The Foreign Service Journal, July-August 2013

14 JULY-AUGUST 2013 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL 50 Years Ago N ext month [August 1963] marks the tenth anniversary of the United States Information Agency’s debut as an independent U.S. government agency. The Foreign Service Journal , speaking on behalf of those members of the American Foreign Service Association who are not themselves part of USIA, takes great pleasure in congratulating our friends and colleagues on this notable occasion. Millions of words have poured from the presses and through the airwaves during the short but stormy life of USIA, and many of the men and issues which loomed large in the foreground during its infancy can now be seen somewhat more in perspective. The “Spirit of Geneva” has flown and the “Spirit of Bandung” is sorely wounded, while such issues as Hungary, Suez, Quemoy and Matsu are at least temporarily in eclipse. Instead, the high- tension words of the early Sixties are Cuba, the Congo, the Plaine des Jarres and outer space. The more the words change, however, the more the problems remain the same, and the need for informed, articulate spokesmen for the views of the United States is as great as ever. ... On its tenth anniversary, therefore, USIA can look back with satisfaction at 10 years of solid growth. It has labored hard and successfully at its job of keep- ing open the existing channels of communication with the great world public and seeking unceasingly for new channels, new spokesmen and new ways of making known the views of the United States to the rest of the world. It can also look forward with confidence to the years of challenge that still lie ahead, for there is no shortage of grievous problems on the horizon and beyond it. —From the editorial, “Coming of Age,” FSJ , July 1963. pean administrations suffering through the economic crisis prosecute against antagonistic reporting. The United Nations’ Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, finalized at the end of 2012, is designed to assist governments in drafting laws to protect journalists and to strengthen the U.N.’s ability to evalu- ate journalist safety. However, as Frank Smyth of the CPJ has reported, “The participation of member-states will be essential to the success of the effort—but gaining their cooperation is not a given.” In many countries, both central governments and allied paramilitary groups have actively targeted reporters for persecution, making 2012 the most dangerous year for journalists worldwide in a decade. —Jesse Smith, Editorial Intern Diplomats Offer Online Chats T wo recent online Q&A chats with Foreign Service officers highlight instructive and entertaining ways that the public can learn about real-life diplomacy. In addition to hundreds of Foreign Service blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, etc., check out your colleagues’ personal engagement with members of the vast Reddit community and on the site called Art of Manliness . Reddit is a popular social news and entertainment website where users provide the content, including links to other sources. On the “subreddit” feature, “IAmA” (I am a), people of all kinds introduce themselves and offer to answer questions (part of “AMA,” or ask me anything). Quite a few notable people, including President Barack Obama, have partici- pated in an IAmA session. And this is where we find our anonymous FSO, “ I am a United States diplomat,” on April 26 taking questions a second time: “I’m (still) a U.S. diplomat serving overseas. I’m hoping to answer any ques- tions about the U.S. diplomatic corps you might be wondering about. “Ask me almost anything. I won’t comment on certain topics, but I will give honest answers about my profession. My views are my own and do not reflect the view of the Department of State or the U.S. government. To the potential critics, I assure you that I am doing this on my own time (not your taxpayer-funded hours) and on my personal computer.” This FSO offers articulate and thoughtful responses—in 493 back-and- forth comments with readers—to a diz- zying array of questions beginning with immunity, and including consular issues, foreign assistance misperceptions, politi- cal ambassadors, security, family life and back again to immunity. He’s careful, but still engaging. When asked about the most reward- ing thing he’s done on the job, he writes: “Getting to brief Secretary Clinton on a particular issue during an S visit was pretty cool.” Another recent glimpse inside the Foreign Service career can be found in “So You Want My Job” at Art of Manli- ness ( , which features interviews with “men who are employed in desirable jobs” and asks them “about the reality of their work and