tv After Words CSPAN October 10, 2016 12:00am-1:01am EDT
me. >> mary coming you have written a really terrific book and of the back is says mary thompson shows has used the trove of cables to provide a fascinating account of how the policy works from the bottom up. why did you write to this book quick. >> secretary thank you so much for the question. in part admiration was the motive plot to understand what my colleagues do with the key leaks was something that nobody had imagined. so that was the unique opportunity been to see in realtime world beaters who are still in place many of them for someone who had
actually been a diplomat to have that experience from which the cables were written to comment and to make sense. >> how long was your career in foreign service? let's start with that. >> 1989 by united states commission agency i come from the public diplomacy part with tenures when the agency was folded into the u.s. state department the night continued as a officer with the state department then evolves to into the u.s. embassies in 2012. >> but i have to ask you i was teaching a class from georgian university men
they're going into foreign service that want to make a difference. >> the same thing that motivated my colleagues patriotism a desire to serve my country and experience for cultures, for and languages, to take a deep dive what others think about the united states. and then caught by the mandate of ritual understanding and to those that were working among them to use that. >> host: explained public diplomacy of want to ask you that up front because it is interesting when the organization the united
states agency was molded into the state department there was a heavy debate that was very controversial over the question should be brought into the state department some people said absolutely not should be independent to have a greater impact but on the other hand, that it should be in the state department because by bringing it is mildew and the policy process what did you think? >> the public diplomacy is the present culture coladas that work did it either gravitate towards now including social media or writing speeches for ambassadors arranging media interviews or a press conference to be did monitor
media and the question was put to bring the best of american culture to the rest of the road which is a challenge because we have pop culture peabody things in a lot about america and what is best for america as sad opportunity to deepen understanding of american culture and what that is about five. >> of course, we learned more about those four cultures of which we operated in a mutual understanding that takes place if all goes as it should if we have an opportunity with those layers of knowledge. >> host: plays a crucial role to understand society and also it has not bend the traditional role of the state department and but
that has focused on so that is crucial. >> indeed. one of the things that sets them apart is to reach over or across directly to the four republics i really mean that people from all walks of life not just journalists but people who work with ngos are academia increasingly those of nontraditional lines of work to achieve notoriety in the halls of power better influential in their own communities one. natalie public diplomacy that it is imperative not
only to do the traditional part, types of diplomacy to explore the boundaries of public diplomacy to cultivate the for an audience as well as the traditional context of traditional diplomacy. >> host: let's turn to your book. you laid out very well in the chapters about the wikileaks cables at a big many people realize the scale and scope of what was covered because while was highlighted and featured was the classified - - declassified portion and classified as only a small part. there were a number of confidential although
surprisingly large number of unclassified cables. so let's start with where were you november 28 in 2010 quick summit dead diplomat in resident based at tufts university and my job was to talk to aspiring diplomats across new england about what it is like to be at diplomatic types of policies or how to become a foreign service officer and what diplomacy means. and everybody aspires to reach small dash to write that telegram and is unlikely to happen again so what this foreign policy?
where does the state department hit in? in what is that apparatus behind it and what to expect if you go to a consulate or embassy? what would that look like? >> host: what was your initial reaction that day when you learned of the wikileaks cables and the fact they were released and what did he think their impact was? to my shock, horror shock, horror, disbelief like all of my colleagues instead of thinking what had i written that might embarrass us over undermine u.s. foreign policy, what would my name appear on? [laughter] wishing i could sit down with my colleagues to talk about it but to realize as a
diplomat and residents i would love to be a part of this conversation but i have a different job at the moment and that will be to answer questions from students and faculty public who are interested in foreign service. >> host: use a the release of these cables was an unprecedented that there were other times historical the with other sources of information. >> talk about at and put this into context quick. >> in this part of the journalistic practice to use the information with one example defense is that one end but as julienne
astonishes back in the news recently julian asange had a interesting angle really disliked government and research in that there were under handed dealings and somehow publishing best was a radical transparency to prove that all of us for up to no good and in fact, "the guardian" and "the new york times" who had the initial reading of the cables were surprised there were no underhanded dealings by mid-level officers going about sometimes with some interesting approaches or writing style that was
nimble and not bureaucratic and honestly making efforts to understand those environments in which they were posted. there was a lot of eloquence that julian asange missed because of his own agenda so i do part company that there was a public service being performed that somehow there was dirt that would come to light it is interesting but not nefarious. >> the part that you did mention "the guardian" and also "the new york times" maven write-down of uh'' were occasionally to be entertaining and very interesting these reactions you have the foreign minister have describing
