The Daily Demarche
Thursday, April 28, 2005
A few EU tidbits.
I am working on a longer post, but here are a few smaller EU items to fill in until I am done:

EU Headquarters:Eurocrats in Brussels found themselves in the hot seat- literally- after news came out that two saunas have been installed in the EU HQ despite budget issues:

The European Commission was in a sweat on Tuesday after it emerged that two saunas -- one for the exclusive use of the 25 Commissioners -- had been installed in its renovated Brussels headquarters.


The Commission moved back into the refurbished star-shaped Berlaymont building last year after being forced to evacuate the landmark in 1991 when it was found to be riddled with asbestos.

The renovation by the EU's Belgian hosts ran years behind schedule and tens of millions of euros over budget.

So why did they do it? They were "simply trying to make staff from Sweden and Finland feel at home" after they joined the EU. Now where are those prostitutes from the Netherlands?

The UK:
A British prisoner has filed suit to regain the right to vote, and the BBC has run a comparative piece on the suffrage of prisoners in the EU and the world:

The UK, it seems, has plenty of company in denying prisoners the vote. A total of eight European states - mainly from the former Eastern Bloc - have a similar blanket ban, according to the Prison Reform Trust.

In addition, five more countries have no provisions to allow prisoners to vote.

As this case could have an impact on EU common law it is not unreasonable to examine how other EU countries deal with the incarcerated and voting. Those scallywags at the BBC just couldn't resist this though:

Conviction rates among ethnic minorities in the US are much higher than rates among white people. As a result, a much higher proportion of black and Hispanic people are excluded from the vote.

This has prompted criticism and even several lawsuits claiming racial discrimination - particularly in Florida, where it is estimated almost one-third of black people are denied the vote.

The state was crucial in deciding the 2000 presidential election in favour of George W Bush and his Republican Party. Many in the defeated Democrat Party blamed the disqualification of ethnic minorities - traditional Democrat voters - for their loss.

Journalism at it's finest. Truly a shining moment for the Beeb.

Faced with an ever increasing spread between the cost of labor and profitabilty one French firm has struck upon a novel solution: don't just send the jobs to Romania- send the employees too. One catch- those who relocate would be paid Romanian scale salaries:

A company in eastern France has sparked outrage by suggesting to nine workers who were made redundant that they accept jobs in Romania for a monthly wage of EUR 110 (USD 140), officials said.


Local union leader Alain Brignon called the proposal "scandalous" but noted: "110 euros a month is still 30 euros more than Romania's minimum wage."

In France, minimum wage stands at about EUR 1,300 for a 35-hour week.

Not suprisingly none of the nine accepted- of course the unemployment benefits aren't too bad, in fact they beat the hell out of working in Romania!

I realize that everyday equally odd stories make it into the news in the US, but sometimes after a hard day in the salt mines of US-EU diplomacy I just need to chuckle at my counterparts and I just had to share those with you.

More to come tonight, hopefully.

(End of post).
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Articles of Faith
I’ve always loved the outdoors. Even when I was barely big enough to fit into a junior-sized pair of pinstripes, I loved being outside. My time spent outside has taught me a lot of things: self-reliance, appreciation for beauty, and not least, respect for – and desire to conserve – the environment. In the course of my ramblings and wanderings in the great outdoors, I’ve come across a great many individuals who shared my love for nature. These individuals came from all walks of life and embodied pretty much every segment of the broad spectrum of American political opinion: rich, poor, conservative, liberal, what have you.

I’ve always been heartened by this. For one thing, I do believe that America’s natural beauty is one of its greatest assets. Since we don’t have aeons of history like, say, Greece or India, we must receive our devotion, identity, and inspiration from other sources. I think that one of those sources is our nation’s rugged natural beauty. I recall a moment from my younger days as a eurail traveler with backpack in St. Peter’s cathedral. While I’m not catholic, I can distinctly remember the feeling of awe, of the light, tinted by the massive stained glass windows, which lit up the entire megalithic building with something close an otherworldly glow. I can only imagine how it must affect the believer.

The only other time I’ve seen such light and felt similarly impressed was when, in the midst of a solo road-trip across the US, I entered the Great Basin area of Nevada at the end of a long day of driving. The illumination of basin and range, of peak and sagebrush, by the dying embers of the day was truly magnificent and spiritual, emotions no doubt compounded by my extreme sense of isolation, since I hadn’t seen another car or sign of humanity for some time.

But I’m not the only one who apparently approaches the nature with a religious outlook. The world’s mainstream environmental activists do the same thing. They have established an orthodoxy that pervades much of the discussion of things environmental. Their most devout activists preach an austerity that is of a kind with some of the more ascetic and austere branches of other religions. And, as some members of the environmental movement have discovered, they are not above shaming non-fellow travelers as heretics.

Perhaps it is because nature is so full of mystery and power that environmentalists have taken the trappings of religion into their public life. Perhaps some environmentalists have grown up in a city environment and have never come into contact with nature that they feel so passionate. Perhaps the environmental movement serves the same purpose for them as the civil rights movement did for their parents – a sense of unity, struggle and adventure. Perhaps they could find no better way to spend their trust fund money.

Unfortunately, as the good Doctor notes, there are a great many loud voices celebrating an orthodoxy that may or may not relate to the environment and may or may not present the best way forward. For these people, Kyoto equals salvation, the river Styx flows with oil, and some nefarious concept of big business is the serpent which tempts us all away from Elysium.

One can imagine the reaction when a challenge to the orthodoxy rises – it would not be out of place in 16th century Europe. A hue and cry from the acolytes of the true faith rises up and calls for the excommunication of the heretics. Bjorn Lomborg serves as a perfect example. Lomborg, a Danish statistician, is author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, a book in which environmental concerns combine with tremendously detailed analysis of volumes of research to produce the most startling conclusion: the environment is not in the grave peril that we have been led to believe. Among the more iconoclastic claims that Lomborg makes is that there are actually more acres of forested land now than there were forty years ago, that improving drinking water quality in the developing world will do more to alleviate human suffering than reducing greenhouse gases, and that even were Kyoto fully implemented today it would only stave off predicted levels of greenhouse gases six years later than a world sans Kyoto.

Naturally, a well-argued, well-researched book on the environment that counters virtually every claim made by the high priests of environmentalism was bound to ruffle a few feathers. Sure enough, it wasn’t long before an organization tried to excommunicate Lomborg: the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD) accused Lomborg of being "systematically one-sided." Lomborg appealed the decision to the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, who remitted the case to the DCSD for being "completely void of argumentation." The DCSD, on second review, dropped all complaints against Lomborg.

The Dutch academic group Heidelberg Appeal the Netherlands (HAN) reviewed the case against Lomborg. They concluded that Lomborg’s detractors ceased to follow scientific principle and method in attacking him:

Having reached the conclusion that the concrete accusations against Lomborg largely don’t hold, it is legitimate to question the approaches of Lomborg’s opponents. Using some historical examples it is argued that almost all opponents use discussion tactics, which come very near to those of dogmatically driven pseudo-scientists. The inevitable overall impression of the debate is, not that Lomborg has deliberately been twisting arguments, but many of his opponents have. This is somewhat more than embarrassing. And most probably for DCSD not the expected outcome of his investigation when it stated: The interested public will thus be granted an opportunity to have full access to the facts of the case. [Emphasis added.]

HAN's page on the Lomborg affair.

Lomborg isn’t the only one to challenge the prevailing views regarding the environment. The late economist Julian Simon famously bet environmentalist doomsayer Paul Ehrlich in 1980 that any five commodities of Ehrlich’s choosing would be cheaper in ten years. Sure enough, all ten of the chosen commodities were lower in price in 1990, evidence of their decreased scarcity. One of Simon’s central tenets, that human beings should be considered resources themselves, and not merely a drain on resources, is the bedrock on which Lomborg bases his case.

This idea is simultaneously the single most important and neglected concept in the environmental debate today, decades after Simon introduced it. Lomborg, for instance, never assumes that environmental degradation is a mere cipher. His book is based on the premise that our environment is in need of improvement. The whole book is an earnest effort to divine exactly what can be improve. In so doing, he makes hamburger out of sacred cows, to paraphrase Abby Hofmann.

It is entirely plausible that there are errors in Lomborg’s work. It is truly a herculean effort – over 2,000 footnotes – and something that large and presumptuous in scope is bound to have errors. Those of us that believe in both conservation of the environment and rational discourse must scratch our heads at the attempts of the nouveaux clergy to silence Lomborg and similar skeptics. (Lomborg has also been embroiled in a controversy with Scientific American magazine; readers can view the details on Lomborg’s website or that of Patrick Moore, co-founder and now former member of Greenpeace and ideological confrere of Lomborg.) Surely, if a new and radical idea comes out into the public sphere, the best way to deal with it is with a transparent and fair discussion of all angles, not ham-fisted attempts at ostracism, particularly from a community whose founding principle is one of supination to facts as opposed to politics.

The examples above give me faith when I am grilled on Kyoto by a sanctimonious European or Canadian. I've found that the best strategy is to ask them, as I once did to a particularly insistent Canadian interlocutor, herself an expert on Kyoto who had worked on the document, how sure they are that Kyoto will actually alleviate the conditions envisioned by its creators. I hope that any readers attempting this will receive the same satisfying stammering response of uncertainty that I did.

