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Salzburg, Austria

There can be no denying that Sunday’s Iraqi elections went better than expected. I honestly did not think I’d be saying this, but the vote, whatever the final tally may prove to be, was something of which both Iraqis and Americans can be proud. Even the death of an estimated 36 people in election-related violence was, in the twisted logic of today’s Iraq, a relief: the sad fact is that many Iraq-watchers, myself included, would not have been surprised by a body count ten times that size.

Washington, DC -- OK, if The New York Times says so, it must be true, right?

Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy

Washington, DC--What will happen to news media if freedom spreads throughout the world, a hope articulated by President Bush in his inaugural address?

It will be a world where local television stations with Eyewitness News formats feature "Five on Your Side," "Traffic and Weather Together," and sports, of course, and news about women and kids. News you can use, in other words.

At least that’s what seems to be shaping up in Iraq, where more than 20 local TV stations are now licensed to broadcast.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 -- U.S. public diplomacy should be centered in a new federal agency with triple the current staff levels, according to a White Paper issued today by the Public Diplomacy Council, a non-partisan organization based here.

The report also recommends permanent off-budget funding for international exchanges, increased funding for international broadcasting and a cabinet-level interagency coordinating committee.

January 25, 2005


Historically, the United States has favored a Sunni-run Iraq. In part, this represented a status quo with which we were familiar and comfortable. More recently Iraq’s ruling Sunnis (led by Saddam) pitched themselves to Western governments as a bulwark against the menace of post-revolutionary Iran. On top of this, our friends in the region are mostly Sunni-ruled and all of them were scared after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

January 24, 2005


Simply put, here is America’s quandary in Iraq: we want to see democracy develop, but we are distrustful of the results. As Americans we have been hard-wired since kindergarten to believe Democracy to be a fundamentally Good Thing. Yet we are slowly realizing that a genuine Iraqi democracy may not be pro-American.

MIAMI -- 2005 could be remembered as the year that Radio and TV Marti finally got their act together.

The timing is perfect for the U.S. government's broadcasting services to Cuba, because 2005 marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of Havana -- and the 20th anniversary of Radio Marti.



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