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and small-scale entrepreneurs.

Readers should forgive the fact that

the concluding chapter is disjointed and

introduces themes not previously explored

in the book (e.g., immigration and climate

change). At its core, Rudel’s narrative

represents a solid contribution to the

chronicles of development assistance, the

lessons of which should serve as a refer-

ence to those negotiating the post-2015

development agenda.

Maria C. Livingston is the




Asking Important


Mission Creep:TheMilitarization of U.S. Foreign Policy?

Gordon Adams and ShoonMurray,

editors. Georgetown University Press, 2014,

paperback/$32.08, Kindle Edition/$22.33,

256 pages.

Reviewed By Charles A. Ray

Mission Creep: The Militarization of U.S.

Foreign Policy?

addresses the growing role

of the Department of Defense and the mili-

tary in the conduct of activities abroad that

traditionally have been under the purview

of the Department of State.

With experience in themilitary (20 years)

and as a Foreign Service officer (30 years),

I have to start by saying that the question

mark in the title should be removed.

There is little doubt that U.S. foreign

policy since the early 1940s has been

characterized by an increasing reliance on

use of force, or the threat of use of force,

instead of reliance on the murkier and

often uncertain outcomes that traditional

diplomacy achieves.

The essays in this book, some written by

experienced diplomatic practitioners and

some by academics, address this trend as

it’s developed, primarily since the events of

9/11, when the United States embarked on

the Global War on Terrorism.

The authors show how the country’s

senior leadership has tended to look at the

military and DOD as the go-to resource

to get things done abroad in the name of

national security.

In her essay, “Foreign Assistance

in Camouflage,” Nina M. Serafino, a

researcher for the Congressional Research

Service, points out that, despite the com-

mon belief that DOD’s encroachment

on traditional diplomatic turf grew out of

9/11, it has, in fact, been a growing trend

since WorldWar II, with the creation of the

President’s National Security Council and

the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1947.

I would expand onMs. Serafino’s thesis,

and point out that during the war, the State

Department was sidelined by President

Roosevelt, and that it played only a minor

supporting role in implementation of the

post-war Marshall Plan.

Further, a student of American history

will note that, prior to the war, State con-

cerned itself with traditional diplomacy

(commerce, treaties, observing and

reporting) and was ill-equipped

and reluctant to take on the broad

range of tasks the country faced

abroad after the war. Thus, not

only in security-related fields,

but in commerce and agri-

culture, other government

departments stepped in to fill

the void.

After WorldWar II the United

States had to finally acknowledge that it

was a world power in every sense of the

word, and that it had to accept certain

global responsibilities. With a preference

for short-termdirect action, the American

character unfortunately lends itself to

use of military instruments. And, when

combined with a historical distrust of

diplomacy and diplomats, there should be

no surprise that with the focus on national

security our foreign policy would become


This book is an excellent starting point

for the national debate that is long overdue

on the question of the long-term conse-

quences of assigning the military to duties

that are not part of its core mission. It is

not just a matter of the potential negative

consequences on the military and its abil-

ity, when necessary, to fight and win the

nations’ wars.

Do we really want the rest of the world

to see our foreign policy as being carried

out by uniforms and guns? Nomatter how

you package it, the military is perceived

as a coercive instrument, and when that

is the face we present to the world, it will

make it harder for us to find those willing

to collaborate.

The most important essay, inmy view,

is the final one, by Gordon Adams, “Con-

clusion: Does Mission CreepMatter?”

Says Adams: “The most significant

negative consequence of the militariza-

tion trend for U.S. foreign policy is the

increased risk of ‘blowback.’ The

more the military assumes

a central role in U.S. foreign

policy, the more it is turned

to for non-core missions, the

more the international com-

munity may come to see U.S.

international engagement as

wearing a uniform.”

If the reader takes away noth-

ing else from this study, that pas-

sage wouldmake it worthwhile.


Ambassador (ret.) Charles A. Ray retired from

the Foreign Service in 2012 after a 30-year

career that included ambassadorships to

Cambodia and Zimbabwe. Prior to joining

the Foreign Service, Amb. Ray spent 20 years

in the U.S. Army.