this a time "to the secretary" of world diplomacy. from what you just described it doesn't sound like it is the same. >> is interesting that edward snowden was waiting in the wings with another scandal i think leaks will be a part of government life and the which and the multiplicity that we communicate social media treats are all of that is part of politics and understanding how to be adjudicated how to know when something needs to be secret that is very much under debate in the clinton
e-mail's have reignited a lot of that debate the way in which we classify or declassify cannot continue when needed new way to classify things. wikileaks cables is not for those who write the cables to decide the classification but it is something that you assume that they would know whether or not would be highly damaging or just damaging or not at all. that officer does not have the inclination of which make a judgment on that. but that higher level classification means more likely leadership would be
interested in an unclassified. >> host: another aspect addressed was the trust broken with foreign diplomats? what was the impact there? because then the defense secretary robert gates who basically says the have heard the impact of foreign policy to describe as a mill town or a game changer. i think those descriptions are significant in the fact is the government's deal with united states because it is in their interest not because they like us or trust us or be they believe we can keep secrets. so the question that comes to my mind was that broken because the others felt because of the release of the damage was done was trust in terms of the
confidentiality. >> there was some damage. i do think she had a point of view that was intentionally of all level of hysteria i don't think it was nine levin of world diplomacy either but wondered the efforts that to place before the "new york times" published was to sit down with the state department officials to go to the cables to redact of those whose lives could be in peril and the times very willingly engaged in an effort to place over several days before they were released ultimately there's a lot of information that was out there that arguably
should not have been but coming from journalism there is a sense of trust that you trust it with the tell you is confidential the have earned that trust i don't think it is in uniquely american problem and keeping secret is a lot harder what does that mean to guarantee somebody it could be kept confidential in the future that people will be less candid so my sense of human experience it want to share their views and are willing to go to enormous risk it is unjust the diplomats because they want to their opinions to be out there in as a platform for communication is changing faugh, every
cannot guarantee but on the mp bill may be more willing to take the risk that it could get out. >> one of the reactions i took note that was revered of the foreign service and he had a wonderful quotation in archaeology of cover the unknown in diplomacy you cover the known. you have a silver lining that was brought out wonderfully in the book that basically you say those leaked cables in a way did diplomats of favor but also putting a spotlight in the window not only on their work but the eloquence of the right team so also a
silver lining to this occurrence as well. >> this is a story of them in double officers because they're the ones that do come and the actual writing. and there were so many great stories and one that comes to mind a group of entry-level officers decides to take a fact-finding mission to go out in the course of four days and to compile information for and on their way to do this had to go out to get the illegal gold mining operation and
mercury is dumped in the of water and all the things that go along with the operations the country did not have complete control of the region rather as was happening and put ultimately they did meet but it was the first time in seven years anyone had met with them. this is why rejoined the up for a service to leave the capital behind in the parts of the world better not california or new york. they did need any special skills or high-ranking people. had that sense of the venture and curiosity to know the foreign culture. and then to answer what question?
so why should we care? and here is what we discovered. that is real up diplomacy to meet. >> host: talk about the title of the book. leaked embassy cables and america's foreign policy disconnect" talk about the disconnect and what is the disconnect? >> guest: particularly in the time . that we look at most deal with 2006 through 2010 it means don't get into bank gauzy that happen 2012. 2006 through 2008 was the last two years of the bush should ministrations then read have the next two years of the obama administration and that is an interesting
time. so that is an important guideline right there but the bush should ministrations few of how could it not be? in the aftermath to many of the panels in the commission's all looking at america's relations and what went wrong? not allot the diplomats that served in the middle east with on the ground experience with those commissions because there's a lot of fighting taking place what'd is like to be living post to 9/11 country
and i am not sure those voices were heard. said those were not part of the muslim world with anti-americanism that made it much worse like argentina is a case in point where the public opinion ratings were 12%. what happened in argentina had nothing to do with the 11 the embassy had a lot of dancers and ideas but i am not sure. >> host: that is a recommendation at the end of the book the connectivity between the policy makers in washington and in the field
isn't that one of the strains of the various chapters that you do come out with a recommendation? >> and not idealistic that washington is waiting to hear from that diplomat the foreign policy making is as complex as it has ever ban. you have stakeholders everybody from the pta, congress is more interested in for policy with those agencies that local police for the state department. yes, it isn't likely that those foreign service officers will direct foreign
