tv After Words CSPAN October 8, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT
they were heading to the door of the common area with a bag full of trash. i repeated my new name i'm nicole, i'm from los angeles. they tried match e me with parents, they could not. after few more minutes of small talk i return to my room and began to unpack i'm maded bed first and suitcase and pom-poms from high school on my desk. before i left for the airport i had rummaged through old things at the my mother's house and decided to take them. everyone loved cheerleaders and i could hide behind what cheer leaders are supposed to be
happy, pampered and without worries nearly exact opposite of my life up to that point. i was done. i unpacked in less than an hour. i walked to end of the hall and she was unpacking and deep things about what her moll has to take back to new york because this cannot fit in dorm room. i had no television or radio. to pass the time before lunch, i listen to conversations between paper thin walls. did you see that little girl from california? she's all by herself. it sounded like jade talk to her mother. i know she said that's so sad. although i couldn't see her i was certain she was shaking her head she sounded sorry for me. i couldn't take it. i foundation on the green flower on my bedspread an blink hard to push back the tears and my door was open and i didn't want anybody to notice me crying. i sat there working hard to
convince myself that i was going to be okay. to them i was a little girl from california without parent to help her unpack. to me i was the grl who made it. so -- [applause] [applause] thank you nicole for that beautiful reading i love what you're reading by love of black women may we all continue to be sustained thank you for joining us and nicole will meet you in the lobby for further conversation and for a book signing. thank you so much.
[silence] rks c-span created by america's cable television company and brought to you as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. >> on this week's afterwards program we hear from mary thompson jones on leaked diplomatic cables interviewed by paula, former undersecretary for democracy and global affairs. >> mary, you've written a really terrific bock. and on the back joe nye says mary thompson jones used e trove
of wikileaks cables to provide a fascinating account of how diplomacy really works from the bottom up. why did you write this book? under secretary thank you very much for the compliment and for the question. i've admired your work an apartment admiration with motive i know first hand what my colleagues do and wikileaks release not intentional an part of the government, and something that nobody had imagine gave us a unique opportunity to see what diplomats do in real time. the cables deal with world leaders many of whom are still leading still in place, and it was an opportunity to someone who actually had been a diplomat and had to live experience of serving in some of the countries in which cables were written to comment on them an try to make sense and meaning of them for the public at large. sm now, how long was your career in the foreign service and why
did you want to become a foreign service officer. let's start with that. >> i was hired in 1989 bit united states information agency so i come from the public diplomacy line of work. i had ten years in usia and agency folded into the u.s. state department. and i continued my career as a public diplomacy officer in the state department, and evolved into what ultimately became the deputy chief admission of the u.s. embassy in prague my last assignment in foreign service i left service in 2012. >> but why did you want to be a foreign officer? i've been teaching a class, and of my class of georgetown university many are going into the foreign service. and it's interest to me the students today who want to go into the foreign service. they want to be abroad and they want to make a difference. what motivated you? >> the same things i think that motivated my colleagues. of course, a sense patriotism
with a small p a desire to serve my country. but also a desire to learn about the rest of the world. to experience foreign culture, foreign language. i love languages and really take a deep dive into how others think about the united states. i was really caught by the mandate of mutual understanding and the idea that we should go abroad to serve american foreign policy but also to bring back home the opinion and view points of foreign publics that we're living and working among, and try to use that to inform u.s. foreign policy. >> explain if you will a little bit about public diplomacy i want to ask you that upfront because it's interesting when the organization, the united states information agency was melded into the state department. there was, in fact, a really heavy debate and really, you know, very controversial debate overt question should it be brought in to the state department? and there was some people who
said absolutely not because it should be independent. it would have a greater impact abroad if it was. on the other hand, then there was the issue of well it should be in the state department because by bringing it in, it is melded into the policy process. what did you think about that? before we turn to the book? >> show of hands for diplomacy is to describe it as press and culture and a lot of us who worked in it either would have gravitate towards media work which now includes social media and writing speeches from arranging media interview, press conferences, cultivating contact among the generallistic community of whatever country we're posted to, leading and monitoring media all of the time. and cultural aspect which means bringing the best of american culture to the rest of the world which is a challenge. because we have pop culture, and everyone thinks they know all
