The Foreign Service Journal - December 2013 - page 16

Service, whatever their specialties.)
Toward that end, excellence in report-
ing, analysis and negotiationmust be
valued and rewarded just as much as
managerial ability—for those, too, are
special skills on which policymakers very
often call.
Similarly, the skills and personalities
required to provide consular services to
foreigners, as well as American citizens
abroad; manage development assistance
to foreigners; assist American business-
men in their foreign dealings; or persuade
foreigners of America’s message are not
necessarily the same as those needed to
deal only with fellow Americans. Experi-
enced diplomats in these jobs must also be
supported and protected—not pushed out
To sumup, what we should be seek-
ing to cultivate is greater respect among
diplomats for what their colleagues are
doing—and a willingness to sacrifice one’s
own ambitions for the common good
as needed. The Foreign Service cannot
change human nature: misunderstandings
and jealousies will continue to arise when
individuals feel unfairly slighted. But the
Service can instill the value of putting the
common interest, and that of the country,
above one’s own ambition.
That should be the mark of a stronger
Foreign Service: one that gains respect by
effectiveness in doing its own, distinct job,
yet is closer to the communal values of the
military and other service professions that
Americans, as well as citizens elsewhere in
the world, admire.
We should cultivate greater respect for what every
member of the Foreign Service is doing—and willingness
to sacrifice personal ambitions for the common good.
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