Day By Day

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Condi's Transformational Diplomacy

I previously noted the ambitious reorganization of America's foreign aid and diplomatic institutions by the Dubya/Condi team [here]. The WaPo has a good brief overview here.

A YEAR INTO her tenure, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has proposed important shifts in the country's diplomatic posture. She plans to move 100 State Department officers out of Washington and Europe and closer to the challenges of the 21st century -- how to forge partnerships with emerging powers such as India, how to contain fast-spreading global diseases, how to combat the nihilistic strains of political Islam. She promises to create a new unit of Arabic speakers to defend U.S. policies in Middle Eastern media, and she wants to move diplomats out of fortified compounds in the capitals and into important provincial cities. These sensible reforms ought to be doable, but Ms. Rice has also committed herself to two more daunting efforts. She has reiterated her ambitions for the new and beleaguered Reconstruction and Stabilization Office. And she has created a new post of director of foreign assistance with the rank of deputy secretary in the hope of bringing cohesion to fragmented aid programs.

The article further notes the difficulty of bringing any significant reform to the vast State and Aid bureaucracies and concludes on a sceptical note:
Ms. Rice... has described foreign assistance as central to what she calls "transformational diplomacy." It will take some tough battles to lend substance to those words.
Yes it will, but remember, Condi is the "warrior princess."

Read it here.

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