The Foreign Service Journal - May 2014 - page 40

MAY 2014
How do we rescue U.S. foreign policy from creeping militarization?
How can we resurrect diplomacy from the musty archives of the past?
A diplomatic practitioner offers some answers.
wo decades ago, the late historian
Ernest May imagined a visitor from a
foreign land coming to Washington,
D.C., and being shown the West Wing
of the White House, with its Situation
Room in round-the-clock operation,
and next door, the Old Executive Office
Building housing the ever-expanding
National Security Council staff.
“Across the Potomac, [the] visitor sees the Pentagon. With a
daytime population of 25,000, it is the crest of a mountainous
defense establishment, which employs almost two-thirds of
Robert Hutchings is dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Af-
fairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining the LBJ School
in March 2010, he was diplomat-in-residence at Princeton University,
where he had also served as assistant dean of the WoodrowWilson
School of Public and International Affairs. Among many other posi-
tions, he chaired the U.S. National Intelligence Council in Washington,
D.C., from 2003 to 2005, and has served as director of international
studies at the WoodrowWilson International Center for Scholars,
director for European affairs at the National Security Council, special
adviser to the Secretary of State with the rank of ambassador, and
deputy director of Radio Free Europe.
the nearly five million persons who work for the U.S. govern-
ment. Farther out in Virginia, at Langley, the Central Intelligence
Agency has more office acreage than the Pentagon. At Fort
Meade in Maryland sits the even larger, more mysterious, and
more expensive National Security Agency,” wrote May.
The visitor might return from his visit, May concluded, to
describe the nation’s capital this way: “Yes, a city. But, at heart, a
military headquarters, like the Rome of the Flavians or the Berlin
of the Hohenzollerns.”
Twenty years later, the city is much the same. As J. Anthony
Holmes, a former ambassador and AFSA president from 2005
to 2007, observed in
Foreign Affairs
a few years ago, the defense
budget is roughly 20 times as great as the combined budgets
of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International
Development. There are more lawyers in the Pentagon than
diplomats in the State Department.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned in 2008 that the
United States risks the “creeping militarization” of its foreign
policy by giving such overwhelming priority to our military ser-
vices and paying so little attention to the diplomats who work to
advance American interests through non-military means.
Gates reminded Americans that current and future wars are
likely to be “fundamentally political in nature” and that military
means always need to be harnessed to political ends.
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