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Hillary Should Dare to Break State in Order to Save It


Senator Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State designate of the incoming Obama administration has been given the most prestigious post in the Cabinet by her former presidential rival but also one of the toughest jobs in the U.S. government. The diplomatic challenges facing the United States are numerous, daunting and dangerous even as we are embroiled in a war against a global insurgency composed of radical Islamist terrorists and their local tribal, religious and governmental sympathizers. America’s diplomatic “brand” is sorely in need of rebuilding and our oldest security pillar, NATO, is failing in Afghanistan. There are herculean tasks awaiting Senator Clinton.

However prepared or determined Hillary Clinton might be, the U.S. Department of State is not up to the job.

I say this not to bash foreign service officers. The average career diplomat is no more responsible for bad bureaucratic behavior in Foggy Bottom than a U.S. Army major in Iraq should be blamed for cost overruns for the Future Combat System. The problems of the State Department are systemic and there’s more than enough blame to go around. When State has reached the juncture where it is crippled in carrying out it’s core mission of diplomacy because it’s people lack language fluency, seldom leave massive fortress embassies and labor under a byzantine and dysfunctional personnel system marred by favortism and seniority, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. The window of opportunity is now.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently told a brutal truth about American foreign policy:

“My message is that if we are to meet the myriad challenges around the world in the coming decades, this country must strengthen other important elements of national power both institutionally and financially, and create the capability to integrate and apply all of the elements of national power to problems and challenges abroad. In short, based on my experience serving seven presidents, as a former Director of CIA and now as Secretary of Defense, I am here to make the case for strengthening our capacity to use “soft” power and for better integrating it with “hard” power

One of the most important lessons of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that military success is not sufficient to win: economic development, institution-building and the rule of law, promoting internal reconciliation, good governance, providing basic services to the people, training and equipping indigenous military and police forces, strategic communications, and more – these, along with security, are essential ingredients for long-term success.  Accomplishing all of these tasks will be necessary to meet the diverse challenges I have described.

….What is not as well-known, and arguably even more shortsighted, was the gutting of America’s ability to engage, assist, and communicate with other parts of the world – the “soft power,” which had been so important throughout the Cold War. The State Department froze the hiring of new Foreign Service officers for a period of time. The United States Agency for International Development saw deep staff cuts – its permanent staff dropping from a high of 15,000 during Vietnam to about 3,000 in the 1990s.  And the U.S. Information Agency was abolished as an independent entity, split into pieces, and many of its capabilities folded into a small corner of the State Department.

….Funding for non-military foreign-affairs programs has increased since 2001, but it remains disproportionately small relative to what we spend on the military and to the importance of such capabilities. Consider that this year’s budget for the Department of Defense – not counting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan – is nearly half a trillion dollars.  The total foreign affairs budget request for the State Department is $36 billion – less than what the Pentagon spends on health care alone. Secretary Rice has asked for a budget increase for the State Department and an expansion of the Foreign Service. The need is real.   Despite new hires, there are only about 6,600 professional Foreign Service officers – less than the manning for one aircraft carrier strike group. And personnel challenges loom on the horizon. By one estimate, 30 percent of USAID’s Foreign Service officers are eligible for retirement this year – valuable experience that cannot be contracted out.”

There many things wrong with the State Department as an institution and with the frankly insular and anachronistic cultural worldview that it tends to inculcate but starving State of operational funds and personnel – the historic reflex of the U.S. Congress – is not the road improvement. While money for “more of the same” is not an acceptable answer, demanding that diplomatic miracles be performed by the seat of the pants on a shoestring budget is a position worthy of a village idiot.

Now is the time for a strategic rebuilding of the State Department, as well as the Foreign Service, as the linchpin in a new national security system conceived in terms of interagency jointness, a Goldwater-Nichols Act on steroids. The old State Department structure was reformed by Charles Evans Hughes, who as Secretary of State in the early 1920’s found that his staff was too small and procedures too antiquated, to adequately cope with the modern world. So Huges rebuilt it, creating State’s specialization and mission structure that yielded a constellation of statesmen and grand strategists a generation later, including Dean Acheson and George Kennan, when America and the world needed their vision most. Great leaders either found new systems or they are the ultimate product of them.

Secretary Hughes did a superb job but America can do better than our great-grandfather’s State Department.

