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  • Author: Steven Pifer
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: For nearly five decades, Washington and Moscow have engaged in negotiations to manage their nuclear competition. Those negotiations produced a string of acronyms—SALT, INF, START—for arms control agreements that strengthened strategic stability, reduced bloated nuclear arsenals and had a positive impact on the broader bilateral relationship. That is changing. The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is headed for demise. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) has less than two years to run, and the administration of Donald Trump has yet to engage on Russian suggestions to extend it. Bilateral strategic stability talks have not been held in 18 months. On its current path, the U.S.-Russia nuclear arms control regime likely will come to an end in 2021. That will make for a strategic relationship that is less stable, less secure and less predictable and will further complicate an already troubled bilateral relationship.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Nuclear Power, Deterrence, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Victor D. Cha
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: There were high expectations at the second meeting of American and North Korean leaders in Vietnam last month after the absence of progress on denuclearization commitments made at the first summit in Singapore last summer. Yet at Hanoi, not only were the two leaders unable to deliver an agreement with tangible steps on denuclearization, but they also dispensed with the joint statement signing, cancelled the ceremonial lunch and skipped the joint press conference. In a solo presser, President Donald Trump said that sometimes you “have to walk, and this was just one of those times.”[2] The President indeed may have avoided getting entrapped into a bad deal at Hanoi. What North Korea put on the table in terms of the Yongbyon nuclear complex addresses a fraction of its growing nuclear program that does not even break the surface of its underlying arsenal and stockpiles of fissile materials, not to mention missile bases and delivery systems. And what North Korea sought in return, in terms of major sanctions relief on five UN Security Council resolutions that target 90 percent of North Korea’s trade, would have removed one of the primary sources of leverage, albeit imperfect, on the regime. In this instance, no deal was better than a bad deal for the United States. Nevertheless, the Hanoi summit has left the United States with no clear diplomatic road ahead on this challenging security problem, a trail of puzzled allies in Asia and the promise of no more made-for-television summit meetings for the foreseeable future. The question remains, where do we go from here? When leaders’ summits fail to reach agreement, diplomacy by definition has reached the end of its rope. President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put on the best face they could in Hanoi, talking about closer understanding and continued good relations between the two sides as a result of the meetings, but the failed summit leaves a great deal of uncertainty going forward. South Koreans will frantically seek meetings with Washington and Pyongyang to pick up the pieces. The North Koreans already have sent an envoy to China to chart next steps. While I do not think this will mean a return to the “Fire and Fury” days of 2017 when armed conflict was possible, we have learned numerous lessons from Hanoi for going forward.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Deterrence, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Alex Vatanka
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a cleric who will turn 80 in July 2019 and has ruled over Iran since 1989, has made a political career out of demonizing the United States. And yet, he knows full well that at some point—whether in his lifetime or after—Tehran has to turn the page and look for ways to end the bad blood that started with the birth of the Islamic Republic in 1979. But Khamenei’s efforts to make the United States a strawman are not easily undone in present-day Tehran, where anti-Americanism is the top political football, as the two main factions inside the regime—the hardliners versus the so-called reformists—battle it out for the future of Iran. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” on Iran has made it all but impossible for Khamenei to meet Washington half-way. Accordingly, the best Khamenei can do for now is to wait out the Trump White House. There will be no Khamenei-Trump summits. That much is abundantly clear if one listens to the chatter from Tehran. But the issue of possible relations with post-Trump America is still hotly contested in the Islamic Republic. In the meantime, with Trump’s re-imposition of sanctions from November 2018, Tehran’s hope in the short term is that Europe, together with Iran’s more traditional supporters in Moscow and Beijing, can give Iran enough incentive so that it can ride out the next few years as its economy comes under unprecedented pressure.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Sanctions, Domestic politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East, Israel
  • Author: Earl Anthony Wayne
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: On November 30, the leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico signed a new trade agreement to succeed the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) modernizes the 25-year-old NAFTA, but the legislatures in all three countries must still approve it.[1] The new USMCA will preserve the massive trading and shared-production networks that support millions of jobs in the U.S., Mexico and Canada and the ability of North America to compete effectively with China, Europe and other economic powers. Approving USMCA this year is very much in the national interests of all three countries given the $1.3 trillion in trade between them and the many businesses, workers and farmers that depend on the commerce and co-production that interlinks North America. These economic relationships also strengthen the rationale for maintaining strong political relationships among the three neighbors. There was widespread agreement to update NAFTA to reflect the changes in trade practices and in the three economies since 1994.[2] NAFTA does not cover Internet-based commerce, for example. Other areas required modernization, including trade in services, protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), environment and labor, which is a priority for U.S. unions.[3] Mexico, Canada and the U.S. tried to accomplish this NAFTA update with negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, but in January 2017 President Donald Trump pulled out of TPP, preferring to renegotiate NAFTA.[4] Approval of USMCA by the U.S. Congress remains uncertain. A number of Democrats are asking for stronger enforcement commitment particularly regarding labor. Others express concern that USMCA provisions may keep some prescription medical costs high.[5] Business and agricultural associations are urging approval of USMCA because it will provide certainty to continue the cross-continental collaboration that preserves vital intra-North American markets for manufacturing, agriculture and services and helps them out-perform global competitors. In response to democrat and union concerns, USMCA’s advocates argue that it includes significantly stronger labor provisions and enforcement.[6] Before the agreement moves ahead, however, the three countries must also find a solution to the tariffs the U.S. put on steel and aluminum from Canada and Mexico in 2018 for “national security” reasons. In response, those countries imposed equivalent tariffs on a range of U.S. exports, spreading economic pain across all three countries.[7] Mexico and Canada, as well as key members of Congress, want this problem resolved before approving USMCA.[8] The U.S. International Trade Commission must also assess USMCA’s economic impact. This report is due in mid-April. The administration must also propose implementation legislation (and guidelines) before Congress formally considers the agreement. Congress will then have a limited time to act on USMCA under existing legislation, but members of Congress could drag the process out.[9] The political window for U.S. congressional approval will close this year, however, given the 2020 U.S. elections.[10] President Trump, USTR Lighthizer and others have begun lobbying for approval, as have Mexico and Canada more quietly. The months ahead will thus be vital for trade and long-term relationships in North America and for the continent’s ability to weather well future international competition. Given the enormous economic benefits of approving USMCA, the U.S. Congress, the Administration and the non-government stakeholders should engage intensively to find ways to address concerns raised and find a “win-win” way to approval. Fortunately, the United States public increasingly views trade in North America as positive. According to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, for example, those seeing NAFTA and now USMCA as “good” for the U.S. economy have grown significantly, rising from 53 percent in 2017 to 70 percent seeing USMCA as “good” this year. This is a solid foundation for rapid approval of USMCA.[11]
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, NAFTA, Trade, USMCA
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Bruce A. Heyman
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Seeing the words “U.S.-Canada Trade War” in headlines is hard to imagine in any year, but to see them in 2018 was jarring. How is it possible that best friends and neighbors who have had the most successful trading relationship in the world now could have an association characterized by the word war? This is hard enough for the average American or Canadian to conceive of, but it was particularly hard for me to do so, as the U.S. Ambassador to Canada until January 20, 2017. When I left Ottawa, I was confident that the U.S.-Canada relationship was strong—indeed, perhaps never stronger. In March 2016, we had a state dinner in Washington for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the first in nearly 20 years. Then-President Barack Obama later repaid the favor and addressed the Canadian Parliament for the first time in more than 20 years. Our two-way trading relationship was valued at a huge $670 billion per year, and while no longer our largest, it was the most balanced, with the United States having a slight but rare trade surplus in goods and services. Through an integrated supply chain, our companies and citizens worked together. On average more than 400,000 people legally crossed our 5,525-mile non-militarized border daily for work and tourism. But the U.S.-Canada relationship was and is much larger than trade. Canadian and American troops have fought and died together from the beaches of Normandy to the mountains of Afghanistan, and our countries are founding members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)—a unique Canadian-American partnership—patrols the skies above our shared continent. Our intelligence and law enforcement agencies constantly exchange information on threats from terrorism, nuclear proliferation, espionage and complex crimes. Our two countries work together to protect the environment and provide stewardship of the magnificent Great Lakes, where cities such as Toronto and my own Chicago are located. This dense web of mutually beneficial cooperation is based on a shared set of values. Both our countries settled the vast North American continent, providing undreamt-of opportunities to millions of immigrants. Both our countries have an abiding commitment to democracy and the rule of law, and when we fall short, we make the needed changes. Beyond our countries’ being next-door neighbors, the largest number of Americans living abroad live in Canada and the largest number of Canadians living abroad live in the U.S. We are best friends, but more important, we are family.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Culture, Trade Wars, Trade
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, North America
  • Author: Julius Tsal
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: In 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi initiated people-to-people (P2P) exchanges to the United States for agricultural scientists and university leaders from the Russian-occupied Georgian territory of Abkhazia. An initial study tour in the spring of 2018 focused on mitigating the devastating agricultural damage from the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB), and a second tour in the fall of 2018 focused on higher education leadership. Despite political sensitivities and logistical hurdles, such people-to-people programs increase participants’ understanding of the United States and give them an unbiased, first-hand experience of American civil society, its culture of innovation and democratic values. For otherwise isolated Abkhaz thought leaders, these experiences directly counter Russian anti-Western propaganda and demonstrate the benefits of Georgia’s pro-Western choice.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Civil Society, Imperialism, Propaganda
