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Post-State Department Career files, 2004 - 2023

 File — Box: 3

Scope and Contents

Description provided by Blaney:

“Lessons from Liberia’s Success, Thoughts on Leadership, the Process of Peace, Security, and Justice” PRISM Volume 1, No. 2, National Defense University. March 2010.

Speech at Georgetown University (2009) “Leadership and Persistence”.

“The Art of Strategy Creation for Complex Situations”, Civil Power in Irregular Conflict, Kramer and Civic, Center for Naval Analysis, January 12, 2010. Plus speaking points.

Speech at American University (2014).

Speech (and other remarks) at USMA (West Point). (2016)

(Folder) A) MAPSOP Keynote Address for Australian/New Zealand for Cabinet members (and others) in Canberra, August 12th 2011 (w/printed power point). B) USIP Article “The Art of Strategy Creation for Complex Situations”. C) Conference presentation in the UK (MI-6 and others) “Ending the War and Winning the Peace”.

“Wider Lessons for Peacebuilding: Security Sector Reform in Liberia, The Stanley Foundation, with co-authors Jacque Klein and Sean McFate. June 2010.

(Folder 6) As a panelist: CSIS Remarks 7/13/2013, “Monopoly of Force” September 12th 2011, and “Summary of John Blaney’s key qualifications”.

“Monopoly of Force” Conference at United States Institute for Peace, 2010. CD.

“Ending the War and Winning the Peace” Power Point presentation, CD. (2008)

“Rethinking Stabilization and Reconstruction” CSIS, part 2 of Conference, “Columbia and Liberia” (as success stories). July 16th 2013. CD

George Washington University presentation, “The Art of Strategy Creation for Complex Situations”. CD United States Institute for Peace, discussant remarks, April 14th 2012.

“Ending the War in Liberia” Presentation for Iraq PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) courses 2007-9.

United States Institute for Peace, points on “Security Sector Reform”.

Power point working files (2007-13).

Speech presentation materials (“The Art of Strategy Creation, “Ending the War and Winning the Peace”), power points.

Foreign Service Institute presentation. 2008.

Various other speeches, presentation materials and articles of 2013.

(Folder 6) Department of State clearance letter for John Blaney’s film treatment, “The Peace Alamo”, December 9th 2010.

(Folder 6) Book launch of The Embassy A Story of War and Diplomacy by Dante Paradiso. Beaufort Books. 2016. (About the climax of Liberia’s civil war in 2003. A copy is in the “Liberia Crisis” box.) Subsequently won the International Publishers Association’s gold medal for best world history book of 2017.

(Folder 6) Typical power point presentation used at presentations during 2010-2012.

PRISM Vol 1 #2, “Lessons from Liberia’s Success: Thoughts on Leadership, the Process of Peace, Security and Justice” by John Blaney.

(Folder 6) “Negotiating in Non-Secure Environments” December 5, 2007. For PRT Teams (and others) training at the Foreign Service. Institute going out to Iraq and other places. Power point printed out.

(Folder 6) Blaney’s “Dynamic Multi-Response” graphic for dealing with any sort of crisis.

(Folder 6) Handwritten notes on the Liberia crisis experience.

Wilton Park, Sussex, UK, speech 9/23/2009,”Liberia: Security and Justice Sector Development during Peacekeeping”.

(folder 6) “Implications for Africa’s Weak Checks and Balances” NDU and the Pentagon, about 2009.

(folder 6) John Blaney’s resume used by him during post-USG job search in 2006.

(folder 6) Embassy Monrovia’s Marine Security Guard Detachment write-up with Dante Paradiso’s timeline. (Trying to get the Marines who heroically stood their ground in Liberia against long odds during the 2003 crisis period the Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon. After other efforts, this was eventually bestowed upon them).

(folder 6) Drafts of points to make during videos of John Blaney endorsing Joe Biden for President in 2020, and to use elsewhere as content.

(folder 6) Role as a Founding Member of the Planetary Society since Carl Sagan started it. Impact 2022—“Planetary Society Brief”.

(Folder 6) Brief on working the Charles Taylor problem and getting the war stopped (How did you do that?). Used at several venues.

(folder 6) “Lessons I learned along the Way” and “Looking Ahead-Snapshot of the Future”. Several venues. 2012-2016.

(folder 6 B) “The Emotional Moments of being in charge at Embassy Monrovia (in 2003)”, and “Generalization from the case of Liberia”. Dante Paradiso book launch event, 2017.