about america, and what they know is not often what is best of america. so it's an opportunity for us to deepen foreign public understanding of what american culture is all about. and one of the best ways to do this, of course, is to learn more about foreign culture in which we operate. i love that meshing of the two in the mutual understanding that takes place when all goes as it should, and when we have an opportunity to -- to deepen the layers of knowledge we have. >> so you're right certainly. it plays really crucial role in understanding other societies, and it also place a role which isn't and hasn't been the traditional role of the state department then what the state department has focused on and so i think the compliment is a crucial one. >> indeed back to your earlier question i think one of the things that sets american diplomacy apart from what is
practiced in other countries is imperative to reach over or across heads of state an governments directly to foreign publics. and by foreign public it's a term of art. i really mean people. people from all walks of life not just journalist but artist, people who work in academia. people who are opinion leaders but increasingly people from nontraditional lines of work who may never achieve note in hauls of power but influential in their community and right and to be effective diplomats public diplomacy practitioners but of any sort. i think it is imperative not only to do the traditional kinds of diplomacy which the state department has done since the beginning of our country founding but also to explore the boundary of public diplomacy, push boundaries a bit and cultivate foreign audiences and
foreign publics as well as the traditional contacts which is the bread and butter of additional diplomacy. >> let's turn to your book. you laid out very well in these nine chapters the wikileak cables. >> uh-huh. >> you did it methodically and what was interesting about it was the fact that i don't think many people realize scale and scope of what was covered because what was highlighted and featured mostly the classified portion and the classified portion was really in scheme of things only compromised a small part as you point out in the book, thrrm a number of confidential but also a surprisingly large number of unclassified cable. let me first start with this where were you on november 28, 2010? >> i was a diplomat residence working in new england at law an
university an my job to talk to inspiring diplomats not only from across new england about what it's like it be a diplomat and policies they deal with, how to become a foreign service officer which is not a straightforward process as i'm sure you know, and what diplomacy means in modern times. students always read george canon and everyone insphiers write that telegram. probably that's had its moment in history, and it's the way foreign policy is made. not likely to happen again so explaining to students well, what is foreign policy, and where does the service fit in and state department fit in? and state and foreign policy, let's see apparatus behind it and what can you expect if you were to go it a consulate or embassy anywhere in the world what would it look like and feel like? that's what i was doing at the time.
>> what was your initial reaction on that day and learned of the wikileaks cable and the fact that they were released and what did you think their impact was? >> shock, horror, disbelief like all of my colleagues. and sort of racking my brain for what had we written in previous embassy the one that was at the top my mind. that might embarrass us or might undermine u.s. foreign policy. what had i cleared on, i shouldn't have -- what my name appear on. [laughter] and wishing that i could sit down with colleagues and talk about but no longer working at the embassy but now being based in nulled is diplomat resident learning that huh i would love to be part of this conversation but i have a different job at the moment, and my job is going to be to answer questions from students and faculty and the public who are interested in foreign service.
>> when you say in the book thatted release of these cables wasn't unpress dented in the certain way. that other times with releases of information but not in the exact shape and form as in this case. talk a little bit about about that and putting this in context. >> sure, well leaks are part of the government as you know from your long tenure in the government. it's part of journalistic practice to cultivate sources to use information of pentagon papers, of course, one example of that. an important aspect of this. >> where i think this is noteworthy is role of julian assange back in the news recently because of his comments on unfortunate murder that took place here in washington washington, d.c. couple of weeks ago. assange had an interesting angle.
he unlike a journalist really disliked government and was very suspicious and was certain that there were underhanded dealingsings and that somehow publish this in sort of a radical transparency would prove that all of us were up to no good, and, in fact, both the guard general and "new york times" who collaborated in the initial release of these cables were surprised to find that, in fact, you know there were no underhanded it dealingses. these were mostly cables written by mid-level officers going about their duties with some zest. some deal is, some times with interesting approaches with -- the writing style that was surprisingly readable. and not bureaucratic, and earnestly making efforts to understand the environment in which they've been posted and accepting that information become to washington. and i thought there was a lot of eloquence in that.
that assange missed u because of his own agenda so part company with him in terms of thinking that there's -- that there's a public service being performed here and that somehow you know there's dirt that will come to light surprisingly little dirt in all of this. it's interesting but it's not very -- >> it caught my attention that in your book that you did mention the guardian and you also mentioned david of "the new york times." i even wrote down the quote where he mentioned cable were eloquent and entertaining. it was -- very interesting these reactions. on the other hand you have franco prime minister who describe november 28th, quote, as the 9/11 of world diplomacy was it the september 11 would you put it from what you described it doesn't sound like you view it as the same. >> well, we survived.