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, Georgia, North America
  • Author: Terry Branstad
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: When I welcome visitors to the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence in Beijing, they often comment on a black-and-white photo of my first meeting with Xi Jinping. In the picture, the members of the 1985 Chinese agriculture delegation to Iowa stand calmly behind my desk, peering into the camera, as Xi Jinping stands unobtru­sively to my right. Some visitors ask, “Ambassador Branstad, did you know this young man would become President of China?” Indeed, I did not—I treated him with the same Iowa hospitality with which I welcome all my guests. His importance as a rising leader of China, though, became increasingly apparent over the course of six gubernatorial visits I made to China during the subsequent 30 years. The same is true of U.S.-China relations. Today, I have the honor of representing the United States in the most consequential bilateral relationship in the world, one that we absolutely have to get right. During President Donald Trump’s November 2017 state visit to China, the President identified three priority tasks for the two nations’ relationship. First, work with the Chinese govern­ment to address the North Korean nuclear and missile threat. Second, seek a more balanced and reciprocal trade and investment relationship. And third, partner with Chinese authorities to reduce the flow of illicit opioids from China to the United States. Each task presents its own unique challenges and opportunities.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Nuclear Power, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Asia, North Korea
  • Author: Richard N. Holwill
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: A meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un (KJU), the Supreme Leader of the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK), can be a success even if it fails to achieve President Trump’s announced goal: an end to the DPRK nuclear weapons program. This meeting starts by giving KJU one of his long-sought goals. It will, in effect, be more than a meeting. It will be a “summit” and will confer on KJU the status of the leader of a legitimate government. President Trump would be wise to redefine success. He should not fall into the trap of saying that success will be defined by a “denuclearization agreement.” While that should be a long-term goal, it will not happen at this meeting. Still, the summit will be successful if it produces a process that can lead to a substantial reduction of tension on the Korean Peninsula. This is not to say that an agreement on denuclearization is off the table. Rather, it is to rec­ognize that these talks could present a framework for negotiation that would be very valuable, even if they will fall short of a nuclear disarmament accord. To understand the difficulty of reaching a nuclear arms agreement, we need only look at the way the two leaders speak about denuclearization. Each appears to define it differently. President Trump applies the term to nuclear weapons in the DPRK. KJU speaks of it as applying to the entire Korean Peninsula. He will argue that, if he must allow a mean­ingful verification regime, so must U.S. forces in South Korea.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Deterrence, Denuclearization
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, China, Asia, South Korea, North Korea
  • Author: Madeleine Albright
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: I would like to share some reflections on the challenges facing democracy and democratization. But I would like to begin on a personal note. I received my master’s degree some 50 years ago this spring. Like today, it was an era of great turbulence. Our best and brightest civilian leaders had involved America in a distant war. Our soldiers were in an impossible position, bogged down inside an alien culture, unable to distinguish friend from foe. Here at home, America was divided along geographic, racial and cultural lines. Overseas, critics called our policies arrogant, imperialistic and doomed to fail.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Civil Society, Democracy, Social Media
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: William C. Eacho
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Every day, in countries around the planet, government employees are working on plans that will reduce greenhouse emissions, as each nation promised to do at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Here in Washington? No one has such an assignment. Global leadership used to be an American staple. In fact, we were in the vanguard a couple of years ago when 195 nations assembled in Paris to finalize the climate change accord. In a 180-degree reversal, President Donald Trump opted to withdraw from this pact. But since the rules do not allow that withdrawal to become official until November 4, 2020, there is time for our government to regain its leadership role as the world struggles to meet this fundamental challenge. And the President can do so in a way that strengthens the global competitiveness of the U.S. economy. How? Ask almost any economist what is the quickest, most efficient and least expensive way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and he or she will say, “a carbon tax.” Carbon has benefited from a subsidy from day one. Yes, fossil fuels have played a critical role in U.S. prosperity, but they also have driven up the rates and severity of lung cancer, asthma, heart disease and other ailments. In addition, they are the leading cause of climate change, which scientists have concluded is running up the frequency and intensity of wildfires, superstorms and other natural disasters. Yet the price we pay for carbon does not cover any of these costs; all of us pick up that tab. If the price of carbon incorporated such costs, then clean energy sources such as the wind, the sun and nuclear energy could compete on a level playing field. It is true that tax incentives have helped renewable sources develop, and loan guarantees have helped nuclear energy, but each has had less help than fossil fuels have received in direct and indirect subsidies. And yet despite the unlevel playing field, renewables have been a tremendous source of job growth in recent years. Solar now employs over 260,000 in the United States, enjoying a double-digit rate of growth in recent years, and wind energy employs over 100,000. Wind already provides 30 percent of Kansas’ electricity. Though Governor Sam Brownback is a longtime member of the GOP’s right flank, he is a true believer in renewables. Wind energy has drawn $7 billion in capital investment to the state and supports, directly or indirectly, 5,000 to 6,000 jobs.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources, Green Technology
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Edward M. Gabriel
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Twenty years ago, I arrived in Morocco as the new U.S. Ambassador. It was the beginning of a close-up view of the changes going on in Morocco for the next two decades. During my first meeting with King Hassan II, shortly after my arrival, he wasted no time in addressing Morocco’s agenda with the United States, challenging me on our nation’s positions, especially in regard to his Kingdom’s existential issue regarding sovereignty over the Sahara. This unexpected candid and warm exchange set the tone for regular meetings throughout my tenure during which concerns and grievances were voiced in private, rather than aired publicly. King Mohammed VI would continue this practice with me after his father’s death. My first few months in the country also coincided with the beginning of the first government of Alternance, led by opposition leader Abderrahmane El Youssoufi—a watershed moment for Morocco that many political analysts mark as the beginning of significant democratic reform and economic liberalization in Morocco after years of a strong-armed approach to governing and limited civil rights. Abderrahmane El Youssoufi, whose political activities had previously resulted in two years in jail and then 15 years of exile, became Prime Minister after his party, the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP), won the most seats in the November 1997 elections. Since then, the international community has confirmed Moroccan elections as occurring in a fair and transparent manner. In 1998, the unemployment rate in the country was 17 percent and growing, with youths making up a disproportionate percentage of the population. Women lacked equal rights with men. The percentage of the population living at or below the poverty line for lower middle-income countries was around 28 percent, and more than half of the entire adult population was illiterate, with rates among rural women much higher. Electricity in the country reached only around 60 percent of the population, and almost a quarter did not have access to potable water. Infant mortality rates were 23 percent higher than the regional average, and maternal mortality ratios were nearly double the regional average. Overall, the micro-economic picture was in dire shape. The economy was too dependent on agriculture, accounting for 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and heavily reliant on rainfall. Infrastructure was lacking throughout the country, and environmental degradation was widely apparent throughout the cities and the countryside, presenting a challenge to the growth of tourism. Of particular note, the northern part of Morocco was completely neglected after a series of militant actions created an irreparable rift between King Hassan and his citizens there. In contrast to the micro-economic indicators, by 1998 King Hassan had established a strong macro-economic climate: a low ratio of debt to GDP, a low budget deficit and an open, competitive economic system. He adopted International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank reforms that, had Morocco been a member of the European Union, would have qualified it for inclusion in the Monetary Union. Upon his death in 1999, King Hassan left the country unified, with a very strong nationalistic belief in country and King, a reasonably performing economy and, most important, with a solid commitment in its support for U.S. objectives regarding counterterrorism and economic openness, and in promoting peace in the Middle East. Twenty years later, where is Morocco today? Where is it headed tomorrow?
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Diplomacy, Education, Democracy, Decentralization , IMF
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, North Africa, Morocco
  • Author: Michael A. Hammer
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: America’s ability to lead in the world depends on a strong economy at home, unparalleled military might and a skilled diplomatic corps. And for the United States to remain the preeminent global power, it is essential that we educate and prepare the next generation of national security leaders: —leaders who are strategic in every sense: creative, innovative, technologically savvy, flexible, inclusive, ethical and resilient; —leaders who commit to life-long learning to stay current and who venture to look beyond the horizon; —leaders who are voracious consumers of information and effective communicators; —humble leaders who always seek to do better than the status quo. The new National Security Strategy recognizes the critical role of the State Department’s proclaiming that “across the competitive landscape, America’s diplomats are our forward-deployed political capability, advancing and defending America’s interests abroad.” Therefore, to remain relevant and in order to continue to succeed, State’s finest need professional development. Whether to lead peace negotiations or trade talks, combat terrorism or cyberattacks, promote democratic values or defend human rights, engage media or youth, we must ensure that rising officers are knowledgeable of history, well-versed on theory, fluent in current practice and in-tune with future trends. But as they are caught in high-stress jobs with little time to reflect, where should our best talent go to grow their skills and enhance their ability to think critically and lead effectively? The answer is right here in Washington D.C., the National Defense University (NDU) at Fort McNair.
