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    U.S. International Broadcasting “Defunct”—Congress Finally Steps In

    Last Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) tackled an issue long overdue for congressional oversight—the state of affairs at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). The title of the HFAC hearing—“Broadcasting Board of Governors: An Agency ‘Defunct’”—came from none other than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “The BBG … More

    The State Department’s Revolving Door of Public Diplomacy

    The State Department is about to lose yet another Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. As reported last week, Tara Sonenshine, who has been in the post for 14 months, is planning to leave the job on July 1. Sonenshine came to the job with an impressive media, … More

    Asia: Kerry’s Missing Puzzle Piece

    “[T]his budget isn’t just a collection of numbers; it’s an illustration of our values and priorities,” said Secretary of State John Kerry in his testimony before the House Foreign Relations Committee on the proposed State Department budget. It’s not clear from his testimony today that one of those priorities is … More

    Key Political Appointments Remain Unfilled at the State Department

    Despite John Kerry being confirmed as the Secretary of State for President Obama’s second term two months ago, numerous senior State Department positions remain unfilled with no plans to fill them in sight. Instead, the White House process for political appointees is moving as “slowly as molasses,” according to State … More

    Morning Bell: North Korea on the Edge

    Yesterday, North Korean officials warned foreigners in South Korea to leave that country. Today, the foreign ministers of the Group of Eight (G8) countries—the United States, Britain, Russia, Japan, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy—are meeting in London to discuss North Korea’s threats. Americans are taking notice. CNN reports that “more … More

    Sequestration Prompts Attempt to Silence U.S. Radio Broadcasting

    The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) recently informed its workforce about sequestration cuts to Voice of America’s (VOA) shortwave and medium-wave broadcasting. Ironically, the Board is cutting the most cost-effective part of its organization: radio. It would be more rational to cut the bloated management and administration of the International … More

    U.N. General Assembly Adopts the Arms Trade Treaty

    This morning, by a vote of 154 nations in favor (including the United States), 23 abstentions, and three against (Syria, North Korea, and Iran), the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The treaty will be open for national signature on June 3, 2013, and will enter into … More

    Kerry Signals Conditional U.S. Commitment to U.N. Arms Trade Treaty

    On Friday afternoon—the traditional time to issue unpopular statements—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry signaled the conditional commitment of the U.S. to the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The conditions were as important as the commitment: According to Kerry, the U.S. wants a “strong and effective Arms Trade Treaty” that … More

    Kerry: Diplomacy Is Hard Work

    On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry took off on his first foreign trip of the capitals of Western Europe and the Arab world. The focus of the trip is the just-about-impossible task of creating international consensus on ending the civil war in Syria at a an international conference in … More

    Iran Nuclear Program Advances Amid Terrorism Reports

    Iran defiantly continues to expand its uranium enrichment program despite international sanctions and multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions, according to a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iran has begun installing advanced centrifuges that will increase the rate of enrichment and reduce the amount of time it needs to … More