The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 38

38
NOVEMBER 2014
|
THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
sor of conflict management and senior fellow at the Center for
Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced
International Studies, and a scholar at the Middle East Institute.
In 2012, with David R. Smock, he co-authored
Facilitating Dia-
logue: USIP’s Work in Conflict Zones
.
The Demilitarization of
American Diplomacy:
Two Cheers for Striped Pants
Laurence Pope, Palgrave Pivot, 2014,
$45/hardcover, $23.87/Kindle, 90 pages.
In this hard-hitting monograph, retired
Ambassador Laurence Pope documents
the growing dysfunction of American
diplomacy. As Pope documents, the State
Department has already ceded most foreign policy functions to
the White House staff, and allowed political appointees to mar-
ginalize career Foreign Service members.
Writing both as an insider and a historian, Pope observes
that even as the Pentagon and the military services are bus-
ily reinventing themselves for the post-9/11 era, State merely
promises to do a better job of nation-building next time. Yet in
the information age, diplomacy is actually more important than
ever. And in its absence, America may be drawn into more wars
it cannot afford to fight.
While not particularly sanguine about prospects for revers-
ing these trends, Pope insists that “the time has come to restore
the institutions of American diplomacy for a world of sovereign
states.” To see Pope’s April 29 AFSA Book Notes discussion,
please got to
.
Laurence Pope, a Foreign Service officer from 1969 to 2000,
served as ambassador to Chad from 1993 to 1996, among many
other assignments. He was also nominated as chief of mission in
Kuwait in 2000, but the Senate never acted on his nomination.
Ambassador Pope was briefly recalled from retirement to serve
as chargé d’affaires in Libya from 2012 to 2013. He is the author
of
François de Callières: A Political Life
(2010), a biography of the
author of
On Negotiating with Sovereigns
, an iconic work that
has remained in print for nearly three centuries.
American Ambassadors: The Past, Present
and Future of America’s Diplomats
Dennis Jett, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, $40, hardcover,
270 pages.
The behavior of several political appointees for ambassadorial
positions in confirmation hearings earlier this year scandalized
Washington and drew unusual attention
to the role of ambassadors in U.S. foreign
affairs.
“Everyone is familiar with the title
‘ambassador,’ and many people think they
know what the job entails,” Dennis Jett
writes in the introduction to his timely
work,
American Ambassadors.
“Most of
those impressions are wrong, however. Few people have any idea
who gets the title or what that person really does. And in today’s
world of instant communications, the question is often raised as
to whether they are necessary at all.”
To address these issues, Jett, a retired FSO and two-time
ambassador, has written a book that explains where ambassa-
dors come from, where they go, what their work entails and why
they still matter. He describes the different paths to the title that
are taken by career diplomats and political appointees, how an
ambassador’s effectiveness is measured and why at least four
ambassadors in recent years have resigned because of poor
performance. He makes the case for why, in today’s ever more
globalized world, their work is more important than ever.
Dennis Jett is a professor at Pennsylvania State University’s
School of International Affairs. During a 28-year Foreign Service
career, he served on three continents and in Washington, D.C.
He was appointed U.S. ambassador to Mozambique in 1993 and
ambassador to Peru in 1996. A frequent contributor to the
Jour-
nal
, he is the author of
Why American Foreign Policy Fails: Unsafe
at Home and Despised Abroad
(Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).
Managing Overseas Operations:
Kiss Your Latte Goodbye
Gregory W. Engle and Tibor P. Nagy
Jr., Vargas Publishing, 2012, $18.99,
paperback, 236 pages.
Named the Paris Book Festival’s 2014
winner for nonfiction,
Managing Overseas
Operations: Kiss Your Latte Goodbye
is a
compilation of rock-hard practical advice
delivered in a highly digestiblemanner. As retired FSOBob Houdek
stated in his
Journal
review (February 2013), the book “should be on
the reading list of every U.S. firm sendingmanagers overseas.”
The authors, both veteran FSOs and ambassadors, draw on a
combined six decades of international experience to address the
challenges of managing international organizations, diplomatic
missions and nongovernmental organizations. There are no
footnotes. Neither are there extensive empirical data or theoreti-
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