The whole affair confirms the sentiment expressed by Jonathan Swift, as channeled through John Kennedy Toole’s immortal novel Confederacy of Dunces:
When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.

While this statement is rife with potential for misuse, I believe that it is entirely appropriate here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Compare and Contrast
Today marks the 90th anniversary of the invasion at Gallipoli in World War One- according to this report:

The landings, which infamously saw coastal waters stained red with the blood of dead soldiers, were intended to open a passage through the Dardanelle Straits separating Europe from Asia to provide a relief route to allied Russia via the Black Sea. Instead, the expedition ended in retreat and failure after eight months of what Helen Clark, the New Zealand prime minister, described as "hell".

Among those who suffered the greatest losses were the Anzacs, the Australian and New Zealand army corps, who made the first landings, swept by an unexpected current to a narrow cove rather than the planned wide beaches.

Many Australians and New Zealanders view this battle as a watershed moment for their nation, and approximately 11,000 of them gathered in Gallipoli to remember those who lost their lives in the ill fated campaign nearly a century ago.

Compare that to Germany where survivors of the Holocaust and the forces that fought in the battles to liberate Europe from Nazism are gathering for the 60th anniversary of the end of the war. 50% of the German youth cannot correctly identify what the Holocaust was:

One young German in two does not know what the Holocaust was, according to the results of a survey released Friday. Although about 80 percent of Germans were able to identify the Holocaust as the Nazi extermination campaign against European Jews, the figure was only 51.4 percent among Germans under the age of 24. The poll on German history by independent research institute Forschungsgruppe Wahlen for public broadcaster ZDF and the newspaper Die Welt showed that in every age group, women (21.3 percent) were twice as likely not to recognize the term "Holocaust" than men (9.9 percent). The telephone survey was conducted in March among 1,087 Germans with a margin of error of 3.1 percent. The editor for contemporary and cultural history at Die Welt, Sven Felix Kellerhoff, told AFP that the results were alarming. "We are kidding ourselves if we think we can lean back and be satisfied with our knowledge of German history, particularly in light of the terrible results on the Holocaust question," he said. "We all have our work cut out for us."

Is it any wonder which that the Aussies and Kiwis support the war on terror and the Germans oppose all action? We are talking about a battle that took place 90 years ago and an event from which survivors (and perpatrators) are still alive. The Holocaust and WWII are still living history. How can it even be remotely possible that German kids do not know what the term means? Where are the German counterparts to this young man:

"I had to make a pilgrimage here," said 22-year-old Ben Hutchinson, who wrapped himself in an Australian flag. Gallipoli "was the first real bonding of Australia as a country. It's something that formed our identity."

I am not of the opinion that all Germans alive today share the blame for the atrocities committed by the Nazis. But WWII and the cold-blooded , calculated murder of millions of men, women and children in addition to tens of millions who died as a direct result of the war are occured in the much too recent past to be forgotten- let alone possibly repeated. Our German "friends" could use a history lesson- perhaps the folks from down under can give them a hand- I seem to recall the Germans had some involvement in World War One as well. Both of those wars certainly had something to do with the forming of German identity.

To our friends from Australia and New Zealand, and all of the allied nations who lost men at Gallipoli, we join you in remembering them.

And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
And I watch my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving old dreams of past glory
And the old men march slowly, all bent, stiff and sore
The forgotten heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, "What are they marching for?"
And I ask myself the same question
And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men answer to the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all
Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
And their ghosts may be heard as you pass the Billabong
Who'll come-a-waltzing Matilda with me

Monday, April 25, 2005
“we support the fight against malaria, but…”

Last Friday was Earth Day, and I am willing to bet that very few, if any, of the “celebrations” that marked the day touched on today- Africa Malaria Day. Malaria is the single largest cause of death in Africa- ahead of aids, even:

'Malaria kills one child every thirty seconds, about 3000 children every day, one in the five of the 4.6 million deaths in Africa each year is attributed to malaria and over one million people die of malaria each year, the report states in part. Also, more than 900,000 children under five years of age in Sub-Sahara Africa die of malaria.

As a heavy disease burden, an estimated 300-600 million people suffer from malaria each year, and the number of fever cases requiring treatment for malaria in children is much higher at an estimated 1-2 billion. The data from the same report indicates that more than 40% of the world population lives in malaria-risk areas, and 'it is more damaging to pregnant women, their unborn children, and this result into maternal anemia and low birth weight. Malaria in pregnancy kills up to 200,000 newborn babies each year'.

The United States donates $19 billion a year in foreign aid, yet millions of children are dying as a result of mosquito bites. Why? Because the environmental lobby in America and the rest of the world won the battle over DDT in the 1970’s:

The EPA held seven months of hearings in 1971-1972, with scientists giving evidence both for and against the use of DDT. At the end of the hearings, the hearing examiner, Edmund Sweeney, ruled that the scientific evidence provided no basis for banning DDT. In the summer of 1972 Ruckelshaus reviewed evidence collected during the agency's hearings as well as reports prepared by two DDT study groups (the Hilton and Mrak Commissions) that had both come to the opposite conclusion. He did not actually attend any of the EPA commission's hearings however, and according to his aides did not read any transcripts of it. Ruckelshaus overturned Sweeny's ruling and announced a ban on virtually all uses of DDT in the U.S., where it was classified in EPA Toxicity Class II. Ruckelshaus argued that the pesticide was "a warning that man may be exposing himself to a substance that may ultimately have a serious effect on his health." (Tren & Bate, 2004)(Milloy, 1999).

The left has their Silent Spring legacy- as Al Gore said in his preface to the 1994 edition:

Without this book, the environmental movement might have been long delayed or never have developed at all," declared then-Vice President Albert Gore in his introduction to the 1994 edition. The foreword to the 25th anniversary edition accurately declared, "It led to environmental legislation at every level of government."

As a result of that legislation no American diplomat is making the case for the renewed use of DDT in Africa or any other malaria stricken region, regardless of the veracity of the science. So called “liberal” nations like those found in the EU are willing to see countless children die of malaria- and even threaten the existence of those who manage to survive if they do so through the use of DDT:

The chief of the EU mission in Uganda, Sigurd Illing, said there could be dire consequences for outgoing trade with Europe -- which accounts for more than 30 percent of Uganda's total exports -- if DDT was detected in such goods.

"We support the fight against malaria ... but we wanted to make a general warning that all considerations should be made before the spraying," she told AFP by phone

And there it is: “we support the fight against malaria, but…” Never mind the dead children, or the $347,000,000 Uganda spends treating malaria. That is nearly 10% of the GDP of the entire nation., and that is just one nation in Africa.

Stopping malaria in Africa is easy. Admitting that science- liberal approved science in any case, might be wrong is hard. And so we have Kyoto at all costs, euthanization of children, and of course prohibitions against DDT.

While the Al Gore's of the world celebrate Earth Day and bask in the warm fuzzy they get from saving birds while children die needlessly, the mothers and fathers of countless dead children in Africa have their own legacy of the lessons learned from the book that launched the modern environmentalist movement. They would glady take the infinitesmal risk posed by DDT to have their children alive.

And Now For Something Completely Different.... Music
I’ve been working on a new post about some foreign affairs related material, but it won’t be ready tonight, and after putting out three fairly heavy posts on immigration, I’m ready for something a little light. So I offer our readers another temporary diversion, and I hope you play along in the comments section.

As readers of the Daily Demarche may know, we (sometimes) like diplomacy. We like foreign policy. We love America. We like skiing. We like scotch. We also both like music.

I got an iPod, and it is helping rekindle my love for music, which has long lain dormant. Right now I’ve been putting music from my cd’s and those I’ve borrowed from friends on my iPod, one of these days I’m going to go onto iTunes and get some more stuff. Anyway, I’m going to list what’s on my "On-The-Go" playlist in my iPod.

Readers are invited to share their own favorite iPod playlists, or if they don’t have an iPod, whatever they are listening to.

Here’s my list:

Mystifies Me Son Volt
Give Back The Key To My Heart Son Volt
One Angry Dwarf And Two Hundred Solemn Faces Ben Folds Five
Seven Wonders Nickel Creek
Blue Rondo A La Turk Dave Brubeck Quartet
Take Five Dave Brubeck Quartet
New Madrid Uncle Tupelo
Rachel’s Song James McMurtry
Pilgrims Widespread Panic
World Looking In Morcheeba
Trouble Ray La Montagne
Hannah Ray La Montagne
Jolene Ray La Montagne
Speak Nickel Creek
Friend Of The Devil Grateful Dead
Brother John Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Circle Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Late Night Radio David Gray
Fifteen Keys Uncle Tupelo
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Bono to Canada: Give us more fish!

Frequent readers of the Demarche know that we seldom pass up an opportunity to take a poke at Canada- I mean it is so easy, and even if you do feel a bit tawdry after slugging softballs over the northern border it just has to be done occasionally. At the same time, liberal “stars” that use their entertainment platform to berate the rest of the world drive me batty, too. So in the case of Bono v. Martin it is hard for me to take sides. Both of the key figures are an annoyance to me.

