Our Values: American Diplomacy In the Wake of Embassy Attacks

Friday, September 14, 2012

Yemeni protesters try to break through the gate of the US embassy in Sanaa during a protest over a film mocking Islam. (MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/GettyImages)

Fred Kaplan, War Stories columnist for Slate, discusses how the embassy protests in the Middle East have raised questions about the most effective way for diplomacy to spread U.S. "values."


Fred Kaplan

Comments [22]


Ugh! This speaker is hard to listen to. Turning off, but leaving with one thought: What responsibility does the media have, especially a pundit at Slate, a media outlet that rarely delivers heavy-weight news analysis, in expanding and exaggerating the comments made by diplomats, the administration, or Romney in the wake of such a violent tragedy. Pointless snark.

Sep. 15 2012 03:01 PM

Though a police state mentality is pervasive and apparantly has infected you-this is still america where the rule of law prevails.Including freedom of speech.You sound like a reactive "good german" or "good commie" -of the 21stc. The reality on the ground trumps your reaction to the peoples' century -all people-including those arabs who toppled our puppet dictators and are learning to express themselves by the time honored tactic of demonstating.Oh my!; 9-11 a day for people to commemorate the launch of the century of the power of the people.

Sep. 15 2012 10:35 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

The NYPD says:

"If you see something, say something".

I see roseellen.

Sep. 15 2012 08:49 AM

I believe in freedom of speech both for the filmaker and for the people to demonstate outside embassies in cairo and anywhere. I support their right to choose 9-11 to demonstrate against what they find offensive[a time honored western tactic]and their right to, on 9-11, commemorate their hero-you know the guy who in their eyes brought some long in a coming chickens home to roost.Seems to me it is you who doesn't quite really believe in free speech. How dare those muslims -get uppity.How dare I express a narrative that conflicts with your anti muslim genocidal narrative.!And good for them and good for their government who allowed them their protest on 9-11!

Sep. 14 2012 05:02 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights


This is the United States. The Rule of Law trumps your mob rule.

As for your latest silly film jihad, any quick search on Youtube will present other videos that mock Islam

Islam, like any other religion is not above ridicule.

The self-proclaimed "Religion of Peace" has become a horrific oxymoron.

Again, I hope the NYPD is monitoring you and your friends.

Sep. 14 2012 02:02 PM

Having to deal with mobs demonstating outside embassies or storming them, through out the world- is the price to pay for unjust policies in the mid east.Welcome to the 21stc-the people's century.The film was the last straw.

Sep. 14 2012 01:22 PM
Seth Pickenstiff

" U.S. officials say they believe an Arabic talk show last Saturday showing parts of an anti-Muslim video made in the United States was the spark that set off violent attacks..."

Sep. 14 2012 11:28 AM

With all due respect to Carter, that idiot, I'm much more interested in the response of Bush Jr.

Sep. 14 2012 10:45 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Please note how Paul Ryan uses the word "moral." That is one of those coded words designed to erode faith in the President without actually presenting facts. That seems to be the strategy of the GOP as they haven't any facts at hand and speak out of turn (note Romney's premature verbal ejaculation yesterday about the riots over the movie). They are SO pathetic that if they weren't so dangerous, I might feel sorry for them.

Sep. 14 2012 10:45 AM

After listening to discussions regarding the embassy attack, my question to your "scholars & experts" is "WHEN DO WE NO LONGER SUBMIT TO
TERRORISM? This recent attack can be argued forever.

Where are the voices of MODERATE Muslims who live in the US and around the world? Why are they not marching in groups at 9/11 memorial events with apologies and empathy for those victims? Why are they not protesting these
attacks? I suggest that you invite Nonie Darwish to speak on this issue.
Or Salma Abdallah.

Sep. 14 2012 10:43 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Liz Cheney...Wall Street Journal, 9/13/12

"If you really want to know whether our adversaries fear us, ask the Russians, whose thuggish President Putin essentially endorsed Mr. Obama recently. Perhaps Mr. Putin is banking on the missile defense "flexibility" Mr. Obama promised he would have after the election."

