Music Diplomacy

Today’s selection demonstrates that, while some of the images might age, the theme, sadly, never seems to go out of date. Notice, by the way, the color of the balloon John Lennon carries in the opening demonstration.

As I said earlier this week, the events in Iran separate the idealists from the realists. And what I’ve realized about myself is that I’m something of a hybrid: realist when it comes to relations between states, and idealist when it comes to the relation between citizen and state.

I’m not sure whether and how we can influence the outcome in Iran for the better. In fact, I’m skeptical we can. But I do hope that the folks out in the street there demonstrating manage to bring Power to the People:

Music Diplomacy

Today’s selection comes a week late, since it talks about D-Day, and the debt the French owe to us ‘Marruhcunz (as I learned how to say in the Big D). And no, the song isn’t performed by a Fox News commentator, but by Michel Sardou, a French cultural rarity: the right-wing artist. The opening stanza about says it all:

If the ‘Mericans hadn’t been there
You would all be in Germany
Talking about I don’t know what
Saluting I don’t know who.

That’s where he gives the Heil Hitler salute, as if to say, You guys really are a bunch of ungrateful bastidz.

Don’t let the television audience’s applause fool you. This was not a terribly popular position to be taking in France, circa 1969, which explains why Sardou is known here as a “réac,” or a reactionary.

But he also represents an overlooked French fringe culture, which celebrates not so much American culture (the anti-American lefties take care of that) as American WWII culture. In the village in the South where I lived, the same guys who barely said a word to me for six years because I wasn’t “from here” — and who were outraged over the Iraq War — paraded their vintage WWII U.S. Army jeeps, to which they paid an almost a cult-like devotion, every VE Day.

In other words, no matter what else they might feel about the States, they take the debt they owe us for the blood spilled on the beaches of Normandy very much to heart.

I’ve read that French President Nicolas Sarkozy was something of a Sardou fan (which wouldn’t be surprising), and that he took this song to heart as a kid. Regardless, it’s no coincidence, I think, that five days after the 60th anniversary D-Day commemoration, France took its seat at the NATO Defense Planning committee, for the first time in 47 years sitting side by side there with “Les Ricains”:

Music Diplomacy

Today’s selection selected itself. It’s been a while since it was so easy to find something topical, actually, and it comes from one of the great bands, one that managed to build on its initial derivative gimmick to end up with an original sound that can only be described as, well, the heavy, heavy monster sound of Madness.

I missed the one chance I had to see them play live, at the old Concert on the Pier series, in ’83, it must have been. If memory serves correctly, I’d just gotten grounded after Pops found out about my 14-year-old fondness for nightclubs. He actually came out looking for me the night he heard I had plans to go see a band at the Ritz with some friends. Luckily, by the time he elbowed his way to the bar there, we’d already made it over to Danceteria, or DT’s as we called it, home to some of my fondest adolescent memories. Poor Dad, he couldn’t win, because I was back at it again as soon as I was off curfew.

Anyway, even though President Barack Obama is already on his way to the shores of Normandy, I can’t resist taking one last ride on the Night Boat to Cairo:

Music Diplomacy

Today’s selection was oddly enough almost last week’s selection, but I decided that it didn’t have enough to do with foreign affairs to really warrant using it. Then this week, I saw its most famous lyric referenced three times: by Cheryl Rofer in a post on North Korea, by Tom Ricks in a post on Pakistan, and by Matthew Yglesias in a post on, well, partisan domestic politics. But you get the picture.

The fact that I just saw Kris Kristofferson — albeit overdubbed in French — in Sam Pekinpah’s Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid a few days ago sealed the deal.

I was initially going to go with this complete version sung by a pre-Outlaw-era Waylon Jennings. But there’s something a bit disconcerting seeing ole Waylon straitjacketed by the Nashville star system, especially on a song that’s all about the freedom of the road. So instead I took this incomplete clip from Dennis Hopper’s cult film, The Last Movie, sung by Kristofferson himself and musically a whole lot more interesting, to boot.