Per The National Post:
Bono 'bewildered, disappointed' by Martin's performance on foreign aidAdd Irish rock star Bono to the list of people Paul Martin has frustrated. In an interview with the CBC yesterday, the U2 front man said he was "bewildered" and "disappointed" by the Prime Minister's decision not to raise Canada's foreign aid goal to 0.7% of the country's gross domestic product by 2015. "This is no time to just turn inward," he told radio host Anthony Germain. "I know there's problems here at home but ... don't lose your focus, Prime Minister, on how history will remember this moment." In a telephone interview from Vancouver, Bono blasted Canada for not living up to its capability, particularly at a time when the country is enjoying a surplus. Bono recited Mr. Martin's telephone number on the air, encouraging Canadians to call and complain.

I find this phenomenon both amusing, and annoying. The last time I checked Bono was Irish. It just seems a little odd to me that an Irish pop star is berating the Prime Minister of any nation other than Ireland about their foreign aid. Critics of foreign aid levels given by “rich” nations to “poor” nations love to use the .7% of GDP yard stick to push for ever increasing levels of aid. While that would be a handy tool if we lived in the perfectly socialist world that many if these critics dream of, the simple fact is that this is an arbitrary target- Ireland gave .39% in 2004 and Canada gave .26%- in actual useful terms that means Ireland gave just over half a billion U.S. dollars, while Canada gave $2.5 U.S. (the United States- always a target for the .16% given rang in at $19 billion)(click here to see the data behind those numbers). I like to refer to this direct aid as the giving of fish- as in "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Of course to entertain this argument one has to believe that foreign aid, in the form of direct cash infusions, actually works. It is my opinion, as expressed on this blog in the past that this type of aid outside of emergency action (such as the tsunami aid) does not work. As The Economist put it in 1998:

Reviewing earlier research and drawing on new work for this book, Messrs Dollar and Pritchett establish, first, that the raw correlation between aid and growth is near zero: more aid does not mean more growth. Perhaps other factors mask an underlying link, they concede; perhaps aid is deliberately given to countries growing very slowly (creating a misleading negative correlation between aid and growth, and biasing the numbers). On closer study of such complications, however, the result holds. No correlation: aid does not promote growth.
The waste revealed by these figures is the result of a pattern of aid that is almost exactly the opposite of what effective reduction of poverty requires. Countries with good policies should get more aid than countries with bad policies. Actually they get less. This would be justified if aid encouraged countries to improve their policies, but on the whole it does not. For every case where aid has promoted reform there is a case where it has retarded it. Aid can keep bad governments in business; and promises to improve policy, made when the aid is first offered, are often forgotten once it has been delivered. The effort to encourage policy reform—if that is what today’s pattern of aid describes—has been made at an enormous cost in terms of unrelieved poverty.

Polling data indicates that most Americans support the idea of combining aid with the development of the receiving countries' economy- in a Program on International Policy Attitudes poll "71% agreed that, "It is important to help poor countries develop their economies so that they can become more self-sufficient." If you accept the idea that policy change and aid must be combined to draw a nation out of poverty the logical question is: where can we look to find an example of aid combined with good policies that has shown results? The suprising answer: Bono’s homeland of Ireland.

After the country hit economic bottom in the 1950s, the government stopped banning foreign investment, cut corporate taxes, made grants to modernize industry and lowered tariffs. More significantly, Ireland joined the European Union (then known as the European Economic Community) in 1974 and began receiving billions of dollars in subsidies and development funds. “The most important impact has been access to the European market that [membership] provides, which in turn has been a major attraction for foreign investment,” says Tony Fahey, a professor at the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin. “The real driver of our prosperity is investment by American companies”—nearly 600 at last count, which have invested nearly $35 billion and hired more than 90,000 people—“that wanted to get into the European market,”

Now I realize that Ireland is not Uganda and that there existed even in the worst economic times in Ireland vast differences in the “poverty” there and that found in much of the third world. But this combination of aid and good policy did much more than just relieve poverty in Ireland:

Beginning in the late 1980s, an economic boom known as the Celtic Tiger and fueled mainly by foreign investment propelled the country from an agricultural to a high-tech economy, altogether bypassing any heavy industrialization stage. In what The Economist called “one of the most remarkable economic transformations of recent times,” the country catapulted from one of the poorest in the European Union, on a par with Greece and Portugal, to the sixth-highest, ahead of Germany.

Wikipedia offers an excellent readout of what that means in real terms:

-Disposable income soared to record levels enabling a huge rise in consumer spending. It became a common sight to see expensive cars and designer labels around the nation's towns and cities.
- Unemployment fell from 18% in the late 1980s to 4.2% in 2005 and average industrial wages grew at one of the highest rates in Europe.
- Inflation regularly brushed 5% per annum, pushing Irish prices up to match those of the Nordic Europe. Groceries were particularly hard hit, prices in chain stores in the Republic of Ireland were sometimes up to twice those in Northern Ireland
- Public debt was dramatically cut (it stood at about 34% of GDP by the end of 2001) to become one of Europe's lowest, enabling public spending to double without any significant increase in taxation levels.

Bono may well have missed the Celtic Tiger years- after all that period coincided with U2’s heyday- in 2001 alone the group earned nearly $62 million. One would imagine than that they have donated extremely large sums of money to the cause of reducing global poverty- not billions, of course, but certainly millions upon millions. Perhaps they have- but if so it has been done quietly. A Google search revealed a recent donation of €50,000 and an older donation of €40,000- and note that not all of this was for fighting global poverty.

Neither of those are petty amounts by the average person’s standard to be sure. But is Bono really an average guy? Not only is he taking on the PM of Canada, Bono wants the U.S to pony up another $1 billion to fight aids and what do average people think of his views on how their tax dollars should be spent?

I was wondering if Bono thinks that the money should be taken orally or by injection to cure HIV/AIDS? The US has for years been giving to MS without curing it. Cancer? Yes all the donated money has also cured it, DOH!. Seems that everyone thinks that nothing can ever be accomplished without massive amounts of money being "Given" to them. Research is research..... there is no magic monetary multiplier that will make things happen. But if you can do nothing else, you can always extend out a hand and ask the US for money to fund the project. I believe that, if checked, that the US is at present one of, if not THE largest contributor to AIDS research. Maybe Bono should check the facts before making silly comments made basically to inflame and put the Bono name in the news. Bono is an AIDS research scientist, right? Foanheart, USA

I disagree with bono because as a person who pays a lot of tax every and work hard to earn my pay its ticks me off when St. Bono comes along and comes up with a new idea of taking more cash from heavily taxed Americans, Irish, French or whoever and he doesn't plan to donate any of his own money. So if bono donates half of his fortune maybe then governments should donate some money. What do all the AIDS charities do with the cash they get? Ronan O'D. dublin,Rep of Ireland

I realize that those quote might not have contributed much to the post, but I found them really amusing and so there they are. My point in all of this is that infusions of cash do not work (and the public does not support them)- if they did we would have seen massive decreases in global poverty that to my knowledge has not taken place. The U.N agrees:

The number of people below the international poverty line declined by a mere 1 per cent per year between 1990-99; decreasing from 1.3 billion people to 1.1 billion people respectively. Furthermore, poverty trends for most regions showed little or no progress (diagram 1). The incidence of income-poverty remained largely unchanged in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and in the Middle East and North Africa(MENA. Actually, the number of income-poor in these three regions combined increased by about 7 million people each year between 1990 and 1999. Regional trends show that the decline in global poverty was driven by East Asia (EA) between 1993-96 and by South Asia (SA) in 1996-99. China and India in particular are responsible for the apparent decline in global poverty.

Of course the U.N., Bono and the rest of the liberal “give me your fish to feed this poor man” crowd refuse to ask why India and China, with their massive, and still growing, populations are able to decrease the poverty in their respective nations. I’ll give them a hint: call your software company’s support line and ask the tech who answers where he or she is located, and while you are on hold look at the “Made In” labels of the items within your reach. Poverty was not decreased in India or China by direct foreign aid- investment and development are the keys to success in Ireland, India, China and even Uganda. It is time to stop throwing dollars into the poorest countries on Earth and time to start giving fishing lessons. As for Bono, he can either sing or cut bait for all I care.

Thursday, April 21, 2005
Visas and Immigration- my 2 cents.
Over the last few days Smiley has produced a three part tour de force on matters immigration. By and large I agree with everything he had to say, but have a few matters I’d like add to, counter or perhaps disagree with.

In his first post Smiley offers a few pointers as to what State can do to further enhance the fine work done by consular officers around the world. He offers more, and more advanced training along with better access to federal agency data bases as rooms for improvement, and he is correct in both accounts. To that I would add the need for increased education at home and abroad for consumers of visa services, and the setting of expectations when it comes to immigration services. I remember well my days in a visa mill (pre- 9/11) when officers were routinely expected to “interview” 250-300 applicants per day, a few minutes for each case, tops. Many of our applicants were rejected for lack of proof that they would return home. The smarter among them had someone in the US who would write to a Congressman or Senator who would then send a letter to us. With the enormous caseload and unwillingness to buck Congress we would most often simply overturn the denial and issue a visa.

This practice is so common you can read about it on mail order bride web sites. I wonder what American voters would think about their congressmen doing this. One more than one occasion I was tempted to annotate a visa: Issued after three denials due to Congressman XXXX’s interest in the matter. While we do make every effort abroad to educate the public on visas- visit any Embassy’s website and you’ll see what I mean, it is often to no avail whatsoever. The mythology of the American visa and the visa system is a powerful thing in the poorer parts of the world.