  • Topic: National Security, Science and Technology, Military Strategy, Cybersecurity
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Juan Carlos Pinzon
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The world has changed for Colombia. For the first time in more than 50 years, we are a nation building a lasting and stable peace. What has not changed is the special relationship Colombia shares with the United States. As the oldest and strongest democracies in the Western Hemisphere, the relationship between our two countries is deeply rooted in our steadfast commitment to the shared values of democracy, freedom and equality. It is an alliance built on a solid foundation of bipartisan support, and that too will not change. Successive Colombian governments have worked with Republican-led con­gresses and those controlled by Democrats, and we look forward to continuing to engage with the new Administration and Congress as we work to build sustainable peace. It was strong bipartisan support that made Plan Colombia the most successful U.S. bilateral initiative with a foreign nation—benefitting both countries and the entire region— and it is bipartisan support that will make the next phase of Plan Colombia—the Peace Colombia initiative—successful as well.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Democracy, Political stability, Peace
  • Political Geography: United States, Colombia, South America, North America
  • Author: Robert Jackson
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Ghana is one of the leading democracies on the African continent, with multiple peaceful interparty transitions since the return of multi-party democracy in 1992; a good record on human rights; an apolitical military; and a lively, free media. Ghanaians often note that whenever the Republican Party wins the White House, Ghana’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) wins Jubilee House—a coincidental tradition that held true again in 2016. Ghana’s presidential and parliamentary elections were peaceful, transparent, and credible; U.S. engagement played a critical role in that success, as well as in the resulting peaceful transition of power.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Elections, Democracy, Transition
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, North America, Ghana
  • Author: Thomas F Daughton
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Just 27 years old, the Republic of Namibia is among Africa’s youngest countries, but one that stands out on the continent for its functioning multiparty democracy, open market economy and history of peaceful transitions of presidential power. The reasons for Namibia’s success lie in the international process that created it and in the pragmatism of its people. That international process and the United States’ involvement in it have also complicated the U.S.-Namibia relationship in the last three decades. But the United States has long recognized that an investment in the success of a country like Namibia is a strategic long-term investment in our own security. With that in mind, the United States has invested heavily since Namibian independence in 1990 to help ensure that the young country succeeds. In many respects, Namibia is a country of extremes. It is both the driest African country south of the Sahara and, with an area twice the size of California’s and a population of just 2.4 million, the world’s second-least densely populated nation. Namibia is home to the desolate Skeleton Coast, to one of the world’s driest deserts and to the world’s oldest sand dunes, but also to lush, flood-prone forestland lying along some of Africa’s great rivers. Namibia is a major source of diamonds and uranium, but has one of the highest income inequality rates in the world. And Namibia’s people are a multiethnic, multiracial mix that encompasses everything from descendants of German colonists to the San, the world’s most ancient human population. Namibia’s colonial experience featured similar extremes. After one of the First World War’s early military campaigns ended 30 years of German colonial rule in 1915, the League of Nations placed the former German South West Africa under the mandate of the Union of South Africa. The successor Republic of South Africa later refused to surrender that mandate, instead imposing the full oppression of apartheid and seeking to incorporate South West Africa into its territory. The South West African People’s Organization (SWAPO), a Marxist liberation movement formed in 1960, carried on an insurgency against the apartheid regime for three decades as the United States and other Western nations sought a negotiated route to independence. In 1978 the United States co-sponsored United Nations Security Council Resolution 435 to establish a framework for Namibian independence, but an eight-year mediation begun by the Reagan administration in 1981 linked independence to the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola. That linkage is still viewed by many Namibians as having delayed their country’s independence for a decade. Thirty years later, the United States continues to confront perceptions that Namibia would have achieved independence years earlier if not for Cold War concerns in the West about Communist influence and support to SWAPO from the old Eastern Bloc. Namibian independence in 1990 was the culmination of a unique negotiation and self-determination process administered by the United Nations pursuant to UNSCR 435. Nearly 25 years later, I presented my credentials as the tenth U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Namibia, just two days before general elections that would sweep the country’s third president, Dr. Hage Geingob, into office with 87 percent of the popular vote. No stranger to government, Dr. Geingob chaired the assembly that drafted the Namibian constitution in 1989 and served as the country’s first prime minister. Harkening back to the international effort that created what Namibia is today, President Geingob likes to say that his country is “a child of international solidarity, midwifed by the United Nations.” At independence, the SWAPO liberation movement became the popular political party that has ruled Namibia continuously since 1990. While the restyled Swapo Party put aside most of its Marxist principles when faced with the reality of governing, Namibia’s foreign policy has remained strongly shaped by gratitude to its erstwhile allies and adherence to its non-aligned, liberation-era ideals. At the same time, however, Namibia’s approach to its foreign development partners has generally been marked by pragmatism and a desire to be, as the country’s current president puts it, “friend to all and enemy to none.” The United States has sought since Namibia’s founding to support the new country in its building of a modern, democratic state. Even before the Namibian flag was raised for the first time, the United States offered major assistance in removing the explosive remnants of war—an intense effort that required more than a decade to complete. The Peace Corps answered a plea for help from Namibia’s new leaders in 1990 by sending a cadre of educa­tion volunteers. In the quarter-century since, Peace Corps has maintained and ex­panded its presence in Namibia. More than 1,600 volunteers have served in the country since 1991, offering their skills in education, health and community economic development. The Peace Corps was not the only U.S. government agency that lent a hand with education. A decision at independence by Namibia’s new leaders to make English the national language prompted a 15-year, USAID-administered assistance program to convert the national education system from Afrikaans, train the country’s teachers to instruct in English and improve school infrastructure. Namibians say theirs was the first country in the world to enshrine environmental pro­tection in its constitution. Support provided by the United States through USAID in the 1990s helped establish Namibia’s internationally renowned, community-based conserva­tion system. The country has a larger wildlife population now than at any time in the past century and is home to nearly half of the world’s remaining black rhinos and most of the world’s cheetahs. The Namibian conservation model built together with USAID created 82 registered communal conservancies that allow local communities to benefit from the sus­tainable use of wildlife through tourism and sport hunting. In 2013, the conservancies generated about $7 million in direct revenue and in-kind benefits. The success of the model has created a powerful incentive for those living within conservancies to protect wildlife and manage natural resources responsibly. Indeed, the conservancies are largely responsible for the rebound in Namibia’s elephant population from 7,500 in 1995 to more than 20,000 in 2016. In 2007, Namibia qualified for an assistance compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Negotiations on the details of the compact took more than 18 months, but ultimately produced a blueprint for spending $305 million on an array of infrastructure and other development projects focused on education, tourism and agricul­ture. The five-year compact, which ended in 2014 having met or exceeded all of its targets, was regarded by both the Namibians and the MCC as a signal success. As it was under­way, Namibia also achieved upper-middle income (UMI) status according to the World Bank—one of the indirect effects the MCC compact was intended to achieve. Ironically, that success meant the country was not eligible for another compact. The crown jewel of U.S. government assistance to Namibia remains our support in fighting HIV/AIDS. When the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, better known as PEPFAR, began working with the Namibian government in 2004, the country had one of the highest HIV burdens in the world. More than 23 percent of the population was infected, and more than 15,000 Namibians were getting infected with HIV each year. More than 30 percent of babies born to HIV-positive mothers were infected with the virus, and nearly 10,000 Namibians were dying from AIDS every year—out of a population of just 2 million. Our success in working with the Namibian government to fight HIV/AIDS has been nothing short of remarkable. Last year, fewer than 8,000 Namibians were newly infected with HIV, less than 5 percent of babies born to HIV-positive mothers became infected and fewer than 3,200 patients died from HIV/AIDS. Currently, more than 70 percent of Namibians have been tested for HIV and know their status. Free antiretroviral treatment is widely available across the country; 67 percent of infected adults and 90 percent of infected children are on it. Most striking, an estimated 100,000 Namibian lives—nearly 5 percent of the country’s total population—have been saved. The United States has played an integral role in these achievements, and it has required a major investment. Of the more than $1.1 billion in foreign assistance the U.S. gov­ernment has invested in Namibia since 2006, the majority has been dedicated to the fight against HIV/AIDS. But our investment has been dwarfed by the Namibian govern­ment’s own contribution to the fight. Namibia’s government directly funds two-thirds of the national HIV response, demonstrating to the world its leadership and commit­ment to its citizens. Our shared success in fighting HIV/AIDS has not come easily. Widely scattered populations, distances between health facilities, shortages of skilled health care providers, limited infrastructure and difficult terrain contribute to the reality that not all Namibians have access to the same health services. To meet the challenge, our work through PEPFAR in Namibia has required innovation and flexibility. It has also necessitated a model of government-to-government cooperation in which U.S. resources have supplemented and expanded upon the Namibian government’s efforts rather than leading them. Our support has helped move Namibia within realistic reach of achieving the UNAIDS 90/90/90 targets* for HIV epidemic control by 2020. This means Namibia has the potential to be among the first high-burden countries in Africa to reach the targets and, if the epidemiolo­gists are right, to achieve an AIDS-free generation. As the size of Namibia’s younger population increases, so do their demands for education, social services and jobs. The country’s UMI status means that international development assistance once aimed at bolstering Namibia’s young democracy is now going to countries in greater need. And as Namibia’s liberation-heroes-turned-graying-politicians seek to respond to the demands of the younger population, they also face the inevitable reality of transition to a post-liberation-era generation of leaders. Navigating that transition is the most significant political challenge the country will face in the next decade. Cognizant of their legacy and committed to an enduring democracy, Namibia’s leaders are working to ensure that their country maintains its standing as a haven of peace and stability. It remains in the national interest of the United States to help them—and Namibia—succeed.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Environment, Post Colonialism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, North America, Namibia, Sahara
