The Foreign Service Journal - January/February 2018

Diplomacy Works Part II Here are more stories about the day-to-day work U.S. diplomats do around the globe to advance American ideals, protect America’s prosperity and national security and help maintain a peaceful world. U.S. diplomacy is vital to American prosperity and national security and to maintaining a peaceful world. As part of AFSA’s mission to tell the story of the Foreign Service, The Foreign Service Journal is build- ing a collection of narrative “case studies” written by active-duty and retired members of the U.S. For- eign Service. These accounts show the indispensable everyday work of career diplomats and development professionals around the world. Part I was published in the December Journal , and here we bring you Part II. Members of the FS community: We know you have great experiences to add to this collection. Please submit your 500- to 800-word stories to, with the subject line “Diplomacy Works.” —The Editors THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2018 39 Post-Tsunami Assistance in Aceh: Changing a Relationship Indonesia, 2004 • B. Lynn Pascoe On a sunny morning on Dec. 26, 2004, a gigantic, 9.1-magni- tude earthquake unleashed a terrible tsunami that swept the shores of Indonesia’s rebellious, deeply religious and isolated province of Aceh, killing at least 170,000 people and injur- ing tens of thousands more. Foreigners were barred from the province, and we only began to understand the enormity of the tragedy after Indonesia’s new President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (known as SBY) visited the next day. When Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla assembled inter- national representatives to plead for help, I asked him privately what was most needed from the United States. His answer: helicopters. I called Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Admiral Tom Fargo, who said he had ordered the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln with its 17 helicopters to move south from Hong Kong. We agreed to ask Washington to send it to Aceh. SBY made two crucial early decisions: He told the army to quit fighting the rebels, and he agreed to allow the U.S. carrier to be positioned off Indonesia’s coast. Only a former top gen- FOCUS ON U.S. GLOBAL LEADERSHIP