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  • Commentary posted March 25, 2013 by Helle C. Dale Israelis Experience Obama's Charm Offensive

    President Obama wowed his youthful audience in Israel on Thursday. Having arrived on Wednesday with a mere 10 percent approval rating, Obama clearly hoped to win Israeli hearts and minds with his almost hour-long speech. He went straight to the Israeli people with his pitch, eschewing a more traditional and formal address to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. Israelis…

  • Commentary posted January 30, 2013 by Helle C. Dale Clinton on Benghazi: No Closer to the Truth

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Senate and House hearings on the terrorist attack on Benghazi, Libya, did not throw much more light on the affair or its aftermath. There was plenty of heat, though. Clinton's totally inappropriate sarcasm and theatrics in response to a line of questioning by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., will undoubtedly be the quote that stands out from…

  • Issue Brief posted December 13, 2012 by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., Helle C. Dale How to Save Radio Liberty

    For over half a century, Radio Liberty (RL) has been a central part of the U.S. government’s efforts to support human rights and free expression in Russia and, before it, the Soviet Union. Today, tragically, Radio Liberty—or Radio Svoboda, as the Russians know it—is in turmoil, its Moscow-based staff decimated by deep cuts, and its future uncertain. And RL’s listeners are…

  • Commentary posted September 25, 2012 by Helle C. Dale At U.N., Obama Defends Free Speech – Sort of

    Speaking at the United Nations this morning, for the first time since anti-American violence erupted in the Middle East on September 11, President Obama found his voice in defense of freedom of expression, American values, and the work of murdered U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Though two weeks too late, it was quite refreshing to hear the President speak out in…

  • Issue Brief posted September 24, 2012 by Ambassador Terry Miller, Brett D. Schaefer, Lisa Curtis, James Phillips, Helle C. Dale Top Five Statements Obama Should Make to U.N.

    On September 25, President Obama will address the U.N. General Assembly. With anti-American protests continuing throughout the Islamic world and setbacks to key U.S. foreign policy goals, the President should deliver a strong, confident speech that reflects America’s determination to defend its interests and serve as a constructive force for good. President Obama…

  • Commentary posted September 17, 2012 by Helle C. Dale Don't Blame the Internet for Mideast Chaos

    Censorship of the Internet is one of the distinguishing features of autocratic governments from China to Cuba. Is this the direction the U.S. government might be moving? It's too early to tell, but the Obama Administration's unusual request to Google to "review" the offending "Innocence of Muslims" movie trailer is not a good omen. Google, Inc.'s YouTube unit did in…

  • Backgrounder posted June 21, 2012 by Helle C. Dale, Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., Janice A. Smith Challenging America: How Russia, China, and Other Countries Use Public Diplomacy to Compete with the U.S.

    Abstract: Competing aggressively with the United States for the “hearts and minds” of people around the world, many state and non-state actors are funneling significant resources into their public diplomacy strategies. The Chinese government announced in 2009 that it would spend almost $7 billion on a “global media drive” to improve its image. The Russian…

  • Lecture posted May 8, 2012 by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D., Marc A. Thiessen, Clifford D. May, Helle C. Dale The Obama Doctrine at Year Three: An Assessment

    Abstract: Even before taking office, President Obama began laying out the tenets of a doctrine that would enable his Administration to remake America as one nation among many, with no singular claim to responsibility or exceptionalism. These tenets include a more humble engagement with the world and more reliance on others, as well as treaties and international…

  • Issue Brief posted April 27, 2012 by Helle C. Dale, Paul Rosenzweig Target Cyber-Oppressors, Not U.S. Businesses

    The Obama Administration has been heavily criticized for not acting forcefully to stem human rights abuses in the Middle East. Criticism of the Administration has largely focused on Iran and Syria, where Bashar al-Assad’s government is guilty of atrocious bloodshed against its own people. In response, President Obama announced several new initiatives on April 23,…

  • Backgrounder posted March 5, 2012 by Helle C. Dale Why America Has Trouble Reaching Iran: VOA’s Persian News Network in Dire Need of Reform

    Abstract: The regime that controls Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, and close to acquiring a nuclear weapon. Controlled by this regime are 74 million Iranians, 60 percent of which are under age 30, multitudes of whom reject the fanatic theocracy that tries to separate them from outside ideas. Millions of…

  • WebMemo posted February 9, 2012 by James Phillips, Helle C. Dale U.S. Urgently Needs to Reset Its Bilateral Relationship with Egypt

    Egypt’s transitional military regime threw down a direct challenge to the Obama Administration on Monday when government prosecutors announced that 43 people, including 19 Americans, will stand trial for allegedly interfering in Egypt’s internal politics. Egyptian officials claim that they illegally funded political groups in Egypt’s parliamentary elections, while the…

  • WebMemo posted February 3, 2012 by Helle C. Dale Fill the Public Diplomacy Leadership Vacuum

    The U.S. government’s public diplomacy institutions are running on autopilot. While other nations, such as China, are ramping up public diplomacy and soft-power capabilities, the attention of the political leaders in this country is focused elsewhere: the budget deficit, the economy, the presidential election, etc. The effect is that the people who should be advocating…

  • WebMemo posted November 7, 2011 by Helle C. Dale Congress Should Overhaul BBG Management

    Congress should undertake much overdue oversight of the management practices and structures of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). U.S. international broadcasting needs professional management and a transparent structure and does not have it at the moment. Consistently Inconsistent As a part-time, rotating, nine-member board that makes…

  • WebMemo posted August 31, 2011 by Helle C. Dale Congress Must Set High Bar for White House Strategic Communications Plan

    The U.S. government is struggling to coordinate the volumes of information from the many agencies and departments that make up slices of the public diplomacy and strategic communications pie. Congress needs to use its oversight to evaluate the variety of agencies, set specific goals, and ensure that the vital work of public diplomacy moves forward.   The…

  • WebMemo posted August 10, 2011 by Helle C. Dale Security Assistance Act: Responsibly Tying Foreign Policy Budgets to Security Demands

    The Security Assistance Act of 2011 (Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2012, H.R. 2583), which authorizes appropriations for the State Department for fiscal year (FY) 2012, represents a strong, back-to-basics answer to the Obama Administration’s overly ambitious attempts at redefining U.S. foreign relations. The bill’s aim is to tie American foreign affairs…