  • Author: Jefferey Bleich
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: We grew up in a century defined by the Second Industrial Revolution. Today, that revolution is being eclipsed by a Digital Revolution. The uncertainty that we are experiencing in every aspect of our society is the same disorientation that occurred between 1870 and 1910 when the first Industrial Revolution ended and a second one began. It eventually vaulted nations like America and Australia to the top of the world order. But it also produced the Gilded Age, labor unrest, mass migrations, the Great Depression and two world wars. That era is closing, and we are now experiencing the new great dis­ruption that Silicon Valley promised. Digital technology—while solving crucial problems—is creating or compounding others. It has outstripped the capacity of government to control it and amplified the collapse of public confidence in democratic governments. It has inflamed rivalries between those who benefit and those who don’t. It has undermined standards—of altruism and of civility—that are necessary for us to find common ground. To appreciate this, we have to see where we’ve come from. A hundred and fifty years ago, we went through the same thing. Changes in technology revolutionized media, global integration and demographics. The changes were profound. In 1879, during a three-month period, both the electric light and a workable internal combustion engine were invented. Those two inventions alone produced over the next 40 years a dizzying number of new technologies. The telephone, phonograph, motion pictures, cars, airplanes, elevators, X-rays, electric machinery, consumer appliances, highways, suburbs and supermarkets—all were created in a 40-year burst from 1875 to 1915. Technology fundamentally transformed how people live. We’ve known for a while that the structures created by this Second Industrial Revolution were running their course, at least in advanced economies, and that it was being replaced by a new revolution, the digital revolution. Recently, the pace of these advances has started to build exponen­tially, and the pressure has been mounting. Everyone who has had to throw out their CD player for a DVD player for an iPod for an iPhone for Spotify knows what I mean. Further, the pace at which our world is being changed just keeps accelerating. Every year a new massive theory of disruption emerges: “the digital economy,” “the social network,” “the Internet of things,” “sharing economy” and “big data.” Last year, “machine learning”—where machines teach themselves things we do not know—was the buzzword. The word in Silicon Valley this year is “singularity”—where our species itself is altered by technology (gene-editing, bionics, artificial intelligence), creating a new hybrid species.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Digital Economy, Higher Education, Digital Revolution
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Australia, North America
  • Author: Roger R Ream
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: In an interview a few years after he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, F.A. Hayek expressed his strong belief that the climate of opinion mattered much more than current politics. Having engaged for more than half a century in the intellectual debate between socialism and freedom, he came to the following conclusion from his experience: So far as the movement of intellectual opinion is concerned, it is now for the first time in my life moving in the right direction….When I was a young man, only the really old men believed in a free market system. When I was in my middle age, almost I myself and no one else believed in it. Now I have the pleasure of having lived long enough to see the young people believe again in it. That is a very important change. Whether this comes in time to save the world, I don’t know.[1] The Fund for American Studies (TFAS) was founded in 1967 with a mission focused on influencing the intellectual climate in the world by giving young people entering leadership positions a balanced perspective on political and economic systems. It was founded in the heat of the Cold War and during a period of growing unrest and even violent upheaval on college campuses. Many of the founders of the organization were actively engaged in international programs, including former Congressman Walter Judd and political organizer David R. Jones. While TFAS cannot lay claim to the title of ending the Cold War or calming the campuses, TFAS alumni have gone on to play key roles in world and national events. Several have served in Congress, including two serving today, Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO) and Rep. David Rouzer (NC). When TFAS was incorporated in February 1967, the founding articles stressed several priorities, including granting scholarships for preparatory studies for careers in public service and journalism and for summer programs stressing leadership development and internship experience. A distinct objective was to encourage foreign travel and study to encourage youth “to compare the American way of life with that of peoples of other lands and to better understand the problems confronting our Government in the conduct of foreign affairs.” This last objective wasn’t realized until 1993, when TFAS developed overseas institutes where college students from the United States could study with young people from other regions in the world. TFAS now organizes summer programs in Prague, Czech Republic, Hong Kong and Santiago, Chile. Many of the graduates of these overseas programs are now in leadership positions in their countries, including the president of the Central Bank of Latvia, a deputy minister in Georgia, and numerous serving in diplomatic positions or elsewhere in government or international business. TFAS alumni are contrib­uting articles to foreign policy journals, covering breaking news throughout the world, and participating in democracy-building initiatives and conflict resolution programs.
  • Topic: Education, Intellectual History, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Monica Damberg-Ott
  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, or IVLP, is often referred to as the “gold standard” of exchange programs within the public diplomacy community. The program celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2015, and more than 200,000 International Visitors have engaged with Americans through the IVLP, including more than 505 current or former Chiefs of State or Heads of Government,[1] since its inception in 1940. Margaret Thatcher, Hamid Karzai, and Indira Gandhi, to name just a few, are alumni. But with recent budget constraints and the need to demonstrate immediate, results-driven programming, the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) is placing greater emphasis on its most flexible rapid-response exchanges. Among those programs is the highly adaptable and policy-responsive option: the IVLP On Demand. So how does it differ from the original model, how does it compare, and how might it help show results more quickly? Each year, nearly 5,000 exchange participants come to the United States on the IVLP,[2] a foreign policy tool that helps strengthen U.S. engagement with countries around the world and cultivates lasting relationships. The program connects current and emerging foreign policy leaders with their American counterparts through short-term visits to the United States. Ambassadors often chair the rigorous, annual selection committees that embassies overseas use to nominate key contacts viewed as leaders in their respective fields to participate in the program. Each embassy fills its “IVLP slate” with nominees whose participation in the program helps to advance the mission’s key bilateral or multilateral goals. The majority of IVLP exchanges include visits to four U.S. communities over three weeks, although projects vary based on themes, embassy requests and other factors. From D.C. to St. Louis, from Kalamazoo to Seattle, and everywhere in between, participants meet with professional counterparts, visit U.S. public- and private-sector organizations related to the project theme and participate in cultural and social activities. (Baseball games are usually a big hit!) The program benefits the U.S. economy as well—a large portion of the funding goes back to the states in the form of visitors’ hotels, restaurants, transporta­tion and tourism. The success of the program is in its diversity—regional, political, religious and thematic. As the Exchanges Coordinator for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, I had the opportunity to meet and brief nearly 2,000 International Visitors from 2014-2016. Government officials, teachers, judges, law enforcement officers, human rights activists and other leaders from all over Asia participated in programs exploring topics ranging from judicial reform to cyber-security, from disability rights to maritime security, from food safety to trade regulation. For most participants, the program is transformational. I saw it firsthand in their excitement and gratitude in being selected. I witnessed it in the questions they asked and the discussions that ensued. I read it in the emails I received months later from participants who said the program changed their lives and inspired them to start a project, set up a conference or draft legislation.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Curtis Chin
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: If American diplomacy is not to be about freedom and democracy, let it be about economic freedom and growth. And let the United States once again lead by example. In September 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump took to the world stage, addressing the United Nations General Assembly for his first time. It was also a week in which the United States marked the 230th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution—a document that continues to serve as an example for nations around the world. Trump began with words of appreciation to leaders of nations who had offered assistance and aid to the United States following hurricanes that had struck Texas and Florida. The U.S. president then continued with a few sentences about the state of the American economy. “The stock market is at an all-time high, a record,” he said. “Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years, and because of our regulatory and other reforms, we have more people working in the United States today than ever before.” “Companies are moving back, creating job growth,” he added. Skeptics were plentiful on the cable television shows. But those would not be the words that captured global headlines and that would overtake social media posts around the world. Instead, it was Trump’s far-from-diplomatic language calling out the threat posed by North Korea, as well as the U.S. leader’s focus in part on Iran, Cuba and Venezuela, that dominated the news cycle and sent pundits—and some ambassadors—into a frenzy.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, United Nations, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Steven Pifer
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Following the Soviet Union’s collapse, Ukraine and Russia maintained relations that at times were testy, but their differences largely appeared manageable. That changed in 2014, when the Kremlin used military force to seize Crimea and then supported armed separatism in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas. As a result, attitudes within Ukraine toward Russia have hardened to a consider­able degree, and the appeal of Western institutions such as the European Union and NATO has grown.