I’ve never seen the movie, but a film-buff friend just told me he’s heard it was hard to watch. That sounds about what I’d imagine Dennis Hopper and friends in the Andes with $1 million in 1970 would add up to. The film, which was shot in Peru, is about a film being shot in Peru, which explains the final bit of the scene below. So there’s a bit of an international and intercultural angle, after all, to Me and Bobby McGee:

Music Diplomacy

Today’s selection comes from Pat Martino, the man I consider to be the gold standard of jazz guitarists and — as my guitar teacher’s teacher — my musical Godfather. The song itself came to me as I was running alongside the river, thinking about nothing in particular. But it seems to wordlessly express the feeling I get from President Barack Obama’s first months in office, with the composition’s speed and momentum that comes of leaning into the rhythm broken up by the stops and starts and broken stride of its quirky, halting middle section.

The quintessential recording of this comes off the “Live!” record, performed in 1972 at Folk City in NY’s Greenwich Village. Remarkably, Martino suffered a stroke in 1980, and as a result of the surgical intervention, experienced amnesia, completely forgetting how to play guitar. He subsequently relearned with the help of friends and his old recordings. So the video below is the second incarnation of Pat, so to speak.

That, too, made me think of America, relearning how to be itself after eight long years of amnesia under the Bush administration. There will be moments where the current flows more smoothly, and others where rapids and eddies make the going a bit more difficult, as we wind our way down The Great Stream:

Music Diplomacy

Today’s selection comes from a band, Maná, that I first heard while in Ecuador, back in 1996. During the same trip, training manuals from the Army’s School of the Americas — the elite U.S. military academy for Latin American officers — made headlines for seeming to condone torture. Ironically, the manuals had been pulled from use in 1991 by then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney for violating U.S. policy.

This song comes off of the album, Sueños Liquidos, that came out just after I got back from that trip, and I remember the impact it had on me at the time. As peaceful as Ecuador had been during the turbulent revolutionary era, some of the friends I’d made there had had friends “disappeared” twenty years earlier for the kind of campus activism that wouldn’t even get an American college student suspended from classes. The recent memory of that trip and their stories brought the song’s pathos even closer to home.

It tells the story of a man, alone in a cell and physically broken from abuse, who doesn’t even understand the crimes he has been accused of. His only escape is to separate his mind from his body, to turn himself into a bird and fly off to his lover’s arms. Somehow the same beauty of the Spanish language that allows for magical realism turns the matter-of-fact treatment of torture into lyricism, with the singer’s tone perfectly conveying the despair, anger, and resignation that comes through in every account of torture and imprisonment I’ve read.

At the time, the song described something that, for me, could only ever take place in some foreign place, some distant “elsewhere” that I could travel through and become familiar with, as in Ecuador, but never inhabit. In other words, these things could happen, but not here. They could be done, but not by us.

That illusion has, of course, been shattered. Me Voy a Convertir en una Ave:

Music Diplomacy

Today’s selection began with a reference to the Falklands War in this video that Andrew Sullivan posted. That got me looking for a good video of the Madness song, Blue Skinned Beast, which turned out to be pretty fruitless. A few random associations later and that had become any good reference to Thatcher-era England. And for reasons that I can’t fully explain, because there are other candidates that might seem more obvious, that led me straight to Linton Kwesi Johnson.

The poem on which the song is built takes the form of a letter home from a young Carribean man in a London jail. Having been stopped with his brother by the police while simply waiting for the bus on their way home, the man winds up in jail for murder after defending his brother from a beating. The song perfectly captures its historical moment while remaining eerily relevant today, with the current economic downturn already having an effect on attitudes towards immigrants and foreign workers.

But the age of decay in which it was written — when Britain, and the West, seemed poised on the brink of falling to the “second tier,” as the fellow speaking at the 4:29 mark of the video in Sullivan’s post puts it — seems a part of the distant past.

If there’s a difference between now and then for me, that’s it. Things might still melt down, but they won’t crumble. There are still pressures on the system, and there are still injustices. There are still guys like Kwesi Johnson’s Sonny writing letters back home, if they’re lucky enough to be granted that privilege. But the West appears to be on more solid ground than at the time of Sonny’s Lettah:

Music Diplomacy

Today’s selection is a movie scene, since this week saw a bunch of foreign policy bloggers come up with their Top Ten lists of films that “tell us something about international relations more broadly,” as Stephen Walt, who kicked things off, put it. Sam Roggeveen came up with his list here, and has the rest of the links as well.

