P U B L I S H E D BY T H E A M E R I CA N F O R E I G N S E R V I C E A S S O C I AT I O N   M AY 2 0 2 0



– A D V E R T I S E M E N T–
                                              SERVICE                                                            May 2020 Volume 97, No. 4

                                                    Focus on Nuclear Diplomacy

                                  26                                        33                                         37
               U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms                       Why Nuclear Arms                             Restoring Nuclear
                 Control Negotiations—                          Control Matters                                Diplomacy
                     A Short History                                Today                              Urgent action is needed to put the lid
               An accomplished negotiator puts nuclear         In this time of new strains             on a new and costly global arms race.
               arms control in perspective—what it has          in great-power relations,                    By Joseph Cirincione
                           achieved, where it                     nuclear arms control
                   has failed and what it can do for          agreements are an essential                              41
                          our future security.               component of national security.
                                                                                                            From the FSJ Archive
                      By Rose Gottemoeller                     By Thomas Countryman
                                                                                                       Arms Control Diplomacy

                     FS Heritage                                                                           Appreciation
                                50                                                                       F. Allen “Tex” Harris
                  The Unlucky Consul:
                  Thomas Prentis and                                                                                   67
                  the 1902 Martinique
                        Disaster                                                                            Larger Than Life
                     In 1902, the worst volcanic                     Feature                                By Steven Alan Honley
                    disaster of the 20th century
                    took the lives of U.S. Consul
                   Thomas Prentis and his family                           44                                          70
                        on a Caribbean island.
                                                             The Foreign Service                             Remembrances
                        By William Bent
                                                                 Honor Roll
                                                          U.S. diplomats are on the front lines
                                                           of America’s engagement with the
                                                          world. Here is the history of AFSA’s
                                                          work to pay tribute to the many who
                                                         sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
                                                                  By John K. Naland

           THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2020                                                                                           5

                                                                                                10    Letters
                       7                                           88                           12    Letters-Plus
          President’s Views                                  Reflections
         Foreign Service Duty                              Y2K, What Y2K?                       16    Talking Points
              By Eric Rubin                             B y L i a n vo n Wa n t o c h
                                                                                                77    In Memory
                       9                                                                        81    Books
      Letter from the Editor
     Nuclear Diplomacy Matters
           By Shawn Dorman

                     22                                                                         Marketplace
           Speaking Out
     The Diplomat and the State
      B y C h r i s t o p h e r W. S m i t h                       90                           83    Real Estate
                                                              Local Lens                        86	Classifieds
                                                           By Lori B. John                      87    Index to Advertisers


    57 AFSA and COVID-19
    58 State VP Voice—Working for You
        During This Trying Time
    59 USAID VP Voice—Achieving Transparent
        Promotions by Promoting Transparency
    60 Retiree VP Voice—Resilience
    60 AFSA Event: Long-Term Care Insurance
                                                                   64 Continuous Domestic Service:
    61 Teaching International Affairs:                                  Six-Year Rule Eliminated
        An AFSA Networking Event
                                                                   65 Book Notes: Modern Diplomacy in Practice
    62 AFSA Welcomes Incoming LNA Class
                                                                   65 AFSA Voter Registration Guide
    63 Foreign Service Journal Chooses New Printer
                                                                   65 AFSA Meets Representative Fitzpatrick
    64 Outreach to Students, Professors
                                                                   66 2020 Constructive Dissent Awards:
        and the AFSA Community
                                                                         Call for Nominations

On the Cover—Illustration by Brian Hubble.

6                                                                                                      MAY 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

Foreign Service Duty

               hile teleworking and                 Service to join one of the big federal           This is who we are and what we do. It’s
               social distancing for the            unions alongside other federal employees.        called service. The oath we took when we
               past month along with so                 The argument that won the day                joined is, I believe, sacred to us all.
               many of you, I have been             was that the Foreign Service is unique.               Thinking again about Theodore
pulling books off my shelves. One of                Its members need representation                  White’s book, the importance of courage
the books I opened was Theodore H.                  and advocacy, but that has to hap-               in the face of adversity is clear. All of us
White’s In Search of History. This is the           pen in a nonpolitical and nonpartisan            must fight for our people, and for our
story of a great American journalist who            framework. Our members could not                 profession and what it means. Diplo-
witnessed some of the most important                adequately be represented within a huge          macy is the chief alternative to war.
developments of the 20th century.                   politicized federal union, but also could             Reflect on these sobering words
    White writes passionately about what            not rely on management goodwill with-            from White:
happened to the United States after                 out someone to advocate for them. And                 “The ultimate impact of McCarthy on
World War II, as the Cold War became                that’s where AFSA came in.                       American diplomacy, and thus on the
our focus and McCarthyism took hold in                  Almost 50 years later, we have a strong      world, came many years later, in Vietnam.
our political culture.                              and vibrant association that represents          … The purging ended with a State Depart-
    White’s thesis is that the destruc-             more than 80 percent of Foreign Service          ment full of junior diplomats, who knew
tion of the team of Foreign Service                 members in six agencies, voluntarily. We         their future career was pawn to political
Asia experts—who were assailed as                   have held true to the goal of nonpartisan,       passion at home, who knew that prediction
apologists for Mao’s China and “fellow              nonpolitical representation of our mem-          of a Communist victory would be equated
travelers” in communism’s relentless                bers, and to our dual role as the profes-        with hope for a Communist victory, and
advance—left the State Department                   sional association of American diplomats         who learned to temper their dispatches
desperately unprepared for the coming               and as the legally recognized bargaining         of observation in the field with what their
conflict in Southeast Asia, and con-                agent for everyone in the Foreign Service.       political superiors wished to hear.
tributed directly to the debacle of our                 I hope the past year has demonstrated             “No field-grade American diplomat,
engagement in the Vietnam War.                      AFSA’s value and importance as a bulwark         in the long period between 1964 and
    AFSA is 96 years old this year. We              defending our members. We have raised            1975, had the courage flatly to predict
started as the professional association of          and spent tens of thousands of dollars           the potential for disaster in Vietnam.
the U.S. Foreign Service, and we remain             covering legal bills for members who were        Many recognized that potential, but
that, fervently. But since 1973 we have             subpoenaed as witnesses in the impeach-          none dared say it aloud or in print until
also been the labor union and official              ment hearing. And now, in the midst of the       it was too late. They reported what their
bargaining agent of the Foreign Service.            COVID-19 crisis, we are doing everything         political masters wanted to hear.”
                           In 1973, some            we can to support our members in Wash-                May we consider those words a
                       said that the Foreign        ington and in the field who are dealing          cautionary tale as we face the challenges
                       Service, as an elite         with excruciating challenges.                    that confront us now. And may we not
                       corps of profession-             Our colleagues who have been labor-          shy away from our critical role, to stay
                       als, did not need a          ing long and hard to bring Americans             true to our mission and to tell it like it
                       labor union. Others          home in the midst of the pandemic make           is, in service to our country and to our
                       advocated for the            us proud. This is the Foreign Service.           fellow citizens. n