Senator Clinton, President-elect Obama and the next Congress should move boldly and retire the State Department as it has been the way Hughes waved goodbye to the quaint and time honored practices of the 19th century. We need not a half-step but a leap:

In broad terms, the White House and Congress need to look for a new model for a Goldwater-Nichols II to create a flatter, more adaptive, fast-moving, structure for foreign policy implementation than the industrial age mammoth bureaucracies with their rigidly compartmentalized, hierarchical “cylinders of excellence“. With economic interests and non-state actors attaining prominence alongside traditional political and military concerns, our response time needs to be keyed to adversaries and partners who have a network structure rather than a hierarchy. As RAND scholars John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt have suggested, networks are more easily attacked by other networks, not by slow-moving hierarchies .

Technically, what I am proposing is in organizational terms is that the United States began executing foreign policy through modular networks, which combine the advantages of specialization and control offered by hierarchies with the supple resilience and adaptive capacity of scale-free networks. In practical terms, this would mean pulling experienced, suitably senior, personnel out of their respective bureaucracies and putting them into IT-networked multidisciplinary, field teams with a strict task orientation and real decision authority. A reform that will only bear fruit if future budgets and individual promotions are removed from the hands of bureaucratic managers back in Washington and tied directly to team performance, with team members practicing a 360 degree review system .

These field teams must be financially autonomous, answering not to their departmental hierarchies in Washington but to the NSC collectively, with the National Security Adviser as liason. The current situation, where many have the ability to say “No” with no one person having the clear authority or accountability being able to say ” Yes”, must go. Reforming the foreign policy process by “flattening” it, will yield a number of advantages over the present system:

* The orientation is on mission task rather than bureaucratic “turf”. Everyone sinks or swims together.

*Foreign policy problems will be analyzed holistically and decided upon collaboratively instead of in a compartmentalized and adversarial fashion.

* Most decisions will be made much closer to the problems. And be made by people whose knowledge reflects true depth of understanding.

* The time required to move from proposing foreign policy options to presidential policy is much reduced.

* Streamlined information flow, minimizing the ability of senior departmental managers in Washington to spin, edit and water down unwelcome news.

* Instead of putting State or Defense in charge across the board, as is customary in today’s interagency process, leadership of a field team can be quickly moved to the member whose expertise or skill-sets are most closely related to the problem.

* Shifting the worldview of an age cohort of officials from a parochial departmental perspective to one that embraces a broader, “horizontal” analytical framework.

* The system will be oriented to provide career incentives to the collaborative problem-solvers rather than obstructionists and bureaucratic saboteurs

And we should reach beyond the confines of the USG and other states and IGO’s; the questions are, “Who has the capability? Who has the money ?”. In Great Powers: America and the World After Bush,  Thomas P.M. Barnett wrote:

 “To be effective, then, America’s grand strategy needs to connect its total DIME package-as much as possible-to those tail end “E” players in the private sector, thus avoiding the self-delusion that globalization expands primarily in response to public sector supply….the truth is that the vast majority of infrastructure devlopment ($ 22 trillion over the next decade alone) inside emerging and developing economies comes as a result of private sector demand ” pull” – those 3 billion new capitalists and all the resources they need to catch up in economic development”

State should fit into the interagency -System Administration system as the “old hands”; their diplomatic careers need to be about regional, in-country depth that is rich in tacit, “local” knowledge that can read strategic advantage in subtle nuance and build connections across diverse communities ( the CIA is there to talk to the really dirty but not to be ignored players). They are our relationship builders across the DIME spectrum and premier OSINT operators but to be effective, diplomats need to be invested long term. Shuttling from post to post across the globe, Yemen one tour, Thailand the next, then Washington with Paris as a pre-retirement plum is a damn stupid way to cultivate your diplomatic talent pool. Letting an old boys network determine their assignments rather than national security needs is also asinine. Get the career incentives right.  Patricia Kushlis, blogging at Whirledview, nailed the problem with the current mentality of State:

“But if service in Iraq, or at other hardship posts, is truly valued, maybe by-the-by, State could rethink how it hands out awards. Why, for instance, was the Deputy Chief of Mission (second in command of the embassy) in the US Embassy in Rome anointed DCM of the year? Great hardship post that it is.

