Dozens of young minority and female State Department recruits received startling and unwelcome news last week: They would not be able to soon join the Foreign Service despite having been promised that opportunity. Their saga is just the latest sign that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s rush to slash the size of the State Department without a plan is harming diplomacy and having negative unintended effects.
The complete archive of The Foreign Service Journal is now available online.
Innovative approaches have transformed foreign policy in recent years. Digital diplomacy is a modern and technological dimension of foreign policy, used as a new soft power tool to advance national interests, project political and economic power. In his address to the nation, President Nursultan Nazarbayev attached particular importance to digitalisation as one of the means “to get ahead of the future and decisively meet the challenges” of today’s changing world.
This week began with reports that President Donald Trump’s budget proposal will drastically slash the State Department’s funding, and last week ended with White House adviser and former Breitbart head Stephen Bannon telling the attendees of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that what he and the new president were after was a “deconstruction of the administrative state.” At the State Department, which employs nearly 70,000 people around the world, that deconstruction is already well underway.
The author and diplomat answers questions on the leaked embassy cables and the future of public diplomacy.