Sep. 14 2012 10:42 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Ryan believes in "freedom of religion" but not freedom from it.

Sep. 14 2012 10:42 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

An official ally whom the US is CONSTIUTIONALLY BOUND to come to its defense if attacked are (1) the 27 NATO countries which among others, includes Germany, Poland, and the Czech republic, and (2) Japan under the US-Japan Security Treaty; (3) Australia and New Zealand under ANZUS, and I think SEATO, though I believe the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization is now defunct.

No other states are actual allies as defined in the US Constitution. Neither Israel nor Egypt nor Saudi Arabia nor anyone else. The rest are just verbally referred to as "allies," but that's just rhetoric, like the word "pal" or "buddy."

Sep. 14 2012 10:41 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

America has NO allies in the middle-east - NONE. We have a bunch of client states we pay off, to not either kill themsevles or us.

Sep. 14 2012 10:38 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

OBAMA'S IDEA OF FOREIGN POLICY - Liz Cheney, Wall Street Journal, 9-13-12

"Apologizing for America, appeasing our enemies, abandoning our allies and slashing our military are the hallmarks of Mr. Obama's foreign policy. The Obama economy, with its high unemployment, massive debt and out-of-control spending, has rightly demanded our attention. As we head to the polls in November, we cannot ignore what is an even more dismal national-security record. An America already weakened by four years of an Obama presidency will be unrecognizable after eight."

Sep. 14 2012 10:36 AM
john from office

A PATHETIC RESPONSE, the best expression yet of Mr. Romney's statement.

Sep. 14 2012 10:36 AM
bernie from bklyn

brian....most of the actual journalism on this story says this attack had little to nothing to do with this stupid video. this was an organized, pre-planned terrorist attack on the usa on 9/11/12...pretty big story.... why are most "news" outlets distorting this and getting it wrong?

Sep. 14 2012 10:33 AM
Cortlandt St.

Adviser: Ambassador's killing wouldn't have happened with Romney
Justin Sink | 09/14/12 09:56 AM ET

[ “There’s a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you’d be in a different situation,” Richard Williamson, a top Romney foreign policy adviser, told The Washington Post. ]
Nothing like politicizing an unstable situation and the deaths of our Ambassador and the other State Dept. employees.

Sep. 14 2012 10:31 AM
Jeff Pappas from Dumbo

Republicans and the far right Christians are especially guilty of tweeking American values to become Hypocrital and oxymoronic when applied overseas...

Sep. 14 2012 10:31 AM

Liz Cheney Gets it Right - Wall Street Journal, 9/13/12

AMERICAN DIPLOMACY UNDER OBAMA - America is neither respected nor feared

"In too many parts of the world, America is no longer viewed as a reliable ally or an enemy to be feared. Don't take my word for it. Ask the mobs in Cairo who attacked our embassy, or the Libyan mobs who killed our diplomats at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Ask the Iranians, who make unhindered daily progress toward obtaining a nuclear weapon. Ask the Poles and Czechs, two allies we abandoned when we canceled missile-defense systems that the president feared would offend the Russians. Ask the Iranian people who took to the streets to fight for their freedom, only to find Mr. Obama standing silently with the mullahs. Ask Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Even as his country faces an existential threat from Iran, he can't get a meeting with President Obama."

Sep. 14 2012 10:27 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Brian - Why not do a related segment on the recent Pew international poll that found that American popularity/approval has declined further in the Mideast even under Barack Obama? (No, NYT, it was not just George W Bush.) This not to blame Obama, but to suggest that it is ultimately hopeless to think that we can capitulate enough on our principles to satisfy the Islamic culture.

Sep. 14 2012 10:20 AM
bernie from bklyn

how could these savages scale the wall of an american embassy and not be mowed down by a spray of bullets from a u.s. marine's gun? i don't understand how these breaches can happen.

Sep. 14 2012 10:11 AM

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