policy but what i discovered it is an follows a tradition that is unique and sometimes policymakers' come under suspicion even though we are just as american to protect the u.s. constitution, we are seeing as people who have gone over to the other side what it means to support and defend american policy with the mccarthy era or vietnam and i think it is unique in the united states to have this dichotomy he spent too much time overseas
the more you know, about foreign culture the less you know, about your own. '' we have to offer is important and we need a voice. transportation was more difficult now you can have secure video conferences and that expertise in is being lost. it isn't a partisan issue, there was no watershed moment in now suddenly it is quite the contrary. syndicate thank you raise an important point every industry shin will have an
agenda but what you really underscore is the range and diversity and experience and analysis of those in the field that has something substantial to contribute in that may not necessarily mean there is a revolts but it is important that those considerations are factored into the deliberations and not ignored by whichever administration and what you try to bring out. i will ask about diplomacy because interestingly enough there is also the aspect of the public diplomacy area and moments ago in those examples in that cultural
diplomacy whether historical talk about that and how public diplomacy factored into that. >> this informative in that regard there was a lot of controversy at the time about what could be accomplished in a country that has wartorn as iraq. the bush demonstration made a point to make iraq the new embassy the largest in the world how lever with the staffing requirements with those officers available that could be effective was very small. and turnover began to be a problem and it was hard to fill the position. officers wondered is an important to work in haiti
or china? i know mandarin. so they said no it is most important that we staffed the embassy in baghdad. so there was a lot of discussion but yet the evidence in the cable suggests that officers willingly and wholeheartedly energetically each to accomplish some impressive things while they were there even without their knowledge of arabic or wrote without the knowledge of the region but the tools that they had been given and being creative and improvising. i think it is one of public diplomacy's success stories. it is hard to use the word
success in the same sentence because things are in the air but the cable suggest a trajectory of officers who answered the call, were loyal and did with the initiation asked asked, search, and accomplished. >> host: you mention the assistant secretary of state for educational cultural affairs at the time. . .
and it was very striking, his mark on that period. >> it became the largest in the world and we had other programs as well. my colleagues put on theatrical performances and had standing room only crowds coming and in the programs that were offered in their own language they could relax and enjoy that's an important part of diplomacy it's not to win the hearts and minds necessarily or policy-based but it's definitely about human outreach and cultivating contacts and opening up the stage in which more difficult
dialogues could take place once you establish contacting which is one of the rationales of public diplomacy i believe. >> host: you have a wonderful quote in here, many of them but a wonderful quote from the director at the time of the bay of pigs edward murrow saying if they want m me in on the crash landings i better be in on the take off. the question that arises and one of the criticisms is that only good coming in is there a hesitancy from the field of only having cables that will tell you what you want to hear, what about the crash landing.
they want to acknowledge a failure taken place. nobody wants the bad news. a good example of that was the visit she was very activist but wasn't always liked by the field and her visit sometimes hit sour notes and her penchant for introducing herself to describe the foreign policy was offputting particularly the non-christian audiences. she tried hard to reach out to women and women in turkey, indonesia, saudi arabia were very different and i think she
did not succeed and i think the embassy was very circumstance and how i went about returning that. the defense whenever you have a delegation visiting the delegation has to clear the table so anything you write from ambassador hughes or somebody on the staff would have to clear. you can see they had some workarounds they described not the meeting for the public that the meeting with ministers. nothing ever goes wrong in a meeting with the ministers. it's rare for that to happen or in one case she delivered a blunt of textbooks wasn't that nice. that says so much because it's not saying the more important parts which are the policy part. they've had some rocky meetings
and they were not able to describe but the local media did and then they quoted them talking about it so that was sort of a workaround for them. >> host: i know those things are always very challenging. i know ambassador hughes and i know her intent is noble to try to impact audiences and i think that it was a tough period when she took that on. talk about crisis diplomacy. what are the challenges here. they shed a wonderful light on why they ought to put the
embassies overseas. anyone can go to haiti and take footage of the presidential palace but it's shocking they told the story but you need the context and background and a lot of these were situational relief -- reports written and they were not classified because the communications were difficult as is often true in a crisis whether it is a cyclone or flood or tsunami would be another example of that. they are innovative, creative, dedicated, they are intent on organizing and understand the
bureaucracy and how systems can be put in place. they need to connect with the local people and get acquiescence and in order of precedence so you don't bring things in and they were just a remarkable blueprint for how do you stand up the team in the face of this overwhelming disaster. we lost many foreign service nationals at the same time and of course hundreds of thousands lost their lives. what you do first?