If the criteria didn’t include being a good film, I’d have mentioned the Lord of the Rings, essentially the story of building ad hoc alliances in a world where multilateral institutions have fallen into decline. And if you could somehow edit out all of the close ups of Elija Woods’ eyes misting up, the Lord of the Rings might have made a good film. As it stands, though, those close ups stretched it out into three awful ones.

The John Woo flick I wrote up this week, Red Cliff, makes a good candidate. The emphasis is more on military strategy than statecraft and diplomacy, but the latter two are in there as well.

Still, if I had to pick one — because I couldn’t possibly come up with ten — and one that hasn’t yet been mentioned, I’d nominate Planet of the Apes, the original version. Although the movie is mainly considered a dystopian sci fi flick, I’d argue that the structure of the apes’ society is essentially a critique of the modern national security state. And the way in which that society’s past has become a closely guarded state secret has obvious implications about how challenging official narratives about outsiders threatens the self-defined boundary — and in turn the survival — of the militarized state.

As an aside, there’s a doctoral dissertation waiting to be written about Charlton Heston as cultural icon, explaining how the same man who appeared in Planet of the Apes, The Omega Man, and Soylent Green in the space of five years went on to be the symbol of the survivalist right. As another aside, the premise of The Omega Man, described in this news report from the movie, is pretty timely in light of the swine flu scare.

Be that as it may, here’s the famous final scene of Charlton Heston and Linda Harrison’s beachside jaunt, which drives home the critique of the militarized state pretty poignantly. The planet they blew up turned into The Planet of the Apes:

Music Diplomacy

Music Diplomacy

Music Diplomacy

I originally thought of this week’s selection — posted a day late — in relation to the elections going on in South Africa. But then Hampton’s post from yesterday made me think of it from a different angle.

Ina lot of ways I agree with Hampton that any attempt to punish theuse of torture would risk being both compromised by politics andhampered by the complexities of parsing who should be held responsiblefor what. That’s what I was referring to when I saidthere would be weaknesses to both criminal prosecutions and a truthcommission. In other words, I acknowledge the possibility that I’marguing for an ideal proceeding that can’t exist in the real world.

Andyet, had someone suggested in 1984, when this song was released, thatSouth Africa might find a way not only to end apartheid peacefully, butto address its legacy in a way that accorded dignity to both victimsand victimizers alike, that, too, would have sounded like an ideal proceeding thatcouldn’t exist in the real world. What it took to make that proceeding a reality wasa shared humility on the parts of both victims and victimizers before atask that was orders of magnitude greater than what the U.S. isconfronted with today.

The realist in me agrees with Hampton,that perhaps President Obama has once again managed to expertly threadthe political needle, disappointing absolutists on both sides of theissue in order to achieve the limit of the possible. But the idealistin me says that the same America that found a way to address whatamounts to racially motivated torture in the Jim Crow South can now find away to address officially sanctioned torture in black-site prisons. Andif it really is true that we can’t judge our own, then we should letsomeone else do it for us, because we will have essentially forfeitedour right to stand outside the jurisdiction of the InternationalCriminal Court.

Another thought that this song triggers is theway in which history, while most often written by the victor, is moreindelibly marked by the prisoner. From Anatoly Sharansky in the formerSoviet Union and Nelson Mandela in apartheid-era South Africa, to AungSan Suu Kyi in today’s Burma, few images have offered more inspirationto broad popular movements than that of men and women held in unjustcaptivity.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and AbuZubaydah are not fit to be counted among their ranks. But in torturingthese two men, and others like them, we have granted them a moral staturethat should not have been theirs. We turned their just captivity intoan unjust one, and their justified fate as prisoners into anunjustifiable one as victims. That as much as anything else is ourcrime. And whatever harm we managed to avoid as a result of doing so has in all likelihood been outweighed by the power of inspiration we haveinvested them with for those who would follow in their footsteps.

I’m not going to turn this issue into a crusade, because I do think that we can put this behind us and move on, with little practical cost. The damage has already been done, and it’s not as if this is the first time in its history that the U.S. has failed to live up to its ideals. Our international standing has always recovered in the past, and with increased vigilance, we can also contain the threat to our domestic civil liberties that I mentioned in my previous post.

