June 2013 Archives

June 21, 2013

U.S and Pakistan’s Secret Afghan Diplomacy

“While the opening of the Taliban office in Doha, Qatar, has captured headlines across the world, wide-ranging interviews with highly-placed diplomatic, military and foreign office sources reveal that this office is but one of the many elements of a USA_PFC_BoweBergdahl_ACU_Croppedcomplex process, the ultimate aim of which is for all stakeholders in Afghanistan to share power through an inclusive election process under a possibly modified Afghanistan constitution,” writes Syed Talat Hussain in the June 20, 2013, edition of The Express Tribune of Pakistan. See “Afghan Revelations: Pakistan-U.S. Diplomacy Created Doha Roadmap.”

According to Mr. Hussain, writing from Islamabad, Pakistan, “Months-long painstaking and secret negotiations involving Islamabad and Washington have yielded a detailed roadmap for steering negotiations with the Afghan Taliban which will start to unfold with the release of five Afghan prisoners from Guantanamo Bay and the return of the captured US soldier PFC Bowe Bergdahl, (in photo above) at present in Taliban custody.” See “Afghan revelations: Pakistan-US secret diplomacy created Doha roadmap.”

Mr. Hussain offers a plausible analysis, which I highly recommended to anyone interested in diplomacy and the role of various players in the United States’ impending exist from Afghanistan.

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June 20, 2013

Drones, Aerial Surveillance and Privacy

The American Civil Liberties Union offers an analysis of the Obama Administration’s use of Drones in the United States. It’s enlightening in view of FBI Director Robert Mueller’s admission that drones are, indeed, used in the U.S. See “FBI uses drones for surveillance in U.S.”

For the ACLU’s recommendations, see Protecting Privacy From Aerial Surveillance: Recommendations for Government Use of Drone Aircraft.

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June 19, 2013

What Pakistan Must Do to Stop Drone Attacks

“Understanding a bit of political psychology might help Islamabad to engage constructively with Washington to stop drone strikes in the tribal areas of Pakistan,” writes Dr. Haider Mehdi, a United Arab Emirates-based academic and policy analyst, in the June 20, 2013, edition of The Nation, a Pakistani English language publication. He adds:

Until and unless foreign policymakers and defense managers in Islamabad fully comprehend the political behavior of the entire American political establishment inclusive of the White House, State Department and Pentagon, their attempts to bring Washington to the negotiation table to cease drone strikes will fail. If this happens, political turbulence all over Pakistan will intensify. Stopping drone attacks in the tribal areas is the first and foremost step towards bringing peace, and a major challenge to the newly-elected democratic government to effectively deal with terrorism, in Pakistan.

Mr. Mehdi said, “Islamabad must prevail on the U.S. administration to stop carrying out aerial warfare against this country (Pakistan).”

For more, please see “Co-partnering with the U.S.

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‘Diplomats Need to Interact, Not Broadcast’

Roland Paris, a senior fellow in the Canadian Defense and Foreign Affairs Institute and director of the Centre for International Policy Studies at the University of Ottawa, asserts in a June 19, 2013, post in Canada’s Ottawa Citizen:

Many countries, including the U.S. and Britain, now expect their diplomats to use social media as a regular part of their job — not simply as a virtual “listening post” to monitor political discussions, nor merely as a megaphone for broadcasting press releases, but as a forum for participating directly in these discussions.
Mr. Paris said, “The traditional model of public communications — one-way transmission of press releases and “key messages” — tends not to work well on social media. For diplomats to build a following, they need to interact, not broadcast.

If you want to read more, please see “Canada needs more digital diplomats.”

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