they don't what the have what to the people they could reach and little by little they paid you back on their feet and it's a company that never quite gets back on their feet but nonetheless they put a plan into place and you can see as they get more detailed and less anecdotal you are no longer dealing with bodies in the street of the systemic issues that are starting up on the claim that tax and they've got the ports operating, the airports functioning in a taking less time to bring in supplies. i really and joy to writing it because of the optimistic aspe aspect. >> host: it had an impact because you also pointed out how
it provided a blueprint for the open door of what unfolded later in the context because there was a closed door policy in that time and this is a question of providing aid and also getting in and providing aid and you articulate how ironic they are for pointing out the kind of foundation that was laid for the opening. >> the states were much higher because of a very open interest of the cold months defeats the relationship. that is the lack of contact with their own people and they moved the capital away.
they were seemingly unaware of the extent of devastation and damage and what the wholesale humanitarian operation entails. they assumed that it would be a few international flights and that would be it. they didn't understand that it would require assessment and people working on the ground if you are running a very authoritarian and a very tight regime because this breaks down barriers and people suddenly relyinrely on the ngos and commy structures. as the embassy predicted, this exposed the general control and ultimately have a huge impact on the general's.
>> host: it was a very different situation over the question of the crew here. say a bit about that. >> guest: this is our own backyard that makes it less exotic than burma and myanmar. this is a country we know well. it's also a country with a troubled past and a history of american intervention. right next door we have daniel ortega, the return of daniel ortega and not too far away, venezuela, hugo chavez and in a sense that has ears shiftin to g and becoming more leftist anti-american.
but in a maneuver that he was trying to obtain a second term in office but wasn't in line with the constitution at the time some americans particularly those who were afraid of the trend of others in the domino effect but it was a good thing because it allowed for a more conservative administration to come in and cut off what was going to be an attempted second term in office. others declined as unconstitutional and a french democracy they consciously kept the ambassador in place to deal
with the de facto government at the time and tried to work within the boundaries of the system to reestablish the rule of law just fascinating because they pulled all of the ambassadors said he was one of the few that remained throughout and the intensity of reporting was almost at the same level as the earthquake reporting. the administration asked our colleague to serve as a mediator in the process and he becomes part of the reporting efforts on who is saying what to whom and it is a fascinating look at what it means over the long-term and how do you put the toothpaste back in the tube and get this country back on democratic track
and it was very prolonged aftermath. >> he was a very fine foreign service officer. he had a section on travel that was very surprising by the way, surprising but yet not because anyone that knows the foreign service knows the most interesting cables of times are the ones where they are out of capital. you gave an example that give another of an example that sheds light on where getting out of the capital and getting into the country can make a difference. >> guest: it's one of my favorite areas of reporting on this because someone discovered that truck stops are a great place to get information and
this region has many denied areas. turkmenistan is a border country and the embassy realized they could sort of set up shop and chat up the drivers on their way in and out and it became something of a listening post in this fascinating. i loved the ingenuity of the workaround and the fact that people got out and did what we are all paid to do which is targeted to peopltalkto the peot what's going on. you have to actually talk to real people and the little vignettes to the stories they found were fascinating.
they found a band that achieved some degree of fame in the united states and tragically many of the musicians in the band were killed over a dispute that wasn't political but talking to that video gamers these are young people in iran. we need to know what was happening. >> one must always be reminded that there are good stories but there's also stories that are told because they are willing to put their lives on the line and get out and about and they don't know what will happen next.
and i think that interestingly enough, , a number of these also point to that fact as well as you articulate in the book. let me go to this section on friends and enemies. when american values and interests come into conflict, how do you grapple with that and i think there is a spotlight on that aspect in foreign policy. >> obviously a lot has been written about this is the question of do you stop dealing with the country and how do you when you don't like the regime commanded as a question in foreign policy that i is filled
with on a daily basis. hillary clinton has written a lot on this and how to choose. hopefully we can offer democracy and individual freedom, but we don't always win. the embassy wrote constantly and relentlessly on his human rights violation and that has been one of the breadbasket in africa and one of the functional democracies at one point i and w they've torn the country apart. we want to have a presence in the country and continue to talk to people that will challenge the regime.
we have a mixed track record of encouraging people but other times we have to be carefully and we don't want to promise but we can't deliver that we can't be so naïve to turn our backs on reality. >> the chapter was a lot of fun to write because there were a lot of people waiting in the wings that most americans have never heard of and there's some interesting characters out there and they come to power through an interesting means. they had probably been reporting on hand for many decades before he ultimately rose to power.
