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Persecution of the Kurds

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The Kurds have had a long and troubled history in Iraq. Under Saddam Hussein tens of thousands of Kurds were massacred and their villages destroyed during Iraq’s war with Iran in the 1980s. In the aftermath of the 1990-91 Gulf War, the Kurds, staged an uprising against Saddam and fought to gain autonomy over the Kurdish-dominated region of northern Iraq. However, Iraqi troops  recaptured the Kurdish areas and hundreds of thousands of Kurds fled to the borders. A “safe haven” was then established by the UN Security Council to protect the Kurdish population.

Peter Galbraith was a professional staff member for the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations at the time and in March-April of 1991 he traveled to northern Iraq to conduct a study on the status of the Kurds. While in Iraq Galbraith discovered what was at the time the largest collection of documents of evidence of war crimes since World War II. Galbraith tells of the difficulties in securing and transporting such papers and how they illustrated the cravenness of Saddam’s regime. He was interviewed by Charles Stuart Kennedy beginning in 1999.

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Pac-Man Fever

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July 2016 saw the explosion of the global phenomenon Pokémon Go, where people walk around town (and often into traffic or ditches) trying to catch various animated creatures that look like they are actually sitting there in front of you. (If you really do believe they are in front of you and not just on your smartphone, please seek medical attention immediately.) While many welcome this as a fun way to get out off the couch and others see it as another Sign of the Approaching Apocalypse, truth be told obsession with video games has been around at least since the 1980s and has even affected high-ranking government officials who ought to know better.

Johnny Young served in The Hague, Netherlands as Counselor for Administration from 1985-1988; he was interviewed by Charles Stuart Kennedy beginning October 2005.

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This podcast is adapted from a one-hour lecture given to classes of newly-hired Foreign Service Officers in 2005/2006 during their first week of training at the Foreign Service Institute. Mr. Zetkulic is a Senior Foreign Service Officer who was then serving as Executive Director of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training.

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George P. Shultz was Secretary of State for President Reagan from 1982 to 1989, the longest such tenure since Dean Rusk in the 1960s. As Secretary, Shultz resolved the pipeline sanctions problem between Western Germany and the Soviet Union, worked to maintain allied unity amid anti-nuclear demonstrations in 1983, persuaded President Reagan to dialogue with Mikhail Gorbachev and negotiated an agreement between Israel and Lebanon in response to the Lebanese civil war. After leaving office in 1989, Shultz worked closely with the Bush administration on foreign policy and was an adviser for George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.

Shultz was a no-nonsense manager and highly-prepared negotiator who did not suffer fools gladly, but was compassionate towards those displaced by political upheaval and appreciative of those who served him and the U.S. well. Thanks to his long tenure as Secretary, Shultz touched the lives of many Foreign Service Officers.

All of the following were interviewed by Charles Stuart Kennedy. Thomas Miller, interviewed in April, 2010, was Vice Consul in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 1979-1981. Thomas Niles, interviewed in June, 1998, was Deputy Assistant Secretary of European Affairs at State Department, 1981-1985. Henry Allen Holmes, Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs, 1985-1989, was interviewed  in March 1999.  Phyllis Oakley was interviewed in March, 2000; she was Deputy Spokesman from 1986-1989. Richard Solomon was on the Policy Planning Staff in State Department from 1986-1989 and interviewed in September, 1996. Charles Anthony Gillespie, interviewed in September, 1995, was Ambassador to Colombia 1985-1988.

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John Paul II was one of the most charismatic popes in recent history, a rock star who attracted millions during his frequent trips abroad and who was considered a beacon of hope for people in his native Poland. Born Karol Joseph Wojtyła on May 18, 1920 in Wadowice in southern Poland, he was elected pope in 1978, the first non-Italian pope in 500 years. He was critically wounded by a Turkish terrorist while in St. Peter’s Square in 1981; he later took the unprecedented step of meeting his would-be assassin in his prison cell.