[laughter] but it's interesting that it wasn't a one off edward snowden was waiting in the wings. we had the dnc scandal just month or two ago. i think leaks are going to be a part of government life and the speed at which in the multiplicity which we communicate with each other now not only in long cable, and canon, but short e-mails, text, social media, tweets, all of that is going to be part of the body politic. understanding how to classify it, how to adjudicate it and how to know when something needs to be secret and know when to share it is something that i think is very much under debate and hillary clinton e-mails reignited a lot of that debate, and the volume at which we communicate with each other now is just crushing the way in which we classify and declassify things cannot continue.
we have to find a new method to do this new way to classify things. >> you know, wic with leaks cables it is the officers who write cable who is decide what classification should be that means that you're assuming that a person would know sitting in louis for example whether or not something would be highly damaging or just damaging or possibly not damaging at all. that officer may not have sufficient information in which to make a judgment on that. and there's the -- long habit that the higher level classification the likely you will have a read orship that will be interested if you have unclass fid cable can't be important, right? >> it was another aspect that was addressed by people who reacted at the time and that was was trust broken with foreign diplomats what was the impact there?
and i was struck you quote -- then defense secretary robert gates and he says i've heard impact of releases on our foreign policy described as a meltdown as a game changer and so on. i think those descriptions are fairly significantly overraw. the fact is governments deal with the united states because it's in their interest. not because they like us. not because they trust us, and not because they believe we can keep secrets. so a question that just comes to my mooned is well, was trust broken? because other two reacted and felt that because of the release the damage that was done was it was trust broken in terms of the confidentiality of exchanges that took place. >> sure. >> i think there was some damage. i think gates had a point of view that was intentionally trying to calm people.
and there was a level of hysteria i don't think it was the september 11 of world diplomacy either. somewhere in the middle. one of the efforts that took place before "the new york times" published was to sit down with state department officials dozens of them and go through the cables and redact names of the sources that could be his wife could be imperialed and this was something that i understand "new york times" very willingly fen gauged in and this was -- an perfect that took place over several days before the release and the guardian honored redactions that were made. wikileaks did not. so there ultimately a lot of information and a lot of names were out there that arguably should not have been. yes, i think coming from journalism there's always a sense of trust that if you assure a source that what they're telling you is confidential that you honor that trust, and i think people will be less open.
i don't think this is uniquely an american problem because we live in the global world and keeping secrets is a lot harder. and having the means to guarantee someone that their views will be kept confidential is going to be harder in the future. will that mean that people will be less candid? don't know. my sense of human experience is that people often want to talk. they want to share their views. and they're willing to go to enormous risks in order to get their view point across. it is not just diplomats talk to but thet their opinions to be out there. we're in a time in which platform for communication are changing just -- all the time. and we can't -- we can't guarantee confidentiality and on the other hand people may be more willing to take the risk and just september accept the
fact that it could get out. >> one of the reactions i took note of and you sited in the bock is one who is very revered in foreign service tom pickering. an he had a wonderful quote he said in archaeology, you cover the unknown. in diplomacy, you cover the known. you know, had a real silver lining that i think you ugh brought out wonderfully in this book. and that is that you basically say leaked cables in a way did diplomats a favor by also putting a spotlight in the window not only on their work. but also as cited by david the eloquence of the writing. the analysis, the assessment so there was also a very much silver lining to this. occurrence as well . >> i hope there was a silver is is lining for foreign service officers. you know, this is really a story
of mid-level officers because they're ones that do the writing and research that guess into making a cable. and there were so many great stories of not only mid-level officers but entry level officers. one that comes to mind are a group of entry level officers, and deciding to take a fact line mission into the back part of the country going in dugout canoe to meet with a group of maroon who are descendant of escape slaves in order to compile informs for embassy human rights report. and on their way to do this, they discover all of this illegal gold mining operations that are happening that are being run by br still general and by chinese and mercury dumped into the water all kinds of pros towings and things that go along with gold mining operations. the country didn't have complete control of the back parts of the region where this was happening.
