Friday, July 21, 2017

Five myths about the Foreign Service

Leon Weintraub, a retired Foreign Service officer who served at U.S. embassies in Colombia, Ecuador, Israel, Nigeria and more,; via JB on Facebook

image (not from article) from
Face-to-face diplomacy isn’t necessary anymore.
According to a 2012 Atlantic article, “digital diplomacy . . . faces such high expectations as a supposedly revolutionary technology.” Indeed, after the Obama administration prioritized digital diplomacy, and with some hailing it as a way for “governments and citizens to communicate faster and more effectively,” one might come to the conclusion that high-tech diplomacy could soon edge out old-fashioned diplomatic work.
Social networking is useful as a diplomatic tool, but only as a complement to the work of face-to-face contacts with key audiences and decision-makers. There comes a point in human relations (particularly when dealing with another society and culture) when you must engage face to face, in the local language, to develop the trust and committed relationships that we need to discuss serious international issues (including, as an extreme example, military and/or diplomatic support). ...

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