(folder 6 B) JB’s Scenesetter and interview notes and points for his segment of the Department of State’s broadcast interview of Jenkins Vangehn, a Liberian member of Embassy Monrovia’s staff, upon his being named as one of the “Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy”. June 29th 2021.

(folder 6 B) Washington Post, “Ex-President (Taylor) Found Guilty of War Crimes” page A6, April 27th 2012.

(folder 6 C) Speech at American University. March 2014.

(folder 6 C) Speech for USG health and other agencies (including CDC, DOD, etc.) and North Carolina State’s Park Scholars: Managing Crises: “Pandemics” (as a future major threat). (With Ebola as an example, and using JB’s Dynamic Multi-response model) October 8th 2015.

(separate folder) West Point presentations to faculty and senior cadets, March 31st 2016.

AGA Conference with General Sadtler: “Dynamic Multi-response” to crises. July 14th 2015. Nashville, Tenn.

“A Fish Rots by its Head” an unpublished article by John Blaney. (The National Defense University (DOD) declined it.) Attempted to emphasize systemic governmental corruption and criminal networks as drivers of terrorism and instability.

“Ending the War and Winning the Peace”. 2008 presentation at several venues. Speech and power point printed out.

“The Secrets of Talal” A practical exercise for outgoing Iraq Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), and JB’s “Negotiating in Non-Secure Environments”.

Multilateral Peace and Stability Operations Project, Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre, Canberra, Australia. August 2011.

Talkers at the Pentagon, on achieving whole of government collaboration and lessons from Liberia. October 25th 2011.

Wilton Park Conference. Sussex, UK. “Liberia: Security and Justice Sector Development during Peacekeeping”, and other materials. September 2009.

U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. December 2008. Remarks on post-conflict transition.

NDIA Conference on Stability Transition and Reconstruction. JB’s, “The Dynamics of Negotiations and the Role of Interim Governments in Peacebuilding”. Also, “Economic factors and Reconciliation”. September 2009.

Draft of Prism Journal article, “From Liberia’s Success: Thoughts on Leadership, the Process of Peace, Security, and Justice” 11/17/2009.

Remarks to Kellogg Scholars, “Notes on the 21st Century”. November 2010.

“Let Loose the Scorpions”. JB’s article for the Center for Complex Operations’ Conference on “Building Police Capacity in Post Conflict Communities”. Also remarks. October 25th 2010.

USIP’s conference on “Monopoly of Force”. Remarks. September 2011.

Center for Naval Analysis workshop. May 11, 2010.

NDIA Conference. Remarks. December 2010.

YFPF July 26th 2012 speech, “The Art of Strategy Creation for Complex Situations”, plus printed power point.

George Mason University. “Lessons from Liberia”. What happened, post-conflict transition. May 15th 2012.

NDIA Conference on “Stability and Transition”. June 2012.

Center for Civilian Military Relations, “Working with U.S. Embassy Country Teams in Africa and Host Countries”. (Crisis management, security, and terrorism). November 2013.

CNA/ISE conference on “Building Partnership Capacity”. June 7th 2013.

Version of “The Art of Strategy Creation for Complex Situations” for Strategic Realities in Irregular Conflict, Kramer and Civic, Center for Naval Analysis, 2013. Research background materials.

Center for Naval Analysis’ “Resiliency Symposium”. 2013.

CSIS Remarks based on “The Art of Strategy Creation for Complex Situations”. 2014.

Blaney’s (2016) Letter to United States Marine Corps Commandant requesting USMC Detachment at Embassy Monrovia in 2003 receive the Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon. Description of events during crisis.

(Odds and Ends Folder) Some repeatedly used at different venues: A) “Lessons I Learned along the Way” B) “How do we do Transition?” C) “(Conflict) Prevention Points” C) “50,000 Feet Up” (negotiating and peacemaking) D)”On the Ground, Lessons in Leadership” D) Points on conflict resolution made at the Center for Naval Analysis and elsewhere E) Points on leadership and persistence F) Points on post-conflict management G) “Implications of Africa’s Weak Checks and Balances” H) Points on security sector reform in answer to questions. I) “Managing Crises” conference, JB’s “Pandemics”. Growing threat of future pandemics, using Ebola as an example. Points on management of pandemics. Park Scholarship Program with USAID, CDA, FDA and other USG health agencies, NGOs, and DOD. 2015.

Career Overview (Brown folder)

Summary of John W. Blaney.

State Department audit report up to February 1999.

Key promotions.

Key addition of multifunctional skill code.

A few resumes along the way.

High Honors and Farewell (Blue folder)

The Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award (2004). Presented by Secretary Powell. Nomination memo.

Performance pay award. 2004.