  • Topic: NATO, Imperialism, European Union, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Hans Kiemm
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: When Bill Clinton came to Bucharest in 1997, he made history as the first U.S. President to visit Romania since the fall of communism. Speaking to the Romanian public, he announced, “Your President and I have agreed to establish a strategic partnership between our nations, a partnership important to America because Romania is important to America—important in your own right and important as a model in this difficult part of the world. Romania can show the people of this region and, indeed, people throughout the world that there is a better way than fighting and division and repression. It is cooperation and freedom and peace. Our friendship will en­dure the test of time. As long as you proceed down democracy’s road, America will walk by your side.” This year marks the 20th anniversary of that U.S.-Romania Strategic Partnership, which President Donald Trump, during a meeting with President Klaus Iohannis this past June in Washington, said is now “stronger than ever.” The Partnership is unique because it is not based upon any written agreement, treaty, or compact, but by mutual respect and un­der­stand­ing, strengthened continuously over time. It is a friendship based on shared values and aspirations, including democracy, freedom, respect for human rights, and the rule of law. While usually invoked when speaking of government-to-government bilateral re­lations, the Partnership extends to people-to-people ties as well. More than 90 percent of the Romanian public rates relations with the United States as good or very good, and overall, associations between the two countries expand far beyond diplomatic obligation.
  • Topic: NATO, Diplomacy, Military Strategy, Diaspora
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, Romania, North America
  • Author: Jason Frohnmayer
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: It is a heck of a time to be an American diplomat. The work of diplomacy is never boring, but recently it seems like we can barely make it through a cup of coffee before someone calls a meeting to deal with an issue no one has ever faced. Public Diplomacy officers have it particularly hard as we endeavor to explain the United States’ position on issues and work to strengthen people-to-people relationships with those of other countries. The State Department’s diplomatic training center, the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), was created with an understanding of the importance of developing intercultural communication skills. This article advocates for an even greater emphasis on this critical training as FSI examines its curriculum. Out of all five cones of Foreign Service Officer Generalists, Public Diplomacy (PD) officers are called upon most often to interact with people of another culture. The heart of our work is building cross-cultural relationships. Success requires a high level of in­ter­cultural communication competence (ICC). FSI offers several distance-learning courses on cross-cultural communication, including “Communicating Across Cultures” and “Culture and Its Effect on Communication,” as well as offering training on considera­tion of foreign audiences, which is a component of cultural affairs tradecraft required for Cultural Affairs Officers. If PD officers are going to build relationships with skeptical foreign audiences, they should be armed with the best tools, which should include a dedicated focus on intercultural communication theories.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Communications, Culture, Military Affairs
  • Political Geography: United States, North America
  • Author: Anthony Luzzatto Gardner
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Four years ago the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize for the “over six decades [in which it has] contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy, and human rights in Europe.” How quickly the mood has changed. While it has become fashionable to charge that the European Union is on the verge of collapse in the face of dire current challenges, rumors of the European Union’s demise would appear premature. The successes achieved in 2015, as well as the potential future areas of good news, are frequently underappreciated. The United States is firmly committed to investing in its relationship with the European Union. This is a partner­ship that delivers, as it will bring dividends to both the United States and the European Union for the long term. The aphorism of Jean Monnet, the key Founding Father of the European Union, that “Europe will be forged in crises, and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises” has proven to be correct. The serious strains put on the European Union during this past year because of multiple terrorist attacks—most recently in Brussels on March 22—and the unprecedented migrant flow is already resulting in significant pooling of sovereignty by member states, like in the fields of law enforcement and border protection. Europe’s unity has countered Russia’s violation of the post-War norm against changing borders by force, and the United States and the European Union are working intensively on many regional and global challenges. First and foremost, the United States and the European Union are focused on creating more economic opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic with a comprehensive trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The United States and the European Union already have a broad and deep economic partnership, the largest trade relationship in the world, accounting for almost one third of global trade and supporting about 14 million jobs. We have invested over $4 trillion in each other’s economies (which combined account for almost half of world GDP). TTIP is an opportunity to fine tune that relationship in a common-sense way to unlock opportunities to support jobs and fuel growth on both sides of the Atlantic, while maintaining our high standards for protection of health, safety, labor conditions, and the environment. Through TTIP, the United States and the European Union can strengthen our respective economies and extend our strategic influence if we choose to lead on global trade rather than be left on the sidelines. There really is no other choice. Since last Fall, we have exchanged second tariff-eliminating market access offers (removing all but three percent of tariffs) and proposals for services market access and government procurement. We have made significant progress in tabling text in almost all chapters and hope to have consolidated text for the entire agreement by July, which would line up the most difficult issues for negotiation and decision through the Fall. Despite some of the more pessimistic predictions, it remains an achievable goal to reach a high standard comprehensive agreement under the Obama administration (although ratification in Europe and passage into law in the United States would take place under the next US President). Working with member states, the European Commission has also made significant contributions to the creation of an integrated energy market—a requirement for healthy economies—in which gas and electricity flow more freely among the member states. The European Commission has also tabled its first proposals to deepen and broaden Europe’s capital markets and to stimulate investment in critical infrastructure. To address one of the Eurozone’s fundamental structural weaknesses, the Commission has nearly completed the creation of a banking union. And looking to the future, the European Commission has launched an ambitious Digital Single Market strategy aimed at reducing national barriers to the creation of a true single market for the delivery of digital services. We are supportive of all of these critical initiatives because they enhance European security and growth potential, as well as provide opportunities for transatlantic investment and collaboration. At the same time, we have made great strides to modernize and reform our relationship in other areas related to data, the most recent example being the conclusion of the US-EU Privacy Shield, which replaces the fifteen-year-old Safe Harbor framework with a new set of robust and enforceable protections for the personal data of EU individuals. The Privacy Shield provides transparency regarding how participating com­panies use personal data, strong US government oversight, and increased cooperation with EU data protection authorities (DPAs). While the United States and the European Union are working closely together to reinforce economic and commercial ties, coordination on political efforts is as robust—and as necessary—as ever. For example, the European Union played a vital role in close collaboration with US leaders to produce the historic agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the historic agreement in Paris on climate change. Moreover, the European Union quickly announced and repeatedly renewed, in close partnership with the United States, a set of extensive sanctions against Russia in response to Russia’s occupation and attempted illegal annexation of Crimea and aggression in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine. Even a few years ago, few would have considered that possible because of the radically different historical perspectives and economic ties that the 28 member states have with Russia. Despite occasional talk of engaging Russia with conciliatory gestures, Europe has thus far resisted the Kremlin’s efforts to divide the member states or to split Europe from the United States. Like the United States, the European Union continues to support reformists in the Government of Ukraine and Ukrainian civil society. Our diplomatic missions in Kyiv and in Brussels cooperate closely on providing financial support, in-kind assistance and training, and exposing and countering disinformation. The United States and the European Union both support independent media and nongovernmental organizations; both support the aspiration of the Ukrainian people to live free in a stable, prosperous, and independent state governed by the rule of law rather than by lawless oligarchs. For over a year, challenges in developing a comprehensive European response to unprecedented, irregular refugee and migration flows have been the European Union’s most serious concern. The European Union is well aware that it must manage this issue in order to demonstrate its effectiveness and relevance. As a country of immigrants that has also taken in many refugees, the United States is supporting the European Union’s efforts by providing humanitarian assistance and sharing its experience in areas such as border control and the identification, resettlement, and integration of refugees. If Europe manages to support the integration of refugees and open its labor markets, the positive economic impact could prove substantial. The European Commission estimates that overall migrant inflows will add additional regional growth of 0.2 to 0.3 percent of GDP by 2020. According to the estimates, Germany could see an increase of GDP of about 0.4 percent in 2016 and 0.7 percent by 2020. Many economists believe that, if assimilated well, the refugee and migrant inflow could be a critical antidote to Europe’s looming demographic time bomb—a rapid inversion of the age pyramid whereby working age people are supporting greater numbers of retirees on pensions. By mid-century the ratio will have shrunk by half to 2:1, endangering the stability of social security systems. We are also collaborating closely on terrorism and countering violent extremism (CVE), including the fight against Daesh and the threat posed by foreign fighters who travel to and from Syria and Iraq. The United States welcomes the European Union’s development of a common EU Passenger Name Record system and looks forward to its approval in the European Parliament soon. The United States has engaged the European Union in helping border security officials get access to the information they need to prevent acts of terrorism by foreign terrorist fighters. As the United States has introduced new security enhancements in its Visa Waiver Program (VWP), a key counterterrorism tool, we are working closely with both the European Union and member states partici­pating in VWP to insure that our travelers and citizens are