The Changes for American Diplomacy

18 12 2009

We are all agreed that every challenges faced to the US should be not taken by military action or forces. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates said, “But these new threats require our government to operate as a whole differently – to act with unity, agility, creativity. And they will require considerably more resources devoted to America’s non-military instruments of power”. He further said, “The Department of Defense has taken on many of these burdens that might have been assumed by civilian involvement and expertise”. The speech are directly means that US military should be less operating in the major line of international politics and replace it with something more cooperative which is the military always made it get more into complex conflicts. Another that can be said from the speech is not every outrage, not every aggression, nor every crisis can or should elicit US military response.

In any case, one must accept enthusiastically these admissions on the part of the leaders of the military establishment that there are limits to be efficacy of the military’s capability to deal with the challenges facing US. It is also gratifying that they seem to recognize that there must be a reallocation of resources in the federal budget. This seems to mean that they are willing to see the Department of Defense receive a smaller share of the financial resources of the government.

So, the question is the Department of State ready to assume a greater role in maintaining the national security? To answer this question must’ve be comes up with lots of federal budgets which can be receive from President and Congress to Department of State.

There are four steps that should be taken in order to achieve more power in diplomacy (Department of State) as the aftermath of Department of Defense approach are leaved :

  1. Increasing Staffing and Funding

First, staffing and funding must be increased. So, now the question is: Where are the necessary funds to come from? In Ambassador Charles W. Freeman writing “Debt, Defense, and Diplomacy: Foreign Policy Dilemmas before the President-Elect” , are mentioned some area that could be significant to contribute the financial budgets, here’s the major:

  • Withdrawal and reduce requirements for operations in Iraq. There is good reason to believe that  a reduction in combat operations can occur in the immediate future by expanding the role of the Iraqi army. If the US were to move vigorously in the diplomatic area, the presently envisioned 16 months withdrawal term could be significantly reduced.
  • Install an anti-missile defense system. There is absolutely no indication that the presently envisioned system would be more than marginally effective in eliminating missiles directed at US territory.
  • Withdraw US forces from South Korea and Germany. The reasons for their emplacement in those countries no longer exist. South Korea is today quite capable of defending itself against North Korea. Germany and the European Union are under no threat of a Russian attack. The size of the forces involved adds virtually nothing to the defense capabilities to the host countries. In other words, they have been quite superfluous in meeting the challenges that have faces the US in this century.
  • The manned space flight portion of the NASA budget. Believe that a presidential commission needs to be created to study the manned flight portion of the NASA programs in order to determine definitely whether the costs are justified in comparison to the costs of unmanned space exploration and the knowledge to be gained from both.
  • New taxes. There are two areas. First, a federal tax for gambling revenue that amounted to about $90 billion to 1-2% on all wages. The second one is federal luxury taxes that 2-5% tax could be levied on all luxuries accessories that costing more than $1,000.

2. Enhance Professionalism

The second step that needs to be taken is to enhance the professionalism of the Foreign Service and to transform it into a flexible, mission-and-career-oriented service. so, how can this be achieved? In order to achieve the goals, service the recruitment methods used to bring individuals into the Foreign Service must be changed. These should comprise a competitive examination to select students to attend selected universities at the expense of the US Government. The number of students would be a function of the needs of the Service. A specific program of studies would be established for each successful candidate to include specific foreign language studies. The individual arriving in the Foreign Service after the educational program prescribed above should be fluent in one foreign language and moderately fluent in a second. Fluency in these languages should be improved by judicious assignments, but their career should be not be limited to those countries in which those languages are spoken.

3. Reorganize State

At present, they are buried in the office of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs in several of the geographical bureaus, such as Near Eastern Affairs, European and Eurasian Affairs, South and Central Asian and pacific Affairs. It would be far more logical and efficient, to create several Under Secretaries for Political Affairs. One would be the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Task Force I, whose responsibilities would cover the major powers, Russia, to include the ex-Soviet republics that are not members of the European Union; China, India, and possibly Brazil. The Under Secretary State, Task Force II, would be responsible for the Middle East from Egypt to Iran. The Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Task Force III, would be responsible for Europe, to include Turkey, and the countries along the south shore of the Mediterranean less Egypt, and so forth. With such an organization, the critical areas in international relations calling for forceful American diplomacy are brought to the forefront where the Secretary can have ready access to her expert in these areas and where these areas are not buried in the outmoded geographical arrangements.

4. Reactive and Proactive

This for step is a complete transformation of the American diplomatic mind set from reactive to proactive. The US needs to recognize the issues that are creating instability in international relations and the issues that are eroding the possibilities for the majority of the world’s population to live useful, well-developed lives. The federal government needs to attempt to address these issues before they become crises. It needs to address them by developing and proposing long term solutions (proactive) rather than coming up with spur-of-the-moment short term solutions to alleviate a crisis (reactive). One of the most important tools for the President and the Secretary of State to become proactive would be the development of the country-specific, long term goals I have been cited.

What can be done in the short, medium, and long term to take the four steps that been described above? In the short term, the Secretary, using the authority as the head of the Department of State, can:

  1. Develop a budget to eliminate the shortfall in staffing and funding requirements going out at least five years and with the support of the President prevail upon Congress to accept this increased funding.
  2. Prevail upon the President to appoint only professional diplomatic personnel to ambassadorship.
  3. Create a Departmental ad hoc group to begin the development of country-specific, long term goals pending the creation of an organizational structure that will include policy development elements.
  4. Launch an effort to create an intelligence capability in the Department, again on and ad hoc basis pending a department reorganization.
  5. Set up a study group to develop a new concept for the Foreign Service, to include recruitment, terms of service, and a career program.
  6. Set up a study group to revamp the Foreign Service Institute, its proposals to be coordinated with the Foreign Service study group with regard to meeting educational requirements for Foreign Service officers.
  7. Set up a study group a develop a plan for the organization of the Department of State.

In the medium term, the groups’ recommendations need to be transformed into bills for Congressional action. Congressional adoption of these bills should occur within one year from their presentation to Congress.

In the long term, the restricting of the Foreign Service and the Foreign Service Institute and the reorganization of the Department should be completed within two years after the adoption of the respective bills by the Congress and the signature of the law by the President.


The twenty-first century may well be one of the most critical centuries the world will face for many hundreds of years. The US is in the position of being one of the major factors in successfully met through diplomacy.

Sources : The American Diplomacy Journals.




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