….Of the 11,500 total, 6,500 are Foreign Service Officers the other 5,000 are Foreign Service Specialists and the Service is so short-staffed – thanks to the Bush administration and a recalcitrant Congress that have been unwilling to increase the size of the service – the 270 officers and specialists or so assigned to Iraq mean positions elsewhere go begging.”

Would Senator Clinton do something like this? Or even recognize the magnitude of the problem that needs fixing? This may be one of those moments where an intense personal ambition is in harmony with partisan politics and national interest. In 2016, America will not elect a  querulous old woman but they might decide to elect an iron lady of a statesman. I am no friend of Hillary Clinton, but by dragging the State Department into the 21st century, Hillary Clinton would be validating a President Obama’s choice in her as Secretary of State and rendering a great service to her country. As a candidate for president, she would have an unimpeachable gravitas that no other candidate could match.

The Department of State needs to be broken so that it may become stronger.


Here are some great suggestions from Matt Armstrong at MountainRunner:

Reforming U.S. Public Diplomacy for the 21st Century

Very quickly (warning: it may be too quickly written), here are some complimentary and possibly opposing ideas I’m throwing out into the ether on reforming public diplomacy not necessarily addressed in Heritage’s report:

  • Establish both an objective and principles of international engagement. Understand why we are engaging – not just communicating – with the world. The national security policy and this mission must be synchronized. Public diplomacy, strategic communication, or whatever you want to call it is central to our national security. Bullets and bombs do not protect our financial system from rumors. They do not protect our health when we need to respond to pandemics and they do not deny sanctuary for terrorists and insurgents and their ideology. Suggested principles: telling the truth, explaining the motives of the United States, bolstering morale and extending hope home and abroad, giving a true and convincing picture of American life, methods and ideals, combating misrepresentation and distortions, and aggressively interpreting and supporting a smart American foreign policy developed and implemented in conjunction with the above principles and long term views. This should also lead to a much simplified National Security Strategy with easy to read, translate, and PowerPoint bullet points.
  • Convince Congress of the need to accept and support the principle(s) of engagement. “Real security, in contrast to the relative security of armaments, could develop only from understanding and mutual comprehension.” Congressional support is required for any revamp. They must be assured the problems from the past are the past and the future is well thought out. Promise serious and critical semi-annual public reports to be presented to Congress written by people who understand the issues. The threat is not just from “radical Islamists”, but from the criminals, the Chinese, the Russians, and others.
  • Realize that we need a Department of Non-State. The DNS could be conceptual or a separate entity, but realize that extracting public diplomacy from State means we should similarly gut DOD, FDA, USDA, and DHS from their ability to communicate with the world. Extracting “R” from State would mean it is only the Department of State at a time when not only are non-state actors from Al-Qaeda to Hamas to No Mas FARC to the Gates Foundation more important and powerful than ever, but engagement with states is increasingly a public affairs. The USIA was a DNS, however a future DNS/USIA/USAGE (U.S. Agency for Global Engagement, my preferred acronym) didn’t have the power it would need today. Coordinating requires right of oversight on key personnel choices and input on programming across the board, not just access to the President. Perhaps it should have two masters like the DOD does. It may be best to keep this in State as State must transform from the 19th Century organization it is.
  • Re-align State’s regional bureaus with DOD’s Combatant Commands. Increase the power of these regional bureaus by having “super-ambassadors” akin to Combatant Commanders. World affairs are decreasingly subject to the geopolitical borders on which the State Department is aligned. AFRICOM could provide some lessons with its co-deputy structure of State and Defense. State must have a greater presence and power to operate regionally. Create and empower more DASS positions like Colleen Graffy’s who operate regionally rather than within country. This will not to diminish country teams but provide greater regional / cross border integration. It will also help align with and increase collaboration with DOD.
  • Realize Foreign Aid and Humanitarian Relief and all manner of capacity building is “public diplomacy” in action. The Marshall Plan, the greatest reconstruction, stabilization, and education and exchange program ever put forward was a program that was in large part a denial of sanctuary program. In response to the MP, the Communists flipped and reorganized and vastly increased their volume and tempo of their lies and distortions. The bad guys don’t like stability. The Smith-Mundt Act was passed largely as a response to the uptick in Communist propaganda against the MP. Don’t exclude Foreign Aid from the picture today.
  • Break down the barrier between Public Affairs and Public Diplomacy in the State Department. This is global communication and there is a need to be agile, cooperative with the media and very often “pre-active” to help shape discussions by informing and educating along the way. Drop zero-tolerance for errors, push down “PA authority” to lower levels, give everybody media training, and adopt the 4-E’s Caldwell is pushing at Leavenworth in new Army Doctrine: empower, educate, equip, and encourage. Engage the public, domestic and foreign, at every opportunity. Use social media, blogger roundtables, and other means to engage in Q&A. Increase language training and have websites like state.gov available in multiple languages with the headlines on the major pages reflecting the likely interest of the linguistic profile. This is common in our allies, why not the U.S.? Increase the agility of DipNote and America.gov. Increase the flexibility of America.gov and similar assets to report on foreign policy of the U.S. and not simply echo press releases.
  • Re-align the walls between Public Affairs, Information Operations, and Psychological Operations. PA is largely re-active and IO and PSYOP understand the power of information. Much of what they do is “white” and overt so move the lines to remove the “stigma” and empower the “PA” who should be “communication officers” or something similar. Agility is required today.
  • Return to the original purposes, principles, and intent of the Smith-Mundt Act that included the principles listed above. Dropping the firewall will increase American’s knowledge and oversight of overseas activities conducted in their name and with their tax dollars, raise the bar for domestic media who once through foreign bureaus were a public service, and accept that the truly global information environment does not stop at the water’s edge.