In part two Smiley addressed “Supply and Demand”:

In my mind, the problems facing our customs, immigration, and consular personnel can be distilled to a rather simple form: supply and demand. The demand for entry into the US, both legal and illegal, far outstrips the supply of people and resources we have to handle it. This is the main reason that we have long waits and lines at consulates and embassies around the world and masses of people illicitly traversing our borders daily. Unfortunately, the finding a solution to this problem is more complex than simply hiring more people and allocating more funds.

He is correct again that the supply does indeed outstrip the demand and that is the reason for long lines and waiting periods to even have an appointment. But I take issue with the idea that S&D of visas is why we have “masses of people illicitly traversing our borders daily.” It is supply and demand of an entirely different reason that causes this- the supply of jobs that are offered to illegal immigrants creates the demand for workers. Nearly all illegal immigrants enter the U.S, to work- dry up the supply of jobs and they’ll stop coming in droves. Our failure to curb illegal hiring in the U.S. makes a mockery of the entire immigration system. The number of people in the U.S. who have over stayed their visa and entry period is enormous- millions of people have entered legally and then simply remained to work.

Smiley offers some possible solutions to the imbalance between supply and demand in post two as well:

Clearly, posts like this need more bodies to handle their visa loads. In order to accommodate the additional personnel, posts would need to upgrade their infrastructure, create more space, hire more guards to handle the increased inflow of people, and possibly hire more local staff. All of this is difficult, but not impossible. The main question, however, is where to get the additional US-based adjudicators.

That is indeed one answer. Another is to reduce the number of applicants for non-immigrant visas. How might one do that? By simply imposing a waiting period for re-application after a denial- say 90 days after the first, 120 after the second and 180 after the third and each subsequent. As the non-immigrant system stands now any applicant can (and often does) re-apply as soon as they can secure an appointment. It is not uncommon at some visa mills to open an applicant’s passport and see the "Application Received" stamp (the sign of a previous denial) four, five or even six times. While most of these applicants with more than three denials are summarily rejected (that is not to say that everyone who is rejected once is rejected for life- but there are many chronic applicants) they have still taken a place in line and extended the wait for an interview. At $100 per interview that adds up for the applicant and for the Department- although to be fair those funds are earmarked to support Consular services. So why has such an enforced waiting period not been put in place? I was never able to get a good answer- it is simply not discussed.

Smiley also offers this solution to the problem:

Another possibility is to hire visa adjudication specialists, similar to the financial management, information technology, and general services specialists that the Department already employs. These specialists would, as their name implies, specialize in handling visa cases, and could be sent around the world as needed to fill staffing gaps.

I have heard this from a few sources- sort of the equivalent of an NCO corps in Consular Affairs, and it has potential. More than one type of visa adjudicator (beyond FSO) already exists:

... CA has creatively arranged a variety of support personnel beyond straight line consular officers to manage the crush of visas and U.S. citizenship services. There has been an innovative medley of resources to fill gaps, including professional associates (hired family members); consular associates, who are equivalent to consular officers; Civil Service visa adjudicators, notably in Mexico; foreign language fellows (individuals who receive federal educational assistance and have a commensurate service commitment); foreign affairs specialists; retired annuitants; and Civil Service excursion tours. While some of these measures have a stopgap quality, CA argues, quite credibly, that it's better to have these options available than not to.

The Civil Service adjudicators are probably most analogous to Smiley’s proposal, at the Mexican border posts where these folks are employed (they live on the U.S. side) they are managed by an FSO (who lives on the Mexico side of the border). They are skilled, proficient and professional. Could enough of them be fielded, with the requisite language skills, to serve world wide? I have no idea, but it is worth considering.

I hope you all found Smiley’s three posts as interesting as I did, and that this post has enhanced those by my colleague. I imagine we will get off the immigration horse for a while after this, but I had to throw in my two cents.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Visas and Immigration - Comment and Critique, Part III
This, the final installment of my musings on visas and immigration, touches on the area with which I am least familiar: what happens when a foreign visitor enters the country. Therefore I’m going to be doing a fair amount of speculation, although it is informed to the extent that I have worked fairly closely with members of all three of the immigration related branches of DHS (ICE, CBP, and CIS).

First off, I should point out that my experience with ICE/CBP/CIS people has given me the impression that they are hard working, dedicated public servants who, like most everyone else I’ve met in the Federal Government, are trying to do the best they can for our country. Unfortunately, in many instances these individuals are let down by a truly byzantine bureaucracy and a system that fails to properly provide the right resources to the right people at the right time. It makes me question whether the decision to subsume the old INS and Customs Service into DHS was the right thing to do, although further down the page I’m going to suggest further tinkering with the services.

Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) handles, among other things, petitions for immigrant visas (which, if approved, lead to Lawful Permanent Resident or “green card” status) and naturalizations. As such, they have no law enforcement component, unlike the other two agencies previously mentioned (CBP and ICE). My general impression is that they are often overworked and understaffed, although this varies greatly between Field Offices and Service Centers. However, generally speaking, petitions for immigrant visas often face very long delays when filed in the United States.

The remit of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) includes, inter alia, inspections at the various ports of entry and patrolling our borders. Customs agents, which have their own directorate within CBP, are organized among 20 Field Operations offices, 312 ports of entry, and 14 preclearance stations. The Border Protection directorate, on the other hand, is divided into sectors, each responsible for a particular stretch of the border.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), on the other hand, defines as its task to be “...responsible for identifying and shutting down vulnerabilities in the nation’s border, economic, transportation and infrastructure security.” Like CBP, ICE has a law enforcement component. ICE does deportations, investigations, and houses the Federal Air Marshall Service (FAMS). Each individual ICE Office has its own bureaucratic structure. The Office of Investigations and FAMS both use a Special Agent In Charge (SAC) system similar to that of the FBI. The Office of Detention and Removal Operations is subdivided into various field offices.

As you can see the current system as I have spelled it out is rather opaque, to be charitable, and I have simplified it considerably in hopes of saving the two readers who haven’t yet fallen asleep. It is, in my opinion, far too complex and unwieldy. Furthermore, heads of the various Sectors, Field Offices, and District Offices have great autonomy, resulting in sometimes wildly inconsistent practices from one location to another. That this colossus of an organization is large is a necessity, and as I have noted elsewhere, the various organizations need more people in virtually all areas. I believe, however that such far flung and disparate organization is too decentralized, meaning that resources cannot be allocated effectively as needs might arise.

To remedy this, I propose the following:

First, combine CBP and ICE. Then, do away with the myriad internecine organizational structures, and bring them all together. I suggest that this massive bureaucracy take as its inspiration another huge US government bureaucracy: the US military. Divide the United States up into five commands: Northern (dealing with our Canadian border), Pacific, Midwestern, Atlantic and Southern (dealing with our Mexican border). In so doing, the government can streamline the various bodies by allocating personnel and resources more efficiently.

Policies and procedures might not be consistent between an office in Duluth, Minnesota and one in El Paso, Texas, but at least they will be consistent between El Paso and San Diego. If intelligence indicates an upsurge in illegal immigrants coming through one area and a decrease in another, commanders could rapidly reposition assets to the area where they are most needed, even if to do so would have previously crossed jurisdictional lines.

I realize that this proposal would hardly eliminate bureaucratic infighting among the main commands. But it could change the scope and location of the infighting from the micro to the macro level, decreasing the amount and pettiness of small-scale turf battles which our system is currently rife with.

As far as CIS goes, I believe that their problems are in large part due to chronic understaffing. Hiring more personnel would help. But there are other options on the table. For this, CIS, who as their primary brief handle a lot of paperwork, should look towards another megalithic government agency known for handling paperwork: the Social Security Administration (SSA). Believe it or not folks, SSA is considered to be one of the best run government agencies. They accomplish this by embracing modernization and technology and emphasizing training. This makes the existing personnel work better, more courteously (which many people will agree CIS is in some need of), and more efficiently. To do this also requires a fairly strong hand to push things along.

This is a very cursory discussion of the large problems facing a truly gargantuan agency. I could go on, but I think I've pretty much said my piece. I hope you've enjoyed it, and I continue to encourage readers to leave comments.
Submit and Convert.
Before I begin this post let me put one last call out for posts for The China Project- I am planning this weekend to consolidate everything into an archive and put a permanent link up for it in the side bar. There is some great stuff in there- and even more over at Winds of Change on the same topic. Thanks again to everyone who contributed, feel free to keep sending stuff in to us.

Now onto the new post:

First the radical element of Islam (who we are assured over and over is a small subset) threatened to block elections in Iraq, while many of the unable-to-play-nice-with-others chose to boycott.

Now as our British friends gear up for their forthcoming elections those who envision the translation of Islam as “Submit…or else” are doing their best to suborn the moderate Islamists in Londonstan. As the Muslim Council of Britain was holding a press conference to launch a guide for voters a group of young men stormed the area and completely disrupted the proceedings. According to the Guardian:

The protesters, who believe it is unIslamic to vote, pushed past a solitary security guard to disrupt the event at the Regent's Park mosque in central London, before denouncing the council as a "mouthpiece" for Tony Blair.


The council represents 600 groups and is avowedly moderate. It has been courted by Mr Blair, with the group's leaders having access to ministers to press their concerns.

