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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

|

MAY 2015

25

FOCUS

Adjusting to regularly changing threat

levels while still engaging with society

and getting diplomacy done in one of

the world’s most dangerous cities—

it’s all in a day’s work at

Consulate General Karachi.

BY M I CHAE L DODMAN

Effective Diplomacy

After Benghazi

ON MANAGING RISK

J

ust as they did on Sept. 11, 2001, the events

of Sept. 11, 2012, changed the operating

environment for overseas posts. New proce-

dures put in place after the tragic events in

Benghazi led to changes that continue to be

felt in the field today.

I was an active player in that process as the

newly arrived consul general in Karachi in the

fall of 2012. We had to adjust our daily opera-

tions based not just on changing threat levels, but also on shifting

perceptions of what constituted acceptable risk.

By some counts, there were more demonstrations against

the anti-Islam video “Innocence of Muslims” in Karachi than

anywhere else in the world. A Sept. 21, 2012, march by more than

100,000 protesters not only shut down the city of 20 million people

but resulted in many casualties, prompting the State Department

to briefly draw down half our staff. While no other day during my

PUBLIC AFFAIRS/CONSULATE GENERAL KARACHI

CG Dodman

discussing

American

democracy with

local students on

election night,

November 2012.