SFRC Hearings: Nominations – Gottemoeller, Gordon

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
111th CONGRESS
1st Session


Date:
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Time: 3:00 P.M.
Place: 419 Dirksen Senate Building
Presiding: Senator Shaheen


Senator Shaheen’s Opening Statement (pdf)

Senator Lugar’s Opening Statement (pdf)


Nominees:

The Honorable Rose E. Gottemoeller (pdf)
to be Assistant Secretary of State
for Verification and Compliance (VCI)

Philip Gordon (pdf)
to be Assistant Secretary of State
for European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR)

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SFRC Hearings: Nominations – Gottemoeller, Gordon

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
111th CONGRESS
1st Session


Date:
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Time: 3:00 P.M.
Place: 419 Dirksen Senate Building
Presiding: Senator Shaheen


Senator Shaheen’s Opening Statement (pdf)

Senator Lugar’s Opening Statement (pdf)


Nominees:

The Honorable Rose E. Gottemoeller (pdf)
to be Assistant Secretary of State
for Verification and Compliance (VCI)

Philip Gordon (pdf)
to be Assistant Secretary of State
for European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR)

Diplomatic Blogs: Truth, Power and Authenticity

The FCO hosted a digital diplomacy event yesterday. You can read Stephen Hale’s post here or check out their Bringing Foreign Policy Home page here. The FCO has linked to some bloggers who have offered reflections, not all positive, on their digital diplomacy efforts: Tony Curzon Price, Simon Dickson, Ian Brown, John Duncan.

I should note that the FCO probably has the largest number of ambassadors who have waded into blogging. In addition to the Foreign Secretary, there are about a dozen of them (check out this page) plus other FCO officials. By contrast, in the State Department, outside of the occasional postings you see in DipNote by US ambassadors, only a couple have official blogs (Ambassador Kinney in the Philippines and Ambassador Stephens in South Korea). There are a few other blogs run by PD sections — like the ones in London and Sri Lanka, but there is no aggregator for all of them.

I am republishing Tony Curzon Price’s piece below (with permission) entitled Blogs, truth and power at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office because his point on an agency seeking to influence in a transparent and authentic way should be food for thought for the State Department and its bloggers as it expand into digital engagement.


Tony Curzon Price
is Editor-in-Chief of openDemocracy. He received a PhD in economics from University College London (UCL), and worked as a jobbing economist for more than ten years. He founded a high-tech electronics company, Arithmatica, in 1998 and lived in Silicon Valley from 2001 to 2004.


Blogs, truth and power at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
By Tony Curzon Price

I went to a fascinating meeting at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on their “digital diplomacy” initiative. The ambassadors are blogging — you can see them aggregated here.

You might think that encouraging blogging at all levels by the foreign office would be a marketing disaster waiting to happen: surely someone was going to put a foot into a pretty well-laid trap very soon. How can “our man in Lisbon” (blogging here, in Portuguese) avoid being drawn into a debate on the state of the PIGS or the Portuguese criminal justice system that will reflect badly on the brand — UK Plc, mostly — he is promoting and representing?

Well, the question answers itself: it is not for nothing that he is “our man”. Actually, the FCO has always needed a culture of “presumption of competence” because representatives were sent many days’ travel away from any check on their power. Delegation had to be real. So there is almost no institution in the world (the Catholic Church springs to mind as a contender for that title) more suited to showing off its organisational discipline under decentralisation than the old imperial foreign ministries.

The result of all this is fascinating. Read John Duncan, for example, on Arms Treaty Negotiations. Remember that it was the failure of the chemical and biological weapons negotiations that left the door wide-open for the accusation that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. A working treaty here could have prevented the Iraq war. Will the sort of transparency that comes from this sort of blogging raise these issues to the level of importance they should have?

Ian Brown, from the Oxford Internet Institute, raised the question of how an Ambassador’s blog could be authentic. Surely they’re just shilling for her Majesty’s government, even the blog from news-poor Zimbabwe?

This is obviously the big question for government use of new media. Just as technology allowed disintermediation of finance—and so all the excesses that we are now paying for—so that disintermediation is now hitting the production of knowledge. And we don’t want to happen to knowledge what happened to money …

My own take on this is that there are two views of the business of knowledge making: you are either trying to influence outcomes, or you are trying to “speak truth to power”. In the new media, you can’t afford to pretend to be doing the one when you’re doing the other. The FCO cannot – just cannot – speak truth to power, because it is power. But it can transparently and authentically try to influence.

The bigger question of whether there is anyone left who has the legitimacy to speak truth rather than simply seek influence is a big question for our time. Like the analogy with finance, we now operate, as it were, without a gold standard. Beware, therefore, the inflation of all claims.