                         Ambassador Eric Rubin is the president of the American Foreign Service Association.

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2020                                                                                                         7


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8                                                                                                                      MAY 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

Nuclear Diplomacy Matters

           he coronavirus pandemic has         local circumstances and to assist as the      a high-level look at where we’ve been and
           changed daily life around the       demands snowballed. While the media           where we need to go.
           world, bringing to a halt so        reported on initial slow U.S. government           Countryman explains how arms
           many normal activities, such as     response in some places, we are now           control agreements work as a national
going to the office and traveling. And yet     hearing almost daily about how embas-         security tool, and reminds us that Ronald
the Foreign Service is still on the job in     sies have risen to this challenge. To date,   Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev were
embassies and consulates in almost every       the State Department has helped more          correct in their 1985 declaration that “a
country. Everyone is at risk for this virus,   than 50,000 Americans get home.               nuclear war can never be won and must
including our embassy colleagues.                  This month and next, we highlight         never be fought.”
    During March, country after country        some early stories of the Foreign Service’s        Cirincione warns that the global
announced border closings, sometimes           response to the new coronavirus. For the      nuclear security enterprise is close to
suddenly. The State Department issued          July-August edition, we are collecting your   collapse and argues for restarting arms
a “reconsider travel” advisory March 12,       firsthand accounts of how you and your        control negotiations in the face of a new
and on the 19th bumped that up to              team handled this crisis. Look for our        arms race.
Level 4, “do not travel.”                      request for input and share your stories,          All three experts assert that the New
    My daughter was in Morocco for the         so Americans can know how their Foreign       START agreement must be renewed
semester as news of travel restrictions        Service is continuing to work for them.       before it expires in February 2021.
spread. She got the last seat on what              While the pandemic rages on,                   A selection of excerpts from FSJ
was to be one of the last commercial           international relations cannot stop;          articles on arms control diplomacy offers
flights out of Morocco. She was in the         diplomacy must continue.                      clues into the policy thinking from the
Casablanca airport getting ready to                For this, we need professional dip-       1970s on, and links to a large collection
board when the government of Morocco           lomats, which brings us to this month’s       of related FSJ articles online.
announced a ban on international flights,      Speaking Out, “The Diplomat and the                John Naland lays out the history of
effective immediately. Luckily, her flight     State.” Christopher Smith advocates a         the AFSA Memorial Plaques that honor
did take off, and she’s home, finishing the    professional doctrine for diplomats.          Foreign Service personnel who have died
semester online.                               Related, a Q&A with the creators of the       in the line of duty overseas.
    There are so many stories like this,       Twenty-Five Year Apprenticeship project            And in an Appreciation, including
so many people stuck in place as borders       describes the new interactive primer on       remembrances by friends and colleagues,
closed around them. Thousands of               becoming a successful diplomat.               we celebrate the “larger-than-life” AFSA
Americans scrambling to get back home              Though understandably preoccupied         and Foreign Service legend Tex Harris.
turned to their embassies for assistance.      with the coronavirus, we must not ignore           In FS Heritage, William Bent shares the
    Facing an unprecedented global             another existential threat—nuclear war.       little-known story of a U.S. consul serving
                     repatriation effort,      This month’s focus explores the state of      in Martinique when the worst volcanic
                     each U.S. mission         nuclear diplomacy today. There is cause       disaster of the 20th century occurred.
                     has had to figure out     for concern, to be sure, and we need          And Lian von Wantoch reflects on the
                     how to respond to the     experts on the job. We hear from three of     Y2K disaster that wasn’t.
                                               them: Rose Gottemoeller, Tom Country-              This is not the lightest of FSJ editions,
                      Shawn Dorman is the      man and Joseph Cirincione.                    but these are not the lightest of times.
                      editor of The Foreign        Gottemoeller takes us through                  Wishing all our readers comfort and
                      Service Journal.         “A Short History” of nuclear arms control,    good health. n  ­

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2020                                                                                                   9

