Selection and commentary by PDC members and authoritative experts in the field
Tuesday, September 20th 2011
Assisting Transition in the Middle East: What Role for PD?
To sharpen the U.S. response to this year’s events in the Middle East, the State Department has set up a permanent office to help countries in the region move toward democracy.
As described in media reports, the new Middle East Transition Office will develop and coordinate transition strategies for individual countries―Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya to begin with―then work to support their implementation. Later, it would broaden its efforts to include countries like Syria and Yemen, if they got to the point where democratic transformation could get underway.
In the course of its work, the new outfit will have to keep top-level policy attention focused on what it’s trying to do. That’s according to William Taylor, the office’s leader and a veteran of similar American transition assistance after the Soviet collapse. He will report to the assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs and the deputy secretary of state. About a dozen people will staff the office, which may also add senior advisors from the Defense Department and USAID. Operating within State and with other federal agencies, the office will also team with international financial organizations, NGOs, and people in the countries with direct involvement.
Sunday, September 11th 2011
On Sept. 11, 2001, millions of people around the world turned their attention to what was happening in the United States.
The initial images were terrifying: Skyscrapers in flames. Americans in shock and distress. Disaster zones in New York and Washington.
But they also saw Americans at their best. They saw brave firemen and others rush into burning buildings to save lives. They heard how passengers on Flight 93 fought back against their armed captors. They saw a sea of American flags spread like wildflowers across the nation in a spontaneous expression of national unity.
Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives that day in New York, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Not all of them were Americans; the victims in the World Trade Center came from more than 90 countries.
We mourn them all.
The national character of every nation is made up of many qualities, but we take both pride and solace in the fact that some of our best ones were on display that sad day ten years ago.
Friday, September 2nd 2011
This morning the buffalo pelt I purchased from Paul Jensen, the rancher who shot it in South Dakota, arrived at my office.
In some ways it was like buying a piece of art from the artist who created it. Like the Native Americans whose economic livelihood was dependent on the massive herds of bison that roamed the prairie, Paul and his family are eating the meat and using other parts of the animal.
Friday, August 19th 2011
It was disconcerting to read the article on the front page of today’s Washington Post entitled “’Friendship Match’ ends in melee.”
Monday, August 15th 2011
August is a time for reflection. International broadcasting, among many U.S. funded national security institutions, is immersed in questions this summer about its mission, its reach and its cost effectiveness. Our pioneer publicly-funded overseas network, the Voice of America, is just a few months shy of its 70th anniversary. What is its role and impact in the ever widening galaxy of U.S. government funded overseas broadcast entities?