Ongoing violence, among other issues, has changed the nature of U.S. diplomacy overseas. Minnesota Public Radio recently discussed the changes, and what they mean for the future, with Ambassador Edward Djerejian and New York Times writer Robert Worth.
Also this week, two commentators noted that a 1992 speech by Djerejian, then an assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, has resonance in Egypt today. In what is known as the Meridian House speech, Djerejian expressed concern that some would use democratic elections to come to power, then revert to autocratic rule. Instead of one man, one vote, he said, there are those who want "one man, one vote, one time."
"Those who are prepared to take specific steps toward free elections, creating independent judiciary, promoting the rule of law, reducing restrictions on the press, respecting the rights of minorities, and guaranteeing individual rights will find us ready to recognize and support their efforts, just as those moving in the opposite direction will find us ready to speak candidly and act accordingly," Djerejian said.
Twenty years later, President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt "would do well to survey America"s definition of the characteristics of extremist groups" as described by the ambassador, Philip Whitfield wrote in a Nov. 26, 2012, commentary in the Daily News Egypt.