But if the only reason we don’t address these crimes is because the task seems too daunting, then we should remind ourselves of the long road that South Africa traveled. No one could have imagined a day of Truth and Reconciliation when the apartheid regime had yet to Free Nelson Mandela:

Music Diplomacy

Today’s selection is a stretch as far as foreign policy themes go, since it deals with my hometown of New York, and not some far-off, distant land. But to an expatriot in Paris, New York sometimes feels like a far-off, distant land. And since I’m heading back on Sunday for a ten-day visit, it’s a stretch I’m willing to make.

While I’m gone, Matt Eckel and Matt Dupuis from Foreign Policy Watch will be keeping things lively here, starting on Monday. If you’re not already familiar with their stuff, click through and take a look. You’ll see why we thought of them. I’d also like to thank them both in advance for being willing to help out.

To sign off, I wanted to find a song about going home to New York, and this one really captures that feeling of excitement mixed with nostalgia for me. I’ve also always had a soft spot for Billy Joel, despite all the obviousreasons not to. Part of that had to do with the fact that he had amajor foothold in the family’s playlist growing up, back when there wasonly one stereo per household. Part of that had to do with the pianoriff that opens “Stiletto.” And part of that had to do with the factthat Liberty De Vitto was his drummer.

I won’t be taking a Greyhound on the Hudson River Line. Instead, I’ll be hopping on a 747. But I’m definitely in a New York State of Mind:

Music Diplomacy

I’m not going to make a habit of doing this, but today’s two selections reflect my previous post about the disconnect between the political theater of this weekend’s NATO summit, and the political substance that underlies it. And in trying to make a final choice between the two of them, I realized that neither one fully does justice to the situation, whereas together they describe it perfectly.

The first selection reflects the political theater and its theme of conciliation, and it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the song was loaded into President Barack Obama’s iPod before he left for Europe. If so, it was probably the version off the Live at Fillmore West record, with King Curtis’ horn section and Ray Charles on organ. The version below features Aretha on piano and illustrates why if it weren’t for her voice, she might have been known for her keyboard chops.

Yes, Obama flew to Europe in Air Force One, but he came to build a Bridge Over Troubled Water:

To illustrate the political substance that the theatrical production ispapering over, who better to respond to Aretha than Gladys Knight? Thegreat thing about this Jim Weatherly composition is that it perfectlycaptures the suffocating paralysis of a relationship that is over, butthat will never end — but also the comfort it offers: of familiarity,of safety, of inertia. All of that, with the Pips in pinkdouble-breasted suits, and introduced by the Bee Gees. The connectionto the NATO summit should be obvious: Just think of Gordon Brown,Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel turning exagerrated spins off to theside of the stage, while Obama puts everyone in a trance with his silkyoratory.

If the summit is a success, it’s because both the U.S. and Europe want to walk away, but Neither One of Us will:

Music Diplomacy

Today’s selection gets the nod as much for the fact that I’m pretty damn impressed with myself for having found it as for its beauty. All I had to go on was a vague memory of a lyric about an old Indian canoeing down the river in the jungle, and that it was written and performed by Ruben Blades. Somehow I managed to not only identify the song, but find a brilliantly grainy video of Blades performing it with what seems like the Fania All Stars.

The song always got me nostalgiac for the time I spent in the Ecuadoran rainforest. But I also remembered its clever treatment of the jungle’s economy of necessity. The Indian, you see, is the jungle version of a door-to-door salesman, rowing past the the animals that peer out from a world of marvel. His merchandise?

Imported beer, twenty French panties, American Marlboros, and three Japanese radios. Costume jewelry, postcards of the Pope in Rome, six Playboys and batteries.

In other words, a pretty universal and timeless inventory.

The punchline comes after the meandering trumbone solo, when the Indian’s customers gather on the shore:

Then came the guerillas, the sacristan and the mayor, and everyone from the village who had something to pay him with.

That line always struck me for the concise precision with which it sums up the power structure of the marketplace, and it was the memory of the guerillas, the “guerrilleros,” that made me think of the song today. I can’t help but think that, lurking somewhere in the background of the song, there’s an Army counterinsurgency commander, busy trying to isolate the guerrilleros from the village. But that economy of necessity always seems to get in his way.

After the buying and selling is completed, the Indian paddles off, away from the tawdry commerce of society, and back into the world of marvel represented by the jungle. He’ll be back, though, with another cargo of Contrabando:

Music Diplomacy

Today’s selection kind of sneaks in through the backdoor. It’s got no real association with foreign affairs to speak of, but it does mention two European countries, and it’s sung by the King, Elvis Presley.

