'We Need To Elevate the Environment in Everything We Do.'2:28 PM, Mar 7, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Even as the situation in Ukraine has some talking about the possibility of a new cold war with Russia, Secretary of State John Kerry issued his first Policy Guidance since assuming his position a little over a year ago. The subject: Climate change. In a blog post entitled "We Need To Elevate the Environment in Everything We Do," Kerry expresses a desire to make climate change his signature issue much in the way his predecessor Hillary Clinton made women's issues a "top-tier diplomatic priority":
Leading the way toward progress on this issue [climate change] is the right role for the United States, and it’s the right role for the Department of State. That’s why I’ve decided to make climate change the subject of my first Policy Guidance as Secretary of State. I have been deeply impressed by the way Secretary Clinton elevated global women’s issues as a top-tier diplomatic priority, and believe me, we’re committed to keeping them there. When the opportunities for women grow, the possibilities for peace, prosperity, and security grow even more. President Obama and I believe the same thing about climate change. This isn’t just a challenge, it’s also an incredible opportunity. And the Policy Guidance I’m issuing today is an important step in the right direction.
Saying "there’s no time to lose", Kerry enumerated seven steps the State Department will take to carry out the "critical mission" of addressing climate change:
I. Lead by example through strong action at home and abroad.
II. Conclude a new international climate change agreement.
III. Implement the Global Climate Change Initiative.
IV. Enhance multilateral engagement.
V. Expand bilateral engagement.
VI. Mobilize financial resources.
VII. Integrate climate change with other priorities.
Kerry closed with a call to action for members of the State Department, telling them tackling this issue is part of their "mission as diplomats":
Climate change has special significance for the work we do here at State, and so do clean water, clean air, sustainability, and energy. We’re talking about the future of our earth and of humanity. We need to elevate the environment in everything we do. There’s nothing I’m more proud of then when we send one of our diplomats somewhere to really get out in the field and engage, to solve a problem, and to make something happen. I want all of you to feel empowered to think and operate that way on climate change. That’s our mission as diplomats and that’s our call to conscience as citizens of this fragile planet we inhabit. So let’s get to work.
12:42 PM, Feb 24, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Art in Embassies program of the U.S. State Department just turned 50 last year, but its growth in the last decade has been particularly dramatic if the insured value of the artwork is any indication. Although Art in Embassies purchases original works, such as the $1 million sculpture for the new U.S. Embassy in London, much of the artwork on display at various State Department installations throughout the world is in fact borrowed. In 2002, the State Department maintained a $20 million policy for artwork. By 2010, it had grown to $65 million. This year, the agency is looking to renew its current level of coverage, informing interested providers that "[i]nsurance must cover all items in any location in a Department of State facility abroad up to a value of $200,000,000." Last year, the $200 million policy cost the government $86,932.
10:02 AM, Feb 24, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Obama administration is wasting no time in showing support for the new government forming in Ukraine.
1:56 PM, Jan 31, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The State Department releases its final environmental report on the Keystone Pipeline today. Justin Sink of The Hill reports:
7:49 AM, Jan 31, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The State Department is presenting a global webcast on February 4, titled "From the Street to Mainstream: The Evolution of Rap/Hip Hop Music." The host of the webcast, rapper and State Department Music Ambassador Toni Blackman, will be joined by Pras Michel, a founding member of the hip hop group the Fugees, to discuss "how rap and hip hop have increased social awareness of the African-American experience — and raised even broader issues in contemporary society." Some of Michel's more inflammatory comments in the past raise questions about the appropriateness of his appearance with the U.S.'s music ambassador on a government-sponsored webcast representing America to the world.
Feb 10, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 21 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
For five years, the Obama administration has touted its success in the war against al Qaeda. In formal addresses, daily press briefings, and campaign speeches top administration officials have celebrated the “decimation” of al Qaeda and predicted its imminent extinction.
7:44 AM, Jan 20, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
In recent days, the new U.S. ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, took to Twitter to express deep concern about the practice of a local Japanese tradition.
"Deeply concerned by inhumaneness of drive hunt dolphin killing. USG opposes drive hunt fisheries," Kennedy tweeted.
Hosted by Michael Graham5:05 PM, Jan 15, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast, with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on the why the recently released Senate report on Benghazi is a big deal.
'In many cases...'7:12 AM, Jan 15, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Secretary of State John Kerry covered a broad range of topics with his counterpart Pietro Parolin at the Vatican in Rome on Monday. Besides Syria, the Middle East peace process, Sudan, and Cuba, the subject of poverty came up during their discussions.
"Our hope and expectation is that Iran will comply."10:18 AM, Jan 13, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Yesterday, the Obama administration announced an agreement regarding Iran's nuclear program had been reached. But a statement about the enforcement of the deal made by a senior administration official during a background briefing on Sunday, however, is likely to further worry critics of the deal. The official declined to cite a single example of an "individual instance of noncompliance" that would trigger the reversal of the sanctions relief put into effect by the deal:
11:03 AM, Jan 10, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The State Department today publicly announced a $10 million reward "for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual responsible for the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks." The announcement for the reward is posted on rewardsforjustice.net.
10:19 AM, Jan 10, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
The State Department today designated three Ansar al Sharia organizations, as well as three of their leaders, as terrorist entities. The State Department reports that Ansar al Sharia in Derna was “involved” in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi. Former Guantanamo detainee Sufian Ben Qumu, who long served al Qaeda, is named as “the leader” of Ansar al Sharia in Derna.
First successful nuclear test was more than four years ago.11:40 AM, Dec 15, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC News in an interview that North Korea "potentially" having a nuclear weapon would be "even more unacceptable." North Korea first tested its nuclear weapons capabilities in 2006 and had a more successful test in 2009. The country's most recent nuclear test was earlier this year.
ABC News journalist Martha Raddatz asked Kerry, who was in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, about the execution of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's uncle.
12:01 PM, Dec 13, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The State Department is warning Americans not to travel to Libya. The stated reason: "extremist groups in Libya made specific threats against U.S. government officials and U.S. non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Libya."
10:52 AM, Dec 3, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
At the end of September, the federal government's fiscal year was drawing to a close, the threat of a shut down was increasing, and the State Department was shopping for art. Four contracts were awarded in the last two weeks of September, including $1,000,000 for a granite sculpture by Irish-born artist Sean Scully to be installed at the new U.S. Embassy in London. Notice of the awards was posted Sunday afternoon of Thanksgiving weekend on the Federal Business Opportunities website.