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State Dept. launches podcasts about the 'intriguing' economic diplomacy it conducts

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The State Department this week started producing a series of podcasts about economic diplomacy, in an effort to show taxpayers "the most intriguing aspects of our diplomatic efforts."

State's first installment, released on Monday, detailed an agreement reached back in May under which Argentina agreed to pay off $9.7 billion in principal and interest to members of the Paris Club. But while the context of the podcast seemed to credit diplomacy for this agreement, it admitted that Argentina had owed this money for about 13 years during which diplomatic efforts appeared to have no success.

It also acknowledged that Argentina was essentially forced into the deal if it had any hope of continuing to borrow money, and that pressure from overseas private investors also played a role.

The 11-mimute podcast explains the months-old agreement, and then provides an overview of what the Paris Club is, with tinkly piano music and sounds from a cafe in the background.

While the State Department is known for being the diplomatic wing of the government, State said it is increasingly conducting economic policy. State seems to define that term as using the power of the federal government for the purpose of getting certain economic results.

"Each episode of Inside Economic Diplomacy will tell a different story about how the State Department conducts economic policy," State said. "The subjects will be wide ranging – from sovereign debt negotiations to conflict diamonds to women's economic empowerment."

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