He was fluent in eight languages and his pontificate, which lasted more than 26 years, was the third longest in history. He greatly expanded diplomatic relations with other states, from 85 countries in 1978 to 174 countries in 2005, including the U.S. The man who oversaw a record number of canonizations was himself canonized on April 27, 2014.

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“If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all.”—First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton

At the United Nations’ 4th World Conference on Women, which was held from September 4-15, 1995, several countries united in support of women’s equal rights to life, education, and security across the world. The conference crusaded for female empowerment and women’s inclusion in national and international decision-making. Discussions on such controversial issues as contraception, reproductive rights, and equal inheritance allowed advocates to raise women’s rights to the forefront of international diplomacy. Once the conference had ended, however, nations, including the U.S., struggled to incorporate those precepts into foreign policy or to negotiate with those countries that violated conference principles.

In the following interview with Charles Stuart Kennedy beginning May 2007, Peter David Eicher, who was serving in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), recalls his experience of the Beijing Conference, the unlikely alliances, the ways of finessing compromises, the hard work of implementing those commitments, and the tortuous road on reform in China.

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Walter Mondale, born in Ceylon, Minnesota on January 5, 1928, was the 42nd Vice President of the U.S. under Jimmy Carter, after having served 12 years as a senator from Minnesota. He later ran against Ronald Reagan as the Democratic Party candidate for President in 1984. After the loss, he spent a few years working for a Minnesota law firm (Dorsey & Whitney) and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs until he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Japan by President Clinton in 1993.  He was in Tokyo for three years, after which he returned to the law firm of Dorsey & Whitney.  In an interview with ADST’s David Reuther in April 2004, Senator Mondale discusses his long career in the U.S. government:  his time in the Senate, his tenure as Vice President, including his dealings with South Africa, China, and the Iran Crisis, and his frustrations and insights from his years as Ambassador to Japan

 

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The San Francisco Peace Treaty, signed by 48 nations on September 8, 1951, officially ended Japan’s position as an imperial power, provided compensation to those who had suffered in Japan during the Second World War, and terminated the Allied post-war occupation of Japan. The treaty’s seven chapters and preamble marked the end of hostilities between the signatories and provided the foundation for the strong U.S.-Japan political alliance and important bilateral military relationship still in place today. The treaty required Japan to give up all special rights and privileges in China and accept the decisions of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE). Japan relinquished claim to Korea, Formosa and other territories and gave the U.S. control of the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa).

The agreement also provided for the revival of commercial treaties, including granting the Allied powers most-favored-nation (MFN) status. Other chapters regulated property claims, reparations and compensation, referred unresolved disputes to the International Court of Justice and defined the ratification process. Seven months after the signing of the treaty, Japan formally regained its sovereignty.

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It was unusual for any Americans during the Cold War to travel in the Soviet Union but Russell Sveda did just that in 1969. After serving for two years as a Peace Corps (PC) volunteer in Korea, he decided to make his way home by taking the path less traveled and riding the Trans-Siberian railroad. He talks about meeting ethnic Koreans in Samarkand, his offer of marriage by a woman he didn’t even know, and an hours-long “interview” with a KGB agent posing as a journalist.  He was interviewed by Charles Stuart Kennedy in 2000.

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In 1990, Nepal’s centuries-long history of monarchical rule and more recent autocratic substitutes were finally brought to an end in what may consider to be one of the most notable non-violent revolutions of the twentieth century. With the death of King Mahendra in 1972, the future of Nepal’s government was uncertain. His son, King Birendra, ascended to the throne and implemented amendments to the ancient panchayat system that allotted virtually unlimited power to the monarchy.

In her 1998 interview with Charles Stuart Kennedy, Julia Chang Bloch, the first Asian-American to become an ambassador, recalls firsthand the last months of the Monarchy’s reign and the events that shaped Nepali democracy shortly afterward. Ambassador Bloch served at her post in Nepal from 1989 to 1992 and also became a leading organizer for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programs in Nepal.  Her Deputy Chief of Mission, Albert Thibault, discussed Ambassador Bloch’s leadership during the upheaval during his 2005 interview with Kennedy.

 

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