- The Washington Times - Monday, July 30, 2001

New age diplomat
German Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger is a computer-age envoy with a flair for public diplomacy.
"In this new century, if you want to be effective as an ambassador, it is not sufficient to limit yourself to good telegram-writing," he told editors and reporters at The Washington Times.
"Modern diplomacy is increasingly public diplomacy. You must go out and present your views as part of the ongoing debate … not only to the State Department. You have to share your views on Capitol Hill and other places."
The personal touch is especially important "in the age of the Internet [where] there is still an enormous capacity for misunderstanding," he said.
Mr. Ischinger said recent news stories about conflict between the United States and Germany illustrate his point.
"I disagree with those who say the Europeans don't actually mean what they say, that they are not serious … and they are just doing it to embarrass the United States. That is not true," he said.
Mr. Ischinger, who will present his diplomatic credentials to President Bush this week, is no stranger to the United States or to Washington.
He served here from 1979 to 1982 as a first secretary at the German Embassy and attended Harvard University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy from 1972 to 1973.
In his diplomatic career, the 55-year-old ambassador learned the difficulty of managing a vast bureaucracy. His last posting was director of the civil service of the German Foreign Ministry.
"I had to close 18 embassies. We had to save money," he said. "It was a painful thing to do, especially for a diplomat."

Allied criticism
The U.S. ambassador to Canada is raising alarms about the low level of Canadian defense spending as Canada is complaining about America's "unilateralism" in foreign policy.
The criticism represents a new level of disagreement between a conservative U.S. administration and a liberal Canadian government, although both countries remain among the world's closest allies.
Ambassador Paul Cellucci, in a speech last week, warned that Canadian armed forces risk losing "much of their effectiveness" unless defense spending is increase.
Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien slashed the military budget by 23 percent between 1993 and 1999 in an effort to cut the federal budget deficit.
The current military budget of $7.4 billion represents a slight increase but is still about 1.2 percent of Canada's gross domestic product, while the NATO average is 2.1 percent. Only Luxembourg, with a military budget at 0.9 percent of GDP, spends less on defense.
"I must note that many of our friends in Canada have expressed a concern … that many on the U.S. side of the border share. That concern is over resources for the Canadian forces," Mr. Cellucci said in his speech in Whistler, British Colombia.
"While these resources were cut drastically because of the end of the Cold War and the need to put the federal budget back in balance, it has now reached the point where without significant increases, the Canadian forces could lose much of their effectiveness.
"In the last two years the forces have received increases and, as friends, allies, and admirers of the good work the Canadian military does particularly in peacekeeping missions around the world we hope this trend will continue."
Earlier last week, Canadian Foreign Minister John Manley criticized the United States for opposing a treaty on germ warfare, which Washington rejected as badly flawed. He also denounced President Bush's plans for a national missile defense.
"We can't withdraw from North America," Mr. Manley said. "We happen to be on that particular bus, whether we like it or not. … We have no choice but to work very closely with them ."
Mr. Manley added, "Unilateralism ultimately will lead to confrontation, and that is a cause of greater insecurity for them and the rest of the world."
He warned the United States that Canada will organize an international effort to stop the deployment of any space-based defensive weapons.
"It is a very dangerous direction to be moving in, and it would incite proliferation and responses that are difficult to predict with certainty but which are not likely to be favorable to global security," he said.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide