Cool Dude Blogging on the Job

So David Miliband is traveling in India and blogging his trip there. His Foreign Office is also on Twitter but the tweets look timely. I only mention that because Scott Lucas of Enduring America was not happy with State’s Twitter-diplomacy: “Time to upset my good friends working on State Department Twitter-diplomacy: DipNote has just Twittered that I can ‘watch what the U.S. Department of State is saying about the Middle East today’. So I click the link, and it’s the Daily Press Briefing…from three days ago.”

His tweet is telling me that he’ll be meeting 16-17 January with President Zardari and other influential figures in Pakistan. Yesterday, Mr. Miliband did his second update from India:

Micro-blog:

We stopped at an internet café in the middle of nowhere – I wanted to do a blog but the dial-up was not fast enough. But the mobile phone revolution is reaching here – the shop was selling 5 – 10 mobile phones a day, and although there are 850 million people on less than $2 a day, 8.5 million new subscriptions per month is eating in to the backlog.

Smart Power

Hilary Clinton spoke on Tuesday about smart power – diplomatic, economic, political, legal, and cultural as well as military. That is exactly what my speech is about.

The day after the UN Security Council hammered out that Gaza resolution this was posted by the official State Department blog, Dipnote:

“Yesterday, the United Nations Security Council reached a resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. Secretary Rice said, “It is obviously a very serious situation in Gaza. And while our goal must be the stabilization and normalization of Gaza through the implementation of a durable and fully respected cease-fire and an end to all terrorist activities, I think that this resolution shows that the Council and the United Nations is indeed seized of the matter. This resolution is a step toward our goals. It reflects the international community’s concern about the circumstances in Gaza and its desire for a sustainable peace in Gaza. You may read the Secretary’s full statement here.”

Mr. Miliband posted Three Days in New York in his blog a couple of days later:

I arrived arguing for a focus on substance not process – read my opening speech to the Security Council here. The key seemed to be in real attention to Israeli security needs and Palestinian humanitarian needs. And I was convinced that a vetoed resolution or a divided council offered nothing. That is why we spent 36 hours seeking consensus. I left sponsoring a Security Council Resolution, with fourteen votes in favour and a US abstention; more than most people expected at the beginning of the week, but less than seemed likely a couple of hours before the vote. And within 12 hours the resolution’s call for a ceasefire had been rejected by Hamas and then by Israel. So what’s it all for?

The UN for all its flaws is a global conscience as well as a global policeman. Parading your conscience is not pretty; but not having one is worse. Countries far away from the scene of a conflict sit in discussion if not in judgment. But the UN sets standards for itself and for its members – and needs to live up to the injunctions of its Charter. So in patrolling regional and international peace and security any conflict in the Middle East belongs in the Security Council.

Which one makes for a better reading?

I write some long posts myself but for a busy man like David Miliband, this is how a blog should be. You can read his speech on the link he posted above, and you can see the difference in tenor and style. His blog posts on the other hand are brief but personal. It gives you a sense of the person behind the blog. I think I’ll write a bit more about Mr. Miliband and his global conversations at FCO later.

I’m hoping that Hillary would do some blogging herself. No, not the “R” folks doing it for her, as they’re doing it now at DipNote. She certainly won’t be the first cabinet secretary to do some blogging. HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt has been blogging for some time now as a way to foster public discussion. At some point, I was following his blog when he visited Indonesia and dealt with the NAMRU issue. The last series of entries he did were from his trips to Pakistan and Iraq.

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