22 Responses to “Hillary Should Dare to Break State in Order to Save It”

  1. Smitten Eagle Says:

    I personally never thought Hillary to be terribly good at the "vision" thing.  She is a tactical politician, not a strategic one.  Her single large attempt at a building a vision was the Health Care fiasco of the early 1990s, which was a program that suffered from a gross lack of disciplined thought, and instead became an unworkable behemoth.  Maybe she learned from that mistake.
    But I don’t think so.
    Honestly, I wish Robert Gates could cloned and put in charge of State.

  2. Lexington Green Says:

    Absolutely right.  Unfortunately, I don’t think Hillary is the person to do this.  She has never run anything except her mouth.  You need someone to rethink the State Department, and ask, what would you want it to look like if it had never existed?  What would it look like if you built it from scratch? 
    Maybe get someone like Steve Jobs to be Hillary’s deputy … .  Kidding.  But, not so funny, the need for a powerful outsider with the muscle and the brains and the experience to rebuild the thing without a lot of preconceptions or ties to the status quo. 
    Per Smitten Eagle, who is the nearest Democrat "Gates equivalent" to do the big rethink?
    Or maybe the initiative starts in Congress with the Goldwater-Nichols-on-Steroids (GNOS) being initiated there, with hearings and a forced public teardown.  Perhaps GNOSis will prevail in that situation (sorry).
    Maybe assemble a panel consisting of all living former Sec. States and a bunch of other heavy hitters and have them to the big re-think?  Like the Baker commission. 
    The status quo forces will fight very hard to avoid major changes.  Someone needs to be willing to wage that at the same time that the State Department is being asked to do a lot of things.
    The impetus from this would have to come from elsewhere, not from Hillary.  I just don’t see her looking for that kind of trouble  Probably from Obama himself.  He does have incentive.  If he wants to deemphasize the kinetics, he is going to find only rusty and ill-suited tools once he sets those aside. 
    As I have said repeatedly about this administration — I hope they surprise me.

  3. Fat Man Says:

    If you think that the Queen of the White House Travel Office can or will take on that bureaucratic monster, I want whatever it is you have been drinking.

    Lex is absolutely correct. She can’t and she won’t.

    Obama has already demonstrated that Change and Hope mean that the party apparatchiks get their chairs back, not that the ways of Washington will change.

    Hillary wants the office so that she can go from being one of one hundred to being the guest of honor at the fancy dress state dinner.

  4. zen Says:

    I dislike Hillary Clinton and I’m glad she failed in her presidential quest.
    That said, I’m banking a small hope on her known rigid self-discipline in pursuit of goals, intelligence and willingness to punish those who obstruct her being put to good purpose. If Hillary intends to try in 2016, being SecState alone won’t cut it ( Hear much from Warren Christopher lately?) she needs to be a success on par with the rep that Robert Gates now enjoys. Obama will support her as such an acheivement will only rebond to his administration’s general credit. The GOP will support it because much of what they dislike about State is going to get smashed. Opposition will come from the Lefty/Dove liberals and academia.

