The Foreign Service Journal - March 2018

18 MARCH 2018 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL A MESSAGE FROM THE HILL Time for a National Conversation BY SENATOR L I NDSEY GRAHAM he world’s problems have only grown more numerous and complex over the past decades. Pick any region, and you stumble across conflicts and war (old and new), humanitarian crises and the increasingly rapid rise of regional powers—notably Russia and China—and non-state actors that erode the stability and predictability of the post-World War II international system shaped largely by the Ameri- can victors. In the span of almost 75 years, the global scene has gone from bipolar to unipolar (following the fall of the Soviet Union) to what can be best described today as an unstable, unpre- dictable multipolar world. Through all of these dramatic changes, our diplomats and develop- ment specialists have been on the front lines, all too often in the crosshairs of the enemy. The knowledge and experi- ence of these dedicated public servants are unparalleled. They possess a skill set that can- not and should not be replicated or replaced by other United States govern- ment agencies, including the Depart- ment of Defense. It should not be lost on the American people that approxi- mately 1.3 million active duty military personnel are on the government payroll, compared to just over 15,000 Foreign Service members. The Role of Diplomacy and Development The message sent to the Depart- ment of State, the United States Agency for International Development and Congress in the $40.5 billion Fiscal Year 2018 request for the international affairs budget regrettably raised more questions than answers on the role of diplomacy and development. The response by Congress to the request (and proposed 30 percent cut from the previous fiscal year) was one of genuine concern, not only for its potential impact on operations, personnel and assistance for key allies and partners, but also for the effect on America’s standing in the world. As most any informed military officer will tell you, defense spending alone does not provide for America’s security. While the new National Security Strategy provides much-needed det ail on our global priorities, it leaves unanswered the grand question of what America’s role in the world today should be. Are we the same post-World War II power that crafted an interna- tional system that provided secu- rity, stability and predictability for decades, or are we a mere sup- porting actor on the world stage, content to react to events and cri- ses rather than shape or resolve them? Should we remain the world’s sole superpower? This is worth a national conversa- tion. If a diminished role is preferred, the American people must be fore- warned that weakened U.S. influence and soft power will most certainly trans- late into heightened global and regional insecurity and uncertainty as America’s standing is repeatedly challenged by international competitors. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is chair- man of the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. T