Category: Despatches

Title: March 2019 Despatches

Date Published: March 15, 2019

Dear Friends of ISD,

A quiet campus during Georgetown’s spring break gives us a chance to catch everyone up on our busy and productive semester.

The White House has just released its budget proposal for FY2020 and, once again, the administration calls for deep slashes in State and USAID funding, over 20 percent. Word is that, as with previous budget submissions, this budget will be DOA on the Hill, which will again claw back most if not all funds. And, as is becoming an annual kabuki, a host of senior retired military combatant commanders, including ISD Board of Advisers member Admiral Bill Fallon, have sent a strong and unequivocal letter to Congress calling for a fully funded diplomatic service. We deeply appreciate these repeated affirmations of the critical role of US diplomacy from our friends on the Hill and our colleagues in the military who believe in this core tool of national foreign policy and its role in the defense of national interests and values.

Once upon a time, when Secretary of State Dean Acheson was “Present at the Creation” of what we now know as the world order, diplomacy’s role and value were unquestioned. To understand why that role and that value has not changed – and has even increased in the intervening years – we invite you to read ISD Board of Advisers member Ambassador Bill Burns’ new book, The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for its Renewal. For more on the book and author – and a look at the trove of newly declassified documents from Bill’s extraordinary career – click here.

And we invite you to read about ISD’s other events and programs to recognize distinction in diplomacy – Ambassador Tom Shannon’s receipt of the 2019 Trainor Award – and to support and encourage the next generation of diplomats and policymakers through Rusk Fellow Caroline Savage’s innovative and exciting video series on diversity in diplomacy; and ISD’s participation in a recent half-day symposium at Georgetown on “The Future of Diplomacy.”
Barbara K. Bodine
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