Professional                                              Trenin was a stroke of edito-        Afghanistan:
Integrity                                                 rial genius!                         Correcting the Record
    I fully endorse the                                      Nicholas A. Veliotes                  The latest effort to bring peace to
tenets Ambassador Alan                                      U.S. ambassador, retired           Afghanistan is unraveling with a negoti-
Larson set forth in his                                     McLean, Virginia                   ated cease-fire failing and contention
excellent article, “Integ-                                                                     within the Afghanistan government.
rity First” (March FSJ).                                Speaking Frankly                       This has encouraged bleak analyses
    I would urge that                                       Shortly after I retired, I was     portraying Afghanistan as inherently
Foreign Service                                         given a contract at the Foreign        unstable and ungovernable.
officers continue to                                   Service Institute to chair the three-       This assessment draws on four
maintain the prin-                                     week political tradecraft course.       decades of chaos and war, which began
ciple of “integrity first” after they depart              One of my innovations in the         with the 1979 Soviet invasion and occu-
government service, as well, especially        years that followed, and there were sev-        pation of Afghanistan and U.S. support
if they enter private-sector roles as          eral, was to bring in from other countries      for primarily fundamentalist Islamic
advisers or consultants on foreign             pairs of young diplomats, whom I encoun-        resistance to the Soviets. Those fun-
policy matters.                                tered socially, introduce them and explain      damentalist factions are the forebears
    We former FSOs should be wary              that I had instructed them to speak frankly     of the Taliban and other elements that
of inducements or efforts to use our           about how they and their colleagues             have battled U.S. forces since 2001.
names, contacts and expertise in ways          viewed U.S. diplomats, personally and               What many analysts, and U.S. policy-
that could, wittingly or not, benefit cor-     professionally.                                 makers, ignore is that Afghanistan was a
rupt people, practices and regimes.                “Not very well,” was always the             united nation for several centuries and
    Such behavior can damage the pro-          answer. And they would gently explain           defeated British colonial forces twice.
fessional integrity of the Foreign Service     that they found Americans intelligent           More to the point, Afghanistan enjoyed
as a whole and undermine the confi-            and pleasant, and very                          a golden age of unity and prosperity
dence the public and the Service should        interested in                                   through much of the 20th century.
have in FSOs present and past.                 discussing what                                     The Afghan king, Mohammed Zahir
    Finally, as an old Russia/Ukraine          they knew and                                   Shah, set his country on a modernizing
hand, I’d like to give a big shout out to      thought, but not                                course after World War II and, with a
my dear colleague Ambassador John              really interested                                new constitution in 1964, established
Tefft and, indeed, to all the authors          in the opinions                                  Afghanistan as a democratic monarchy
of the pieces published in the March           of other diplo-                                  with elections and respect for human
Journal’s “Dealing with Russia and             mats.                                             rights.
Ukraine” focus.                                    I was highly                                      While women in conservative rural
    As one who now teaches about this          gratified by the                                   areas had very limited freedoms, in
subject, I appreciate these efforts; they      reactions of my                                    urban areas Afghan women enjoyed
immensely help me and my students              students, who found the presentations           substantial freedoms, participating in
grapple with one of the thorniest chal-        evocative and very useful. That part of the     the Afghan parliament and playing a
lenges America faces today. Thanks, FSJ!       program ended with my contract.                 prominent role in education.
    George A. Krol                                 I am both impressed by and highly               Crucially, Zahir Shah balanced
    U.S. ambassador, retired                   supportive of the Journal’s broaching           the Cold War competitors, winning
    Middletown, Rhode Island                   that approach [in the January-February          significant aid programs from both, and
                                               focus on “How They See Us”] given its           remained a popular monarch from his
Kudos                                          obvious but long-ignored utility.               inauguration in 1933 to his overthrow
   Congratulations! The March FSJ is a             Ed Peck                                     in a coup in 1973.
great issue. All kudos to John Tefft. And          U.S. ambassador, retired                        In the decade-long anti-Soviet
having the companion piece by Dmitri               Washington, D.C.                            “jihad,” the United States refused to

10                                                                                                      MAY 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
give significant assistance to Afghan
resistance fighters loyal to the former
king, instead acquiescing to Pakistan’s
opposition to any restoration and back-
ing radical Islamist resistance elements
subservient to the Pakistani military
and, especially, Pakistani intelligence.
   Afghanistan is not, and never was,
a hopelessly failed state. Within living
memory it was a successful, prosperous,
democratizing state. Any hope of restor-
ing Afghanistan to the ranks of indepen-
dent, united democratic states depends
on preventing neighbors from utilizing
proxies to divide the country. n
   Edmund McWilliams
   FSO, retired & former Special Envoy
      to Afghanistan (1988-1989)
   White Oaks, New Mexico

        Share your
      thoughts about
    this month’s issue.

        Submit letters
        to the editor:


Twenty-Five Year Apprenticeship:
A Digital Forum

                e recently learned about a      from many of our diplomatic “legends”
                unique project developed        can be useful for any profession.
                to support career growth
                for professional diplo-         Why 25 years instead of,
mats, “Twenty-Five Year Apprenticeship”         say, 10, 20 or 30?
( Compiled                It takes about 25 years for Foreign
and curated by a group of FSOs and future       Service officers to “graduate” into the
FSOs, the online forum offers advice and        Senior Foreign Service, when they might
guidance from leaders and mentors on            serve for the first time as an ambassador,     Your tag line is “A path to diplomatic
how to become a successful diplomat.            deputy chief of mission, office director or    success.” That’s ambitious. Can you tell
Following on the April Journal’s focus on       in any other top position of the profes-       us more about this path, and how 25YA
managing an FS career, this Q&A with            sion.                                          can help?
several of the founders of the site (who                                                          Ambition is an asset, in our minds—
wish to remain anonymous) offers an             How and why did you start this project?        every diplomat should wake up with the
inside look at what this group is trying to         A few of us reflected on the magnitude     ambition to advance U.S. interests, to
do for the profession.                          of the lessons we learned while support-       shape the views of our interlocutors and
                   —Shawn Dorman, Editor        ing great leaders, especially those who        chart a better future. We hope this project
                                                aimed to accomplish extraordinary things       encourages everyone to strive to succeed
                                                and spur teams to achieve more than they       and make an impact. We hope they find
What is the “Twenty-Five Year                   believed possible to advance U.S. interests.   nuggets of inspiration that help them take
Apprenticeship”?                                    We want to share insights from these       a more ambitious approach to their job
    The project is a collective effort to       experiences with current and future col-       and career.
offer both a practical manual for dynamic       leagues who may not have had the oppor-
diplomacy and a forum for folks to ask          tunity to work directly for a “legend” of      Who runs 25YA?
for advice and mentorship, as well as a         the Service.                                      Currently, about 40 State Department
space to offer ideas and best practices. It         We also noticed that many books            employees and a dozen former career
is founded on the premise that all of us in     written by and about diplomatic lead-          ambassadors participate in a continuous
the State Department could and should           ers fail to offer clues as to how these        conversation to develop ideas and con-
strive to develop our professional exper-       leaders arrived at the top of the profes-      tent for the site. We have also had more
tise throughout our career.                     sion. We were encouraged by Bill Burns’        than 10 students from various universities
    Since it’s all public, it’s also meant to   recent book, The Back Channel, where he        and grad schools help with interviews,
be useful for aspiring diplomats or any-        highlights the fact that there is no manual    content and ideas. Thanks to their input,
one else who may be interested in diplo-        for diplomacy and notes that this is a         we have tried to offer advice and mentor-
matic tradecraft. We find that the advice       shortfall (p. 83).                             ship on what it takes to become an FSO.

