solution even while waging war.
One false way to convince "people" the world over (including in our very own USA) that you're "doing something" when you actually have nothing to do/decide upon, is to be "on the move," with the complacent media, eager for any story, "reporting" on your "new initiative."
Today, American public diplomacy, once implemented by an independent and very imperfect agency, is hidden away at the regulations-driven State Department, some would say like a coffin at a funeral home, despite the good intentions of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.
Let us add our voices to Malala's voice and fight this hypocritical madness. This is a crime against humanity and Muslims must come together from every corner of the world and set the record straight.
One wonders today whether Romney will ignore or listen to generals today -- all of whom agree that establishing and recognizing a state of Palestine is vital to U.S. national security and to defending Israel's long-term security in the region.
Why does the State Department consistently make poor decisions? Everyone makes mistakes, but what we have here is a long, long litany of obvious bad decisions, so obviously bad one cannot help but wonder how smart people made them.
A remarkable book has just been published about one of America's most brilliant diplomats, Richard Holbrooke, entitled The Unquiet American.
Patrick Pexton, responding to complaints over a headline treating the unproven allegation as a known fact, came down firmly on the side of the complainants. Moreover, Post editors corrected the offending headline, conceding it had been an error to fail to acknowledge debate.
Joining the ever expanding series of memoirs from former officials involved in the Afghan and Iraqi wars, Sherard Cowper-Coles has written an immensely readable and insightful account of what appears to be a structurally flawed expedition.