Journal: US to Fund 2,308 New Diplomatic Gerbils

02 Diplomacy
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Leading Through Civilian Power

Redefining American Diplomacy and Development

By Hillary Rodham Clinton

Foreign Affairs

November/December 2010


To meet the range of challenges facing the United States and the world, Washington will have to strengthen and amplify its civilian power abroad. Diplomacy and development must work in tandem, offering countries the support to craft their own solutions.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON is U.S. Secretary of State.

Today’s world is a crucible of challenges testing American leadership. Global problems, from violent extremism to worldwide recession to climate change to poverty, demand collective solutions, even as power in the world becomes more diffuse. They require effective international cooperation, even as that becomes harder to achieve. And they cannot be solved unless a nation is willing to accept the responsibility of mobilizing action. The United States is that nation.

I began my tenure as U.S. Secretary of State by stressing the need to elevate diplomacy and development alongside defense — a “smart power” approach to solving global problems. To make that approach succeed, however, U.S. civilian power must be strengthened and amplified. It must, as U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has argued in these pages, be brought into better balance with U.S. military power. In a speech last August, Gates said, “There has to be a change in attitude in the recognition of the critical role that agencies like [the] State [Department] and AID [the U.S. Agency for International Development] play . . . for them to play the leading role that I think they need to play.”

This effort is under way. Congress has already appropriated funds for 1,108 new Foreign Service and Civil Service officers to strengthen the State Department’s capacity to pursue American interests and advance American values. USAID is in the process of doubling its development staff, hiring 1,200 new Foreign Service officers with the specific skills and experience required for evolving development challenges, and is making better use of local hires at our overseas missions, who have deep knowledge of their countries. The Obama administration has begun rebuilding USAID to make it the world’s premier development organization, one that fosters long-term growth and democratic governance, includes its own research arm, shapes policy and innovation, and uses metrics to ensure that our investments are cost-effective and sound.

Phi Beta Iota: The full reprint can be purchased for under one dollar.  The bottom line is that this is more lipstick on the pig.  Apart from the fact that the US would be hard-pressed to find, clear, and hire 3,000 people actually competent at diplomatic and developmental work who are linguistically and cultural qualified as well as “clearable,” there is no real money associated with this initiative.  Until the USA has a strategic analytic model and a deep-seated commitment to eradicating the ten high level threats to humanity, something that will require the redirection of at least $250 billion from Program 50 to Program 150, this is just more gerbils–and they are still outnumbered by military musicians and cooks.  The term “gerbils on a wheel” is how Madeline Albright characterized herself and her diplomatic colleagues in her memoire–no disrespect is intended, rather the intent is to demonstrate that absent a coherent strategy that balances means (money), ways (methods), and ends (moral), no amount of hiring is going to be serious.

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