12                                                                                                       MAY 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
We think it’s better that those of          We have a dedicated community of
us who manage the site (conduct the
interviews, curate and post the articles)
                                               impressive and inspiring former U.S.
remain anonymous. This is not about us.        diplomats who are more than willing
We aim to be “wiki-esque,” open to all to      to support the next generation of State
contribute and participate.
                                               Department leaders, share their wisdom
Fair enough. Can you share the names           and offer mentorship.
of some of the ambassadors who have
contributed to the site so far?
    Ambassador James Jeffrey gets credit       First, we have a dedicated community         into what it takes to succeed diplomati-
for the site’s title, because he exhorts his   of impressive and inspiring former U.S.      cally from various perspectives.
charges to learn from him and treat each       diplomats who are more than willing              We are committed to developing a site
experience as part of a process of learn-      to support the next generation of State      to pass on wisdom from the “legends”
ing, or an “apprenticeship.”                   Department leaders, share their wisdom       of diplomacy. We hope that many more
    Ambassadors Victoria Nuland and            and offer mentorship. And, second, all of    current and former State employees and
Richard Boucher have advised us                the contributing ambassadors encour-         diplomatic practitioners will reach out
throughout the process and provided            aged us to keep learning.                    to us to offer their ideas, expertise and
suggestions, content and support.                                                           advice, as well as help manage the site.
    Ambassadors Ronald Neumann, Alex-          Tell us about the letter of support from         All the content on the site that does
ander Vershbow and Deborah McCarthy            diplomatic leaders. How did you garner       not have a byline was written by a current
have been extremely generous with their        all that support?                            State Department employee, but we hope
time and ideas.                                    We have been pleasantly surprised        to offer more content from a diverse set
    And Ambassadors Nicholas Burns             that everyone we have reached out to and     of contributors. There are no fixed rules
and Kristie Kenney recently contributed        spoken with has applauded our effort         for who can contribute or what content
timely articles on leadership and crisis       and encouraged us to develop the site        makes sense; any content that offers prac-
management.                                    further. More than 50 ambassadors have       tical tips, wisdom or insights into how to
                                               signed on to the letter of support, and      advance American diplomacy is welcome.
How do the “legends” contribute?               most of them have offered content to the
   The two most common ways they               site, as well as advice and guidance. It     Do you have support from the State
contribute are, first, through filling out     seems that everyone agrees we need a         Department for this initiative?
the “Apprentice’s Questionnaire” that we       diplomacy guide.                                The Director General’s office, the
modeled on Vanity Fair’s quick-response                                                     counselor’s office, the Foreign Service
interview style, and that offers personal      The letter suggests you also solicit input   Institute, AFSA and others have all
and professional insights; and, second,        from military leaders, Capitol Hill and      expressed support for our project. Any-
via interviews. We have interviewed more       elsewhere. How do you decide who gets        one who checks out the site can see we
than 20 ambassadors, and each conver-          to be a “leader” contributor?                are 100 percent nonpartisan and commit-
sation has been fascinating—really, the           We would very much like to include        ted to supporting the State Department
best part of the project has been these        input from across the federal govern-        and our government.
exchanges.                                     ment, including the Defense Department
                                               and Capitol Hill, and from think-tanks,      What is your goal for the 25YA site?
What have you learned from speaking            about what it takes to advance U.S. inter-       Our goal is that the site becomes self-
to these ambassadors?                          ests and craft dynamic foreign policy.       sustaining as more contributors pitch in
    In addition to incredible lessons and      The State Department plays a leadership      to the project; eventually, we would love
interesting stories, the two most impor-       role in policy formulation, but we are not   for someone(s) to build on the site content
tant things we have learned are these:         alone; so we hope we can offer insights      and publish a manual based on the lessons

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2020                                                                                              13
learned and tips we have started to elu-       at another agency, the National Security      to current State folks, and from all of us to
cidate. We hope that the project can help      Council or otherwise.                         potential future State employees.
connect current employees with former                                                            We hope the site can help educate the
ones for advice and mentorship.                From what you have learned doing this         general population and inspire future
                                               project, what are the top five essential      State employees.
Can you share some of the best advice          skills for successful diplomats?
that you’ve received working on this              I’d point you to the checklist published   How can FSJ readers get involved and
project?                                       on the site that answers this question:       support the initiative?
    There have been so many excellent             Send the apprentices your ideas, your
insights that it’s hard to choose. A few       what-it-takes-to-succeed-at-state.            questions and your input. Let’s work
that stand out: take time to enjoy the                                                       together to lay out a path toward becom-
career, the experiences; keep learning; be     What areas of growth do you see for this      ing the best experts, professionals, “jour-
humble; listen; excellence is worth striving   initiative in the near future?                ney-people” diplomats we can be. The
for and can be achieved only by getting           We hope to continue to generate and        project will be most successful when more
everyone on board; invest time in relation-    develop content; find ways to encourage       people are contributing, so please write to
ships, both with foreign counterparts and      a more interactive site; and expand the       us at, follow
throughout the U.S. government; work           mentoring component of the project, from      us on Twitter at @25yrapprentice, and join
outside the State Department, whether          25YA participants to peers, from “legends”    the conversation. n