Yesterday's incident was a vivid demonstration of the pressures on the council. It has to tread a fine line, trying to keep its credibility with British Muslim communities while influencing decision makers, and being a public face of Islam to white Britain instead of militants who are seen to give the religion a bad name.

Last year the council sent a delegation to Iraq to plead for the life of British hostage Ken Bigley. It was credited with softening the backlash against UK Muslims when he was murdered, but it was a move condemned by yesterday's protesters.

The Scotsman gives a slightly different account:

A group of chanting militants stormed a Muslim Council of Britain press conference today, condemning the organisation as “a mouthpiece” of Tony Blair and claiming that voting in the General Election goes against Islam.

There were chaotic scenes as a group of more than a dozen men, two of them masked, broke down the door of the library in the Central London Mosque in Regents Park.

The men who burst in said they represented the Saviour Sect, believed to contain former members of the disbanded al-Muhajiroun group and be headed by firebrand cleric Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed.

As the group streamed into the meeting, one of the masked men shouted: “Kaffirs. MCB are dirty kaffirs.”

Another man yelled: “The MCB are a mouthpiece of the British Government of Tony Blair and George Bush.

“They don’t represent Islam. They don’t represent British Muslims.”

I had to look up the word kaffir, and this is what I found:

Q: Why are non-muslims referred as Kaffirs?

A: Kafir means one who rejects. ‘Kafir’ is derived from the word ‘kufr’, which means to conceal or to reject. In Islamic terminology, ‘Kafir’ means one who conceals or rejects the truth of Islam and a person who rejects Islam is in English called a ‘non-Muslim’.

If non-Muslims are hurt - they should accept Islam. If any non-Muslim considers the word ‘Kafir’ i.e. ‘non-Muslim’ as an abuse, he may choose to accept Islam and then we will stop referring to him as or call him a kafir i.e. a non-Muslim

That is it in a nut shell. Don’t want to be called a kaffir? Submit and convert. Don’t want to be stabbed to death in the street for your views? Submit and convert. Don’t want to be killed in the airplane you are flying in or have it slam into your workplace? Submit and convert. This is the only message the “radicals” have, and Eurabia may be starting to listen, at least some of it; but luckily, not all of it.

This is London, an amazingly wide ranging web site, is running a great piece today; they are not afraid to call the kettle black, the article is titled simply and directly “Fanatics want to convert entire world”’ here is am excerpt, but I highly recommend reading the whole article:

Banned in Germany and across the Middle East, Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Party of Liberation, is one of the most controversial - and also the strongest - Islamic groups in Britain today.

Hizb rejects the "corrupt society" of Britain and the West and, as George Galloway learned last night, even the most impeccable anti-war credentials are not enough to win its approval.

Its central belief is for a single Islamic state - a caliphate - which should start by uniting all Muslim countries, then embrace the entire world, including non-Islamic parts.

As Hizb's own website says: "The work of Hizb ut-Tahrir is to ... change the situation of the corrupt society so that it is transformed into an Islamic society."

Hizb "aims to bring back the Islamic guidance for mankind and to lead the Ummah (the Muslim community) into a struggle with Kufr (non-believing), its systems and its thoughts so that Islam encapsulates the world."

Hizb "aims to bring back the Islamic guidance for mankind and to lead the Ummah (the Muslim community) into a struggle with Kufr (non-believing), its systems and its thoughts so that Islam encapsulates the world."

There it is, in the open: protected speech & freedom of religion. The Mormons send people all over the world to preach their version of the Gospel. Let a Jehovah’s Witness into your living room and they might never leave (or so it seems). Not to mention the ubiquitous Moonies. Of course none of those groups has committed atrocious acts of international terrorism (but that Moonie chant is pretty damn annoying). So what is a civil society to do? That is the question that our British friends are going to have to answer, right quick. As if the above mentioned incident were not enough Expat Yank has a post about a fatwa in London.

Even more disturbing is the idea that some of the British politicians might be courting these groups as the “new oppressed.” From the indispensable MEMRI we get this tidbit:

Arab League Ambassador to Britain in Talk to Conservative MPs: 9/11 Was Not a Good Justification For Enmity Towards Arabs and Muslims; Israel's Hand in the Matter is Clear

The Ambassador, in this piece, hits the nail of British guilt squarely on the head in this speech, the first allusion to the Balfour Declaration I have seen in a long time, and oh so cleverly veiled:

"Had Britain encouraged education and the development of a true liberal democratic process in the Arab region, instead of combating any independence of thought, the Arab region would have today become an extension of the west, and things would have been very different today.

Britain and the rest of Europe are going to have to carefully monitor the groups that are operating within their borders. If there truly exists a moderate majority within Islam that believes in democracy, liberty and modernization of their religion they must find the will to take back their religion, and those politicians in power should do all they can to assist. The leaders of radical Islam have declared war, their goals are clear; they have no reservations in their tactics. From slamming planes into office buildings to voter intimidation they will not be stopped easily. Submit and convert. That is all they want- for the entire world.

Or else.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Visas and Immigration - Comment and Critique, Part II (of what now looks to be III)
First off, I’d like to thank our alert commenters who chimed in with their own takes and experiences regarding my first post. In particular, I’d like to thank LB, who pointed out that the Bureau of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), and not Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE, the best acronym in the federal government) handles inspections at ports-of-entry around the country. Thanks for keeping me honest. I’ve corrected the original post to reflect this.
Yesterday, I discussed the current state of play regarding visa issuance by the State Department. Today, I’m going to expand my scope a little, and talk policy issues and suggest possible changes.

Supply and Demand

In my mind, the problems facing our customs, immigration, and consular personnel can be distilled to a rather simple form: supply and demand. The demand for entry into the US, both legal and illegal, far outstrips the supply of people and resources we have to handle it. This is the main reason that we have long waits and lines at consulates and embassies around the world and masses of people illicitly traversing our borders daily. Unfortunately, the finding a solution to this problem is more complex than simply hiring more people and allocating more funds.

Doing so would help, however, but the resources must be directed the right way, and they must be placed into a system that can make best use of them – not an easy task when faced with several different, elephantine bureaucracies. For one thing, despite recent improvements, high volume visa "mills" (Mexico City, Seoul, Manila, etc) could probably still use more personnel. A first time applicant for a tourist visa in Manila, for example, faces a wait of 50 days to have an interview. In Mexico City, the wait is 74 days. (Bored readers can click here to see what the waiting period for a visa is in their favorite country.)

Clearly, posts like this need more bodies to handle their visa loads. In order to accommodate the additional personnel, posts would need to upgrade their infrastructure, create more space, hire more guards to handle the increased inflow of people, and possibly hire more local staff. All of this is difficult, but not impossible. The main question, however, is where to get the additional US-based adjudicators.

One answer is to hire more FSOs. These would do the bulk of the interviewing jobs, which tend to be at the entry levels, for a year or two and then evaporate into the State Department personnel system, many of them never to do consular work again. The problem is that many of these new hires would have been brought on essentially to cover the increased need for visa adjudicators. Once they leave their visa jobs, these people would in all likelihood want to do other kinds of work, creating the possibility that there might not be enough jobs to go around – hardly an ideal staffing plan for any government agency, and a waste of taxpayer money to boot.

Another possibility is to hire visa adjudication specialists, similar to the financial management, information technology, and general services specialists that the Department already employs. These specialists would, as their name implies, specialize in handling visa cases, and could be sent around the world as needed to fill staffing gaps.

A third option is to send the Consular Affairs Bureau, and all personnel associated with it, to the Department of Homeland Security as well as bringing in consular specialists. This almost happened in the aftermath of 9/11, but the State Department ultimately prevailed in keeping the consular function under its wing. There is a precedent for this: the Commerce Department took over a portion of the Foreign Service (in 1980, I believe), which is now called the US Foreign and Commercial Service (FCS). FCS personnel are considered Foreign Service Officers just like their cousins in State, the US Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and USAID.

My opinion is that the best solution would be to bring in consular specialists. Ultimately, I think that State is a better custodian of the Consular Affairs Bureau (CA) than DHS would be. Although it needed a strong kick in the rear, State has made great and effective strides in fixing the various problems of visa issuance, as I pointed out in my last post. DHS is truly a behemoth, and the visa function could easily get lost there amongst all the other issues the agency must confront. Furthermore, Congress seems pretty happy to fund State and CA, while DHS appears to be struggling for funds. Bringing in visa adjudication specialists, as State has already done in other fields, would not overburden the generalists' personnel system, and would provide a mobile, specialized group of people to take on a critical task.

Well, folks, it is getting late, and I think I'm going to call it a night. I will (hopefully) conclude my ramblings tomorrow, with a look at what happens once a foreign visitor actually enters the United States. Keep your eyes peeled. As always, I look forward to your comments.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Visas and Immigration - Comment and Critique, Part I

As I noted in the comments section of the Dr’s recent piece, having a young baby has kept me from blogging too much lately. I do apologize, but I hope our readers will understand. It is my aim to make up for the low quantity of posts with the occasional high quality post, but readers will have to judge that for themselves.

