The Foreign Service Journal - March 2018

24 MARCH 2018 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL “We welcomed him with open arms. We showed him that there’s nothing here like no-go zones,” said Massaoudi, who sat Hoekstra down in his spartan office warmed by a space heater. “He was a very open person, and you could have a good conversation with him.” Time for Real Estate 101? I n a Jan. 11 tweet, President Don- ald Trump announced that he had canceled his trip to Britain, scheduled for February, ostensibly because he was unhappy with the new U.S. embassy in London. He accused the Obama admin- istration of making a “bad deal” for an “off location.” Many Brits dismissed that as an excuse, suggesting instead the pres i- dent was worried his arrival in London would be greeted by mass protests. Other sources suggested Trump was miffed that Prime Minister Theresa May had reportedly downgraded the state visit to a working trip, which meant he probably would not have had a private audience with Queen Elizabeth II. Regardless of the motivation, those involved in the relocation of the U.S. embassy in London say Trump, a former real estate mogul in New York City, has a poor understanding of the deal. The old U.S. embassy in London was in the heart of the posh Mayfair neigh- borhood near other foreign embas- sies. But as Ambassador (ret.) Richard LeBaron, who served as deputy chief of mission in London from 2007 to 2010, explains in a September 2017 FSJ article, “A New Citizen of London Shines on the Other Side of the Thames,” the move was simply unavoidable. The U.S. government could no longer properly secure or eco- nomically renovate the building, which was vulnerable to attacks. After a long search, LeBaron notes, the Nine Elms neighborhood got the nod for the new embassy. The building is as close to 10 Down- ing Street and the Foreign Office as the Mayfair site was, and has a view of Parliament, as well. And although it is the first foreign embassy to be constructed on the south bank of the Thames, other governments are following suit. The new London embassy, which opened its doors to the public on Jan. 16, is undeniably a showstopper in its own right—a 12-story glass cube without visible walls. Designer James Timberlake said he wanted the building to exude “transparency, openness, equality.” Woody Johnson, current U.S. ambas- sador to the Court of St. James’s, has also strongly defended his new workplace. “Purchased and built from the sale of our London properties, the new embassy did not cost the U.S. taxpayer a cent, yet it is one of the most advanced embassies we have ever built,” Johnson declared in a Jan. 12 article for the London Evening Standard. Senators Ask State and USAID for Data on Sexual Harassment I n the wake of the #MeTooNatSec open letter by more than 200 female national security professionals on Nov. 28, 2017, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D- N.H.), along with the other Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote to Secretary of State Rex Tiller- son and USAID Administrator Mark Green. They requested an analysis of all pertinent data on sexual harassment and assault at both agencies in order to better understand the scope of the problem. Signed by the 10 Democrats on the SFRC, the Jan. 17 letter states that such incidents and the culture that excuses them have a negative effect on national security. The legislators request Secretary Til- lerson and Administrator Green to “pro- vide the Foreign Relations Committee a review of your current methods for data collection, oversight, reporting struc- ture, victim protections, analysis and anti-sexual harassment training” so that the committee can “better understand the scope of the problem we confront as we consider appropriate policy changes to address it.” They note that U.S. diversity is “not reflected in the national security work- force.” At the State Department, they write, women and men enter the Service in roughly comparable numbers, but only one-third of Senior Foreign Service officers are women. The new U.S. Embassy London is a showstopper. U.S.STATEDEPARTMENT/OBO