14                                                                                                      MAY 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
The Foreign Service                                                                                             the volume of work State is handling,
Responds to the                                                                                                 the March 30 Politico reported that in
Coronavirus Pandemic                                                                                            the nine days since March 21, State

U      .S. embassies and Foreign Service
       personnel and their families across
the globe have been struggling to man-
                                                                                                                had received 15,000 calls regarding the
                                                                                                                    Diplomats were reminded, too, that
age and adjust to the massive disrup-                                                                           they are not immune to the dangers of
                                             U.S. EMBASSY QUITO

tions caused by the novel coronavirus                                                                           COVID-19. On March 24, Steven Dick, 37,
pandemic, while continuing the vital                                                                            the deputy head of the British embassy in
work of diplomacy and serving Ameri-                                                                            Budapest, died after contracting the coro-
                                                                  A March 29 photo shows U.S. Mission
can citizens overseas.                                                                                          navirus. The New York Times reported
                                                                  Ecuador staff, including Ambassador
    In March, many countries began to                             Michael Fitzpatrick (front left), at          on April 4 that three State Department
close their borders and airlines can-                             Mariscal Sucre International Airport,         employees—all locally engaged staff—
celed countless international flights as                          where they are assisting U.S. citizens        had died from the coronavirus. By April
                                                                  trying to return to the United States.
the coronavirus spread, and country                                                                             4, 154 State Department employees had
after country began seeing a spike in                             presence, according to an April 1 Wall        tested positive for the virus, and more
COVID-19 cases. Hardest hit initially                             Street Journal report.                        than 3,500 were symptomatic and in self-
were Italy, Spain and the United States.                              Embassies dealt with the departures       isolation, the Times reported.
Lawmakers postponed congressional                                 of many of their personnel amid what a            In South Africa, according to a March
visits overseas.                                                  March 20 CNN broadcast called unclear         20 Washington Post report, U.S. diplo-
    In mid-March, the State Department                            operational guidance from Washington.         mats were concerned about their own
authorized voluntary, no-fault curtail-                               Meanwhile, embassy staff were manag-      possible exposure to the coronavirus
ment for employees in any country                                 ing evacuations of thousands of Ameri-        when Ambassador Lana Marks—who
considered to present a high risk of                              cans who found themselves stranded in         had attended a dinner at President
exposure to COVID-19. It also autho-                              countries that abruptly closed borders and    Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida with
rized voluntary no-fault curtailment                              cut off international travel options.         Brazilian officials who later tested posi-
from any country or region for those at                               On April 6, the State Department          tive for COVID-19—returned to work at
higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed                          said it had coordinated the repatriation      the embassy.
to the coronavirus.                                               of 44,569 Americans from 78 countries             After a town hall meeting in which
    Numerous FSOs and their families                              since Jan. 29. For another indication of      diplomats raised their concerns, and
have been, and continue to be, faced
with the decision of whether to scramble
to return to the United States—which                              Contemporary Quote
surpassed China for the most reported
                                                                         I think it’s fair to say that the corona crisis hasn’t had the same
cases of COVID-19 by late March—or
                                                                         sort of rapid coordinated international response that, say, we saw
stay at post in countries that might offer
                                                                  in the 2008 financial crisis. But that said, the American government for
inadequate medical care.
                                                                  G7 and the Saudi Arabian government for G20 have managed to bring
    Complicating their decision-making
                                                                  leaders and health ministers, finance ministers, foreign ministers together
was the fact that lodging in the Washing-
                                                                  to work on a coordinated set of actions, all to keep the global economy
ton, D.C., area is hard to find, as many
                                                                  going; to step up work on vaccines; to help the U.N., and particularly
places closed their doors due to health
                                                                  the World Health Organization, get detailed help where it needs to go;
concerns and the shuttering economy.
                                                                  and then also to work on repatriation.
    The State Department on April 1 said
it had evacuated 6,000 U.S. diplomats                                         —U.K. Ambassador to the United States Dame Karen Pierce, responding to a
and family members since the start of                                        question, about global leadership on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” March 31.
the outbreak, about half its overseas

16                                                                                                                         MAY 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
a press report about those concerns,
Marks undertook a period of self-quar-
                                                ages here) or if it would be smarter to
                                                shelter in place at post.                     HEARD ON THE HILL
antine.                                            On social media, family members
    In many countries, diplomats were           were offering to buy groceries for anyone
asked to follow social distancing prac-         who was required to self-quarantine after
tices imposed by host governments and           returning from overseas. Another offered
work from home. In Washington, many             to pick people up at Dulles International
diplomats did the same.                         Airport and get them settled. Others
    The American Foreign Service                chimed in with similar offers.
Association moved to telework status on
March 12, and canceled public events            Coronavirus Relief
until at least April 30 (as of press time).     and the International
On March 18, for the first time in its his-     Affairs Budget
tory, the AFSA Governing Board held its
monthly meeting via teleconference.
    The State Department indefinitely
                                                T     he nearly $2 trillion Coronavirus
                                                      Aid, Relief, and Economic Security
                                                (CARES) Act, signed into law on March

