9:27 AM, Sep 3, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is joining five of his predecessors on Wednesday at a groundbreaking ceremony for the United States Diplomacy Center, a new 40,000 square foot facility dedicated to "bringing the story of American diplomacy to life." The "state-of-the-art museum and education center" will include "interactive exhibits, compelling artifacts, hands-on education programs, diplomatic simulations, and the expertise of foreign affairs specialists." The State Department's website includes this artist's renditions of a glass pavilion that will house part of the museum in the forecourt of the "old War Department," now the U.S. Department of State and Marshall Center:
Kerry will be joined Wednesday by Henry A. Kissinger, James A. Baker, III, Madeleine K. Albright, Colin L. Powell, and Hillary Rodham Clinton at the ceremony. The six secretaries will have plenty to talk about at the groundbreaking as each has dealt with challenges such as Iraq, Russia, and the Israel-Palestinian conflict, problems that continue to occupy much of Secretary Kerry's time today.
The museum's collection includes more than 6,000 artifacts, with items as varied as a ping-pong paddle given to Henry Kissinger by Chinese table tennis champion Zhuang Zedong in 2007 to commemorate the 1970s "ping pong diplomacy"with China in which the two played a part, to a set of Russian nesting dolls, including U.S. Ambassador Robert Strauss and his contemporaries. A significant number of the items featured on the museum's website were gifts presented to Hillary Clinton by foreign countries during her tenure. The collection also include more mundane items, such as a water can from USAID in Laos.
Back in 2012, the construction cost was expected to be between $18 and $24 million, but then the procurement order was cancelled. In April of 2014, a contract was awarded to Gilbane Building Company, although this time the contract award was not listed on the usual government contracting website. On May 1, the State Department announced the contract award of $25 million, saying that the construction would be privately funded, although the overall project is a public-private partnership. The State Department website says that the department is "committed to provide the tangible elements of public-sector support, including the land, operations and utilities, security, staffing assistance and equipment," while the agency is "confident that the private sector" will cover costs for construction, educational and special programs, plus conferences, forums, and an operating endowment.
What good does it do to needlessly publicize the failures of American military operations? 12:54 PM, Aug 21, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Yesterday, in response to the news that jihadi savages had killed an American journalist on YouTube, the Obama administration revealed that there had been a special forces operation that attempted and failed to rescue James Foley. For the life of me, I can't figure out why this was necessary information to reveal, beyond the fact that it was a cheap way of convincing the American people that Obama had been concerned about Foley's plight.
9:01 AM, Aug 12, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Besides centrifuges, uranium enrichment, and sanctions, this month the State Department turned to sets, digs, and spikes in diplomatic efforts with Iran. Samuel Werberg, a press and public diplomacy officer in the U.S.
10:08 AM, May 9, 2014 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
Last night Martin Indyk, now the chief assistant to Secretary of State Kerry in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, spoke at length to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. One account of his speech appears here at the Times of Israel's web site.
Talking to Michael Rubin about his new book, Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging with Rogue Regimes.9:31 AM, Feb 22, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School, has just published a very timely book— especially for anyone interested in the likely success of the Obama administration’s diplomatic engagement with Iran.
1:34 PM, Jan 6, 2014 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
The ascension of Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani supposedly represented a “period of hope.” That may be true for Western negotiators hoping to spend more time in Geneva, but not for the Sufis and other religious minorities of Iran, whom the regime in Tehran continues to repress.
9:01 AM, Dec 20, 2013 • By DENNIS P. HALPIN
Now that the hoopla has begun to die down over Kim Jong-un’s execution of his uncle—reportedly Mafia-style with machine guns—the Young General is anticipating his athletes shooting a few hoops under the expert tutoring of Dennis Rodman.
3:36 PM, Nov 11, 2013 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
Over a century ago George Santayana wrote that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
He might have had John Kerry and Wendy Sherman in mind.
8:20 AM, Aug 3, 2013 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
On Friday, the State Department announced that 21 diplomatic facilities (now updated to 22), from North Africa through the Middle East and into South Asia, are to be closed this weekend in response to an al Qaeda threat.
10:01 AM, Jul 29, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Secretary of State John Kerry will host "an Iftar dinner for Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni," according to a copy of his schedule released by the State Department. The dinner will also be attended by "Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat."
The event will be closed to the press.
Kerry's schedule for today reads:
'Environmentally-sustainable.'3:25 PM, May 21, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The State Department today announced the dedication of a new "environmentally-sustainable" embassy in Bujumbura, Burundi. The cost of the building project is $133 million.
Joseph Bottum, diplomatic playerApr 29, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 31 • By JOSEPH BOTTUM
In 1859, John Stuart Mill published On Liberty, a book that included, among its other peculiarities, a complaint that Victorian society was destroying eccentricity, and thereby individuality, and thereby freedom.
How does it get told outside America? Apr 1, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 28 • By ALONZO L. HAMBY
In academia, scholars trying to get ahead look for the Next Big Thing. In the field of American foreign relations, that just may be something called “public diplomacy,” a term that conjures a vision of diplomatic efforts aimed not simply at other diplomats but at large populations. Justin Hart, associate professor of history at Texas Tech, does not give us a sharp definition of the term, but believes he knows it when he sees it.
8:03 AM, Nov 19, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Barack Obama called Burma 'Myanmar' after a bilateral meeting with Thein Sein, the president of that country. From the pool report:
Obama used the word "Myanmar," the preferred terminology of the former military government and currently nominally civilian government, in a spray following the bilat, rather than use "Burma," the former name of the country, and the one preferred by Aung San Suu Kyi as well as the name the U.S. uses.