Diplomacy Is a Four Letter Word
The Neocon Triumph
by Philip Giraldi
February 18, 2014
Ideologues like Victoria Nuland, who might serve as a poster child for what is wrong with the US government, constitute only one element in the dysfunctional White House view of the world and how to interact with it. Former Senior State Department official James Bruno asks “Why does America send so many stupid, unqualified hacks overseas?” For the first time since the Second World War more than half of all US Ambassadors overseas are political appointees rather than career diplomats, yet another instance of President Barack Obama’s saying one thing while running for office and doing another thing when actually in power. Bruno describes an ambassador to Sweden lying drunk in the snow, the current hotel chain owner nominee for Norway who did not know the country was a constitutional monarchy, and a TV soap opera producer pick for Hungary who had no idea what interests the US might have in the country. One Obama appointee Seattle investor Cynthia Stroum actually was forced to resign after running her embassy in Luxembourg into the ground, verbally abusing her staff and spending embassy funds on personal travel and alcohol.
All of these splendid examples of American officialdom have one thing in common: they gave a lot of money to the Obama campaign. Raising $1.79 million is now the going price for an ambassadorship. Good work Mr. Obama. You promised transparency and have again exceeded all expectations by appointing ambassadors whose lack of qualifications would embarrass the head of state of a banana republic. With Victoria Nuland firmly at the helm of our ship of state in Europe and working to overthrow a friendly government while a group of rich but clueless clowns heads our embassies every American will henceforth know that he or she can sleep safe at night.
Ukraine’s Culture War
Nicolai N. Petro | February 7, 2014
Ukrainians in the West fear for their cultural identity if their version of Ukrainian culture is not dominant, and they have reason for concern. The population in the core Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine outnumbers the population in the core Ukrainian-speaking regions by almost two to one. Of the country’s ten largest cities, only one, Lviv, is predominantly Ukrainian-speaking. Russian is, by a wide margin, the language of choice in education, commerce, and entertainment. A 2012 study found that over 60% of newspapers, 83% of journals and 87% of books, and 72% of television programs in Ukraine are still in Russian. Even more troubling, from the western Ukrainian perspective, is that the internet has only reinforced this cultural dominance. Russian is by far the preferred language on web sites in Ukraine (80.1%), followed by English (10.1%), then Ukrainian (9.5%), while the Russian version of Wikipedia remains five times more popular in Ukraine than the Ukrainian one.