Category: Speaking of Diplomacy

Title: Diplomacy is Under Attack Just When We Need It Most

Author: Kelly M. McFarland
Date Published: December 6, 2019

American diplomacy currently finds itself in a precarious position. It has had difficult moments throughout history, but diplomats’ congressional testimonies these past weeks have highlighted in stark detail diplomacy’s current difficulties. Foreign service officers such as Bill Taylor, George Kent, and Marie Yovanovitch, among others, military officers like Alexander Vindman, and national security experts like Fiona Hill painted a picture of diplomacy and national interest sidelined for a political extortion scheme. (Disclaimer: Maria Yovanovitch is currently my colleague at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy.)

Meanwhile, State Department senior ranks and other national security leaders have failed to defend our diplomats. Yovanovitch vividly detailed how leadership was not providing her, or others, support, or pushing back against attacks against them. These actions were, she said, “leading to a crisis in the State Department as the policy process is visibly unraveling, leadership vacancies go unfilled, and senior and mid-level officers ponder an uncertain future and head for the doors.” [read more]