the daniel ortega is another one. we rotate officers and this inauguration was a new one for the officers that describe the hijinks. the philosophical question that you pose is absolutely essential to the diplomacy and one that i wish would be deviated more into there are many schools that fall on it and many people have written on this at great length and there are no easy answers but it troubles me that it's
been swept to the side and isn't what you're talking about these days when we talk about foreign policy. >> host: it seems you came to the conclusion that interestingly enough it also pointed out the important role of the nongovernmental organizations and foreign policy and this is an area they came to play in the bringing of the environmental concerns to the forefront despite the resistance of the government. isn't that one of your messages in that chapter? >> i was astounded. the way that it's set up. it was interesting how the
embassy chose to write about these because it is very important. but there are international wildlife organizations that have amazing budgets and personnel staff that are the crème de la crème in the education background to deal with these issues. when bees organizations choose to set up shop or they don't seem to share their commitment and they have the resources at their disposal. they do good work and the nature conservancy, same thing.
in terms of their land and their holdings, who do they answer to and are all of their decisions in their interest of the country itself. this is perhaps for another book or another person that's interested in this but i was interested this is generation of diplomats is passionate about wildlife and the environment and seeing the reality on the grou ground. >> host: you had a chapter on corruption and then you also have a chapter devoted to secretary clinton during her tenure and defend your conclusions at the end. on those two remaining chapters let me ask you i'd say that definitively there is a service that they have performed and
made certainly in terms of tracking. to shed some light on that. i know how crucial it is to have that information before observing and election. >> they describe the atmospherics behind it as well as the technical operations of what constitutes free and fair, how do we measure it and how do we assess the outcome. there's usually several months that goes on for advance because the candidates need space and democracy to operate the need equal access to media entities are not a foregone conclusion in a lot of places in the world. but the anecdotes that they describe as well when things go wrong and how the local election officials would work to solve
them is interesting and spoke to human resource was and the reality in places where you can't get reliable electricity or the elections taking place in the middle of the winter in ukraine and people coming on horse-drawn sleeves and things which is sort of picturesque but what do you do when you see one family member voting for 30 members of his clan as it is considered perfectly normal. then it's a different view and they don't even bother. how can you close the gap and suggest ways forward for a country that is in transition and has a long way to go and so
in a manner of congress says wasn't fair yes or no that doesn't get at it because you need more context to understand what's happening. i've seen it more in the czech republic and there are a lot of interesting differences about all that and it's one of the more interesting tasks of those that join us and go to these polling places tuesday at what transpires on the ground. >> host: before we conclude, i want to focus on two questions in th one and is related to the last chapter and also something that you cite relative to condoleezza rice and that i inte concept of the transformational diplomacy. define what it is for the viewers and also where is it
now? it's something that was announced and continued on during secretary clinton's turn at the state department. where is it now? >> guest: that was one of the contributions the first one in particular. she said we have as many officers in germany as we have in india. how can that be? that is hard to argue with him she began a redeployment that changed and suddenly they were going to india and they were being diverted to iraq but that idea that we needed to rethink the globe and to leave the post-communist transformation
and look at the world in a different way was something she showed along that track. thforeign service officers now understand it's not likely they will get a lot of promotions if indeed they would be allowed to do that which is highly doubtf doubtful. the exciting work is from places a lot of people have to look up on the map to find. we will be spending more time and more personnel in those places because this is the cutting edge of the foreign policy. >> host: let's conclude on this note what were your three pleas and i want you to mention them you articulated to them in the buck your three recommendations coming forward. >> guest: i think they ought to be declassified.
they are out there on the internet and what's happened now is international students, professors have access to them. american students may feel a little bit less secure having any kind of a an academic deep dive into that and i think it is out of the bag. i also think we need a professional leadership in public diplomacy. many of the other branches have been well served by officers have come up through the ranks and worked in the field for decades and assumed leadership in the roles. we've had excellent political appointees as well. unfortunately public diplomacy is one in which the turnover has been rapid and the expertise and commitment of a lot of the former undersecretaries of public diplomacy has left the field poorly served.
i wish at some point perhaps the next administration might consider pulling someone from the ring and selecting someone in a leadership role. >> host: i want to say you've written an excellent book. any student on foreign policy and practitioner on foreign policy it's not only informative but it's fascinating. i learned a number of things even though i've ha decide how d the government i learned from this book and just thank you so much for your contribution. ..