Right now, legislation is pending in the House of Representatives that would do the unthinkable – restrict our government’s ability to broadcast news and information in Arabic to the Arabic-speaking world. As a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait, and Lebanon, I know that whether discrediting ISIS’s murderous ideology, providing a clear explanation of American policy, or better explaining the hallmarks of American culture in places where it is not well understood, there is no substitute for the ability to talk people across the Middle East in their own language.
Like all countries, America has faced times of trial and struggle, yet it has prevailed due to a strength that is derived from its diversity. Its citizens celebrate this strength during Black History Month, when we honor contributions made by African Americans — including in the areas of civil rights and diplomacy.
India has long seemed unable or unwilling to become a major player on the world stage. But the country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is looking to change all that. In order to compensate for a small and weak foreign service, he is tapping into India’s considerable soft power: its emigrants, intellectuals, and yogis.
Ireland’s foreign service is relatively small, with 80 representations, and comparatively thinly spread, with an average of one to two people in each post. But it is talented, flexible and normally led by generalists well able to represent the State in a great variety of international settings.
Former VOA senior advisor extends William Burns' parting thoughts for diplomats to USIB