safe from terrorist threats. Similarly, we have increased law enforcement cooperation with the European Union to enhance security and decrease crime for our citizens on both sides of the Atlantic. Far from weakening the European Union or transatlantic cooperation, the threat of terrorism has encouraged stepped-up joint CVE efforts. The March 22 attacks on the Brussels Airport and metro and the November 2015 attacks in Paris struck not only the residents of those cities, but also international victims and were carried out by multinational terrorists. Along with attacks in Denmark, Turkey, and other parts of Europe, they prompted greater intra-European and transatlantic law enforcement and security cooperation, and demonstrated starkly why such cooperation is essential. Whether sharing infor­mation on the movement and activities of suspected terrorists or combating illicit financial transactions by these and other criminals, we have a shared desire to protect our citizens and strengthen key institutions like Europol. In cases like rescuing children from child sexual exploitation rings, where it’s important to seek the shortest possible interval between discovering the crime and putting an end to it, we have seen good results. Operations that once took years to organize can now take mere months or less through the working relationship US law enforcement has developed with European authorities. After being forced by the Inquisition to recant his view that the earth rotates around the sun, Galileo Galilei allegedly whispered: “Eppur si muove” (and yet it moves). To many observers the European Union may appear immobile; and yet it moves. If it struggles to meet some of the challenges it currently faces, this is a reflection of the scope and number of those challenges, not the resilience of the Union. The United States stands shoulder to shoulder with the European Union as a partner, ready to face together the many regional and global challenges that we share. In preparing for future challenges, we continue to work together to ensure a better future for people on both continents (and elsewhere), whether in pursuing nuclear nonproliferation, combating climate change, terrorism, and military aggression, or in furthering trade rules that set high standards and rule of law for all. This is a partnership that delivers on a number of fronts; the European Union will continue to be an essential partner for the United States in an increasingly turbulent world.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, European Union, Trade
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, North America
  • Author: Ross Wilson
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Turkey has recently come to look like a beat-up boy. At home, it seems to have regained the authoritarianism of its past. Abroad, its behavior looks rough edged and militaristic. It gets blamed for not doing enough, or the right things, on Syria, the problem of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Europe’s migrant crisis. Some have concluded that this country, its regional policies in tatters and under the assault of an autocratic president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, can no longer be regarded as an ally. Much of the criticism is on target, some less so. Real issues exist in Turkey and in the relationships that the United States and European countries have with it. At a tough time for the region, concerted and effective strategies to protect the interests the United States and its allies have in and with this key European and Middle Eastern country are more important than ever.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Authoritarianism, European Union
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia
  • Author: Hamdullah Mohib
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The Afghanistan of today would surprise most outsiders, even those who closely follow developments in the country. We are often wrongly branded as a failing state with a struggling government whose young people are fleeing en masse for Europe and whose military has lost control of the security situation. While anecdotal evidence can always be found to lend isolated support to such claims, this sweeping characterization offers a distorted picture of reality. Afghans have always valued and cherished their freedom and sovereignty, as evidenced by our years of fighting off foreign and domestic enemies who sought to take both. Now we are reaching for new goals: freedom from dependence on foreign aid, freedom from corruption, freedom from outdated thinking that justifies the oppression of half our population, and freedom from sclerotic bureaucracy that prevents everything from citizens’ access to justice to the smooth functioning of a free market. Afghans overwhelm­ingly want a modern, sustainable, and self-reliant country whose government serves and is accountable to its people. Yes, the past 15 years have seen war, but they have also produced remarkable growth. Afghan society is thriving, which is a testament to the incredible resilience of the Afghan people. You might be familiar with the progress Afghanistan has made in the areas of education and on women’s rights, but there have also been advances in health, infrastructure, in media and telecommunication, and in sports and culture. 2001 to 2016 has been a time of hardship and sacrifice, but also one of innovation and hope. Today, 25 percent of our cabinet ministers are women, and there are scores of female deputy ministers, ambassadors, district governors, members of parliament, and civil servants. Afghan telecommunication companies cover some 90 percent of the population, which has an estimated 20 million cell phone users. Our media sector is thriving and can rightly be called the freest in the region. When President Ashraf Ghani—a former World Bank economist with an expertise in the causes of and solutions for fragile states—and CEO Abdullah Abdullah led the National Unity Government to power less than two years ago, their first priority was to diagnose the nature and size of the myriad problems facing the country. Then President Ghani designed a strategic roadmap of reforms to take Afghanistan forward. When that plan, “Realizing Self Reliance,” was presented in November 2014 to Afghanistan’s partners, funders, and allies, it was enthusiastically endorsed. Today, Afghanistan is 18 months into an era of unprecedented, sweeping changes—an era President Ghani has named “the transformation decade.” The government is taking innovative approaches to solving Afghanistan’s unique problems, as seen in its national priority programs such as the Citizen’s Charter and the Economic Empowerment Plan for Rural Women. There are early, promising results everywhere you look. Infrastructure projects for roads, rail, and electric and fiber optic connectivity are underway. Public finance has been improved through aggressive anti-corruption measures, with internal revenue increasing by a record breaking 22 percent in 2015. The customs and revenue departments, where corrupt practices have traditionally thrived, have undergone sweeping changes that have sent revenues to historic highs. Our new Procurement Commission reviews all contracts and has saved hundreds of millions of dollars for the government. We are rediscovering and reinvesting in the revival of our ancient past with the launch of the new cultural heritage trust fund this year. Last November, Afghanistan was accepted as a member of the World Trade Organization and is now taking strong steps to improve its ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Indicators, such as a new office in the Ministry of Commerce and Industries to monitor how reforms to reduce obstacles for business are being implemented on the ground, and streamline licensing procedures. The “Jobs for Peace” program that took effect late last year in 12 provinces is already providing food security for nearly 100,000 families by creating 5.5 million labor days. Eventually, it will cover all 34 provinces of Afghanistan, and is already performing above expectations. Highlights of major regional economic development deals that have been closed in the last 18 months include the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, which will bring Afghanistan thousands of jobs and $400 million annually, and the four-nation Central Asia-South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA 1000). This progress is all the more remarkable when you consider that in the short span of just one year—between the end of 2013 and the end of 2014—Afghanistan underwent cataclysmic changes. Following our first peaceful democratic transition of power in history, we installed an untested new form of government led by former rivals who agreed to come together for the benefit of the country, and our brave national security forces assumed full responsibility for national security despite lacking close air support, available medevac, and other essential capabilities. We also managed to make these gains against some steep odds that continue to work against us. Afghanistan’s economy has yet to recover from the crisis caused by the departure of more than 600,000 foreign military personnel and contractors, which sent revenue plunging and unemployment soaring to 40 percent. We have struggled to implement sweeping governance reforms and address urgent citizen needs while being constrained by budget austerity measures. And we continue to fight a war against two enemies simultane­ously, the Taliban and Daesh. But despite the grim headlines that emphasize enemy attacks, our security forces have exceeded expectations, risking and losing their lives in a fight we did not ask for against invading militant groups who threaten not just Afghanistan, but the region and rest of the world. Throughout our journey toward self-reliance, a key element of our continued success will be the strength and endurance of key partnerships, particularly with the United States. Our international partners, including the United States and NATO, have pledged to maintain a significant troop level to train, assist, and advise our security forces at least through 2017. This is invaluable support because it gives the government the breathing room it needs to solve urgent problems that, when remedied, will mean a more stable country. The Afghan people and government are grateful for the continued friendship of the United States and for the fact that both our nations realize that we are united against a shared threat. We honor everyone who has made the ultimate sacrifice in this fight. A captain in the United States Navy who served with the British Royal Marines in Afghanistan once told me that the greatest show of appreciation we can make for that sacrifice is to protect and build on the progress and freedoms for which so many troops fought, died, and were wounded. And so we are. Fiscal independence is a top priority. We need to create more employment opportuni­ties for Afghans so they can be prosperous inside the country, instead of risking their lives trying to find better lives that are not likely to materialize in Europe. Despite gains in women’s participation in all facets of society, it is completely unacceptable that many women still face the threat of violence and are discriminated against with impunity. More girls need to be in school, laying the foundation to pursue their dreams later in life. Peace is urgently needed, but we acknowledge that the process of achieving sustainable security is long, complex, and requires much more than just reconciliation with insurgent groups. Our government institutions need much more reform so that they are efficient, effective, and transparently in service to the Afghan people. Fortunately, we have a formidable engine for our momentum: Afghanistan’s massive, energetic youth population. Three-quarters of Afghans are under the age of 35, and although this generation has known only war and violence their whole lives, they are not cynical and pessimistic. Rather, they are determined to break with the past and change Afghanistan’s story. They are educated, ambitious, and they want peace and prosperity for themselves and their families. In business, education, government, civil society, and culture, they are pushing boundaries of “what is” and leading us forward to “what can be.” Afghanistan has only just started its transformation. The world should not doubt that we are determined to finish it.
