Page 14 - Foreign Service Journal - December 2012

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14
DECEMBER 2012
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
TALKING POINTS
Meet the Foreign Service
Through FS Blogs
E
very so often, we are reminded of
just how little most Americans know
about the Foreign Service and its work.
Te evident public shock and surprise
following the tragic
Sept. 11 Benghazi attack
that killed Ambassador
Chris Stevens, Sean
Smith, Glen Doherty
and Tyrone Woods was
such a moment.
While there has
been much talk of
blame and questions
about security in the
media and political
storm that followed,
more Americans now
know that the Foreign
Service is at work in
challenging, sometimes
dangerous locales
around the world.
As part of AFSA’s
mission to raise
awareness of the Foreign Service within
the United States, we’ve expanded our
Foreign Service Blogs Web page t
o include
nearly 200 blogs by members of the FS
community, who use them to share
personal stories, perspectives and photos
from their posts around the world.
Tese blogs ofer a unique window
into Foreign Service life
for students, candidates
and the general public.
Tey also highlight the
creative talent within
the Foreign Service
community and keep
followers up to date on
the whereabouts and
activities of their friends
and colleagues. Almost
all of the blogs are unof-
fcial and personal, and
do not represent the
views of AFSA or the
U.S. government.
Te
Journal
’s efort
to track and highlight
this resource began
with our March 2008
article
, “Welcome to the
FS Blogosphere,”
by editorial intern Marc
Nielsen. He included helpful information
on starting a blog, some of which is still
quite relevant today.
A follow-up piece
by
intern Mark Hay in the November 2009
issue not only ofered a new snapshot of
the increasing variety of such sites, but
ofered readers more information on how
to set up their own.
Editorial Intern Danielle Derbes’ June
2011 article,
“Te FS Blogosphere in 2011,”
marked the debut of AFSA’s online list of
Foreign Service Blogs
. Updated regularly,
the FS Blogs page has become one of the
most popular destinations on AFSA’s Web
site, averaging between 4,000 and 6,000
visits a month.
In addition to facilitating the process
of fnding these blogs, we also plan to add
a new section of related foreign afairs
blogs.
AFSA’s blogs page got a boost in late
September when the State Department’s
high-trafc careers site
(www.careers.
state.gov ) ad
ded a link to it from State’s
Forums page,
which all Foreign Service
candidates must visit to sign up for the
exams. State’s site already gives the public
a vehicle for interacting directly with
Foreign Service personnel and getting
frsthand answers to questions about
SITE OF THE MONTH
: The Iran Project
W
e reported in March that retired ambassadorsWilliam
H. Luers and Thomas R. Pickering have been promot-
ing direct dialogue betweenWashington and Tehran. Toward
that end, the two are among the founders of The Iran Project,
an initiative to encourage direct discussions betweenWash-
ington and Tehran.
Founded in 2002, the Iran Project became an independent
nongovernmental entity in 2009. Since then, the organization
has concentrated on presenting various strategies for con-
taining Tehran’s nuclear program and engaging the regime in
dialogue on regional issues. Its latest efort in that campaign,
“Weighing the Benefts and Costs of Military Action Against
Iran,”was co-signed by 35 regional experts and former senior
U.S. government ofcials, including many retired career
ambassadors.
As the study’s executive summary states, the paper
deliberately draws no conclusions and ofers no recommen-
dations. But it does aspire to provide “an objective descrip-
tion of some of the prerequisites for thinking about the use
of military action against Iran,”while remaining consistent
with current U.S. policy: “maintaining pressure on Iran while
holding open the possibility of reaching a political solution,
without ruling out the use of military force.”
—Steven Alan Honley, Editor