Author Archives: James Thomas Snyder

About James Thomas Snyder

Former U.S. diplomat, NATO staffer, and U.S. Congressional speechwriter. All opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. government.

“A Means of State Control” (Part Two)

In the first part of this post I dismantled the consensus definition of propaganda, arguing that in part and in total “propaganda” is indistinguishable from any other form of political expression.  The only obvious distinguishing aspect between the two definitions … Continue reading

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“A Means of State Control”

The Origins of Propaganda (Part One)   The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum held an exhibition titled “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda” in Washington, D.C., from 2009 and 2011.  This dramatic collection of German National Socialist state … Continue reading

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Garry Wills’ Qur’an (Part One)

Is Islam as American as apple pie?  Both are early imports from Asia Minor – Islam from the Arabian Peninsula by way of Africa and Iberia, apples from southern Kazakhstan by way of Europe – that have grown deep roots … Continue reading

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UPDATE: The Price of Promotion – Diversity and Retention

This is a follow-up to my earlier article, “The Price of Promotion,” which criticized the U.S. Foreign Service promotion system.  The following analysis is based on the Department of State Bureau of human Resources “Foreign Service Promotion Statistics by Cone, … Continue reading

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The Price of Promotion

The State Department’s employee evaluation process is worse than terrible.  It is no better than a gamble. Consider this career choice: you are a second-tour FS-04 consular officer serving your country in an American embassy abroad.  You have tenure, which … Continue reading

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The Cost of Lies

On April 26, 1986, Reactor #4 at a Soviet nuclear power station in northern Ukraine exploded.  As with almost everything in Soviet history, that is about all anyone can agree on, but it was enough.  The worst nuclear accident on … Continue reading

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The Secret History of Small Mercies

The most devastating scene in The Lives of Others, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s 2007 film about the East German Stasi, comes near the end when the playwright, played by Sebastian Koch, pulls the wire taps out of his walls of … Continue reading

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