postponed the intake of new Foreign             27, provides $1.12 billion for the interna-
Service officers, Foreign Policy magazine       tional affairs budget.
                                                                                               We know there are still many
reported March 26. Two incoming classes             The following funding additions
                                                                                               Americans currently trapped
totaling 175 people—one for officers, one       relate to the foreign affairs agencies:
                                                                                               overseas, but I can assure you
for specialists—were put on hold.                   • $324 million for State Department
                                                                                               the State Department and
    In another unprecedented move, for          diplomatic programs to maintain con-
                                                                                               Secretary Pompeo are working
the first time in its nearly 60-year history,   sular operations around the world, cover       around the clock to bring them
the Peace Corps temporarily suspended           the costs of evacuating personnel and          home as quickly as possible.
its operations on March 15. The agency          dependents, and provide for emergency                     —House Foreign Affairs
ordered all of its more than 7,000 Volun-       preparedness needs.                                 Committee ranking member
teers to evacuate their host countries and          • $95 million for USAID operating                 Michael McCaul (R-Texas),
return to the United States, where they         expenses to support the evacuation of                    in a statement reported
joined the ranks of the unemployed.             U.S. citizens and surge support, and to                     March 25 by Politico.
    Hundreds of USAID employees and             increase technical support.
family members took part in USAID Staff             • $258 million for international disas-    I do want to salute not only our
Care webinars on “Resilience in the Time        ter assistance so USAID can continue to        troops, but our men and women
of COVID-19.” Many reported feeling             support disaster response capabilities         in the State Department, our
substantial stress levels because of the        in developing countries affected by the        Foreign Service officers at USAID
pandemic.                                       pandemic.                                      and State, for representing our
    Social media became a refuge for                • $55 million for APHIS employee           country and the hard work that
many diplomats and their families. D.C.-        salaries and expenses to prevent,              they do every day.
area members of the popular Trailing            prepare for and respond to COVID-19,                     —Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.),
Houses Facebook group for active U.S.           including necessary expenses for salary          at the House Foreign Affairs Asia,
diplomats and family members offered to         costs associated with the Agriculture             the Pacific, and Nonproliferation
                                                                                                    Subcommittee hearing, “Pros-
help people returning to Washington find        Quarantine and Inspection Program.
                                                                                                pects for Peace: The Way Forward
places to stay.                                     • $4 million for Foreign Agricultural
                                                                                                        for Afghanistan,” March 10.
    Members also debated whether                Service employee salaries and expenses
people should return to the United States       to respond to COVID-19 and relocate
(and recommended that they pack toilet          personnel and their dependents back
paper and other essentials due to short-        from overseas posts.

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2020                                                                                                17

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Foreign Service families
                                                                    HELPING KIDS PASS THE TIME
around the world are facing difficult situations and choices, and   The following educational websites are excerpted from a list by
high stress levels. We turned to resilience expert Beth Payne for   an anonymous educator that is making the rounds on social
advice. She is a retired FSO and a former chair of the FSJ Edito-   media during the coronavirus pandemic. This abbreviated list
rial Board. She was the director of FSI’s Center of Excellence      offers plenty of great ideas to keep your kids and other family
in Foreign Affairs Resilience from 2016 to 2019, and now runs       members busy during social distancing.
Payne Resilience Training & Consulting (
    The following is from a recent blog posting, in which she        n GeoGuesser—GeoGuesser            n—No need
shares suggestions for ways to build and maintain resilience        tests kids’ geography skills.      to travel to one of the Smith-
during this challenging time.                                       Using images from Google’s         sonian’s zoos or museums.

                                                                    Street View, it plops players      Smithsonian: Fun Stuff for
             ince resilience affects our immune system, build-      down in the middle of the          Kids brings your child every-
             ing and maintaining high resilience can help           street and asks them to figure     thing from live video of the
             your body defend against viruses and bacteria.         out where they are.                National Zoo to the Smith-
             Resilience will also help you better manage if you      n—               sonian Learning Lab right
             or a loved one is infected. It will help you adapt     WhatWasThere allows stu-           to their screen.
if there are closures or significant changes in your daily life.    dents to type in any city, state    n—
And you’ll be more likely to bounce back quickly and fully          or country to view an archive      Cool Kid Facts gives your
(and possibly bounce forward) from any negative impact              of historical photographs and      child access to educational
this crisis may have on you.                                        other documents. It’s a unique     videos, pictures, quizzes,
    Here are ways you can build and maintain your resilience:       way to help them learn about       downloadable worksheets
    Focus on What You Can Control. The coronavirus is               history.                           and infographics to learn
unsettling because so much is out of our control. Ruminating         n—Artsology         about geography, history,
about things you cannot control will erode your resilience.         helps kids learn to appreciate     science, animals and the
Instead, focus on what you can do. Review the latest CDC            the arts by providing them         human body.
information and guidelines and prepare your emergency               with the opportunity to play        n—
plan. Seek news and updates only from reliable sources.             games, conduct investigations      Ben’s Guide, an interactive
    Take Care of Yourself. Prioritize getting enough sleep, eat-    and explore different forms        website hosted by the U.S.
ing well, exercising and making time to recover. Use a potential    of art.                            Government Publishing
coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to review your regular        n—Find         Office, allows your child to
routines and make changes if needed for better self-care.           on Highlights Kids fun games,      see the ins and outs of the
    Help Others. Research shows that helping other people           recipes, crafts and activities.    U.S. government by taking a
will build your resilience. Reach out to your community to           n—Read,            series of learning adventures
see if there are ways you can help with preparations. Donate        play games and hang out with       with none other than Benja-
funds to organizations that support communities hit by the          Dr. Seuss on Seussville.           min Franklin.
virus. Donate blood to prevent shortages during an outbreak.         n virtualmusicalinstru             n
    Seek Out Social Support. While it may be tempting to  —On Virtual               —A NASA initiative, Climate
isolate yourself to prevent infection, it is essential that you     Music Instruments kids can         Kids covers a wide range of
maintain your social support. Make sure you can communi-            play instruments, including        topics including weather,
cate with friends and family virtually if necessary.                guitar, piano, pan flute, drum     climate, atmosphere, water,
    Laugh. Maintaining a positive outlook is a key resilience       and bongos, online.                energy, plants and animals.
factor. If you’re binging on Netflix, watch comedies. Seek out
friends and family who make you laugh. Watch funny videos
on social media.