This performance is from the same 1972 tour that was recorded as a classic live album at Madison Square Garden. And it gives you an idea of the entire record: the funky bass walking all over the power-horn arrangements; the background singers filling in like a mini-choir; the all-over-the-place song selection — Also Sprach Zarathustra (the 2001 Space Odyssey theme) as an intro, Proud Mary, American Trilogy. And the pipes.

Say what you will about the jumpsuit, the guy’s still got the pipes. In fact, the first time I heard that record, I decided that Elvis Presley was the Daryl Strawberry of rock ‘n roll: If he could still do that after all the abuse, imagine what he could have done clean. Even if he’d Never Been to Spain:

Music Diplomacy

Today’s selection is from a band that I first remember seeing thirty years ago on an episode of What’s Happening. This is somehow true.

As for why I selected it, it has to do partly with the hat the drummer is wearing, partly with the way Skunk Baxter’s swivel chair has a front-to-back rocking mechanism built into it, and partly with the fact that part of my calling in life is to make sure that bands like the Doobie Brothers don’t get dismissed as bizarre epiphenomena of the Seventies.

But it has mostly to do with the growing conviction I’ve had over the past couple weeks that, after a few decades of being passed over as passive consumers, the people are about to play a growing role as actors in international affairs. Their demands, their grievances, their anger will all take on a more central role, at a time when the state will be least able to do much about it.

Pessimistic? I’m not sure. We’ve had such a long run of false growth that the very idea of scarcity seems frightening. But in times of social upheaval, there’s often a recalibration of values, with essential skills and assets reclaiming their privileged positions. That will be a painful correction, but a necessary one.

I also think that despite all of the advances in communications technology, we’re about to see a return to the world stage of one of the oldest methods of speaking truth to power, namely masses of people, Takin’ It to the Streets:

Music Diplomacy

I actually owned today’s Music Diplomacy selection in a store-bought, second-hand cassette version, back when I was living in L.A. and all I had was a tape player in the ’81 Oldsmobile Delta 88 that I drove around town. For all of you newbies, cassette tapes were an analog music-deliveryformat about the same size as aniPod, only instead of holding 3,000 songs, they held about 30 (if you were lucky). Primitive, I know, especially for 1998, but Leon Russell slowly unwinding from one spool of a cassette to the other seems somehow more appropriate than ole Leon captured in the silicon memory of an iPod.

It’s a bit of a stretch for foreign policy or world affairs, but it went well with driving around Hollywood and Silverlake, and goes perfectly with Marcelo Ballvé’s Photo Feature on Cuba. And after editing Marcelo’s three pieces, I’ve got the Island in my mind on my mind. So cue up the music, then click through to Marcelo’s photos, and go Back to the Island:

Music Diplomacy

Rob over at Arabic Media Shack poses the question, God Save the Queen or La Marseillase? The Marseillaise, hands down. Indeed, its soaring refrain is high on the list of reasons I’m glad my son has dual citizenship. That urge to run through walls Rob mentions upon hearing it is no coincidence, by the way. As an anthem, it’s true to its revolutionary battle-cry roots, complete with alarms about the enemy come to “cut the throats of your sons” and calls to “water our fields” with their “impure blood.” (Intellectually, of course, I prefer La Marcha Real, Spain’s national anthem, which shed its words upon Spain’s return to democratic rule following the Franco dictatorship.)

Today’s Music Diplomacy selection, though, should offer consolation to any disappointed Brits. I had it cued up last week in tribute to Hillary Clinton’s globetrotting ways until Sam Roggeveen set me off on a rock star tangent. Now it seems George Mitchell just left for the Middle East, with Clinton to follow next week. So it’s back in the rotation.

The Jam seems like an appropriate metaphor, too, for the Obama administration: too proficient at their instruments to be considered part of the punk movement that surrounded them, young idealists who nevertheless endorsed Thatcher (Paul Weller later claimed the entire conservative pose was a publicity stunt). In other words, a bundle of contradictions. And like Obama, here they are introduced by the old (Marc Bolan of T Rex fame) while looking for new, All Around the World:

Music Diplomacy

I’d actually had this one scheduled for next week, because I wanted to hit the globetrotting theme of Hillary Clinton’s first trip abroad as secretary of state. But then Barack Obama announced a troop increase in Afghanistan and, more importantly, Sam Roggeveen went and casually dropped that he’d interviewed Australia’s minister of the environment, Peter Garrett. Right.