“Brief chronology of Ambassador John Blaney’s Service in Liberia”

Senator McCain and Madeline Albright’s joint (bipartisan) letter of appreciation and admiration. And replies from JB.

Ambassador Blaney’s resignation letter to POTUS Bush as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia.

State Department evaluation reports of Ambassador Blaney while serving in Liberia.

Career Potholes Along the way (Brown folder) For alleged excessive and worrisome warnings to the White House of the Soviet Union’s instability and possible disintegration, and Yeltsin’s likely rise to power. Blaney “Court marshaled “at State Department’s Director General’s Office and told to resign. (Instigated by Robert Zoellick and his minion, Ross Wilson). Documents:

“On the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the USSR”, by John Blaney. The Foreign Service Journal, page 14-17. March 2017. Letter plus (article) recounting the “court martial” of John Blaney in 1992 for upsetting the White House by issuing dire warnings about the USSR’s instability, and pointing to Yeltsin as the likely new leader of Russia.

Blaney memorandum to Joseph F. Becilia, March 25th 1997, recounting these events as a justification for asking for more time to get promoted in order to and avoid forced retirement (declined).

A couple of examples (from many) of letters to or from Blaney’s senior colleagues, as Blaney desperately tries to get a meaningful job after Moscow while in the Senior Seminar; that is, before realizing he had been blackballed from any assignment, which was explained to him during his meeting in the Director General’s office.

Cable from Embassy Moscow, March 1991, to Acting Director General Williamson, Blaney accepts the offer of a place in the Senor Seminar after his USSR posting, and talks about his wishes for the future. (see “Potholes Along the Way” folder and below, where Williamson tells Blaney to resign from the Foreign Service”.)

Miscommunication with Madeleine Albright

Blaney memorandum to Elaine K. Shocas, June 18, 1997. (Blaney explains the pressure on him to get promoted or be forced out, prompting him to leave the United States Mission to the United Nations (USUN) one year early . Further, Blaney goes on to recount that Ambassador Edward “Skip” Gnehm, Albright’s Deputy at USUN, told him that he would rather explain the matter to Ambassador Albright, rather than Blaney himself. Blaney told him to tell Ambassador Albright that he would stay if that is what she wanted. Gnehm later told Blaney he had discussed the matter with Ambassador Albright, and she approves his departure. Ambassador Albright later becomes Secretary of State. Shocas’ reply to this memorandum was to have coffee with Blaney, where she told him, “Secretary Albright wants you to know that you will never be an ambassador.” She said this was so because Blaney departed from USUN one year earlier than scheduled and proved hard to replace.

Letter of Madeleine Albright to Blaney November 6th 1995. (She agrees that Blaney could not let the opportunity (of his new job) pass, and offers congratulations on his job performance while working for her.

Blaney’s letter of December 9th 1996 to Ambassador Albright, congratulating her upon the occasion of her nomination to be Secretary of State.

January 3, 1997 Memorandum from Joseph Becelia, Office of Performance Evaluation at State Department, warning Blaney that he has only one more chance at promotion before being forced to retire. (Explains why Blaney had to accept the Southern Africa Director’s job at State Department in order to have a chance at promotion and remaining in the Foreign Service. It worked, and Blaney was promoted on his last chance).

List of ambassadorships Blaney was aiming for prior to Secretary Albright blackballing him for getting any of them.

Thumb on the Scale?

Promotion Panel Scorecard for Ambassador Blaney. Despite all his Liberia accomplishments, including essentially ending a war on the battlefield, and winning the United States’ highest high diplomatic honor (The Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award), Ambassador Blaney is only mid-ranked, passed over multiple times, and forced to retire from the Foreign Service in 2005. But it was not unexpected. Many had urged closing Embassy Monrovia, including some very senior officers in the State Department, and they were caught out and upset after Blaney kept Embassy Monrovia open and it subsequently played a vital role in ending the civil war in Liberia. Also, Blaney’s insistence on going to Congress to get urgent funding, desperately needed keep the fragile peace in Liberia, was also deeply resented by DOD and Deputy Secretary of State Armitage. Another factor may have been the relatively low number of very senior jobs Blaney had held at that point, largely as a consequence of earlier potholes hit along the way that slowed his career momentum, as described in numbers 1 and 2 above.

Letter from Director General Pearson informing Blaney he will not selected for promotion and will be mandatorily retired in 2005. 1/11/2005


  • 2004 - 2023

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is currently unprocessed and access to it may therefore be limited. Researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections for more information on access to this collection.


From the Collection: 10 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English


Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057