Huh? News: Sudan Strategery

halloween cookies 02Image by slushpup via Flickr

We’ve got to think about giving out cookies[…] Kids, countries — they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement.”

Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration (Ret.)
Special Envoy to Sudan
U.S. Envoy’s Outreach to Sudan Is Criticized as Naive
Washington Post Foreign Service | Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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Barack Hussein Obama: Nobel Peace Prize 2009

President Barack Obama visits Sunset Lake
in Yellowstone National Park on Aug. 15, 2009
(Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

Oslo, October 9, 2009 –

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama’s vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world’s leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama’s appeal that “Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.”

* * *

President Obama is the third sitting American President to be awarded the Nobel Peace prize, following Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 and Woodrow Wilson in 1919. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was awarded the prize in 2002.

See the list of Nobel Peace Prize laureates from 1901-2009 here. The video of the announcement is here.

And here is what President Obama says on winning the Nobel Prize:

Well, this is not how I expected to wake up this morning. After I received the news, Malia walked in and said, “Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is Bo’s birthday!” And then Sasha added, “Plus, we have a three-day weekend coming up.” So it’s good to have kids to keep things in perspective.

I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee. Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who’ve been honored by this prize — men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build — a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it’s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action — a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.

Read the full statement here.

The Promotion Season Needs a Poem …

Four Seasons - Longbridge RoadImage by joiseyshowaa via Flickr

… because this is a tricky season. Not everyone will get a promotion. The folks who get it will spend the next couple of days responding to congratulatory emails and phone calls from their friends spread across the globe. Folks who do not get it, spend the next couple of days writing congratulatory emails to their colleagues spread across the globe who just got promoted. Happy, glad, sad, bad … all in one season. Others may feel worse than bad about being skipped over and spouses had to bear watching their partners feel worse than bad about not getting that promotion …it is a happy-sad season …here is the poem I’ve been wrestling with for weeks… if only I had Billy Collin’s craft…

Promotion Season

Here now comes the promotion season
Pretty much like the flu season
It comes bearing aches, once every year
It comes bearing chills and headaches

Still –

It’s a season you warmly embrace
Each year, and you don’t mind at all
The heavy chills and body aches
As long as it gets you on that list

Unlike the flu season there are no
Shots, no vaccine or codeine to help
Get rid of that bothersome pain, a pain
That is worth all if you get on that list

But –

If you do not, well –just remember
You cannot get it from sneezing
Or from kissing and getting depress
About it won’t make it any easier

Yes –

As A-100 mates embrace the season
And all you get are the sniffles
Why, bear the discomfort within reason
For each season holds a mission –

Like the flu season, this one won’t
Hang around like pigeons, but same time
Next year a brand new season returns
Once more like a born-again inspiration

Insider Quote: Holbrooke’s Democratic Centralism

Detail from Government. Mural by Elihu Vedder....Image via Wikipedia

“The smartest man in the room is not always right.” That was one of the lessons of Vietnam. Holbrooke described his method to me as “a form of democratic centralism, where you want an open airing of views and opinions and suggestions upward, but once the policy’s decided you want rigorous, disciplined implementation of it. And very often in the government the exact opposite happens. People sit in a room, they don’t air their real differences, a false and sloppy consensus papers over those underlying differences, and they go back to their offices and continue to work at cross-purposes, even actively undermining each other.”

Richard Holbrooke, quoted in
The Last Mission: Richard Holbrooke’s plan to avoid the mistakes of Vietnam in Afghanistan | George Packer | New Yorker | September 28, 2009 (p.47)
Read the full article online here.

Officially In: David D. Nelson to Montevideo

Map of UruguayImage via Wikipedia

On October 7 President Obama announced his intent to nominate David D. Nelson to be his Ambassador to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. The WH released the following official bio:

David D. Nelson has served as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs (EEB) since January 2009 and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of EEB, with specific responsibility for International Finance and Development since June 2008. In those functions, Mr. Nelson has been responsible for providing the Secretary of State with advice on a full range of international economic issues.

Mr. Nelson is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. He has previously served as Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs, as Director of the Office of Terrorism Finance and Economic Sanctions, Director of the Iraq Reconstruction Task Force, and as Director of the Office of Monetary Affairs. He has also served on the National Security Council as Senior Coordinator for the Sea Island G-8 Summit, and has been posted abroad in Berlin, Madrid, Bonn, Quito, Montevideo and Merida.

Mr. Nelson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, and earned a Masters Degree in Economics at the University of Maryland.

* * *

If confirmed, Mr. Nelson would succeed Frank Baxter of California who was appointed US Ambassador to Uruguay in 2006-2009. He would take over the reins of running the US Embassy in Montevideo from Robin Matthewman, the charge d’affaires.

Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts 10/7/09