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THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

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OCTOBER 2015

13

Diplomats Need to Connect with

the American Public

O

ne of the reasons the position of the United States

in the world is now being challenged is that the role

of its military establishment has become unjustifiably

large in comparison with the other instrumentalities of a

successful foreign policy.

In its relationship with Congress, the Department of State has been

handicapped by the doctrine of separation of powers which denies an active

role to the legislature, thereby enabling it to sit back and criticize irrespon-

sibly. Many Senators and Representatives still have a tendency to speak

extemporaneously on certain key issues, an aspect of our national life which

will probably continue to be true since it is rooted in constitutional practice. …

A final word might be appropriate on what the U.S. diplomatic establish-

ment can do to improve its domestic image. Most importantly, the Depart-

ment of State, under the guidance of the White House, should exercise greater

initiative and competence in explaining to the American people the issues of

which it has the best understanding and is most capable of offering a convinc-

ing and effective presentation.

—James A. Ramsey, from his article, “The Strengths and Weaknesses of

American Foreign Policy,” in the October 1965

FSJ

.

50 Years Ago

tor General found that the government

“cannot demonstrate that the program is

improving the U.S. economy and creating

jobs for U.S. citizens.”

Others argue that DHS is not qualified

to assess business plans and the finan-

cial backgrounds of investors and those

seeking funding, and point out that there

is very little regulation of the regional

centers handling the EB-5 cases.

—Shannon Mizzi, Editorial Intern

Reinterpreting U.S.

Hostage Policy

R eactions were mixed to President Barack Obama’s June 24 announce- ment of a change in how the govern- ment interprets its “no concessions to terrorists” policy, which dates back to

the 1970s when President Richard Nixon

refused to give in to the demands of the

terrorist organization Black September.

Nixon’s refusal to release Palestin-

ians in all foreign jails resulted in the

death of two senior U.S. diplomats and

three other hostages in Khartoum.

It also cemented the government’s

approach to dealing with terrorists and

dramatically limited what private citi-

zens could legally do in such cases.

Fear is a bad adviser.

—German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at

the University of Bern, Sept. 3, in response

to an individual who expressed fear that

refugees would bring more Islamist terror

to Europe.

Contemporary Quote