I have threatened, in comments past, to write a post on the subject of immigration, which, as readers will know, is a subject close to our heart at the Daily Demarche. As all FSOs do, I have spent my time on the visa line (readers can read my impression of the experience here), and the experience has left me with some thoughts on how the whole situation could be improved. I’m going to focus separately on the State role in the immigration process (i.e. visa issuance) as well as the Customs/Immigration aspect, although I possess much more familiarity with the former, of course. There are going to be a lot of acronyms flying off the page in this piece, and I suspect it is going to be long enough to make New Sisyphus and Eric Martin proud, so buckle your seat belts, sharpen your pencils, and lets get going.

The State Department And Its Role In The Visa Process

To begin with, I’m going to explain how a foreigner gets to the US. Let us assume for the time being that the foreigner wants merely to visit the US for a short stay, to study, or two work temporarily. These workers all apply for something called a Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV). Possessing an NIV is the first stage in entering the US. Basically, and NIV allows one to board a plane bound for the US and apply for entry, which must then be granted by an Immigration officer of the US Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Getting the NIV requires applying at an American Embassy or Consulate, and the NIV is issued by a Foreign Service Officer of the State Department.

Adjudicating NIVs requires a knowledge of some of the finer aspects of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), specifically section 214(b), which states that all applicants (with a few exceptions) must be considered intending immigrants to the United States until they can prove otherwise. In other words, the law requires a consular officer to presume that the person standing in front of them does not qualify for a visa; the burden of proof is on the applicant to show that he or she will return to their country of origin. While I don’t know the exact statistics, it is safe to say that the overwhelming majority of visa refusals come as a result of section 214(b), also known simply as “b” in the jargon.

A further discussion with the current state of visa issuing policy must note that, when listing the various failures that led to the 9/11 attacks, there is no real way to deny that State must shoulder a significant portion of the responsibility. Certainly there were other agencies at fault – State is by no means alone on the list of guilty parties – but the fact remains that the 9/11 hijackers all possessed US visas. This is a sobering thought to those of us who have sat on the other side of the bullet-proof glass since that day. Heck, it is beyond sobering – it is petrifying. And that is how it should be.

What does not seem to be as well reported (and what journalists like Joel Mowbray have ignored, either consciously or through negligence) is that State has reacted quite well to the problems that led to those individuals receiving visas. I do believe that more change is needed, and I’ll deal with that later, but an honest account of the post 9/11 situation at the Bureau of Consular Affairs must note the changes that the Department has made (although they also serve, sadly, to highlight the astonishing number of lacunae in the visa process pre-9/11).

Since 9/11, State has made the following changes to the visa process:

-Significantly changed the regulations for applicants who must come in person for an interview. Currently, all applicants between the ages of16 and 60 must come for an interview. This means that roughly 90% of all applicants must be interviewed.

-Instituted mandatory fingerprint scanning for all visa applicants between the ages of 14 and 80. Fingerprints are scanned via an infrared scanner which enters the information into the USVISIT database.

-Increased the amount of time spent in consular training on visa interviews.

-Greatly increased consular access to other government databases, including the FBI’s National Criminal Interstate Information Index (NCIII). This is very important because other government agencies had derogatory information about two of the 9/11 hijackers but did not share it.

These are all significant (and long overdue) changes. However, I don’t believe that they go far enough. I propose the following additions to those listed above:

-Further train consular officers in interviewing techniques.

Currently, consular officers do undergo such training, however, it could be better, and there could be more of it. I refer here specifically to the type of training in interrogation, elicitation, etc., that law enforcement officers receive. I propose that State bring in an FBI or police interrogator to train consular officers. I was lucky enough to receive, in a roundabout way, this kind of training and I can’t tell you how much it helped my ability to discern when someone was lying to me, and to help me extract information from them to bolster my suspicions.

-Greater access to the myriad databases that the US government possess.

While I did mention above that consular officers now have access to the NCIC, it is limited in that it only shows an individual’s name, some minor biographic information (height, weight, hair color), a reference date, and little else. Thus, a consular officer doesn’t know if the applicant in front of them (who just returned an NCIC hit in the database) jumped ship 10 years ago when he was a sailor and met a girl in New York, or if he went on a seven state killing spree at that time. It makes a difference. Currently, the only way to find out if the applicant is the person listed in the database is the individual in front of the officer is to make them submit a full set of fingerprints (in ink, separate from the USVISIT scans I mentioned above) and to send the prints off to the National Visa Center for an FBI agent to evaluate them. This is stupid, and it wastes everybody’s time: the officer’s, the applicant’s, and the FBI’s. It is absurd that consular officers don’t have access to this database.

Furthermore, DHS (that would be the Department of Homeland Security, remember?) maintains a veritable alphabet soup of databases to which consular officers have either partial or no access: NIIS, TECS, DACS, the list goes on. These databases are very useful, because they can track when an applicant has entered the United States, and occasionally, when they leave it (more on that later). These are very useful tools for visa officers that would make our borders more secure, yet are not available unless they happen to a) work at a post that has a DHS presence, and b) have good relations with their DHS colleagues.

I think I'm going to leave it here for right now. Tomorrow I hope to be back with more commentary, wrapping up the State angle, and giving my take on how to better arrange the vast and varied aspects of the Department of Homeland Security Immigrations, Customs, and Border Patrol.

UPDATE: Thanks to alert reader LB, who points out that Customs and Border Protection (CBP), not Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), handles travelers at the point of entry into the US. I've changed the post to reflect this.
Secretary Rice so far- one FSO's opinion.
Thanks to everyone who left us such kind words yesterday, and to all who suggested a topic for us to post on. Gordon Daugherty was the first to suggest a topic (actually two topics, at least):

From time to time I'd like to know the inside take on how the new Sec of State is doing and, more broadly, what changes (if any) are evolving in the DoS since 9/11.

Since Smiley is working on a post addressing the Department (or at least portions thereof) in the post 9-11 world, I offer you my opinion of SecState Rice so far.

In one of his first posts on this blog Smiley offered us his "thoughts on Dr. Rice":

To me it appears that, at least from a policy perspective, Rice will be good for the State Department, for American foreign policy, and by extension, for the country. It is fair to say that she has the trust of the President. The President has said that he intends to pursue a variety of multilateral foreign policy initiatives in his second term, notably the Middle East Peace Process (or Road Map, if you're nasty), bringing more countries on board in terms of Iraq reconstruction, and repairing the transatlantic relationship. It seems evident to me that by putting a close confidant in charge of our country's foreign policy, the President is effectively putting his money where his mouth is.

I seconded that opinion then- that Dr. Rice would be good from a policy perspective- and still do now. She is a well known policy "wonk", and her career up to her appointment as SecState had been largely in the policy realm. But being Secretary of State means much more than just policy, and those non-policy areas of filling the role are of interest to me today.

First among these areas is personal gravitas. Smiley provided a link to the Council on Foreign Relations where James Lindsay offered this quote:

Dr. Rice brings to the State Department something that every secretary of state wants to have: a reputation for having the ear of the president. That is immensely helpful to a secretary of state. When such secretaries walk into a room and talk to a head of state or a foreign minister, the understanding is that when they speak, they speak for the president. It often seemed that Secretary [of State Colin] Powell didn't have that kind of credibility. I would expect Dr. Rice to be a very powerful and credible secretary of state.

Contrast that with this quote from Foreign Policy magazine:

One top State Department official who worked very closely with Powell suggests that the secretary of state's popularity also complicated his relationship with the outside world, in that Powell became perceived as the voice of reason who could rein in the administration's transformative impulses. "A lot of people look at Colin Powell and they see the Colin Powell GI Joe doll action figure," he notes. "And they want to dress him up in their own clothes." At the 2003 World Economic Forum in Davos before the war [in Iraq] " he actually was forced to get pretty explicit with the Europeans and say, "I'm not the man you think I am. I'm not fighting your case in the American government. I think differently than you. I think we have to deal with Iraq. I think the president will decide if we have to do that militarily or not. But you guys have to understand, I am not the European spokesman inside the administration.""

I can promise you that there is no one in Europe who thinks that Sec. Rice is a "European spokesman inside the administration." Europe's heads of state know for a fact that when Sec. Rice speaks to them she is doing so with the full backing of the President, and that when they speak to her they are not just delivering a message, they are dealing with one of the top advisors in the administration. The difference in the field is amazing. My working relationship with my local counterparts has changed tremendously since the start of Sec. Rice's tenure.

While Sec. Powell was frequently criticized for not traveling enough, Sec. Rice has made it clear she will spend much more time on the road. She made that point quickly and clearly when she passed out pocket atlases to the press corps on her first trip abroad as Secretary of State. More than a few of our Foreign Service posts have never been visited by a Secretary of State- a visit of this level can go a long way towards improving or strengthening relations between nations (although it might put a lot of strain on some of smaller posts).

But what about at home in Foggy Bottom? Secretary Rice is faced with some big shoes to fill after the departure of Secretary Powell, and I am not talking about her boots. Sec. Powell made it his mission to improve morale and working conditions around the world for "the troops" as he liked to call us all (annoying the heck out of many a leftist in the Department). Sec. Powell inherited a somewhat dysfunctional, technologically backwards department (no Internet on most desktops until 2002!) and presented us with his leadership doctrine. Leadership within the department was, until that point, a topic no one discussed. Powell made promises and kept them. He focused on leadership, and is widely recognized for the actions he took to repair and reinvigorate the Department of State, with the two most prominent being:

Training To his displeasure, Powell discovered that many career officials had little to no management or leadership training, says Ambassador Katherine Peterson, the director of the Foreign Service Institute, State's training arm. Senior staff had taken only a two-week seminar that focused mainly on administrative issues. "This is ridiculous," Peterson recalls Powell saying. Employees were thrust into managerial positions with no formal preparation. Powell thought leadership courses would benefit everyone. Even Foreign Service officers who weren't managers might lead a staff at an embassy. Now, those officers must take at least six weeks of management and leadership training. Courses focus on team building, but also contain crisis simulations that teach how to respond, for example, to an airplane crash or a coup d'etat. After 2006, such courses will be a prerequisite for promotion.

