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  • 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: Douglas Lute
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: At the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit in Wales on September 4-5, 2014, NATO leaders were clear about the security challenges on the Alliance's borders. In the East, Russia's actions threaten our vision of a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace. On the Alliance's southeastern border, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's campaign of terror poses a threat to the stability of the Middle East and beyond. To the south, across the Mediterranean, Libya is becoming increasingly unstable.
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Libya
  • Author: Deborah A. McCarthy
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: January 13 is known as “Bloody Sunday” in Lithuania. Shortly after midnight on that date in 1991, Soviet tanks and infantry combat vehicles rolled in the darkness toward the Vilnius TV Tower. Tens of thousands of unarmed Lithuanians awaited them there, singing songs of defiance. After the troops encircled the crowd, loudspeakers falsely announced that the “separatist” Lithuanian government had been overthrown. “Go back to your parents and children,” the recorded voice urged. The crowd was incredulous. At 1:50 a.m., the soldiers opened fire and the tanks lurched forward. 14 civilians died and over 700 were wounded. Lithuanians sitting in front of televisions across the country can still recall with chilling clarity the final broadcasted images—a Soviet soldier knocking down a camera and the last words from the anchor desk. Then the televisions went dark.
  • 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: Daniel V. Speckhard
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: After serving for two challenging years in the chaos of a war zone as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Iraq, I received word that I would become the next Ambassador to Greece. To be quite honest, I had mixed feelings. I looked forward to the challenge, but I imagined the post would be too sedate compared with the adrenalin-charged days and world-shaping events in Iraq. It was anything but. Within a year of my arrival, the streets were aflame with violent protests over a police shooting of a teenager. A year later, snap elections brought a socialist government to power. And soon thereafter, the onion was further peeled to expose a financial crisis and a crumbling economic foundation built on a corrupt, oligarchic, and debt-addicted system fed by billions of dollars of public and private EU loans and grants.
  • Topic: Corruption, Economics, Politics, Financial Crisis, European Union
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • 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: Anne Anderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: "Ireland's economic recovery is under way." This is not the pronouncement of an Irish Government Minister or an economic observer in Ireland. It is not even a quote from an Irish Ambassador, although it certainly could have been. Instead this quotation is drawn from a statement made by hard-nosed professionals at the credit rating agency, Standard and Poor's, in July 2013. This is an organization whose job it is to call it as they see it, and to provide dispassionate analysis of financial and economic data.
  • Political Geography: Ireland
  • Author: Eduardo Aguirre
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: "Our relationship with Spain needs to improve...fix it!" That was the main theme of my Oval Office meeting with President George W. Bush before I left for my post in Madrid in 2005. The president had reviewed a draft of my list of priorities in Spain and agreed with its substance. He also underscored the issues that were more important to him, injecting personal observations, and a few choice colorful words, that as a fellow Texan, I had no problems understanding.
  • Political Geography: Spain
  • Author: James B. Smith
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: For over four years, my wife and I had what can only be described as a rich, fulfilling and intense experience in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We were caught in the middle of the so-called Arab Spring. We watched the significant role social media played in protests, as a generation of well-educated young people demanded more from their government. It was remarkable to witness this moment in history, as forces of change and globalization tugged at the soul of this most conservative society. However, unless you experienced it first hand, it can be difficult to track the changes in Saudi Arabia.
  • Topic: Globalization
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia
  • Author: Daniel L. Shields
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: When President Obama delivered his address to the Australian Parliament in 2011 affirming his strategic decision that the United States will play a larger role in shaping the Asia Pacific region and its future—what came to be called the rebalance—few observers outside Brunei Darussalam might have anticipated that Brunei would emerge as an essential partner for the United States in the effort to get the rebalance right. But that is what happened. The United States worked closely with Brunei, especially in the context of Brunei's role as the 2013 Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to develop innovative projects to promote comprehensive American regional engagement. Two important examples of initiatives to broaden US regional engagement were the Brunei-US English Language Enrichment Project for ASEAN and the US-Asia Pacific Comprehensive Energy Partnership. As these projects were being implemented, Brunei's effective Chairmanship of ASEAN helped lower the temperature in the region on the South China Sea and promote broad regional military-to-military cooperation, particularly through a Brunei-hosted Humanitarian Assistance/ Disaster Relief and Military Medicine exercise that brought together 18 nations, including the United States and China. The rebalance also includes a commercial side, and US companies have enjoyed increased success in Brunei. Looking ahead, the opportunities for trade should multiply once the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, in which Brunei and the United States are among the twelve parties, come to a successful conclusion.
  • Author: Lisa Kubiske
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Much of what you read nowadays about Honduras feeds the perception of a country plagued by violence, corruption, poverty, impunity, and human rights abuses. Honduras is indeed confronting very serious challenges in security, fiscal management, governance, job creation, and justice sector reform. However, this is only one side of the coin and masks a lesser-known reality that provides reason for optimism. Despite the considerable challenges Honduras faces, the US government has dedicated partners both in the Honduran government and in other sectors of society who have contributed to successful, sustainable initiatives, including the Central America Regional Security Initiative, that make a difference in the quality of Honduran citizens' lives and advance mutual interests. There is indeed hope for the future of Honduras.
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Author: Glyn T. Davies
  • Publication Date: 04-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Ambassadors Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: Many long-time observers predicted North Korea in early 2012 was headed for positive change. Its new leader-at perhaps 28 years of age, the world's youngest-presented himself as a breath of fresh air. Kim Jong Un appeared on the surface to be quite unlike his stodgy, secretive father, Kim Jong Il. In 17 years as North Korea's dictator, the elder Kim's voice was believed to have been broadcast only once-briefly and likely by accident-to the country's citizens. Kim Jong Un, in contrast, spoke publicly and eagerly. He projected an image as a reformer ready to modernize his desperately poor country. He is energetic and the spitting image of his grandfather Kim Il Sung, the charismatic founder of the North Korean state. Many experts believed the third Kim would work to end his cloistered country's deep isolation.
  • Political Geography: North Korea