  5. Lexington Green Says:

    "Opposition will come from the Lefty/Dove liberals and academia."
    Maybe.  But more, I think, from simple bureaucratic inertia and defense of incumbent interests.  Those forces are far more powerful than ideology.  People who want to be in a European city and not in Niger or the Solomon Islands, who want the current patterns to continue to be rewarded with promotions and plum assignments, will use every means to thwart real reform.   And they will believe to the core of their being that they are doing the right thing, because people always believe that the end of the world they have always known and have served and worked in and maintained is a bad thing.   Overcoming that kind of calcified barrier will take a head like a battering ram, willpower and strong support from above.
    You are right, though, that Hillary’s long term interest is to make an impact and be seen as a serious player.  But, facing away from the public and doing unglamorous, politically difficult, publicly invisible, bureaucratic reorganization is not the way to get that kind of respect and renown.  Kissinger did not do it.  He just ran around the world doing stuff on his own, and left the organization to fend for itself.  Hillary is probably more likely to do that sort of thing.
    I really think she should convene a "college of Cardinals" to come up with a major reorganization plan, give herself a year or so to just work on existing stuff, then use the imprimatur of the old heads to make any institutional change.  She can deflect blame to them — "hey, I am running around talking to the leaders of the world, the bureaucracy will just have to learn to like the reforms, which a bipartisan committee has approved and I agree with their program".  Something like that.

  6. lrblyth Says:

    For a another suggestion see “Breaking the Proconsulate: A New Design for National
    Power.” Mitchell J. Thompson. Parameters (Winter 2005-06): pp. 62 to 75, on line here in html (here for pdf).

    Thompson argues from historial experience that

    "the commanders of geographic commands could be senior civilians with the experience of long and distinguished careers representing key governmental agencies in the National Security Council. The President would nominate them to their new role with full ambassadorial rank, and they would report to the National Security Advisor. Interagency synergy would be achieved through deputy director positions based on the elements of power—DIME. Reversing the command re-lationship in CORDS, the military director would be the current four-star Combatant Commander. This officer would retain command authority over military forces, and responsibility for planning efforts, albeit with augmentation from the diplomatic, informational, and economic directorates. Military billets might be staffed by officers from an “Interagency Officer” career field, proposed by Colonel Harry Tomlin, with the same underlying philosophy as the Army’s Foreign Area Officer field. Diplomatic, informational, and economic directors, each with ministerial rank, would come from appropriate Cabinet departments and be responsible for integrating planning with the military within their spheres of expertise, and for coordination and interface with embassy country teams. Interagency intelligence centers, staffed by regional and topical specialists from the Defense Intelligence Agency, the CIA, and the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), would replace the current Joint Intelligence Centers at the commands."

    I read this as part of my Marine Corps Command and Staff College work.  It was a reserve class and many of us worked for COCOMs as civilians.  Most thought it a good idea/way to start.

  7. andrewdb Says:

    Since we can’t really abolish our Foreign Ministry, I suggest it is time to "reform" it – much like JFK did with forming HEW (which was later reformed again into HHS and something else), or forming DoD out of Navy and War.  We could add State, re-vamp the old VOA outfit, and add some other stuff to it – the essential thing is that it needs enough change to actually be able to change the "corporate culture" of the place.

    of course what also needs to happen at the same time is to change the FS hiring policies.  Today it is "the race perpetuating itself" as a freind of mine calls it, so there isn’t any institutional change (the same problem can be observed at DoD among a lot, but not all, of the GOFOs).

  8. Dave Schuler Says:

    In his recent commentary on President-Elect Obama’s foreign policy appointments in reference to Hillary Clinton former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote one of the funniest and, I suspect, truest things I’ve read all year:

    Her most immediate challenges are to provide strategic guidance and to reorganize the department so that its implementing capacity matches its extraordinary reporting skill.

    State is a bureaucracy. Its members dont’ want “implementating capacity”. It’s stucturally incapable of functioning any other way. I doubt that anyone can change that let alone Hillary Clinton.