Diplomatic Blogs: Truth, Power and Authenticity

The FCO hosted a digital diplomacy event yesterday. You can read Stephen Hale’s post here or check out their Bringing Foreign Policy Home page here. The FCO has linked to some bloggers who have offered reflections, not all positive, on their digital diplomacy efforts: Tony Curzon Price, Simon Dickson, Ian Brown, John Duncan.

I should note that the FCO probably has the largest number of ambassadors who have waded into blogging. In addition to the Foreign Secretary, there are about a dozen of them (check out this page) plus other FCO officials. By contrast, in the State Department, outside of the occasional postings you see in DipNote by US ambassadors, only a couple have official blogs (Ambassador Kinney in the Philippines and Ambassador Stephens in South Korea). There are a few other blogs run by PD sections — like the ones in London and Sri Lanka, but there is no aggregator for all of them.

I am republishing Tony Curzon Price’s piece below (with permission) entitled Blogs, truth and power at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office because his point on an agency seeking to influence in a transparent and authentic way should be food for thought for the State Department and its bloggers as it expand into digital engagement.


Tony Curzon Price
is Editor-in-Chief of openDemocracy. He received a PhD in economics from University College London (UCL), and worked as a jobbing economist for more than ten years. He founded a high-tech electronics company, Arithmatica, in 1998 and lived in Silicon Valley from 2001 to 2004.


Blogs, truth and power at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
By Tony Curzon Price

I went to a fascinating meeting at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office on their “digital diplomacy” initiative. The ambassadors are blogging — you can see them aggregated here.

You might think that encouraging blogging at all levels by the foreign office would be a marketing disaster waiting to happen: surely someone was going to put a foot into a pretty well-laid trap very soon. How can “our man in Lisbon” (blogging here, in Portuguese) avoid being drawn into a debate on the state of the PIGS or the Portuguese criminal justice system that will reflect badly on the brand — UK Plc, mostly — he is promoting and representing?

Well, the question answers itself: it is not for nothing that he is “our man”. Actually, the FCO has always needed a culture of “presumption of competence” because representatives were sent many days’ travel away from any check on their power. Delegation had to be real. So there is almost no institution in the world (the Catholic Church springs to mind as a contender for that title) more suited to showing off its organisational discipline under decentralisation than the old imperial foreign ministries.

The result of all this is fascinating. Read John Duncan, for example, on Arms Treaty Negotiations. Remember that it was the failure of the chemical and biological weapons negotiations that left the door wide-open for the accusation that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. A working treaty here could have prevented the Iraq war. Will the sort of transparency that comes from this sort of blogging raise these issues to the level of importance they should have?

Ian Brown, from the Oxford Internet Institute, raised the question of how an Ambassador’s blog could be authentic. Surely they’re just shilling for her Majesty’s government, even the blog from news-poor Zimbabwe?

This is obviously the big question for government use of new media. Just as technology allowed disintermediation of finance—and so all the excesses that we are now paying for—so that disintermediation is now hitting the production of knowledge. And we don’t want to happen to knowledge what happened to money …

My own take on this is that there are two views of the business of knowledge making: you are either trying to influence outcomes, or you are trying to “speak truth to power”. In the new media, you can’t afford to pretend to be doing the one when you’re doing the other. The FCO cannot – just cannot – speak truth to power, because it is power. But it can transparently and authentically try to influence.

The bigger question of whether there is anyone left who has the legitimacy to speak truth rather than simply seek influence is a big question for our time. Like the analogy with finance, we now operate, as it were, without a gold standard. Beware, therefore, the inflation of all claims.

DCMs in the News

Deputy Chiefs of Mission (DCM) are not as often in the news as ambassadors. In most cases, the top two embassy officials have the outside/inside arrangement, with the ambassador dealing with outside matters (bilateral relations) and the DCM dealing with the inside matters of running the diplomatic mission.

But this past week we have three of them in the news!

In Africa:

U.S. Embassy Khartoum Charge d’Affaires Alberto M. Fernandez and USAID officials traveled to El Fasher, North Darfur, including a visit to Zam Zam Internally Displaced Person (IDP) Camp, and reported that “the arrival of more than 36,000 IDPs fleeing recent fighting in the past two months between armed opposition groups and the Sudanese government in South Darfur has severely strained Zam Zam camp’s limited resources.”

In Central and South Asia:

India’s Business Standard reports that despite the presence of Steven J. White, regarded by many as a competent deputy chief of mission of the US embassy in New Delhi, reports indicate that Ambassador A. Peter Burleigh, is going to “temporarily” fill in as ambassador to India. I could not find an official statement from the State Department but PTI has quoted the Acting Spokesman:

“Ambassador A Peter Burleigh’s temporary appointment as Charge d’Affaires reflects the strong emphasis the US places on highest-level representation and continuity in US-Indian relations,” Gordon Duguid, Acting Deputy Spokesman of the State Department, told PTI.

