u.s. department of state

Afghans have long been resistant to central authority — as the United States has found to its frustration — with Afghanistan divided along tribal, cultural, religious and linguistic lines. Its mountains and valleys have stood in the way of communications breakthroughs that have unified other societies.

Moscow is subjecting Ukrainians, Russians and the rest of the world to an intense campaign of disinformation that tries to paint a dangerous and false picture of Ukraine’s legitimate government. Russia Today, the Moscow-based TV network financed by the government, is a key player in this campaign of distortion. Along with its Russian operation, RT operates an English-language broadcast out of Washington.

It's easy for most of us to get behind the theme for World Intellectual Property Day this year: "Movies, A Global Passion."  From Santa Monica, where I spent almost 20 years working in the entertainment sector, to Paris, France, where I most recently served four years as U.S. Ambassador, I have witnessed firsthand people's excitement and reverence for films -- Hollywood's in particular.

A tweet by State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki Thursday night sparked snarky Twitter responses about the diplomacy of a hashtag – but the tweet really is more evidence of a brewing social media Cold War between the U.S. and Russia.

George Kennan knew a thing or two about how nations treat one another. In 1946, while serving as deputy chief of the U.S. mission in Moscow, he penned “the long telegram.” That assessment of what motivated the Soviet Union shaped U.S. policy toward Moscow for decades.

From Kiev to Damascus, Moscow to Caracas, there are very few international conflicts and debates where the actions and position of the United States is not influential. In Ukraine, the United States stands solidly behind the interim government, and slapped some sanctions on Russian officials after Moscow annexed Crimea.

"We don't negotiate with terrorists," has long been the standard refrain of governments when it comes to violent extremists. But these days, in the realm of social media, at least, they are talking to them.

Former U.S. ambassador Richard Hoagland, a career foreign service officer, spoke candidly at a gay pride conference this week about the difficulties gay diplomats faced in the not-so-distant past.

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