The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2017
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decades of handing out many of these key

diplomatic positions to individuals with no

foreign affairs experience or qualifications

whatsoever, often auctioning the cushiest

ambassadorial posts off to top campaign


Being an effective ambassador is a

serious, difficult job: ambassadors have

to oversee large, multiagency embassies

that manage complex relationships with

foreign governments. If you are serious

about defending U.S. interests in a danger-

ous world, put all of our country’s ambas-

sadorships back in the hands of our career

diplomats—the Senior Foreign Service officers who have spent

decades acquiring expertise on a wide range of international

issues, mastering foreign languages, immersing themselves in

foreign cultures and developing the skills necessary to negotiate

effectively with foreign officials.

We are the only government in the world that routinely sends

out inexperienced novice appointees as our most senior repre-

sentatives. They have a steep learning curve and must be guided

every step of the way by their staffs, the people of the Foreign

Service who are assigned to their embassies. Allies and enemies

alike rarely take seriously these appointees, who often do care-

less damage to U.S. foreign policy.

It is time for a courageous administration to end this shame-

ful form of political corruption.

Steven Kashkett


Washington, D.C.

We Achieve Quietly

Like those in military service, we and our families make great

sacrifices for the U.S. government because we believe that we

can avoid costly and dangerous conflicts by achieving agree-

ments, keeping up good relations, ultimately striving for peace.

Our efforts and often our achievements are quiet—we never

have and probably never will get the attention or praise the mili-

tary gets. But we’re still just as dedicated.

Kristin M. Kane


U.S. Embassy Brasilia, Brazil

A Bridge to the World

Our security and prosperity depend on the world around us,

and our diplomats are a bridge between the United States and

the world—promoting our foreign policy, developing peaceful

solutions in unstable situations that affect U.S. interests, under-

standing and shaping foreign perceptions of the United States,

and generating the understanding and good will that form the

bedrock of stable, strategic partnerships with all nations.

Jeff Weinshenker


Arlington, Virginia

We Are the Face of America Abroad

The Foreign Service has often been the first face of America the

rest of the world sees—whether it is at a time of crisis through

humanitarian assistance, applying for a visa to visit this incred-

ible country, or forming partnerships with other countries

to achieve larger-than-life objectives such as elimination of

extreme poverty. Every day, members of the Foreign Service

demonstrate abroad what America means: diversity, equality,

democracy, excellence and shared prosperity.

The Foreign Service must be allowed to continue to rep-

resent all of America with integrity and objectivity, which are

core values of leadership. Because the world faces increasingly

complex diplomatic and development challenges, with a wide

range of stakeholders, a diverse cadre of professional diplomats

must continue to serve in many different ways to find common

ground and viable solutions.

We are needed on the ground to connect with diverse people

of host countries and in various institutions to help shape

policies. To effectively achieve the nation’s objectives, the U.S.

Foreign Service must be a model of diversity and mutual respect

for the rest of the global community.

Regina Jun


U.S. Embassy Managua, Nicaragua

We Offer Honest

and Clear Reporting

The Foreign Service is America’s experienced voice with an open

tradition of implementing America’s foreign policy objectives

abroad. The men and women who are selected to be Foreign

Service officers are highly competent and loyal to the president