  • Topic: Communications, Fragile/Failed State, Governance, Democracy, Modernization
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Middle East
  • Author: Roberta S. Jacobson
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The Western Hemisphere is a top priority for the United States because important national interests are at stake. Available metrics—including public opinion polls, levels of trade and investment, cultural and family ties, security cooperation, and shared democratic values—support the view that the United States remains an influential actor and vital partner in the region. The Obama administration's policy for the hemisphere seeks to forge equal partnerships with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. These partnerships build upon the promising destiny of this hemisphere, based first and foremost on shared values, as well as on geographic proximity, demographic connections, and common interests. These shared values and common interests, along with the region's increasing capabilities, also mean we can work collectively to address global challenges that require more than just national or regional action.
  • Political Geography: United States, Latin America, Caribbean
  • Author: Michael A. Hammer
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The United States and Chile have been working together on scientific endeavors since the visit of US Navy Lieutenant James Gillis in 1849, when he established an astronomical observatory on the Santa Lucia hill in the center of Santiago. Fast forward to today, Chile houses 40 percent of the world's astronomy infrastructure and, by 2020, it will increase to 70 percent. In fact, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has invested over a billion dollars in equipment, infrastructure, and operations in Northern Chile's Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth. And, over the next decade, the NSF plans to add yet another billion dollars in support of its telescopes in Chile—projects that will help to unlock the mysteries of the universe.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Richard N. Holwil
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Some say that President Obama's opening to Cuba is designed to bolster his legacy. Indeed, the current debate centers on his actions and on US policy. This focus, however, misses the more interesting dynamic: the debate within Cuba over the next steps in the pas de deux with the United States and the question of Cuban President Raúl Castro's legacy.
  • Political Geography: United States, Cuba
  • Author: Thomas Hart Armbruster
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Micronesia is a good start word. Particularly the “micro” part. Micronesia is the geographical area of the Pacific, stretching from Kiribati to Palau. On the map, if you see it at all, it is a series of 2,000 micro dots of land totaling just 1,000 square miles. The ocean area meanwhile is nearly three million square miles. Politically, there are five sovereign states and three US territories. At times, one gets the feeling that the countries are too small to get Washington's attention. It is almost as if you need a microscope to magnify the issues to understand what's going on. I'll turn the microscope on just one area, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). Just like life under the microscope, once you zoom in, the activity and diversity is incredible.
  • Political Geography: United States, Island
  • Author: Ted Osius
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The 20th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the United States and Vietnam is an opportunity to further deepen our two countries' Comprehensive Partnership. In January, Vice Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc opened a conference in Hanoi marking this milestone anniversary by exhorting us to move beyond bilateral cooperation to regional and global collaboration, especially in the fields of nonproliferation and climate, as well as water, food, and energy security. He is right. The stated goal of our Comprehensive Partnership is to contribute to peace, stability, cooperation, and prosperity in each country, in the region, and in the world. The recent history of US partnerships with India and Indonesia teaches us that moving beyond bilateral engagement to broader cooperation is necessary and healthy for maturing relationships.
  • Political Geography: United States, India
  • Author: Dana Shell Smith
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Six months into my tenure as the United States Ambassador to the State of Qatar, I have learned a great deal about the complex identity of this small, proud nation. Qatar's leaders believe the best way to promote stability and stop the spread of violent extremism in the region is for governments to be responsive to the needs of their people. Although he commands one of the smallest militaries in the region, the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is overseeing one of the most ambitious and comprehensive military modernization programs in the world. Though culturally conserva­tive, Doha has welcomed branch campuses of six American universities with an eye toward blending its traditional heritage with the cutting edge practices of Western liberal arts and sciences. In only a few decades, Qatar has transformed from a developing nation to a financial powerhouse with the highest per capita income in the world.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Deborah R. Malac
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Liberia and the United States have a long history, but since the end of Liberia's bloody civil war in 2003, the relationship has been closer and warmer than ever. Over the past nearly dozen years, the United States has been the largest bilateral partner assisting Liberia in its efforts to rebuild and recover from conflict. We have invested heavily in Liberia's future, working principally through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of State's Bureau of African Affairs and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the Peace Corps to reestablish health care delivery, strengthen governance and institutions, educate thousands of children and train teachers, rebuild the armed forces and train police, and spur private sector-led economic growth. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been a strong partner in our mutual commitment to advance democratic values, stressing private sector-led growth and ensuring regional security. Indeed, as we entered the beginning of 2014, the future looked bright for Liberia as the fruits of our and others' investments were poised to show dividends; little did we know the shock that awaited us.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Rosa Whitaker
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Fifteen years ago, when President Bill Clinton signed the landmark African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) into law, the United States opened the door to a new way of engaging with Africa. The new trade initiative, which gave duty- and quota-free access to the $11 trillion US market for over 6,000 African products, represented an important paradigm shift in the relationship between the United States and Africa, from one based on charity and paternalism to one of respect and partnership. For the first time African leaders were at the table, working with members of the United States Congress on both sides of the aisle to craft a US policy initiative that gave African nations a powerful tool to seek sustainable, market-based solutions to the continent's seemingly intractable poverty.
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States
  • Author: Susan M. Elliott
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: When the Soviet Union collapsed over two decades ago, the United States was one of the first nations to recognize Tajikistan as an independent country. Shortly thereafter, a civil war began that lasted for five years and caused considerable death and destruction. Even as fighting diminished in the late 1990s, the suffering of the Tajik people continued. Hunger stalked the land. Damage to roads, bridges, and other infrastructure in some parts of the country was extensive. Economic prospects were bleak because the war had interfered with market development. The United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other agencies, began humanitarian relief efforts to help provide basic nutrition to those hardest hit by the devastation of war. In the years since, US assistance programs have evolved from providing only humanitarian assistance to building human capacity and creating long-term, sustainable economic development.
  • Political Geography: United States, Tajikistan
  • Author: James Costos
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses and achieve their full potential is in the interest of anyone who wants to foster prosperity worldwide—that’s why it’s an Obama administration priority. Growth anywhere does some good everywhere, and the fact is that entrepreneurs create jobs and drive economic growth both at home and abroad. In the United States, 40 percent of our $17 trillion economy is generated by companies that did not even exist 20 years ago. Two-thirds of our 65 months of consecutive job growth is driven by small businesses. The owners of those businesses—28 million and growing—employ over half of America’s workforce. As our missions work to expand the global economic recovery, one of the most effective tools we have at our disposal is the promotion of entrepreneurship—a quintessential American value. By deepening the connections between the entrepreneurial ecosystems of the United States and our partners overseas, we can grow our economies, create jobs, and support businesses that will have lasting impact and create prosperity. The good news is that this is easy to do, because the world is more interconnected than ever before. We benefit from unprecedented opportunities to help entrepreneurs access the capital, resources, and networks they need to succeed. We also have the strong support and leader­ship of President Obama, who is personally committed to promoting entrepreneurship worldwide. Spain is a country with a strong and growing entrepreneurial spirit, a plethora of talent, and solid business networks. Although it is starting to emerge from economic crisis, there is still much work to be done to ensure Spain’s continued recovery. The United States Mission is doing its part to consolidate the country’s economic progress by helping a new generation of entrepreneurs achieve their full potential, and generate jobs and eco­nomic growth. We have established a strong partnership with TeamLabs, an organization that teaches the concept of entrepreneurship and engages with thousands of high school students across all regions of Spain. We have produced animated videos for youth called You®Company which tell real life stories of Spanish and US entrepreneurs while exploring the values of motivation, innovation, corporate social responsibility, failure, and critical thinking. We have also organized an Alumni Mentoring Program that we use to link up business leaders, prominent entrepreneurs, and alumni of United States Embassy exchange programs to coach aspiring entrepreneurs and help them build their network of contacts. This past June, we took our entrepreneurship programs to a new level with the launch of IN3 (IN-cubed)—Innovators, Investors, and Institutions—in partnership with Google and Chamberi Valley, a Spanish entrepreneurship association. Aimed at promoting entre­preneur­ship and investment in Spain, IN3 was the first community event hosted at Campus Madrid, one of only a handful of Google spaces around the world where entrepre­neurs can learn, connect, and build companies that will change the world. In August 2015, the International Monetary Fund released a report stating that Spain has more obstacles to entrepreneurship than any other European country. IN3 directly addressed these challenges by bringing together Spanish and American innovators, investors, and institutions to discuss common challenges and solutions for scaling-up interna­tional companies. The event provided Spanish entrepreneurs the opportunity to hear from leading US counterparts and tech investors on how to overcome institutional and investment challenges that inhibit business growth. It also offered US entrepreneurs the chance to explore areas of potential collaboration with their Spanish counterparts and learn from their experiences expanding into other European and Latin American markets. It provided a forum where entrepreneurs and policymakers exchanged ideas on the best ways to promote the creation of new businesses and help successful companies grow. Finally, it allowed US and Spanish innovators the opportunity to discuss their experiences with senior Spanish government officials. Through these interactions, IN3 helped to equip entrepre­neurs with the tools they need to overcome the challenges of expanding their businesses—from finance, to mentorship, to regulations. I was honored to be joined at IN3 by the Administrator of the United States Small Business Administration Maria Contreras-Sweet, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain, and leaders from the Spanish government. With their support, we elevated the importance of entrepreneurship and the crucial role entrepreneurs play in driving growth and creating jobs in Spain. Our message reached an audience of 53 million people in Spain through local media exposure, another 3.25 million on Twitter, and became a top-trending topic on US social media. Not only did the conference promote entrepreneurship and bilateral investment opportunities to a diverse audience, but IN3 generated real investment and new business growth for Spanish and US firms. For example, Opinno, the consulting and events firm that produced IN3, established new ties with US design thinking firms and academic institutions and plans to partner with these organizations to propel their international expansion. Several new investments were made in small and medium-sized Spanish companies, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the Embassy continues to hear of additional business sparked by the conference.
