Back to Index

Who runs US foreign policy?



WAIS has discussed at length the widespread fear that US foreign policy is now controlled by the neo cons of the Pentagon and that the State Department has been relegated to a secondary position. We have also discussed the need for a long stay in a country to understand its culture and its outlook from the inside, rather than as an outsider in the international zoo. By coincidence, former Secretary of State George P. Shultz has entered this debate with a speech given at the annual award ceremony of the American Foreign Service Association. Incidentally, we were delighted to see that, having served with distinction in many academic, government aand business posts, he remains vigorous and decisive in his statements. Without referring to the Pentagon and its neo cons, he stressed that diplomacy and force must go together, citing the deployment of Pershing missiles in Germany as a decisive step in the Cold War.

On the second issue, there is a difference of opinion. He complained that the Foreign Service, ike Business Schools, does not take candidates straight out of college but insists that they have outside experience. He asserted that, as a result, the service loses many good candidates. The contrary argument could be made, that young graduates think of the glamor of a diplomatic career without realizing how uncomfortable or even drab it can be. It might be a good idea tor candidates for the foreign service to spend two years working in a foreign "hardship" country to find out if they would really enjoy a career involving service in a variety of countries. Congenial countries such as England, France or Italy would be acceptable if they worked outside of the glamorous capitals and their social life. In this way they would get to know the real country, which capital society often does not represent. This is just an idea worthy of consideration.

Ronald Hilton - 7/7/03


Webmaster