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Diplomacy In A Time Of Transition

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The long-standing state system for bringing order to the world is under pressure. The American-led security and economic commons built up over several decades in the twentieth century is at risk everywhere and in many places no longer exists. In order to prepare for the new global arrangement, America needs to return diplomatic responsibility and accountability to the Department of State. It also needs to raise the stature of the Foreign Service Institute, which trains diplomats and foreign affairs professionals. Now more than ever, America needs to maintain its strong diplomatic presence to preserve and ensure stability and peace.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is Foreign Service Institute important?
  2. Why do you think that the United States maintains diplomatic relations with adversarial foreign countries?

Related Resources

  • Read James Goodby’s chapter “Diplomacy in a Time of Transition” in Blueprint for America. Available here.
  • You can find the rest of “Blueprint for America” here.
View Transcript

The long-standing international system is under pressure, and i s future is uncertain and unknown.

The international economic and security structures created at the end of World War II are at risk of dissolving; and in some cases already have.

State borders in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe are being challenged and the dispersion of state sovereignty is leaving a leadership vacuum.

Despite these changes, the State Department must still be able to handle the old system, while also being prepared for the new global arrangement.

To accomplish this, America needs an educated diplomatic corps from the Secretary of State down to newly commissioned Foreign Service Officers that is devoid of internal and domestic politicking.

One step is to return diplomatic responsibility and accountability to the Department of State, away rom the independent forces working out of the White House that have come to oversee specific issues and relationships.

The next step is raising the stature of the Foreign Service Institute – which trains diplomats and foreign affairs professionals - to the equivalent of a first-class university to ensure America’s diplomatic core is knowledgably prepared for an uncertain future.

A shifting international system doesn’t mean the U.S. can’t continue to be a global leader; in fact, a system under pressure needs a strong American diplomatic presence to preserve and ensure stability and peace.