The Foreign Service Journal - June 2014 - page 14

JUNE 2014
colleague of mine, having spent many a winter Sunday watching profes-
sional football on television, recently mused: “There’s nothing wrong with the
country team concept, except that it’s not up-to-date. Every embassy should have
two country teams, one for offense and one for defense.
It has struck me that this idea could be played for more than a laugh, and I
have found myself, furthermore, pondering other unexplored analogies. No pro-
ducer in his right mind, for example, brings a straight play or a musical into New
York City without at least one out-of-town tryout. Out-of-Washington tryouts for
new policies would similarly make a lot of sense.
While it might, admittedly, be something of a shock at first, we should probably
become accustomed to reading headlines like these: “New China Policy a Real Tur-
key, Closes in Philadelphia.”“Alliance for Progress Shift Shows Promise in Chicago.”
The possibilities inherent in a two-country team arrangement are limitless. …
The dilemma of the football coach faced with the decision as to whether to have
his team try for that extra two yards or kick on fourth down would, of course, be
as nothing compared to an assistant secretary’s moment of truth when he would
have to decide whether to leave the OCT in at the height of a crisis, or pull it out
and send in the defense. Football fans and sportswriters could never begin to pro-
duce Monday morning quarterbacks in the same league with those to be found
among political commentators, congressmen or Washington taxi drivers.
Morale and performance would certainly be improved when, say, American
Embassy X could trade to Embassy Y an experienced but unneeded political offi-
cer and a green but promising cultural attaché for a shrewd economic counselor
and a shifty public affairs officer, throwing in some cash (in counterpart funds, of
course). And instead of the present haphazard method of assigning new FSO-8s,
we could look forward to the more sensible—and vastly more exciting—prospect
of assistant secretaries participating in an annual draft of these newcomers to the
professional diplomatic game.
—From“The Young, Intellectual, Overseas Chinese Trade Union Leader and His
Piano-Playing Student Wife,” by S.I. Nadler,
, June 1964.
50 Years Ago
the strike’s long-term impact on Canada’s
reputation as a destination for travel,
study, employment and immigration. We
also continue to enthusiastically supply the
same loyal, fearless and expert advice on
which successive governments have relied
to achieve their international priorities.
But in a competitive global arena, a
country with Canada’s footprint, ambi-
tion and scope of interests demands a
motivated and well-resourced Foreign
Service. A productive relationship
between government and its diplomats
over the long run will require not just
one favorable contract, but a reversal of
the systematic nickel-and-diming of our
conditions of service and the essential
tools of our trade in recent years—includ-
ing travel, hospitality, training and public
diplomacy budgets.
What more needs to be done to
get the Canadian public to appreciate the
value of the Foreign Service?
One of the collateral benefits of
job action is that it gave us a podium
to counter many of the negative myths
associated with diplomatic work and
the circumstances under which it is
performed. We were able to tell our story
and control our narrative, offering an
accurate and up-to-date picture of the
professional and environmental chal-
lenges we face. As the strike progressed,
it seemed that more Canadians—though
certainly not all!—thought that equal
pay was not such an outlandish request
by those tasked with defending and
promoting Canada overseas.
Although it was never PAFSO’s aim
to carry the day in the court of public
opinion (we simply wanted to be ready
to rebut government messaging as
needed), media coverage turned out to
be broadly sympathetic. PAFSO intends
to use this attention, momentum and
our well-oiled advocacy machine to
continue building a community of inter-
est and presenting a current image of life
in the Foreign Service.
—Steven Alan Honley,
Contributing Editor
#AskIraq—But Don’t
Expect Many Answers
n April 16, Iraq’s ambassador to the
Josh Rogin of
The Daily Beast.
Using the
hashtag #AskIraq, hundreds of Twitter
users sent in questions for the ambas-
sador covering a wide range of topics,
though most of the questions centered on
declining security in Iraq.
Twitter users pestered Ambassador
Faily throughout the session to comment
specifically on the December 2013 attacks
on Iranian dissidents living in Camp
Liberty, which left multiple members of
the Mujahideen-e-Khalq group wounded
or killed. He responded: “We urgently
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