The Foreign Service Journal - March 2018

12 MARCH 2018 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL nukes and probably will have a viable re-entry vehicle soon. Thirty years and more of “expert” diplomacy diverted them not one whit. Each of these threatens our national security. Each represents a failure of foreign policy. Where were the firings? The resignations? When normal Americans don’t see consequences for poor performance, they grow resentful; impunity irritates them almost as much as unearned rewards. Finally, we know the self-selected leaders of our foreign affairs commu- nity don’t like being told nay, nor do they appreciate having their assump- tions questioned; indeed, they are the products of a system designed to stifle this sort of behavior. They also smugly assume that the Great Unwashed Beyond the Potomac don’t know they’re viewed as rubes, and wouldn’t care if they did. But speaking as someone who lives out where people grow stuff and make things, they do, and do. That’s one rea- son we have the president we have, and State has the Secretary it does: isolation, cozy self-congratulation and satisfac- tion with minimal accomplishment have brought a reckoning. Deal with it like adults. Or don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Morgan Liddick FSO, retired Stuarts Draft, Virginia Why Cut State? In the December FSJ Ambassador Barbara Stephenson asks why State su d- denly finds itself beset by funding cuts, the “decapitation” of its senior leader- ship and a declining Foreign Service intake of recruits. The answer, I believe, is tied not only to demands for reduced deficit spending but to popular conviction that the State Department deceived on the handling of Benghazi; caved on Iran by lifting sanc- tions and forking over billions of dollars; countenanced Clinton corruption and the mishandling of classified informa- tion; fell in with a policy of “leading from the rear”; carried out expensive but (relative to their returns) pointless foreign aid programs; and did not, along with the military, do all it could against ISIS in Iraq. Moreover, the public believes the department played fast and loose with the issuance of visas (I read that almost half of illegal immigrants arrived in the United States with visas in their pock- ets). In other words, State is not broadly viewed as “putting America first.” In 2016 such perceptions helped lead to the election of an administration whose goal was to “drain the swamp.” That appears to be the reality causing the ambassador’s grievances. As she herself reminds: “Remember, nine in 10 Americans favor a strong global leader- ship role for our great country.” Richard Hoover FSO, retired Front Royal, Virginia Certain and Uncertain Dangers I was surprised by the opinion expressed by Ambassador Barbara Stephenson in her President’s Views column in the November issue of The Foreign Service Journal; namely, her opposition to the reduction in staff at Embassy Havana in connection with attacks affecting the health and well- being of our personnel. Amb. Stephenson states that “AFSA is not advocating for the withdrawal of all American diplomats from Havana.” Yet I do not believe shutting our embassy is at