and the embassy officers ultimately did meet the -- people that they had hoped it to meet with that was the first time in seven years that somebody met with them and i was charmed by aspects of the story, the intrepidness, you know this is why we join foreign service that is to get out there, leave capitol behind and see parts of the world that are not kansas, not california, new york, and they did it. they didn't need any special skills. they weren't senior high ranking people. they have that sense of aide venture and curiosity in wanting to know a foreign poem and culture, and then providing the context for it that would make sense and answer the so what question. back in washington of, you know, good for you. you did this. but why should we care? well you should care because of environmental reasons as well as human rights reasons, and here's what we discovered. that's real diplomacy to me . >> talk about the title of the
book and as we go think some of these chapters but let's start with the title and looking at leaked embassy cables and america's foreign policy disconnect. how about that disconnect. what is the disconnect that you came to here? >> i see particularly in the time period that we remember looking at most of the wikileaks cables deal with 2006 to 2010. that's an important data set. it means that we don't get into bank subsidy people wonder about because it happened in 2012. 2006 to 2008 was the last two years of the bush administration. then we have first two years of the u euphoria and obama administration and interest time in diplomatic history so that's an important guideline right there. >> the disconnect it seems to me is that -- the bush administration's view of the world wases informed greatly by
9/11 everyone in and how could it not be. this led in aftermath to many blue ribbon panel, commissions, boards of inquiry, all looking at america's relations with islam. with the muslim world. and what went wrong and how could it be fixed? there were not a lot of american diplomats who served in middle east not a lot of psychological larceny and people with on the ground experience who were informing that, those query and thoses commissions. and i think that's a shame. there was a lot of writing taking place in these embassies and consulates about what it's like to be living in post-9/11 in an arab country or in the muslim world. and i'm not sure those cables were being read and voices were heard. there were embassies that were not part of the muslim world which we're dealing with anti-americanism in some cases with anti-americanism which was
much worse than what was happening in the muslim were argentina to be disand point at some point the public opinion rating in materials of popularity of the united states according to pugh global research were, you know, 12%. what happened in argentina this is not a muslim nation nothing to do with everyone in. where did things go so wrong? combo had a lot of answers and a lot of ideas. a lot of initiatives. but i'm not sure that they got a hearing. >> that is one of the relations that you also have at the end of the book is looking at the connectivity between the policymakers in washington and those in the field an making sure that the voice in the field is well heard. isn't that one of the strains to the various chapters and that you do come out with a recommendation one of your recommendation or appeals at the end? >> uh-huh yes not so idealistic to believe that washington is
waiting it hear from mid-level career diplomats out in -- paraguay or whatever. they're not. the foreign policy making establishment is as complex as it ever has been. you're part of that. you've lived that experience you know that. we have stake hold terse from single issue groups everybody from pta on down. congress is ever more interested in foreign policy. the number of agencies that look globally is increased the state department but one of many. so, yes -- it's not likely that foreign service officers are ever going to direct foreign policy. but what i discovered it in reading the cable and it's my own view is that -- policy tradition which i think is unique to american diplomacy in which sometimes policymakers
almost look with suspicion on american officer as. and even though we're just as american and uphold all of the same values sworn to defend constitution as they are, when we're sent overseas we're seen as people clientitis people gone over to the other side and people who have lost their sense of what it means to support defendant american policy i think it cools from mccarthy era. other era with vietnam era, and and i think it's unique in the united states that we have this dichotomy that somehow you -- about you spend too much time overseas and the more you know about foreign culture, the less you know about your own. i don't think it should be that way. i think what -- we have to offer is important. and certainly trustworthy. and we need a voice. in george canon state harder to
have that voice because transportation was more difficult, communications were difficult. now, you know you can have secure video conferences. it is very easy to bring people to the table virtually or electronically or on a plane. and that expertise is being lost. and to me that's what the cable showed. ands it's not a partisan issue. i think it happen it is in republican as well as in democratic administration there was no watershed moment when the obama administration came into office that suddenly it was clear that cables were being read and before they hadn't quite the contrary. they -- it was cut as business as usual. >> i think you raise an important point and that is that there's a balance that's needed. every administration that comes in is going to have its mission. is going to have its agenda but also what you really are undersker and bring out is the ring range and dwrsty and diversity and analysis of those in the field that have something
substantial to contribute to the decision making process. and it doesn't necessarily mean it will be the end result but it's important to make sure those considerations are factored into deliberation and not ignored by which ever administration in this case and that's something you tried to bring out here. let ask you about public diplomacy you yourself were an officer as you describe, and you know, here interestingly enough in the cables that leaked theres also an interesting aspect that is brought out in the public diplomacy era and you mentioned it will in the example i believe you gave in the cultural diplomacy. and what actually can come out whether it's historical, whether it's about the roots of the society. talk a bit about about that and how public diplomacy factors into the cables that were leaked.