  9. Lexington Green Says:

    "…to reorganize the department…"
    That is particularly rich coming from Kissinger.  Anyone attempting to "to reorganize the department" would disappear into the fog never to be seen again.  He ought to know.  He chose not to try it. 
    She needs to assemble a coalition to impose the changes, of external experts and in Congress, and the President.  If it were to become just the Secretary v. the Department, the outcome woould be forgone.  She is smart enough not to die in a thankless war of attrition. 

  10. Seerov Says:

    The most difficult challenge will be getting qualified people to want to make the Middle East or Africa their regional specialty.  I think the African American community should be encouraged to take on much of the diplomatic work in Africa.  African Americans should be guaranteed jobs in the State Dept or in other civilian agencies after they finish a Bachelors degree.  The State Dept can work with the black colleges or other universities and offer to pay for tuition if the student agrees to make Africa their regional specialty. 
    African Americans are sometimes reluctant to serve our country (this is especially true regarding the military).  But if African Americans feel that they’re helping their fellow Africans, they may be more inclined to join the diplomatic corps.  Africans in Africa may feel more comfortable working with African Americans as well?  This program will also give African Americans a chance to get closer to their roots.  IMO, one of the biggest issues affecting African Americans is their loss of ethnic identity due to forced migration.  This program can potentially help African Americans feel more confident about their true origins, while benefiting American diplomatic interests. 
    New networks will be created by African Americans in Africa.  Human relationship networks are the key to attaining the connectivity that is needed for more investment/development in Africa.  The African American community can make helping Africa into a major part of the African American experience.  Traveling to African and helping their brothers and sisters can be similar to how Muslims view travailing to Mecca. 
    At the same time, Americans serving in places like the Middle East or Africa need to be paid more and given better benefits.  The US government also needs to improve living conditions for civilians working in these regions (and their dependants).  Another idea is to give more retirement credit for people working in these places.  Working in Europe for 20 years should be the same as someone working in Africa or the Mid East for 15 years. 
    The US cannot remain the global hegemon using traditional methods of power politics.  We need to use all our country’s characteristics to increase power in the world.  In fact, our grand strategy should be to appear less aggressive and more multi-lateral, while at the same time, increasing our influence.  Instead of the old Fordist hierarchy masculine power structure featuring Americans "on top"; we need to be developing a more "feminine" network-centric power configuration with American players occupying the most influential nodes. 
    While carrying out this strategy, we need an information/propaganda strategy that features lots of American scholars and writers who write books talking about how “America isn’t on top anymore” or “the Asian century” or “the rise of everyone else” and while doing so, make it appear that this is a “good thing.”  Make it sound like we’re truly concerned about “equality” and “justice.”   President Obama is the perfect front man for this.  While he stands up and uses his rhetorical magic on the zombie masses, men of action can take advantage of the current instability to further increase America power.
    But we must examine what assets America has.  The use of African Americans to spread American influence in Africa is what I’m talking about.  There’s no reason why China should have more influence in Africa when we have 40 million "Africans" in America.  Some see African America ethnocentrism as a liability; I see it as an asset.  African Americans many times feel like outsiders in America.  The mission of spreading American influence in Africa can be a turning point in their history as Americans. 

  11. Lexington Green Says:

    Seerov, I think you may have a mistaken premise.  From what I have read, "African Americans" from the USA are not perceived as "African" in Africa.  They have no particular cultural commonality.  Perhaps more important, most "African Americans" have a significant admixture of European ancestry, and are immediately perceived as being of "mixed" ancestry in Africa, which is a source of suspicion.  I recall reading about Andrew Young trying to speak as an "African" to South African Blacks, and being treated with suspicion.  To them he looked like a mixed race "colored" and hence basically a member of a favored group and a stooge for the Whites. 
    Care should be exercised on this, and no assumptions should be made that what an American White person perceives as a "Black person" will somehow have a superior ability to communicate with and find common ground with a Black person from Africa.