  • Topic: Economics, Entrepreneurship, Recovery, IMF
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Spain, North America
  • Author: Susan G. LeVine
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: One of the core priorities for the State Department and for the Obama administration overall is shared prosperity because, as Secretary Kerry frequently points out, “Economic policy is foreign policy.” The United States firmly believes that, by growing bilateral economic ties, the United States as well as the host country will prosper. The metrics around our economic relationship with Switzerland are a perfect example of that: Switzerland is one of the top ten foreign direct investors in the United States and number one in research and development; the United States has been the largest growth market for Swiss exports over the past five years; and Swiss companies generate almost half a million jobs in the United States—really great jobs with an average salary of $100,000 per year. With those ties in mind, I set out to meet with Swiss companies of all kinds to understand how they do business in Switzerland and how to deepen their investment in the United States. What I learned in the course of that exploration will, I believe, profoundly and positively affect both countries economically, and also have a positive effect on the world.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Economics, Economic Cooperation, Job Creation
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Switzerland, North America
  • Author: Paul A. Goble
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: In 1991, with the end of the Cold War, the disappearance of the Soviet bloc, and the disintegration of the USSR, many Americans—policymakers among them—believed that we had reached the end of history. They believed that we had entered a new period in which cooperation among countries on the basis of shared commitment to democratic values and free market economics would not only be possible but would become the central feature of the international system.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: William E. Todd
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: United States-Cambodia relations began when US Envoy Donald Heath presented his credentials to King Norodom Sihanouk on July 11, 1950. Yet more than 60 years later, the relationship is still very young, and in its current form began only in 1991 after the signing of the Paris Peace Agreements that helped put an end to more than two decades of bloodshed due to civil war and genocide. Since that time, Cambodia has achieved a number of significant successes. Halving the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate; reducing the number of casualties from mines and unexploded ordnance from 4,320 in 1996 to 185 in 2012; and cutting the poverty rate from roughly 47 percent in 1993 to about 28 percent in 2011 are accomplishments in which Cambodia takes great pride, and the United States was a valued partner in each of these efforts. Given where Cambodia was 20 years ago, it has come a long way. Given where Cambodia needs to be, however, it still has much to do. The United States remains committed to supporting Cambodia as it continues to integrate into the region and the world community and meet the challenges that still lie before it.
  • Political Geography: United States, Cambodia
  • Author: Michael A. Hammer
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The mission of the Bureau of Public Affairs (PA) is to advance America's interests through effective, accurate, and timely communication of our foreign policy. As we explain our policies to audiences abroad, we must also inform our fellow citizens here at home.
  • Topic: Communications
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: James R. Clapper
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: This year's threat assessment illustrates how dramatically the world and our threat environment are changing. Threats are growing more interconnected and viral. Events that at first seem local and irrelevant can quickly set off transnational disruptions that affect US national interests. It's a world in which our definition of "war" now includes a "soft" version. We can add cyber and financial to the list of weapons being used against us. And such attacks can be deniable and non-attributable.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Terence P. McCulley
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: In April 2011, the Nigerian people did something truly historic, conducting arguably the most credible and transparent elections in the country's 50-year history as an independent nation. Those elections were by no means perfect, as illustrated by the significant post-election violence; however, they provided crucial lessons learned that are already helping to shape plans for the next general election cycle in 2015. In preparation for 2015, the United States is ready to work with the Nigerian government, with civil society, and with Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to build upon the successes of April 2011.
  • Topic: Civil Society
  • Political Geography: United States, Nigeria
  • Author: John Price
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: As the United States drove Islamist insurgents from Afghanistan, many migrated to Yemen, eventually reaching the Horn of Africa, which became the “epicenter” for al-Qaeda. Osama bin Laden was indoctrinated by Wahhabist imams in Saudi Arabia, a sect that espouses armed jihad. In 1987, bin Laden formed al-Qaeda (the base) in Afghanistan, with his mujahedeen fighters. In 1991, he moved to Sudan with his al-Qaeda lieutenants and spent the next five years plotting attacks against Western interests.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, United States, Sudan, Yemen, Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Mali
  • Author: Arnold A. Chacon
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: From the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the Organization of American States (OAS) to regional law enforcement and counternarcotics cooperation, Guatemala is emerging as a key actor. It is a willing partner with the United States in six US presidential priority initiatives: improving food security, preventing HIV/AIDS, mitigating the impact of climate change, and promoting health, citizen security, and educational exchanges.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Health
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Thomas Patrick Melady
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: In the last several decades much has been written about the Holy See's diplomatic recognition of the State of Israel. However, there is a story yet to be told—the key role that the United States, and in particular the office of the President, played in making those events happen. As an inside witness to those events, I believe the time is right to share what I saw from my perspective as the US Ambassador to the Holy See to help us all understand how the Vatican recognition came to be.
  • Political Geography: United States, Israel
  • Author: Rose Gottemoeller
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: General Mattis might have raised a few eyebrows on Capitol Hill when he delivered the quote above, but he was simply stating what those of us at the Department of State see every day: diplomacy and development are integral parts of US national defense. And applying those tools effectively lessens the need to put at risk American men and women in uniform. The dividends for US national security are enormous.
  • Topic: National Security
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Thomas Patrick Melady, Ph.D.
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: I arrived in Rome in October 1945. I was drafted shortly after graduating from high school the previous June. It was a whirlwind experience that included four months of basic infantry training at Camp Blanding, Florida, a few weeks in Virginia, and then I was on the boat for Italy. The second time I arrived was almost half a century later. It was August 1989. I was nominated by then-President George H.W. Bush to be the United States Ambassador to the Vatican. As I walked amongst the historic relics from Roman antiquity, my curiosity reemerged about the peaceful liberation of this city that took place so long ago. I was still perplexed by the narrative of how Rome managed to elude the nightmare of being a battleground while so many of Europe's other historic sites fell victim to the horrors of the world's second greatest war. It is a question that has intrigued me to this day.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Timothy J. Roemer
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was once asked what would be the most important factor in determining the success of his government. He replied, "Events, dear boy, events." As we see, events in Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan demand the government's capital. We cannot simply allow "events" to define and set the course for the strategic relationship between the United States and India. We must constantly build the relationship; proactively work to deepen and improve it; and commit substantial time to overcome problems and obstacles. Our shared values of democracy and diversity and our mutual interests of nonproliferation and counterterrorism cooperation run too deep for any single event to derail the bonds of unity and affection among our people. As the Obama Administration focuses on a "rebalance to Asia," and emphasizing the National Export Initiative (NEI) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), now is the time to deliver tangible results that will boost economic benefits for the middle classes of both countries. Most importantly, a strong strategic relationship between the United States and India can significantly promote democracy in the region and increase world prosperity over the next century.
  • Political Geography: United States, India
  • Author: Princeton N. Lyman, Ph.D.
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: On September 4, 2013, President Obama appointed Ambassador Donald Booth as the US Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. Booth is the sixth such envoy, over the Bush and Obama Administrations, reflecting the enormous interest the United States has had in the peace process between these two countries. Not only diplomacy but resources have been invested in this process. Since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005, the United States has spent more than $10 billion on peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, and development aid in these two countries. The fundamental reason is that a return to war would not only create even more humanitarian chaos than in the past, but send ripples of instability through North Africa and the Horn. Over this long engagement the United States developed deep ties with South Sudan and played a major role in enabling it to achieve its right of self-determination and ultimately independence. But that friendship is now under strain and Americans both in and out of government are concerned over the direction of this, the world's newest state.
  • Political Geography: United States, South Sudan
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iran, Brazil, Mexico, Singapore
  • Author: Thomas R. Nides
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: From the Arab Awakening to the rise of China and India, the world is transforming before our eyes. But whether the challenge is halting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or driving global economic recovery, American leadership is more essential than ever. Only the United States has the strength and the will to anchor a more peaceful and prosperous world.
  • Political Geography: United States, China, India