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    State Department Still Balking on Calling Out Terrorists in Nigeria

    There is some confusion in Foggy Bottom as to how the United States ought to define Boko Haram, an Islamic militant group based in northern Nigeria. Last week, Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson testified in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, calling Boko Haram a “terrorist organization.” Yet … More

    OAS and State Department Make Right Call on Paraguay

    In his report to the permanent council of the Organization of American States (OAS), Secretary General Miguel Insulza made the correct call. After traveling to Paraguay with a group of experts and meeting with all involved parties, Insulza urged OAS member states on July 10 not to suspend or expel … More

    A Billion Here, a Billion There: The State Department's Wacky Budget Process

    Even by U.S. government standards (not a high one these days), the State Department’s budget process is a mess. In almost every budget cycle, billions and billions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars get allocated to the State Department in the last minute without proper congressional debate or substantive hearings. As a … More

    The State Department’s Confusion over Confucius Institutes

    On May 17, Robin J. Lerner, deputy assistant secretary for private sector exchange at the State Department, made a valiant attempt to correct the troubling disparity in the public diplomacy competition between the Chinese and American governments, a competition in which the Chinese are clearly pulling ahead. The issue in … More

    Smith–Mundt: Myth and Reality

    Controversy has swirled around the Smith–Mundt Modernization Act since it passed mark-up as an amendment to the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act last Friday. Smith–Mundt has prohibited U.S. citizens from accessing the public diplomacy products of the U.S. government, whether in print or on the airwaves, since 1948. Critics on the left … More

    Smith-Mundt Modernization: Better Late than Never

    The House Armed Services Committee clearly acted in the U.S. interest when it voted to modernize the Smith–Mundt Act last week, as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Since 1948, Smith–Mundt has prohibited agencies of the U.S. government from informing the U.S. public in print or on the … More

    State Department to Grant Visa to Cuban Dictator Raul Castro's Daughter

    The U.S. State Department has decided to grant a visa to Mariela Castro Espin, daughter of Raul Castro, the country’s President and Premier, neice of notorious Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, despite laws precluding such visas from officials of the Cuban dictatorship. Castro Espin, who is the director of Cuba’s state-funded … More

    Russian Roulette at Voice of America

    Depending on Russian government-funded media to broadcast news from Voice of America (VOA) is about as brain-dead as depending on Russian spaceships to send American astronauts into space or depending on Russian fuel supply for the U.S. ground and air forces in Afghanistan. The outcome will surely not be in … More

    Embarrassment in Beijing

    On her first visit to China in 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Chinese leaders that she considered human rights secondary to other, greater issues. “Our pressing on those issues can’t interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis,” she said. Have those … More

    Human Rights Activists: Obama Must Stand With Chen Gaungcheng

    A top activist for human rights in China warned on Thursday that if the United States wants to maintain its image as a global human rights leader, dissident Chen Gaungcheng and his family must join Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she returns from China this week. Chen has become … More