Here is a link to what is perhaps one of the best articles I have seen on the “state of State.” There are those who might want to dismiss the concerns of our diplomatic corp as coming from self-interest but that’s not the case. This article’s discussion of the costs of a transactional foreign policy not rooted in our foundational values is spot on.
There are those who talk about our pursuing our interests…who dismiss our values as “soft power” concerns that we shouldn’t prioritize. They are wrong. Pursuit of our values advances our interests and our leadership. They inspire, the build confidence, they reflect our nation’s strength and vision. They link us to the fundamental aspirations that we share across societies…to live lives of dignity, to live without fear, to build a future for our families, to see our children grow, have our voices heard, practice our faiths freely, have access to justice….all this and more.
I am proud of my years of service and even prouder of my colleagues who continue to serve in this challenging time. Our diplomats (both generalists and specialists) and our civil service colleagues in Washington, are patriots who put nation before self and I am honored to have been one of them.
Someone asked me recently how the administration’s new “America First” policy was changing things. I know what they meant…but I also know what my first response had to be….for me, and for my colleagues over 35 years, it has ALWAYS been America First. And no matter how hollow the administration makes our Department (intentionally or through a fundamental and dangerous lack of understanding) it always will be.