us state department

President Donald Trump's vow to put "America first" includes a plan to drastically cut assistance to developing countries and merge the State Department with USAID, according to an internal budget document and sources. The administration's March budget proposal vowed to slash aid to developing countries by over one-third, but contained few details. [...] The document details how the Trump administration's plans to reduce direct foreign assistance would take place in fiscal year 2018.

An innovative partnership between the leading private media group in the Middle East and top television writers and showrunners from the United States is taking a different approach: tackling the war of narratives. It might sound strange, or even frivolous, in the midst of an all-out war against the Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq. But, in fact, it makes perfect sense, given the cultural, ideological nature of the larger battle against extremism.

One would not expect the secretary of defense routinely to inspect the sentries and walk point on patrols, but, in effect, that is what the secretary of state has to do. He is the chief executive of a department numbering in the tens of thousands, and a budget in the tens of billions; but he is also the country’s chief diplomat, charged with conducting negotiations and doing much of the detailed work of American foreign policy. 

The Trump administration has proposed cuts in FY18 of 28 percent to the State Department, with much deeper cuts likely to the Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs, and a significant narrowing of the types of exchange programs our country supports. If enacted into law, these combined changes would greatly harm our nation’s public diplomacy efforts and, ultimately, our national security and economy. 

March 22, 2017

When it comes to taking on the world, the two words the Trump administration swears by are “America First.” [...] For Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who until now spent the entirety of his career at ExxonMobil, the challenge he faced on a headline-grabbing trip to Asia was how to translate President Donald Trump’s mandate into a workable foreign policy.

When we think of diplomacy, we may think of talking — people in a room, face to face. But that world of diplomacy is changing and the connected world is playing a much greater role, according to Anne-Marie Slaughter, who worked for the State Department during the Obama administration. Slaughter's new book is called "The Chessboard & the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World." She spoke with us about what it means to be a diplomat in the digital age.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Asia on Wednesday for his first foreign trip with almost no fanfare. He’s travelling on a “small plane” with “a modest footprint,” says a spokesman. He’s bringing along just one reporter and will hold only one brief press conference during his planned stops in Japan, South Korea and China. It’s a far cry from the splash Hillary Clinton made in February 2009 on her first trip abroad as secretary of state, following a similar itinerary through Asia. 

If America can be said to have a public diplomacy — that is, government-directed outreach to international publics — then someone needs to throw it a lifeline. In only the last few weeks, we have seen evidence of a coming crisis for defenders of America’s international image: The State Department budget, as previewed by the President in his speech to Congress this week, is set to take a serious hit. 

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