>> well the iraq chapter i think, is informative in that regard. because there was a lot of controversy at the time about what cob accomplished in the country that was as war torn as iraq was and sadly still is. and the bush administration made a point to make iraq the new embassy in iraq largest embassy in the world, however, with single year staffing requirements, the number of foreign service officers available and those who could speak arabic was small and turnover was a problem and hard to fill positions. foreign service officers wondered isn't it important to work in haiti or i spent four years learning mandarin shouldn't i be working in china or fill in the blanks. the administration very infatically said no, it's most important it is our priority that we fully staff the embassy
in baghdad and there was a lot of discussion some of it became very public as i mentioned in the chapter. and yet the evidence from the cables suggest that officers went willingly wholeheartedly energetically and accomplished something presses things while they were there even without nofnlg arabic without an in-depth knowledge of the region. but using the tools they had been given improvising, being creative and getting out and trying to relate to people. and i think it's one of public diplomacy's real skdz success stories and hard to talk about the word success buzz things are very much up in the air but cable have officers who answered the call. were loyal, did as
administration asked, served, and accomplished impressive things. >> you mentioned mary secretary of state and then you also mentioned ambassador adam militant arabic came ongt scene in iraq and how he -- really got -- things going in a wide variety of areas fulbright scholarship, sister city exchange and you cite the fact that in that time frame and as covered by these leaks that it really shows this scale of -- this activity. that was achieved and also under challenging circumstances. not only challenging circumstances there in iraq. but also as you're pointing out just the rules of the foreign service itself. and it was very striking. his mark on -- that period of iraq. >> well we doubled fulbright
program that became largest in the world with 17 at one point. we have other programs as well english language teaching program. the fellow program . we did cultural programming. my colleagues put on theet rei call performances, and had standing room only crowds. coming because iraqis were hungry for normal life. for cultural events and programs that were offered in their own language to relax and enjoy and that's the important part of diplomacy too. it's not beginning to win hearts in minds necessarily and not policy based but it is definitely about human outreemple and cultivating contacts and opening up a space in which we're difficult dialogues could also take place once you accomplish contact and make human connections which is one of the foundational rationals for public diplomacy i believe. >> you have a wonderful quote in here, many of them. wonderful won of usia director
at the time of the bay of pigs of 1961. edward moro saying, quote, dammit if they want me on the crash landings, i better damn well be on the takeoff unquote. the question that arises there and one of the criticisms that does arise is there only good coming in? is there hesitancy from the field of only having cables that will tell you things that you want to hear? what about the crash landings. what about the bad news of being factored? talk about that. >> yeah, it's hard to write a cable describing failure takes a lot of guts. first of all it has to get cleared by am bees door who may or may not want to acknowledge that a failure has taken place under his or her watch. nobody wants the bad news.