Information Technology In 2001, only 2 percent of State Department computers were connected to the Internet. A 2001 report by a task force headed by former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci found that 92 percent of overseas posts had "obsolete classified networks, some of which have no classified connectivity with the rest of the U.S. government." Powell, who checks his own e-mail every day, made technology upgrades another pillar in his reform plan. By January 2003, 81 percent of all desktop computers were connected to the Internet. Today, 100 percent of the computers are connected, Powell says, and every post is connected to the department's classified information network."I want to get information out to every mission in the department instantaneously - not [in] 12 hours, 18 hours . . . instantaneously," Powell says.

To date Sec. Rice has not addressed many of these issues, and it is possible that she might not do so. Of course there are many top positions to be filled at State still, Assistant and Under Secretaries to be named, as well as Ambassadors, so it is possible that focus may once again turn within. In my opinion the dose of reality that the Secretary has injected into global diplomacy with her close relationship to the President and frequent travel is a welcome turn from the days when Newt Gingrich was attacking Sec. Powell and rumors of discord between State and the White House were rampant. The Secretary, and every Secretary that follows her, however, will have to face up to the Powell legacy within state. The idea that leadership matters and that development of personnel is the key to good policy development and practice can't be lost.

All that said, I rate the current SecState very highly so far on all matters policy- whether or not she can become the leader that State sorely needs, or indeed is even inclined to do so, remains to be seen. If she can strike a balance between policy and leadership Secretary Rice will be formidable indeed.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
6 months and 200,000 hits later...
Just over six months ago I launched this blog, inspired by the now defunct and sorely missed Diplomad- not long after that Smiley joined me in this adventure in blogging. I think if anyone had told us at the time that we would last this long and attract any readers, let alone average about 1,800 hits per day we would have asked them to pass the bottle. We are having a lot of fun doing this, and don't plan to stop anytime soon, so please don't take this as a swan song- just a stroll down memory lane.

Over the last six months we've had some fun with group blog projects- I especially enjoyed the "What if We Had Never Invaded Iraq" scenario and replies. That was the most fun I think I have had with the blog- and that is really saying something. We launched a blog for folks who have no blog of their own (to less than stellar success, but still fun), and hosted some great guest pieces- often inspiring excellent exchanges in the comments sections.

Smiley and I have made some great blogosphere friends along the way, blogs we admire and owe a debt of gratitude too (I hope I didn't miss anyone). In addition we have a great core group of commenters, Tina, Dan M, Peter Rice, USMC_Vet, Toni, LB, Consul-at-Arms, Soldier-Diplomat (and I am sure more whom I have left off this list) that can always be counted on to get the comments going. To balance that we've garnered some less than pleased reactions from readers to a few posts (oddly enough usually by e-mail): while the Manolo post got nothing but good comments a few e-mailers felt it did not belong on this site, and more than a few readers did not like the "Hello, Congress?" post. To them I can only say thanks for taking the time to write in and to read the blog, but sometimes we just want to go off topic and blow off steam.

So where is this linkfest going you might ask? Nowhere, really. I was just perusing the archives and hit meter and got a little verklempt as Linda Richman might say.

Thanks to all who read, comment and e-mail. While Smiley and I would still probably fire these posts off into the ether even if no one was responding, you all make it infinitely more fun. Having said that, anyone have any requests for topics? Sometimes it gets a little hard to find something original to write about within the scope of this blog, and that is when we seem to get into trouble (and produce our own flashback pieces like this)!

Cheers, Dr. D

(End of Post)
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Refugees Part II
Now for the slightly delayed Part II of the Refugees in America mini-series. As usual, several of the astute comments that were left for that piece feed nicely into this follow up.

Toni touched briefly on immigration issues, and the problems many of these groups have assimilating into America as a rule of law nation. This is, unfortunately, a very broad subject off the topic of this post, but one which bears examining.

LB of Adventures in Bureaucracy has a short post of his own on this matter, in addition to the excellent comment he left. Here is the bulk of that comment:

The success of various refugee communities varies, with some having a difficult time adjusting to life in the United States, while others thrive here. The problem with expecting refugees to go home as friends of the United States is that many never return to their countries of origin. Look at places like Sudan, Somalia, Haiti or Kosovo - we've taken refugees from all these places, but they're still basket cases, and the initial reason for the refugee status is probably still there. Vietnam sent its wave of refugees thirty years ago, and not many are willing to go back to live under the regime. The Iranian revolution was in 1979. Are we supposed to send that wave of refugees back now? The risk of persecution for them is still real.

Contrast this to places like Afghanistan, Iraq and Ethiopia. There's hope for brighter futures there, and many refugees and other immigrants have gone back to help make things better, opening businesses and trying to rebuild their political systems. Their time - and their relative success - in the United States allows them to make contributions back home, and it also shows them the benefits of things like rule of law from first-hand experience. Isn't this ultimately what we as a country want? Let the Public Diplomacy folks advocate the United States. Let the returned refugees push for stability, openness and democracy back home because they've enjoyed the benefits here in America.

Commenter Walter E. Wallis left this comment before LB left his, but it is an excellent rebuttal to LB:

Refugees should be repatriated as soon as conditions permit.

I think this is the key to LB's comments. Obviously we cannot "send back" refugees to Iran or Viet Nam, and Sudan and Somalia may not yet be ready to be rebuilt. As for places like Haiti and Kosovo- why can't some of these refugees work in the region? There are international organizations hard at work in these regions that could benefit greatly from the cultural and linguistic knowledge refugees possess. We should be helping refugees to help themselves in preparation for the day they can return to help rebuild their shattered nations. LB's comments on Afghanistan and Iraq make my point for me to a certain extent- but I propose specific training in lieu of direct monetary aid to refugees as part of this larger idea that their stay in America is not permanent. Skills they can use to survive in America should translate to skills that will aid in reparing these often war torn countries.

I ended my first post on this subject with the following questions:

Why are we not doing our best by these unfortunates and prepping them to return home someday, educated in the ways of America, democracy and freedom? Who could better serve as a representative to the world about the promise of America? Where are the Muslim refugees of Bosnia in our fight against Islamo-fascism, why are they not refuting the "great Satan" mythos? This is the planned theme for tomorrow- does our refugee program work not just for individual families, but for America (and should it) and to what end?

I stand by these questions. Where LB says "Let the Public Diplomacy folks advocate the United States. Let the returned refugees push for stability, openness and democracy back home" I have to ask: what is the difference? When we act as advocates for America we are in a very large part promoting the idea of America: a land of freedom, liberty, democracy, law and stablility. We should be promoting that idea to those who seek asylum here- they will pick up on consumerism and pop-culture quickly enough on their own.

We have in America vast pools of recent of refugees. Why are we not tapping into these pools for the best and brightest, those who learned a skill in America that can be of use in their homeland and asking them to help? We can not force them, at this point in time we may not even be able to expect many to return as LB points out. It is not, and perhaps should not be a condition of asylum that asylees train to return home to work for their homeland. Yet I think many of these folks would rather return home to help save the country of their birth. Perhaps in this I am naive- could there really be something I am not overly cynical about?

I continue to believe that our assistance to refugees is a good thing, that we are indeed helping many individuals and families. At the same time, I don't believe this is the answer to any problem. If we can equip refugees with the skills they need to return home and help solve the problems that plague their countries I believe we will be doing them, America and the world a much larger favor. The time has come for those we have tried to make strong to take the lessons they have learned in America and apply them to whence they came.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Bolton Boosters, Inc.
Just a few minutes to blog tonight before I have to report in for an official function, so I figured why not touch on a topic that will surely be front and center over cocktails tonight: the Bolton for U.N. Ambassador nomination.

Much has been written in the MSM about people opposing the nomination (my personal favorite proposes Michael Bolton, instead), and his confirmation vote has been delayed so that more negative testimony can be dredged up. Not surprisingly there has not been much coverage of those who support the nomination. Even less surprising is that this story has gotten almost no coverage:

WASHINGTON - Former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, ex-CIA Director James Woolsey and 64 other retired arms control specialists and diplomats are lined up in support of John R. Bolton, whose nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has stirred controversy.

In a letter being delivered Monday to Sen. Richard G. Lugar (news, bio, voting record), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, other committee members and congressional leaders, they said the attack on Bolton is really an attack on President Bush's policies.

Were we not still in the "underground" you could add two more names to this letter. Here is the text of the letter for your reading pleasure:

4 April 2005

Hon. Richard G. Lugar
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
450 Senate Dirksen Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Mr. Chairman:

In the next few days, the Foreign Relations Committee will be considering the nomination of the individual that the President has chosen to represent him and serve the interests of the United States at the United Nations. We write urging early and favorable consideration of the President’s nominee, the Honorable John R. Bolton.

