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The Demilitarization of American Diplomacy: Two Cheers for Striped Pants Hardcover – January 29, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Laurence Pope is a retired American diplomat who lives in Portland, Maine, USA. He is the author of several books, including François de Callieres: A Political Life (2010), a biography of the first proponent of professional diplomacy.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 90 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Pivot (January 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1137298545
  • ISBN-13: 978-1137298546
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,363,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RKC on February 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Former Ambassador, and thirty-year veteran of the State Department, Laurence Pope has written a clear and trenchant survey of the emasculation of the U. S. foreign service over recent decades, the concentration of what was once its proper portfolio into the unaccountable hands of the White House’s NSC, and the dangerous consequences of that shift for relations with other sovereign states and ultimately for our planet. Mr. Pope writes with an eye for the comic, and I was thinking, as I read his description of the metastasis of offices, grandiloquent titles and empty portfolios of the Department, as compared to the seemingly impenetrable and ever more alarmingly militant American exceptionalism of the White House and its NSC, that Gilbert and Sullivan could have taken this on as a subject rich with parodic possibilities – tragic, though, when one considers the utterly serious nature of the topic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JAMES BRUNO "Master of the Political Thriller" on October 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
John F. Kennedy famously dismissed the U.S. Department of State as "a bowl of jelly" (it jiggled when shaken, but otherwise retained its shape). Presidential aide Patrick Anderson wrote in 1970, "Some day, some President is going to have to undertake the long, thankless job of reorganizing and rebuilding the State Department." The author of the containment doctrine, George Kennan said, "I would have mixed emotions about recommending the Foreign Service as a career to any bright young person who asked me today (1970). The late columnist Joseph Kraft wrote, "The fact is that the (State) Department has not been run as a decision-making instrument. It has been run as a fudge factory. The aim has been to make everyone happy, to conciliate interests, to avoid giving offense or rocking the boat." The brilliant young Foreign Service officer John Franklin Campbell took his cue from Kraft in his 1971 book, The Foreign Affairs Fudge Factory, stating, "The past four presidents have cursed the State Department while at the same time presiding over a twenty-year decline in its effectiveness, abetting the process by building an intermediary foreign office in the White House."

So, how have things fared over the past four-to-five decades since those observations were made? Not well. "The State Department's internal organization is a management consultant's nightmare, and it consoles itself in its irrelevance with globalizing fantasies and a trendy obsession with social media. The result is a vicious cycle of irrelevance," asserts Laurence Pope in his book, The Demilitarization of American Foreign Policy: Two Cheers for Striped Pants.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan Johnson on March 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Larry Pope's clear voice calling for a revival of American diplomacy and high standards of excellence and professionalism is welcome and timely. He exposes some of the real costs of the overuse of political patronage and short term leadership of institutions by those have big foreign policy agendas but little to no experience in operations or managing large institutions. Reflects the malaise or decline of the institutions of federal government that parallels the decline in much of our physical infrastructure - roads, bridges, has and water pipes, etc.
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In outlining the oft-self-inflicted marginalization of the State Department, Amb. Pope has provided a mini-update to Dean Acheson and an implicit framework for the original misguided White House adventure in Iraq. FSO old-timers will discover they are not hallucinating as they contemplate the palimpsest that is the current State organization chart, while newly-minted diplomats will learn that the present rhinestone-encrusted tortoise into which they have been inducted was not always thus. DOD also takes its licks and garners deserved praise: confused about, say, Special Ops in Africa, or CENTCOM's role? It’s all here. This is essential reading for any American concerned about who's in charge of shaping U.S. policy outsides our shores.

David M. Winn, Foreign Service Officer (ret.)
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By George F. Burns on July 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent example of loyal criticism from a seasoned observer
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