but it happens and aaron hughes was activist under secretary. but she was not always liked bit field, and her visits sometimes gets sour notes. her pensioned for intrusion herself as a mom, as a christian to describe the post-9/11 u.s. foreign policy in almost terms was offputting to multiculture audience and nonchristian audiences. she tried hard to reach out to women and women in turkey and indonesia. saudi arabia places like that and culturally very different, and i think she did not succeed and i think that embassy was very interest how it went about reporting that. and in their defense whenever you have a delegation they have a right to clear on the cable. so anything you write either --
ambassador hughes or somebody on her staff would have to clear. you can see that they had some work around. they described not the meetings with the public. but meetings she had with ministers. these are -- nothing ever goes wrong in a meeting with the minister, very rare that to happen. or o in one case she delivered a lot of english language text books wasn't that nice? that -- that says so much because it's not saying more important part policy parts and embassy will report to local media reports of an event. so the fact that in turkey, hughes had some rocky meetings embassy wasn't able to describe those. but the local media did and the media then quoted local media talking about it so it was work around for them. >> those things are always very challenging and i know ambassador u hughes and her
intent, of course, was a noble one to try to -- in a down to earth way impact audiences and i think it was a tough period when she took that on. you have a section on crises. let's talk a little bit about that because you have three very different crises you talk the earthquake in haiti as reported in the cables. these cyclone and burma and then the cue in honduras. talk about diplomacy what are challenges here and what do those leaks cabled do or not do in this regard? >> i think they shed a wonderful light on why taxpayers ought to support embassies overseas. any cnn crew can go to haiti and tack footage of the collapsed ministry and palace but shocking they tell it the story about. same cyclone and burma same idea. but you need context,
subtext,ing background, first person accounts all of these are situational reports. written hour after hour as things unfolded. and they were unclassified buzz there was no means in which to send out classified information because communications were very difficult this is often true in a -- crisis let's say a natural crisis. an earthquake or cyclone or a flood. tsunami, another example of that. embassy officers are innovative. they're creative, they're dedicated. they don't go home at 5:00. [laughter] they are intent on organizing. they understand the bureaucracy of the u.s. governments and how the systems can be put in place. they need to connect with local people such local people are available. and get acquiescence in this and
get an order of precedence so that you don't bring in things ahead of other things and the haiti cables were just a remarkable bliewnt for how do you stand up a teal in the face of the absolutely overwhelming disaster. we lost a foreign service officer in haiti and we lost many foreign service nationals at the same time. and, of course, you know, hundred was thousands of haitians lost their lives too. but how do you -- what do you do first? well here's the answer. here's what the embassy did first. was it right? could they have done better? you know, it's debatable but it's a case study and it's logical. they dealt with what they had. they dealt with the people they could reach. they reached back to the u.s. government and little by little they put haiti back on feet one of the most vulnerable in western hemisphere country that
never gets become on it feet but nonetheless, they put a plan into place remarkably early in the process. and you can see as the cables get more routine and more detailed less an tech dottle no longer dealing with bodies rotting in the street but systemic issues. that oh they're starting up the garment factories again. they've got the ports operating. the airport is functioning it's taking less time over land and bringing in supplies and kind of a testimony to american can doism. but i really enjoyed writing this haiti crisis -- because of the optimistic hindu aspect it have. >> one on burma had a real impact busy you also pointed out how the cables and what was written provided a kind of bliewnt bliewpght for blueprint of what unfolded later in burma because we have a closed door policy at the time sanctions on
burma and this have a question about providing and bring in aids, and you well articulate how ironically these leaked cables point out the kind of foundation that was laid for opening into burma. >> yeah, stacks were much higher because there was no question in haiti that we had a very open and historical long standing relationship. as you point out we did not have that in burma. what was so remarkable about cyclone and that embassy cron cronicle so well general utter lack of contact with their people they had moved the capitol away from rangoon therm seemingly actually unaware of the extent of the devastation and damage, and very ignorant about what a wholesale humanitarian operation entails. they assumed that it would have
clear a few international flights bring pallet of water and mre and that would be it and didn't understand that it requires assessment. people working on the ground all of this is working a authoritarian, very tight regime. because this brex down barrier and people suddenly need to rely on mgo and community structures. and understand the the needs are and you have foreign centers walking ornd the ground talking to your people. as embassy predicted, this exposed the fishers in the generals control. and a ultimately had a huge impact in the general's power and the rise of -- [inaudible] which has been a great development for u.s. relations with burma. >> honduras in a different situation over the question of
acue say a bit about that. >> this is our own backyard that makes it less exotic than burma this is a country we know well. congress knows this country well, also a country with a troubled past and in central american countries. right next door we have daniel the return of daniel orega not far away venezuela, hugo chavez, and in a seasons that hemisphere is shifting. and becoming much more leftist and much more anti-american. president salia unceremoniously deposed illegally deposed i think no question about it. but over a very ambiguous legal maneuver in which he was trying clearly to obtain a second term in office which was not in line with the honduras constitution
at the time. some americans particularly those who were afraid of the trend of chavez and others and domino effect thought that cue was probably a good thing in disguise because it allowed for more conservative administration to come in and it cut off what was clearly going to be an unconstitutional attempted a second term in office. others with secretary clinton had unconstitutional and in a french democracy they consciencely kept ambassador in place to deal with the government, the de facto government at the time and try to work within the boundaries of the hon durings rays system to reestablish rule of law. fascinating because the european union pulled off its ambassador most of the oes pulled
ambassadors so our american one of the few who remain throughout the intensity of reporting was almost -- of the same level as the intnsty of the haiti earthquake reporting hour by hour what's happening day by day. administration asked -- our colleague in costa rica to serve as a mediator in this process. an it's a fascinating imper your look at a cue not in the first 24 hours. but in what it means over the long-term. and how do you put the toothpaste back in the tube? how do you get this country become on democratic track after such a long -- it was a very prolonged cue and aftermath. >> i know very well investor hugo a good friend and he had a channel before him. very, very fine foreign service officer.
