American Diplomats

Discussion in 'Group Discussions' started by BlackguyExecutive, May 4, 2017.

  1. BlackguyExecutive

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    This Broadside from a US Diplomat is Going Viral on Facebook: "I'm asking people stop blindly criticizing us and put away the shoes they're polishing to dance on our graves" | UN Dispatch

    I have had so many people reach out over the past couple of months asking what in the hell is going on with American Diplomacy. I have no good answers. Things are increasingly chaotic. Check out this posting from a colleague:

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is reportedly seeking deep personnel cuts in the State Department in order to make room for a massive increase in military spending demanded by President Trump. Some 2,300 jobs are on the chopping block, which accounts for about 9 percent of the department’s workforce.

    Amid the budget debate in Washington, however, there seems to be very little regard for the work of US foreign service officers and State Department employees around the world–and very little understanding of how US diplomats advance not just “national interests” but help ordinary Americans every single day.

    At least, that must have been how it looked to this one (anonymous) foreign service officer who posted this Facebook note that is being shared widely in key foreign policy circles.

    I don’t ever wish ill on people. If I were the sort of person who did, I’d wish that every single commenter who is reacting in ignorant delight to the proposed cuts to State would encounter one or several of the following:

    1. not being able to get a U.S. passport in time for a vacation and missing flights/losing a ton of money

    2. losing a passport overseas and being stranded, unable to get home to a job/loved ones

    3. having a family member pass away overseas and having no assistance learning about the situation or planning a repatriation

    4. being the victim of a crime overseas and having to navigate a foreign justice system without any information in English, nor recommended lawyers

    5. losing high-paying jobs/companies in their hometown due to lack of skilled workers, foreign investors, and/or any foreign awareness of the U.S. business as a customer or supplier

    6. losing massive tourism dollars to their hometown hotels, restaurants, and local attractions because no one issued visas to any of the visitors who otherwise flock there

    7. not being able to adopt a child from overseas and bring them to the United States

    8. marrying a foreign spouse and not being able to bring them to the United States

    9. not being able to have foreign friends or relatives come visit them due to no visas being issues

    10. facing more, and more crowded/violent anti-American protests everywhere they travel due to lack of exposure to positive American cultural values

    11. living under the real, daily threat of violent conflict with countries capable of causing us harm

    12. having no credible representatives of American interests in negotiations on security, countering narcotics, fighting transnational crime, protecting the environment, keeping dangerous debris out of space, ad infinitum

    Ok, seriously, I don’t wish those things on anyone. Not only that, I work every single day to keep those things from happening, as do thousands of my smart, talented colleagues from across the political spectrum who could all be earning a whole lot more in the private sector.

    Those of us who do this work overseas miss births, birthdays, weddings, funerals, anniversaries, and reunions to do it. We give up a spouse’s lucrative earning potential and often an even sense of professional satisfaction.

    We work in places that are exponentially more dangerous than in the United States, whether through pollution, disease, traffic accident incidences, sanitation, food safety, lack of easily available potable water, street crime, sexual harassment, xenophobia, terrorist threats, also ad infinitum. We put on hold, or sometimes sadly lose, the supportive network of family and childhood and college friends who hold us up when we are able to be at home. We learn foreign languages and try to communicate in our daily lives, often feeling like idiots or permanent tourists.

    We take on these commitments willingly and embark on the work only after we swear or affirm an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States against enemies foreign or domestic. And we take our responsibilities enormously seriously.

    I’m not asking for credit, or the recognition others who serve our country get. With fewer foreign service officers than professional band members than in the U.S. armed services, we have no ability to influence Congress through numbers, nor sufficient understanding of who we are or what we do.

    All I’m asking is that people stop blindly criticizing us and put away the shoes they’re polishing to dance on our graves. Metaphorically– if it’s literal, they’ll use the deaths as an endless political football to finger-point and then threaten to cut our security budgets if unrelated politicized policy goals don’t go their way. Well, that’s just Congress, but still.

    If you’re reading this, I ask that if you hear people delighting in the misery of me and my colleagues, you please challenge their misconceptions.

    Needless to say, this missive is a very helpful reminder of the value of the diplomats and the discrete ways they serve both individual Americans and American national interests.


    [​IMG]
     
  2. Winston Smith

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    You know I have all the respect for you and the credit you richly deserve. But I'm not Steven Pinker. I don't believe the people of this country have better angels. Our government is run by dumb fucks in this current administration, and even dumber fucks voted them in. You know I'm older than you, but even in YOUR lifetime, the dumb ass American voters put a mediocre, untalented psychopathic braggart in office, AFTER the Republicans tanked America and the world economy over a decade ago...so much so that America actually put a black man in the White House out of fear and desperation in 2008. Yet, when he cleans stuff up, do they thank him? Acknowledge his assistance? No, they go back to their xenophobic racist shithead selves and put in a new crew of clowns just like the old crew that fucked things up from 2001 - 2008.

    Yes, you are right, you and your talented colleagues could earn more in the private sector. And maybe you should. If the people in this country want fantasies and phantasm, let them live on the fumes of their own warped, shriveled little minds. But let's not kid ourselves. While your part of the govt is being starved, many fucking sectors are overpaid and flushed with cash. A LARGE PORTION of the federal govt is way overpaid. That's not my visceral opinion but the observation of the CBO; an estimate that many in the govt are overpaid by at least 17% compared to private sector equivalents. Your boss cares not about diplomacy, he's only interested in furthering the crony capitalism of this current band of criminals, as well as his own pockets. Of course your list of potential wrongs is long: Tillerson et al don't care about wrecking the car, as long as they can walk away unscathed from the crash while others bleed.

    If people are stupid enough to continue to encourage safety net cuts and massively feed a military complex SIXTY GODDAMNED YEARS after they were warned by President Eisenhower then they deserve the bad health, poverty, strife and chaos they'll get for giving in to fear and expediency over the hard work of actually being fucking HUMAN BEINGS.

    Mic drop.
     
    #2 Winston Smith, May 4, 2017
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
  3. BlackguyExecutive

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  4. Discordant

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    Yeah, I'm sorry that you, your colleagues, and your spouses and families have to deal with the foolishness. As you know, I am interested in diplomacy too, but when I saw Trump was in office I decided to hold out. His "foreign policy agenda" definitely doesn't need diplomats. "America first" means isolationism and denial.
     
  5. BlackguyExecutive

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    For sure. We don't really have a clear protocol to answer for America First Doctrine. With that being said, If we ever needed people to hold down the fort until the American people can correct this problem is now. Just because we have this so called America-First policy doesn't mean that we won't have Americans in need abroad, that our business sectors won't need us to advocate American products, that millions of people around the world won't continue to suffer, that there won't be a need to mitigate war. If there was ever a call to serve in diplomacy the time is now. With that being said, given the Presidents irritability and erratic behavior, I wouldn't go sign up for the Marines. Although I wish we had more of them in our Missions/Embassies/Consulates/
     
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  6. Discordant

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    That's fair. But again, with personnel cuts, I may have just been stuck on the waiting list for who knows how long. I've got some time to see how things are shaking out for it.
     
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  7. BlackguyExecutive

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    Yes. I know! They are literally trying to cut everyone out of a job. I am scared because I haven't received my vested tenure yet, so they could fire my ass after this tour if they wanted.
     
  8. Discordant

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    I'm sorry to hear that, man. Let's hope it doesn't come to that though. Something's gotta give here.
     
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