Posted: 1:16 am EDT
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Via WhirledView with Patricia H. Kushlis:
What ever happened to the professional American diplomat? Or can the world’s second oldest profession even still be considered a profession in these United States?
Is the State Department, the country’s oldest cabinet department which is tasked with the recruitment, training, education and professional development of America’s diplomats, run by the gang who can’t shoot straight or a corrupt in-crowd of long time bureaucrats entrenched in the department paying just enough tribute to the proliferating number of political bosses to stay in power far past their prime? Or are they one and the same?
The story told in the recent Academy of American Diplomacy report “American Diplomacy at Risk” is that of a once venerable department that has lost much of its relevancy and expertise in the making and implementing of US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War encroached upon by the National Security Council, the US military, the CIA, the National Security Agency and even the Foreign Commercial Service.
Much has been made of “diplomatic readiness” – but how “ready” are American diplomats today? A wise linguist once told me that “it takes twenty years to grow a tree and it also takes twenty years (or more) to develop the skills required to be a consummate diplomat.”
Nearly 60% of the Foreign Service today is composed of officers who have had less than ten years experience and their first three years are spent working entry-level positions often on the Visa Line or in the war zones of Afghanistan or Iraq. What kind of expertise – or diplomatic readiness – does that translate into?