John Bolton has distinguished himself throughout a long and multifaceted career in public service and in the private sector. In particular, his tenure as the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations during the administration of George H.W. Bush and as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security during this presidency have honed Mr. Bolton’s indisputably impressive intellect and robust diplomatic skills in ways that will serve the nation well at the UN.

As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has observed, Mr. Bolton will bring these attributes to bear in the tradition of two of the most outstanding of America’s ambassadors at the United Nations: Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Jeane Kirkpatrick. To be sure, the sort of assertive representation of U.S. interests that has been the hallmark of such appointees sometimes discomfits other diplomats. History suggests, however, that it can be indispensable to catalyzing constructive change of the kind virtually everyone agrees is needed at the UN.

Some retired diplomats suggest that Secretary Bolton’s positions on various controversial arms control treaties should disqualify him from serving at the UN. Their criticism is misdirected. Mr. Bolton’s views about each of these accords are identical to those of President Bush. While the signatories are certainly free to oppose the Administration’s positions, their differences seem to be with a man twice elected by the American people to design and execute security policies, rather than with one of his most effective and articulate officials in advancing those policies.

We believe, moreover, that the Bush Administration’s stances on such treaties reflect a clear-eyed assessment of the real limits of diplomacy with nations that do not honor their commitments, that deliberately conceal their activities so as to defeat verification and that seek to use bilateral and multilateral agreements as instruments of asymmetric warfare against nations like the United States that abide by their treaty obligations. Far from being a disqualifier, this view is an eminently sensible and responsible one in light of past experience.

In short, Secretary Bolton’s formidable grasp of the issues of the day, his exemplary previous service to our country and the confidence President Bush reposes in him will make him an outstanding and highly effective representative to the United Nations.

We request that you share this assessment of Secretary Bolton with your colleagues and ensure that it is reflected in the record of the Foreign Relations Committee’s deliberations on his nomination.


William P. Clark, former National Security Advisor; former Deputy Secretary of State

Frank Ruddy, former U.S. Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea

Christopher DeMuth, former Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy (Designate); former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy

Phyllis Kaminsky, former Director, United Nations Information Center

Major General Paul E. Vallely, USA (Ret.), former Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army, Pacific

Dr. Daniel Goure, former Director, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

John F. Lehman, Jr., former Secretary of the Navy; Member of 9/11 Commission

Barbara J. Comstock, former Director of Public Affairs, Department of Justice

Caspar W. Weinberger, former Secretary of Defense; former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare; former Director of the Office of Management and Budget

Christopher D. Lay, former Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

Dr. Kathleen C. Bailey, former Assistant Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Dr. Robert B. Barker, former Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Atomic Energy

Dr. William Schneider, Jr., former Under Secretary of State; Chairman, General Advisory Committee on Arms Control & Disarmament, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

Becky Norton Dunlop, former Special Assistant to the President for Cabinet Affairs; former Assistant Secretary of Interior

Lieutenant General Thomas G. McInerney USAF (Ret.), former Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force

Harvey Feldman, former Ambassador to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands; founding Director of the American Institute in Taiwan; Alternate Representative to the United Nations

Richard Perle, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy

Edwin Meese, former Counselor to the President; former Attorney General

Jose S. Sorzano, former Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations

J. William Middendorf, former Secretary of the Navy; former Ambassador to: the Netherlands, the European Union and the Organization of American States

Jed L. Babbin, former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense

Dennis Hays, former Ambassador to Suriname

Michael Skol, former Ambassador to Venezuela; former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs

Kim Flower, former Director for Latin America, National Security Council

Vice Admiral Robert R. Monroe USN (Ret.), former Director, Defense Nuclear Agency; former Director, Navy Research and Development

Roger W. Robinson, Jr., former Senior Director for International Economic Affairs, National Security Council

Otto J. Reich, former Special Envoy for Western Hemisphere Initiatives; former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs; former Ambassador to Venezuela

James T. Hackett, former Associate Director of the U.S. Information Agency; former Acting Director of the Arms Control & Disarmament Agency

Abraham D. Sofaer, former Legal Advisor, Department of State

Tidal W. McCoy, former Acting Secretary of the Air Force; former Assistant Secretary of the Air Force

Dr. Curtin Winsor, Jr., former Ambassador to Costa Rica

Dr. Dov S. Zakheim, former Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller); Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Planning and Resources; Assistant Under Secretary of Defense, Policy and Resources

Charles H. Fairbanks, Jr., former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs

M.D.B. Carlisle, former Assistant Secretary of Defense of Legislative Affairs

James B. Longley, Jr., former Member, U.S. House of Representatives

Lieutenant General Edward L. Rowny, USA (Ret.), former Chief U.S. Negotiator for the START Negotiations; Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State; JCS Representative to the SALT II Negotiations

Michael A. Ledeen, former Special Advisor to the Secretary of State

Morris J. Amitay, Foreign Service Officer (Ret.)

R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence

Dr. Mark Albrecht, former Executive Secretary, National Space Council

Vice Admiral N. Ronald Thunman USN (Ret.), Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Submarine Warfare

Peter Robinson, Speechwriter and Special Assistant to President Reagan

Vice Admiral William D. Houser, USN (Ret.), former Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air Warfare

Admiral Ronald J. Hays USN (Ret.), former Commander-in-Chief, Pacific; former Vice Chief of Naval Operations

Robert Pastorino, former Ambassador to the Dominican Republic; former member of the National Security Council staff

William Kristol, former Chief of Staff to the Vice President
David Frum, former Speechwriter and Special Assistant to the President
William L. Ball III, former Secretary of the Navy

Dr. Dominic J. Monetta, former Assistant Secretary of Energy (designate), Office of New Production Reactors; former Director of Science and Technology, Office of the Secretary of Defense

John C. Wobensmith, Senior Executive Service (Ret.), Department of Defense

Dr. John Lenczowski, former Director of Europe and Soviet Affairs, National Security Council

Dr. Norman A. Bailey, former Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs; former Director of International Economic Affairs, National Security Council

Andrew C. McCarthy, former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York

Amoretta M. Hoeber, former Deputy Under Secretary of the Army for Research and Engineering

Richard Schifter, former Deputy Representative to the UN Security Council; former Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs

Max M. Kampelman, Counselor to the Department of State; former Ambassador and Head of Delegation to the U.S.-Soviet START and Defense and Space Negotiations

Charles M. Kupperman, former Special Assistant to the President; former Deputy Director of the Office of Administration, the White House; former Executive Director, General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

Herbert Romerstein, former Director, Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation, United States Information Agency

Edward V. Badolato, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Emergencies; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy for Security Affairs

Dr. Alan L. Keyes, former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs; former Representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council

David J. Trachtenberg, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy

Joseph diGenova, former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia

Victoria Toensing, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division

Robert L. Livingston, former Member of Congress; former Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee

Stephen D. Bryen, former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense; former Director, Defense Technology Security Administration

William J. Bennett, former Secretary of Education; former Director, National Office of Drug Control Policy

Dr. William R. Graham, former Chairman, General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency; former Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy; former Science Advisor to the President

Major General Larry Taylor, USMCR (Ret.), former Commanding General, 4th
Marine Aircraft Wing

Dr. William R. Van Cleave, former Member, Delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks; former Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Strategic Policy and Planning

Clark S. Judge, former Special Assistant and Speechwriter to the President

Lieutenant General Charles A. May Jr., USAF (Ret.), former Assistant Vice Chief of Staff

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives

Admiral Jerome Johnson, USN (Ret.), former Vice Chief of Naval Operations

Admiral Leon A. Edney, USN (Ret.), former Commander, U.S. Atlantic Command; Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic

George P. Shultz, former Secretary of State; former Secretary of Treasury; former Secretary of Labor; former Director, Office of Management and Budget

Everett Briggs, former Ambassador to Honduras; former Ambassador to Panama; former Ambassador to Portugal

C. Boyden Gray, former Counsel to the President

Lieutenant General Paul G. Cerjan, USA (Ret.), former President, National Defense University

Robert Turner, former Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs (Acting)

Joshua Gilder, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights

Douglas R. Graham, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Senate Affairs; former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategic Defense, Space and Verification Policy

Tom Boyatt, former Ambassador to Colombia; former Ambassador to Upper Volta

Richard W. Carlson, former Ambassador to the Seychelles

Gerald P. Carmen, former Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Geneva

dé·marche 1) A course of action; a maneuver. 2) A diplomatic representation or protest 3) A statement or protest addressed by citizens to public authorities.

A blog by members of the State Department Republican Underground- conservative Foreign Service Officers serving overseas commenting on foreign policy and global reactions to America.
Send us mail: Dr.Demarche (or) Smiley.George AT

Recent Posts

A few EU tidbits.
Articles of Faith
Compare and Contrast
“we support the fight against malaria, but…”
And Now For Something Completely Different.... Music
Bono to Canada: Give us more fish!
Visas and Immigration- my 2 cents.
Visas and Immigration - Comment and Critique, Part III
Submit and Convert.
Visas and Immigration - Comment and Critique, Part II (of what now looks to be III)
Visas and Immigration - Comment and Critique, Part I
Secretary Rice so far- one FSO's opinion.
6 months and 200,000 hits later...
Refugees Part II
Bolton Boosters, Inc.


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