18                                                                                                      MAY 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Site of the Month
  WELLNESS IN A CRISIS                        Radio Garden (
  From the National Wellness Insti-

  tute, here is a list of questions to ask            uring this time of social dis-
  yourself daily:                                     tancing, listening to radio from
  1. What am I grateful for today?              around the world is one fun way to
  2. Who am I checking in on or                stay connected.
     connecting with today?
                                                   From its beginning, radio signals
  3. What expectations of “normal”
                                                have crossed borders. Radio makers          the dot, and a pop-up shows radio
     am I letting go of today?
                                                and listeners have imagined connect-        stations from that city and starts to
  4. How am I getting outside today?
  5. How am I moving my body today?            ing with distant cultures, as well as re-   play a local station.
  6. What beauty am I either creating,         connecting with people from “home”             You can add radio stations to your
      cultivating or inviting in today?         from thousands of miles away.               favorites list or choose from Radio
                                                   Visit Radio Garden, and you can          Garden’s recommendations.
                                                spin the globe and listen to any of            Founded in 2015 in Amsterdam,

ACCESS MUSIC & CULTURE                          thousands of live radio stations
                                                from around the world. Each green
                                                                                            Radio Garden launched mobile
                                                                                            apps for iOS and Android platforms
Here are a few ideas for getting to             dot represents a city or town. Tap          in 2018.
museums, going to the opera and sym-
phony, and even learning to play guitar,
all virtually.                                   The CARES Act also permits addi-              “The United States is disappointed in
    Virtual Museum Collections:               tional paid leave for State and USAID         them and what their conduct means for
The Museum Computer Network,                  employees experiencing hardship due to        Afghanistan and our shared interests,”
which supports professionals who              COVID-19. It includes provisions allow-       Secretary Pompeo said. “We have made
seek to transform the way their muse-         ing State to provide medical services to      clear to the leadership that we will not back
ums reach, engage, and educate their          private U.S. citizens, and permits State      security operations that are politically moti-
audiences using digital technologies,         and USAID oaths of office required by         vated, nor support political leaders who
offers an extensive directory of virtual      law to be administered remotely.              order such operations or those who advo-
museum resources, e-learning and                                                            cate for or support parallel government.”
online collections at        U.S. Suspends Afghan                             Afghans “fear the decision could push
to-virtual-museum-resources.                  Aid to Force Peace Deal                       the country, almost entirely dependent on
    Metropolitan Opera: The Metropol-
itan Opera of New York City has been
streaming a different performance,
                                              T    he United States is suspending $1
                                                   billion in aid until Afghan politi-
                                              cal factions form a government that can
                                                                                            foreign aid, past the tipping point,” accord-
                                                                                            ing to a March 24 New York Times report.
                                                                                               The United States has been provid-
from its Met’s Live in HD series, every       implement a U.S.-brokered peace deal          ing about $4 billion in security aid and
night at                        with the Taliban, according to a March 23     nearly $500 million in civilian aid to
    Seattle Symphony: The Seattle             Politico report.                              Afghanistan per year, according to The
Symphony has been offering free                   Secretary of State Mike Pompeo            New York Times. The newspaper adds
performances several times a week at          announced the decision on March 23            that roughly 75 percent of Afghanistan’s                     after meeting in Kabul with Afghan Presi-     annual public expenditures are depen-
    Fender Play: Fender Musical Instru-       dent Ashraf Ghani and former Afghan           dent on international donations.
ments Corp. is offering three months          Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.               On Feb. 29, the United States reached
of free online guitar, bass and ukulele           The two Afghan leaders were continu-      a peace deal with the Taliban, marking
lessons to the first 500,000 new sub-         ing to contest the results of Afghanistan’s   the potential end of America’s longest
scribers to its Fender Play Service at try.   September 2019 election, and progress         war. The agreement, which did not                  on talks with the Taliban was stalled.        include the government of Afghanistan,

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MAY 2020                                                                                                 19
50 Years Ago

     Forgery in International Affairs

     “M        isinformation”—or “dez-
               informatsiya” to use the
     Russian term—has long been known
                                                viewpoint. But misinforma-
                                                tion appears under the guise
                                                of objective truth and masks
                                                                                                               even Europe. Much ink
                                                                                                              was also spilled over
                                                                                                              the so-called “Zinoviev
     in military doctrine. It now applies in    the origin of the message by a                                letter” that still remains
     international politics. The Moscow         false source.                                in the public eye. Neither of these
     Politicheskii Slovar (Political Diction-        The channels circulating misin-         forged documents has ever been
     ary) (Gospolitizdat, 1958), edited by      formation vary, depending on the             thoroughly researched or analyzed.
     B. N. Ponomarev, defines the word:         target and objective of the initiator.           Political forgeries take the form
     “dezinformatsiya is the intentional        Misinformation appears even in               of official acts, circulars, instruc-
     presentation of inaccurate informa-        scholarly studies.                           tions, minutes of meetings, memo-
     tion with the aim of leading someone            Forged political documents              randa or letters exchanged between
     astray.” Experts on our side of the        occupy a place of honor among                officials. Among them are resolu-
     Iron Curtain see “dezinformatsiya” as      channels of misinformation, but              tions of the Politburo of the Central
     false, incomplete or misleading infor-     serious analysts have given them             Committee of the Communist Party
     mation passed, fed or confirmed to a       little attention. ... The Memorial           of the Soviet Union, as well as clas-
     targeted individual, group or country.     allegedly submitted to the Japanese          sified State Department directives,
         Misinformation should not be           Throne in 1927 by General Giichi             secret cables to Washington sent by
     confused with propaganda, which            Tanaka, Premier of Japan, awakened           ambassadors and Moscow commu-
     is biased information circulated           interest in political literature since       nications to agents abroad.
     by an identified source. A slanted         it contained what was purported to                     —Natalie Grant, a former FSO,
     TASS communique is labeled TASS.           be Japan’s plan to crush the United                excerpted from her article of the
     All know that it mirrors the Soviet        States, conquer India, Asia Minor and                same title in the May 1970 FSJ.

