Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Brief Updates

A few quick notes:

--Last night I attended the kick-off bash for the USC Center on Public Diplomacy's new magazine, PD. The first issue's theme is "New President: New Public Diplomacy?" and hopefully it will help kick-start discussion on what directions U.S. PD should take.

(Especially since, as John Brown noted to me, there's no new Undersecretary for PD and not even detectable chatter about one.)

--President Chavez's entirely predictable spiral toward dictatorship continues as he continues to bully restive regions, muzzle the press, snuggle with the Russians, and even threaten to nationalize Polar, the country's tastiest non-narcotic export.

--NATO's brand got a boost as French President Nicolas Sarkozy handily won a parliamentary vote of confidence inspired by his decision to rejoin the European defense organization.

Sarkozy has been moving NATO-ward for months now; I remember being impressed by his and defense minister Herve Morin's lightning decision to fly to Afghanistan immediately after a deadly ambush of French paratroopers there last summer. It appears that Sarkozy has hitched his wagon even more firmly to NATO now, and hopefully European NATO members will welcome the volume that France adds to Europe's military voice.

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