In Foggy Bottom:

Spencer Ackerman reports on Holbrooke’s Bureaucratic Switches at Foggy Bottom, concerning Paul W. Jones, the former deputy chief of mission in the Philippines. Jones has reportedly been installed about two weeks ago as deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia (SCA) and will be “dual-hatted, still reporting to Holbrooke, but also to Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher.” If true, a couple of folks have not received the memo: in the US Embassy Manila website, Jones is still listed as the deputy chief of mission; the SCA Bureau does not have any Jones listed — yet.

Read Spencer Ackerman’s Holbrooke Emerges as Power Center at State

DCMs in the News

Deputy Chiefs of Mission (DCM) are not as often in the news as ambassadors. In most cases, the top two embassy officials have the outside/inside arrangement, with the ambassador dealing with outside matters (bilateral relations) and the DCM dealing with the inside matters of running the diplomatic mission.

But this past week we have three of them in the news!

In Africa:

U.S. Embassy Khartoum Charge d’Affaires Alberto M. Fernandez and USAID officials traveled to El Fasher, North Darfur, including a visit to Zam Zam Internally Displaced Person (IDP) Camp, and reported that “the arrival of more than 36,000 IDPs fleeing recent fighting in the past two months between armed opposition groups and the Sudanese government in South Darfur has severely strained Zam Zam camp’s limited resources.”

In Central and South Asia:

India’s Business Standard reports that despite the presence of Steven J. White, regarded by many as a competent deputy chief of mission of the US embassy in New Delhi, reports indicate that Ambassador A. Peter Burleigh, is going to “temporarily” fill in as ambassador to India. I could not find an official statement from the State Department but PTI has quoted the Acting Spokesman:

“Ambassador A Peter Burleigh’s temporary appointment as Charge d’Affaires reflects the strong emphasis the US places on highest-level representation and continuity in US-Indian relations,” Gordon Duguid, Acting Deputy Spokesman of the State Department, told PTI.

In Foggy Bottom:

Spencer Ackerman reports on Holbrooke’s Bureaucratic Switches at Foggy Bottom, concerning Paul W. Jones, the former deputy chief of mission in the Philippines. Jones has reportedly been installed about two weeks ago as deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia (SCA) and will be “dual-hatted, still reporting to Holbrooke, but also to Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher.” If true, a couple of folks have not received the memo: in the US Embassy Manila website, Jones is still listed as the deputy chief of mission; the SCA Bureau does not have any Jones listed — yet.

Read Spencer Ackerman’s Holbrooke Emerges as Power Center at State

SFRC Hearings: Nomination – Eikenberry

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
111th Congress
1st Session

March 26, 2009, Thursday
Time
: 9:30 A.M.
Place: 419 Dirksen Senate Building
Presiding: Senator Kerry

Senator Kerry’s Opening Statement (pdf)


Nominee:

Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry (pdf)
to be Ambassador to Afghanistan

Political Appointee. Most recently Deputy Chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium. Read more here


See video of hearing from c-span here.

Related Items:

Related Posts:

SFRC Hearings: Nomination – Eikenberry

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
111th Congress
1st Session

March 26, 2009, Thursday
Time
: 9:30 A.M.
Place: 419 Dirksen Senate Building
Presiding: Senator Kerry

Senator Kerry’s Opening Statement (pdf)


Nominee:

Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry (pdf)
to be Ambassador to Afghanistan

Political Appointee. Most recently Deputy Chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium. Read more here


See video of hearing from c-span here.

Related Items:

Related Posts:

A War Fighter Pitches for State/USAID

“Now some may wonder why a Marine, an infantryman, a war fighter, would advocate for empowering the State Department, USAID, and our civilian-led engagement overseas. I am here because I have been on the front line of America’s presence in the world, in some of the most difficult security environments, and I know that the U.S. cannot rely on military power alone to keep us safe from terrorism, infectious disease, economic insecurity, and other global threats that recognize no borders. And I know that the military should not do what is best done by civilians.”


General Michael Hagee
, USMC (Ret.)
33rd Commandant of the Marine Corps (2003-2006)
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
March 18, 2009

Read full testimony here.

A War Fighter Pitches for State/USAID

“Now some may wonder why a Marine, an infantryman, a war fighter, would advocate for empowering the State Department, USAID, and our civilian-led engagement overseas. I am here because I have been on the front line of America’s presence in the world, in some of the most difficult security environments, and I know that the U.S. cannot rely on military power alone to keep us safe from terrorism, infectious disease, economic insecurity, and other global threats that recognize no borders. And I know that the military should not do what is best done by civilians.”


General Michael Hagee
, USMC (Ret.)
33rd Commandant of the Marine Corps (2003-2006)
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
March 18, 2009

Read full testimony here.