set out a 14-month timetable for an intra-      presidential candidate Joe Biden for          enemies abroad has been chaotic and
Afghan cease-fire, negotiations between         president.                                    unprincipled,” it continues. “Our credibil-
the Taliban and Afghan government, and              “To be clear, those of us signing this    ity as a nation has been lessened. And,
the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from        letter do not agree on everything, or even    perhaps most importantly, our place in
the country.                                    most things, concerning foreign policy,       the world as a source of moral leadership
                                                defense or homeland security,” the            has nearly been lost. As a country, we are
National Security                               authors of the letter, published on March     increasingly less secure and less safe.
Veterans Break with                             18, write. “Our policy views cover most of        “We are not, of course, giving up
Tradition                                       the spectrum, and many of us have often       our views and approaches to national

M      ore than 150 national security,
       intelligence and homeland
security veterans, most of whom have
                                                been in opposition, sometimes bitterly,
                                                with each other. But we have always been
                                                bound by profound patriotism, and a
                                                                                              security. Should Vice President Biden be
                                                                                              elected president, many of us will take up
                                                                                              the honorable position of ‘loyal opposi-
served in both Democratic and Repub-            deep belief in our American democracy.”       tion,’ and will fight as we have before for
lican administrations, have broken with             “Our nation’s foreign affairs are in      the policies we think best.” n
the strong tradition of not endorsing           disarray; our alliances frayed and our
particular political candidates and signed      national prestige declining,” the letter        This edition of Talking Points was
an open letter under the heading “The           states.                                       compiled by Cameron Woodworth,
Steady State,” endorsing Democratic                 “Our approach to both friends and         Kim Greenplate and Shawn Dorman.

20                                                                                                       MAY 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

The Diplomat and the State                                                                            full spectrum of U.S national power—
                                                                                                      “soft” power, by representing and defend-
                                                                                                      ing our democratic and humanitarian
B Y C H R I S T O P H E R W. S M I T H
                                                                                                      values abroad, or managing exchange pro-
                                                                                                      grams for future foreign leaders; “sharp”
                                                                                                      power, by making the case for sanctions
                                                                                                      against states and individuals that violate

             iplomacy is as old as the profes-     course, and the modern Foreign Ser-                U.S. and international laws; “smart” power,
             sion of arms, but not as well         vice officer corps is a professional body.         by supporting counterparts in foreign
             understood in the United States.      Applying Huntington’s characterization of          countries seeking to reform their political
             The sheer size of the U.S. mili-      what defines a profession to the Depart-           and economic institutions and fight cor-
tary, when compared to the Department of           ment of State’s Foreign Service officer            ruption in line with Western best practices;
State’s Foreign Service officer corps, num-        corps, I will make recommendations on              and “hard” power, in working with the
bering just 8,000 officers, helps explain          how the U.S. diplomatic profession can             military and the interagency community
why Americans are more familiar with the           better define itself, bolster its institutional    to deter and, if necessary, defeat threats to
armed forces than the U.S. Foreign Service.        strength at a transformative period in             the United States, its allies and partners.
    It is also true that military officers have    international affairs, and improve key                 The unifying thread across these and
been more active and effective in defining         audiences’ understanding of the vital,             many other potential examples, is the
to the public who they are and what they           unique role diplomats play in achieving            management of U.S. national power in
represent than their diplomatic counter-           U.S. national security objectives.                 the conduct of the nation’s foreign affairs,
parts. In particular, publications by and                                                             which is the primary function of Foreign
about military personnel have helped               What Is the Profession                             Service officers.
articulate and communicate their profes-           of Diplomacy?
sion’s values, meaning and code of ethics              In his book, Huntington asserts that           Acquiring Expertise
to their fellow Americans.                         “the distinguishing characteristics of a
    A classic example of this type of writing      profession as a special type of vocation are           The professional is an expert with
is Samuel Huntington’s seminal work, The           its expertise, responsibility and corporate-        specialized knowledge and skill in a
Soldier and the State. Published in 1957,          ness.” To apply these characteristics to the        significant field of human endeavor.
the book is a foundational text in the U.S.        profession of diplomacy, we must first              (Their) expertise is acquired only by
professional military education system for         define its essential function. If we accept         prolonged education and experience.
the study of civil-military relations. Hun-        Huntington’s contention that the “central                              —Samuel Huntington
tington’s central point is that the “modern        skill of the military officer is best summed
military officer corps is a professional           up in Harold Laswell’s phrase ‘the man-               Diplomacy requires expertise,
body, and the modern military officer is           agement of violence,’” then what is the            subtlety in application, and the refined
a professional.” To prove this, Huntington         central skill of the U.S. diplomat?                ability to assess the interests and influ-
examines military officership as a profes-             The essential skill of U.S. diplomats is       ence the decisions of foreign states and
sion: “a peculiar type of functional group         the management of power to achieve for-            the individuals through whom diplomats
with highly specialized characteristics.”          eign policy and national security objectives.      work to accomplish U.S. objectives.
    Diplomacy is also a profession, of                 Toward this end, diplomats manage the             Unfortunately, there is a persistent

                Christopher W. Smith joined the Foreign Service in 2005 and is currently deputy chief of mission in Yerevan. Prior to that, he
                served in Tbilisi, Istanbul, Kabul (with the International Security Assistance Force), Nicosia and Kyiv. He received the Warren
                Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Civilian Security for his work in Ukraine. Domestically, Mr. Smith has
                been a special assistant to the assistant secretary for arms control, and in 2019 earned a master’s degree (with highest distinc-
                tion) in national security and strategic studies at the U.S. Naval War College. His research there contributed to this article. The
views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of State.

22                                                                                                               MAY 2020 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
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