DiploNews - Issue 139 - June 1, 2009

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Free time this summer? Expand your knowledge with an online course starting 27 July:

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Cuban Medical Diplomacy

Recently, the BBC News published an article titled, “Cuba pushes its 'medical diplomacy.'” The article suggests that Cuban “medical diplomacy” originated in the 1960s. Patients, primarily from South America and the Caribbean, come to Cuba for medical treatment and the government pays their bills. Other activities of Cuban medical diplomacy include training of foreign doctors, posting Cuban doctors abroad, and emergency response. The article suggests that the scope of medical diplomacy has grown significantly since its inception, making it a central part of Cuba’s external relations. The investment seems to result in an enhanced international image and other political benefits for Cuba.

International Economic Crisis: Adverse Events Lead to New Ideas

The May/June 2009 issue of Foreign Affairs features a thought-provoking section containing a number of short articles on the consequences of the current economic crisis. The main hypothesis behind the different short articles is that adverse events may lead to new ideas. The topics covered include new ideas in personal development and education; new ideas in different regions (such as America and Africa); and new ideas in environmental issues (dealing with water and biofuels). The articles also engage with the current mindset underlying the crisis and suggest ways to change our thinking. The articles are a must-read for everyone who is interested in learning from the past and building a better future. The full collection of articles is freely available from: The next big thing: Why bad times lead to great ideas.

Clinton: How Openly Can a Foreign Minister Speak?

A recent article in the online Los Angeles Times looks at the diplomacy of US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The main question addressed by the analysis seems to be: How much openness is allowed before diplomatic efforts become impaired? With comments on North Korea, China, and Pakistan, Clinton has already earned a reputation as a one of the most outspoken chief US diplomats. Critics point to the fact that her outspokenness could easily damage diplomatic efforts and neglects the basic rules of diplomacy. Others interpret the statements as an attempt to strengthen her position within the administration. For examples of Clinton’s comments and the reaction of critics see: Hillary Clinton's diplomacy raises some eyebrows.

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