you had to section on travel one of the chapters so very surprising. in a way, and it's surprising but yet not because anyone who knows foreign service knows that the most interest cables at times are ones when they're out of capitol. an you gave the example of n orc m but another example of a cable that really sheds light on where getting out of the capitol and actually getting into the country can make a difference and have a real impact on policy. >> central asia is up with a favorite area to report because someone discovered that truck stops are a great place to get information. and this region has many denied areas from american diplomats particularly iran. turk is a border country and the embassy realized at some point that they could set up shot at a
turkman truck station and chat up the drivers cafes on their way in and out and became a listening post. that was fascinating -- about i loved begun the intrepidness of it ingenuity as a work around and the fact that people got out of their desks out of the embassy, out of the building, and did what i think were all paid to do which is go tack to people. find out what's going on. you can't just sit reading the newspaper and writing reports from the newspaper but you to talk to real people, and the drama -- stories they found were fascinating. the -- they found iranian garage band which later bill the yellow dogs which achieved some degree of fame in the united states and then tragically the many of the knew musicians killed by fellow iranian over a dispute that was
not political. but talking to rock guitarist, video gamers, these are young people in iran. and these are people that we will be dealing with more and more in the future. and we need to know them what they think. their world view was important to them. and i was so pleased to see that this was happening. >> another side to that story and that is when foreign service officers get out of capitol an their security is in jeopardy. and one must be also reminded that there are good stories but there are also stories that are told because they're willing to put their lives on the line and to get out the and about and they don't know what will happen next, and i think that interestingly enough number of these cables also point to that fact as well as you articulate in the book. let me go to this section on friendmy friends and enemies to face of diplomacy. one of the issues that you try
to tackle and i wonder what your answer is when american values and american interests come into conflict. how do you grapple with that? how does one grapple with that? i think there's a spotlight on that aspect of foreign policy here. >> sure. obviously, a lot has been written about the mubara notorious people who capture the headlines, and the question of well, do you continue to deal with the country you stop dealing with the country. how u do you deal with the country when you don't like the regime and it's a perennial question in foreign policy. you -- you dealt with this on a daily basis, of course. hillary clinton has written ate about this too and how to choose. hopefully we can opt for democracy and individual freedom. but we don't always win.
robert is a great example. power today in zimbabwe embassy wrote just constantly, and relentlessly on his undemocracy streak on human right violation how he ran the country into ruin economically country that had been one of the bread baskets of africa one of the more functional at one point and how land reform gone wrong just -- tore the country apart. obviously, we don't yield it, but we want to have a presence in the country. we want to continue to talk to gutsy people who are going to attempt to challenge the regime. we have a mixed track record of encouraging people hungry -- it would be a case and point going back quoit a ways. but other times too where you have to be careful. we don't want to promise what we can't deliver.
we want to stand for what we believe is americans but we can't be so naive as to simply turn our backs on reality and duty. >> do personalities trump politics? >> no, with but they inform politics. >> and clearly the friendmy chapter was a lot of fun to write because there are a lot of people waiting in wings that most americans have never heard of and there are some interesting characters out there and they come to power through interesting means. so that when you see hugo chavez he didn't come from nowhere. embassies have been report or have been for many decades before he ut matsly rose to power. daniel soot one he's an old -- [inaudible] we know this guy from way back. [laughter] and should surprise about daniel anybody. but officers come with fresh eyes. we rotate officers frequently.
so he's a new experience. new for officers who describe antic and high jinks of that inauguration but philosophical question you pose is one that is just -- absolutely essential to diplomacy it's one i wish be debted right now in this elect rile period because it's important to get at the new wans versus political realism and many thought on that. and many have written on this at great length. and there are no easy answers. but it troubles me a bit that it's kind of been swept to the side. and it's not part of what we're talking about these days when we talk about foreign policy. >> you seem to also have great fun with the section devoted to wild animals and jungle diplomacy as you call it. and it seems you came to a conclusion that interestingly
enough with these week cables, that it also pointed out important roles of nongovernmental organizations in foreign policy pep and this was an area where they came into play in bringing environmental concerns to the forefront even despite some of the resistance of certain government. isn't is that one of your core messages in that chapter? >> not something well upped in that yet. i was sounded the way wikileaks is set up you can write in rhino and click and you know -- up comes hundred was cables on rhinos. yes, i'm passionate too about wildlife and rind knows eninterest sp how the embassy chose to write about these because it isn't trif ideal but very important. but there are national wildlife and conservatory organizations that have amazing budget and amazing personnel.
staff that are, you know, the crème de la creme in terms of people with all of the education and background to really deal with these issues. and when these organizations choose set up and a government that doesn't share their commitment and they have resources at their disposal to operate without government consent, it should give us pause. nobody elected wildlife fund . they do good work. nature conserve same they think. nature assets outthe strip in african countries. in terms of their lands and their hold technician. who do they answer to and all of their decisions in the interest of the country itself? this is perhaps -- a scope for another book or another writer i know person who
is interested in this, but i was interested that this of diplomats is passionate about wildlife and the environment and getting out of the embassy and seeing the reality on the ground. >> that's certainly kale out. it really jumped out the. two other chapters you had, you had a chapter devoted to corruption. and the issue much procurement, election, and then you also had a chapter devoted to secretary clinton during her tenure. and then your conclusions at the end. let me just on two remaining chapters ask you in terms of corruption i would say that definitively there's a real -- service that these cables have performed and have made. certainly in terms of tracking election. shed some light on that. i know myself of being been election observer how crucial it is to have that information before observing an election for example.
>> i loved the embassy cables on elections because they -- they describe the atmospherings behind it as well as the technical operation of it. you know what constitutes free and fair. how do we measure it, what's yardstick for that and how do we assess the outcome and embassies don't write just the day of the election but several month was reporting that goes along in advance. because candidates need space in democracy to operate they need to be able to advertise. they need to have equal access to media these things are not a fore gone conclusion in a lot of places in the world. u but the favorite they added in an tech dotes they described is well, when things would go wrong, how local election officials would work to solve them was interesting. and spoke to human resourcefulness and in elections where you can't count on reliable electricity or electionsation place in middle
of winter ukraine and people on horse-drawn slaves and that is picturesque. but what -- what do you do when -- you see one family member voting for 30 members of his clan? happens in uzbekistan and behalf of his clan. one man, one clan -- it's a different view. and you know, the us about c are doesn't bother because the standards are just so different. so how can you close this gap and how can you suggest ways forward for a country that is clearly in transition and clearly has a long way to go and what meaning do you make from an election so that when a member of congress simply saying was it free and fair, yes or no. that doesn't really get at it. you need a lot more connection in order to understand what's
happening. i've seen elections more in latin america but also in czech republic an a lot of interesting differences about all of that and it's -- one of the more interesting tasks of embassy officers and people from washington who often join us and go out to the polls places to see how it transpired on the ground. >> before we conclude i want to focus on two questions, and one related to the last chapter on hillary clinton and also something that you cite relevant to condoleezza rice and that's the concept of transformation diplomacy and where is it now? ...
>> that is hard to argue with. >> and she began redeployment and that change it iraq. >> they were going to germany anywhere, but they were deemed back to iraq. the idea that we needed to rethink the globe and leave the postwar era, leave the post- communist transformation era and look at the world in a completely different way with something she