  12. Seerov Says:

    LG, you may be correct on how Africans perceive African Americans? But what about the rest of my post?  I’m trying to figure out how we can get Americans to want to serve in Africa or the Middle East.  African Americans (AA) do seem generally concerned about the fate of Africans.  Many AAs even think that America "doesn’t care about Africa becuase they’re black" or becuase "they’re not white."  This could give AAs the opportunity to help Africa, and, the opportunity to serve America too.  I’ve spoken to AAs who’ve visited Africa and they usually describe it as a spiritual experience. 
    Besides creating strengthening and spreading networks in Africa for America interests, this may be something that the whole African Amer9ican community can get behind.  This is important as it will give African Americans a sense of accomplishment and duty that many AAs don’t seem to feel in this country.  They can work to better Africa while bettering America.  It is critical that AAs start to feel more "American" becuase this country is experiencing demographic transition and the potential for ethnic conflict is increasing. 
    So this plan has several benefits.  1) It will spread American influence in Africa; 2) Give the African American community a critical "project" to undertake; 3) Help Africa; 4) Increase man power in the diplomatic corps; 5) Give the African America community a major role in the American power structure, similar to the Scots Irish in the US military.  This is important as it will give demogauges on the left less fodder as this country transitions demographically. 

  13. Lexington Green Says:

    Seerov, other than that detail, I see nothing I disagree with.
    So, we are in agreement, the whole rest of the world now has to catch up with us!

  14. Seerov Says:

    So, we are in agreement, the whole rest of the world now has to catch up with us! (Lex Green)
    How long do you think we’ll have to wait?

  15. Lexington Green Says:

    Until, as the song goes, The Twelfth of Never.

  16. Fixing the State Department « Fabius Maximus Says:

    […] a typically excellent post up about one of the major challenges in American geopolitics:  “Hillary Should Dare to Break State in Order to Save It“, 18 December 2008 — Excerpt: There many things wrong with the State Department as an […]

  17. T. Greer Says:

    I am surprised you do not mention the problem of political appointees. On average one third of ambassador-level appointments are of this sort; one half of Mr. Bush’s picks were such. Any "old hand" system is next to useless if the men and women directing the regional specialists have no experience with diplomacy or the region itself.~T. Greer, directing you to <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0708/12145.html>a Politico piece</a> with a similar theme.

  18. T. Greer Says:

    Oops. Feel free to delete my extra posts.

  19. Stefan Saal Says:

    Gates made that speech in November 2007, more than a year ago; and Rice had been asking for the same thing two years before that.  But Bush, the decider….oh, never mind…

    It stands to reason; you will see the new administration take up this idea, slowly during the first two years, and then ramping up much more rapidly after that, having as many as 10,000 USAID types by 2012.

    Missions will be along the lines Gates said: "…economic development, institution-building and the rule of law, promoting internal reconciliation, good governance, providing basic services to the people, training and equipping indigenous military and police forces, strategic communications…"

    Methods will be along the lines Armstrong wrote:"…telling the truth, explaining the motives of the United States, bolstering morale and extending hope home and abroad, giving a true and convincing picture of American life, methods and ideals, combating misrepresentation and distortions…"

    You may also see a new breed of foreign service officer who is less interested in hanging around the American club and more interested in deep engagement with foreigners in foreign lands.  With any luck, America will also begin having a much more robust cultural exchange with these foreign lands.

  20. Peter Says:

    The one thing that I think works in HRC’s favor is her standing with the legislative branch, as a sitting Senator moving to State.  Couple that with the selection of Lew as the second Deputy Secretary and you have two people capable of the inside-baseball necessary in Washington to get any serious reform done.

    Despite all the focus on the Executive Branch and plans for reform, its worth remembering that the reason much of this never happens is that it needs to pass through Congress.  Clinton can’t re-org the department on her own, she will eventually need legislation and appropriations to make it happen.  This seems to be a wider theme of many of Obama’s appointments, picking people with an idea toward moving legislation to enact an agenda.  Emmanual, Clinton, Daschle, etc, all fit this bill.

    Any time you see such dysfunction in government, remember Congress is partially to blame.  Its not the "Broken Branch" for nothing…..

  21. zen Says:

    Hi Dr. Peter,

    Agreed. Good point. Sort of a smaller scale LBJ move.
    And she can also throw in a sizable network of Democratic pols, fundraisers and powerbrokers with ties to the Clintons who may not be members of Congress themselves but can influence those who are. A person who can leverage many networks toward a common goals like a conductor of an orchestra, without playing an instrument they help make the music.

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