Forging 21st Century Diplomatic Service for the United States

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“We must use what has been called “smart power”: the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural–picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation. With “smart power,” diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nomination to be Secretary of State, January 13, 2009.


Since at least 2001, America’s “smart power” equation has been out of balance. Increasingly, under-investment in diplomacy and development has led to our military taking on responsibilities traditionally met by diplomats and development experts. Driven by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the need to respond to the global threat of terrorism, resources and influence have flowed, abundantly and too often uncritically, to the Defense Department, which has pointed to the limitation of bullets in addressing the challenges in this region. This imbalance has two root causes. The first is the lack of broad understanding about the value and requirements of diplomacy and development at this point in history. The second is the lack of resources allocated to the State Department and other foreign affairs agencies. The inconsistent and uncoordinated response of those agencies to rapidly changing international priorities and demands has also played a contributing role.


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