The rest, as they say, is history — or something that vaguely resembles it on a drastically reduced scale, anyway — and I had to go with this today. (You made me do this, Sam.)

I wasn’t as big a Midnight Oil fan as Sam makes out, simply because I’ve never been the groupie type. But I wore out the record this clip is taken from, and the show I mentioned in my email to Sam is still one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen. The opening lyric is a bit dated, and I’d love to hear what Minister Garrett thinks of rock star Peter’s admonition, “Politicians, party lines, don’t cross that floor!” Funny how rock stars rule the world, but we still give the nod to U.S. Forces:

Music Diplomacy

I couldn’t find true video of it, but today’s selection is one of the more beautiful songs off one of Tom Waits’ more beautiful albums. I was bitten by the vagabond bug and began dreaming of the great escape at a relatively young age. So this sort of imagery was already talking to me when I first heard it as a teenager:

Planes and trains and boats and buses
Characteristically evoke a common attitude of blue
Unless you have a suitcase and a ticket and a passport
And the cargo that they’re carrying is you.

I’ve argued before that citizen diplomacy is the best kind of diplomacy. Now, just in time for Valentine’s Day, a case for why foreign affairs sometimes best boils down to a Foreign Affair:

Music Diplomacy

I bet if I told you that today’s selection is from the Clash, you’d assume it was going to be about sending diplomatic cables from London. That would be understandable, because I’d initially intended to go with London Calling. But then I ran across this other nugget, and I couldn’t pass it up. It’s not an easy track, speaking as it does about the gap between Joe Strummer’s idealist expectations and the harsher realities he encountered on a trip to Jamaica.

It reminded me of my own first trip to the “Third World,” in my case Ecuador, when I left with a backpack, a couple changes of the essential items of clothing, and all the answers. What I found there confronted me with new and more complicated questions.

I guess we all have our own version of our ideals running headlong into the stubborn persistence of reality. If we’re lucky, we make it back to think things over in the equivalent of a Safe European Home:

Music Diplomacy

This next one comes off the first Bob Marley record I ever bought — vinyl, for those of you keeping track at home — back in 1982. It’s hard to grasp, really, how much the world has since changed in ways unimaginable to my then fourteen-year-old imagination. Back then, the lingering effects of colonialism were not only so very tangible in the way the world was organized, but still present in South Africa and elsewhere. With so much energy and attention directed towards defeating an ideology based on racism, it was easy to forget that the corrupting influence of power is color-blind.

But in some ways, even the surprises were really not so very surprising. When Bob played this song at the Zimbabwe independence concert in 1980, he was horrified to see crowds of common people tear gassed byriot police to keep them out of the opening night gala show attended by Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, Britain’s Prince Charles and others. (More than 100,000 turned out for the second night’s show.)

The live version here — with rare horns and the I-Threes for some reasonreduced to two — came a year previously, when the song still represented a call to arms and a defiant cry of hope. Almost thirty years later, hope is still deferred for the people of the former colonyof Rhodesia. Natty dread it inna Zimbabwe:

Music Diplomacy

From the gang at Foreign Policy Watch (congrats on the well-deserved Weblog finalist nomination, guys), I learn that I am old. Ah, well, it could be worse. Warren Zevon’s dead.

Apparently, forty’s the new thirty, but I’m just fine with forty being forty. As I observed to a charming twenty-something not long ago who tried to reassure me by protesting that I wasn’t that old, “You say that as if young is a compliment.”

All of which is to say, if you want recent music by living artists, you’d do well to send recommendations (and preferably open source links). Even when I was actively accumulating new music, I usually waited until someone had racked up a five- or ten-year body of work before diving in. And I stopped doing even that when I realized that I’d begun to like everything I heard. Lack of discrimination is a virtue in race relations, but in matters of esthetics, it’s a sign of failure.

With that as a segue, I’ll introduce today’s edition of Music Diplomacy — short on policy detail, but long on strategic objectives — in honor of President Barack Obama’s inauguration. Here’s hoping Obama knows the same place as Pops, Mavis, Cleotha and Yvonne, and that he knows how to get there:

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