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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

MARCH 2015

9

Honoring Local Staff

I found the President’s Views column

in the

December FSJ (“The Departed”)

a

timely and moving reminder of friends

and colleagues killed 10 years ago during

a terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia.

On Dec. 6, 2004, I huddled with my

colleagues beneath the visa counter at

the U.S. consulate in Jeddah as a siren

screamed overhead, and five terror-

ists planted bombs and sprayed gunfire

across our compound. The day may come

when I’m ready to reflect more fully on

those events, but today I want only to

recall my dearest friends who lost their

lives there (not to mention the many who

survive with scars, both physical and

emotional):

Imad, who several times took me

in hand on his own time to guide me

through the complicated process of

buying a truck in Saudi Arabia. Basheer,

who smiled from the day he started

working with us in general services, his

generous gift of a vase still prominently

displayed in my family home. Romeo,

who kept my international line work-

ing so I could call home and talk to the

woman who would later become my

wife. Ali bin Taleb, noble driver. And

smiling Jaufar Sadik, the

Sri Lankan local guard

force member.

In a letter to

Com-

mentary

magazine, a

former U.S. consul gen-

eral in Jeddah wrote of

Sadik’s heroism: “With-

out protective cover,

Sadik bravely returned

fire on three terrorists

who entered the con-

sulate compound. It was he … who killed

the terrorist leader and prevented further

carnage. Moments later, Sadik himself

was killed by a fourth terrorist, who came

from behind and shot him fatally in the

head.”

Peace be upon them all.

I know that many of my colleagues

saw Mr. Silverman’s column and remem-

bered their own terrible moments under

siege as they served the United States.

In reflecting on the events in Jeddah,

I applaud AFSA’s efforts to work with

Congress to pass the Mustafa Akarsu

Local Guard Force Support Act, which

will provide special immigrant visas to

the surviving spouses and children of U.S.

government employees killed abroad in

the line of duty. It will be a positive step

toward recognizing the dedication and

service of those who work side by side

with our diplomats overseas, every day,

everywhere they serve.

Ben East

FSO

Washington, D.C.

Teaching Diplomacy

The series on teaching diplomacy

in the

January-February FSJ

touches

on interaction between academics and

practitioners with regard to teaching, but

such interaction also offers important

contributions to research. The volume

co-edited by Abe Lowenthal,

Scholars, Policymakers and International Affairs , reviewed in the same issue of the Journal ,

makes that point through case

studies.

After retiring from the Foreign

Service following service as

deputy chief of mission in Mos-

cow, I went to Brown University

to establish a research center

with the charge to bring together

scholars and practitioners to search for

policy ideas that could reduce the risk of

nuclear war. That may seem quaint, but it

was the 1980s.

One thing I learned was that such

interaction can be a two-way street:

scholars gain by testing theory against

practice, and practitioners gain by seeing

the advantage of applying a rigorous

framework for testing possible policy

solutions to complex problems. Although

neither side readily acknowledged the

advantages, they were real—or seemed

so to me.

Mark Garrison

FSO, retired

Cranston, R.I.

Tempered Appreciation

My appreciation for the

FSJ

’s January-

February issue on diplomatic training

and the practitioner-academic paradigm

is tempered by a sense that some issues

that need deeper examination were over-

looked. I have three observations.

First, how can the two principal

streams in the diplomacy arena, practitio-

ners and scholarly theorists, work better

with one another? An elegant monograph

written in 1979,

Case Studies and Theory

Development in the Social Sciences

by

Alexander George and Andrew Bennett

(MIT Press, 2005), remains relevant.

Foreign ministry officials need contex-

tual information, how today’s situation

has similarities with what may have

happened in the past, and the available

policy options. Scholars need informa-

tion from real-life situations; they lack a

practitioner’s felicity in tapping data via

interviews or questionnaires.

Prof. G.R. Berridge has shown that

exhaustive examination of archives can

produce insightful analysis, evident in his

book

British Diplomacy in Turkey, 1583

to the Present: A Study in the Evolution of

the Resident Embassy

(2009). His writing

also shows how trawling through oral his-

tory records can yield insights that help to

ground theory with practical experience.

LETTERS