Daily Archives: May 3, 2012

Insider Quote: The Business of US Mission India?

Is business.

Here is the notable quote:

“This helps me to emphasize a point I intend to make again and again: the business of the U.S. Mission in India is business.”

Remarks by Ambassador Nancy J. Powell at the American Chamber of Commerce’s 20th Annual General Meeting (As Prepared for Delivery)
New Delhi | April 27, 2012

A paraphrase of the most famous “misquotation” (according to the CC Memorial Foundation) of Calvin Coolidge’s “The Business of America is Business?”

Which makes me think of two things – one, it’ll be a lot easier this year to solicit contributions from American companies, or local outlets of U.S. companies in India for the US Embassy’s Fourth of July big bang do.

And two, it’s not so surprising that economic statecraft is coming back big time, after all, did it ever go away? Steve Coll has a new book, and put out an excerpt in Salon.com about U.S. foreign policy, brought to you by ExxonMobil:

“As part of the research for “Private Empire,” I filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the U.S. State Department seeking embassy cables and other documents about how the Bush administration managed ExxonMobil’s position in the Aceh conflict. The cables revealed a startling series of episodes in which the administration worked with ExxonMobil in Indonesia to extract the corporation from the conflict and reduce the violence that was destabilizing Indonesia’s fledgling democratic order. In one episode previously unreported, the Bush administration threatened to designate G.A.M. as a terrorist organization if it did not stop attacking ExxonMobil’s property and personnel. The excerpt below, from a chapter titled “Do You Really Want Us as An Enemy?” describes what happened.” –Steve Coll

Active links added above.  It is not a pretty read, really, especially if you joined the service to change the world; this world, I mean.

Oh, and I just thought of a third thing – it’s probably time to update the State Department’s Mission Statement:

“Shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere.”
–From the FY 2011 Agency Financial Report, released November 2011

And then I don’t have any more thought, thank goodness!

Domani Spero

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Filed under Ambassadors, Book Notes, Countries 'n Regions, Foreign Policy, Quotes, State Department

US Mission China: Chen Guangcheng Departs Embassy (Photos), Not End of Story

Via US Mission China/Flickr

Click here if the embedded slideshow is not accessible.

The text of the background briefing on May 2 with senior State Department officials is already up here.  The senior officials have a  lot to say but not a lot of answers to questions from the press.

Chen Guangcheng has now reportedly told The Daily Beast’s Melinda Liu, “I need your help, I’m absolutely, absolutely ready to fly out on Hillary Clinton’s plane. Please tell the embassy what I’m saying.

That’s absolutely going to be tricky, wouldn’t it?

Domani Spero

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Filed under China, Flickr, Leaks|Controversies, Secretary of State, U.S. Missions

Photo of the Day: One Does Not Belong

Via US Mission Brazil/Flickr: “U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman watches a Frevo performance and learns more about the culture of the Brazilian Northeast.”

(Photo: US Consulate – Recife)

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Filed under Countries 'n Regions, Flickr, Photo of the Day, State Department, U.S. Missions