- Hardcover: 83 pages
- Publisher: Palgrave Pivot; 2014 edition (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: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#2,839,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #868 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics > Arms Control
- #1964 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > War & Peace
- #2659 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics > Diplomacy
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The Demilitarization of American Diplomacy: Two Cheers for Striped Pants 2014th Edition
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'Larry Pope has written a brilliant book on the most significant problem with American diplomacy today. He is an experienced and gifted diplomat who has a deep understanding of his craft. He knows the military well and is highly qualified to address this subject. This is an important work and its message should be heeded by all our political and military leaders. It is a must read for all Americans.' - Anthony C. Zinni, former General USMC, USA.
'With style, wit and vivid insight, Laurence Pope describes the current institutional shambles of the State Department and the marginalization of America's professional Foreign Service. The escalating usurpation of national security policy-making by the military, the intelligence services and a burgeoning White House staff means that the United States faces this complex world almost bereft of the essential prime asset of a great power: skilled diplomacy. Pope's restrained, intelligent analysis is a flashing warning light for the nation.' - Raymond G. H. Seitz, former Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, former Ambassador to the Court of St. James's, USA.
'A slashing, erudite, highly readable and deeply troubling examination of the problems with an American diplomacy imbued with fads but losing sight of power realities at home and abroad. Many will debate individual points but all should be concerned with the overall picture and heed the call for change.' - Ronald E. Neumann, former ambassador to Algeria, Bahrain and Afghanistan and President, American Academy of Diplomacy, USA.
'Pope's cogent plea for rehabilitating America's neglected and scorned State Department, and especially its Foreign Service professionals, should be required reading for Congress, the White House and thoughtful citizens far beyond the beltway. After two disastrous wars, here's the case for loosening the White House monopoly on foreign policy, reining in the military-intelligence state's excesses and restoring America's battered relations with the world.' Jon Randal, former Senior Foreign Correspondent for the Washington Post.
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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Top Customer Reviews
David M. Winn, Foreign Service Officer (ret.)
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. Pope goes on to describe a Washington foreign policy apparatus that has real decision-making concentrated in a bloated White House National Security Council staff, overseas operations largely subsumed by a well-resourced military-intelligence complex and a State Department that has become a dumping ground for political hacks and whose Foreign Service component has been largely marginalized.
Pope notes that George C. Marshall's State Department saved Europe from communism with ten senior officials working directly for the Secretary. Today's Department has two deputy secretaries, six undersecretaries, 32 assistant secretaries and 33 "coordinators, special envoys and representatives." Of those below the rank of undersecretary, only six are devoted to actual geographical regions. The rest dedicate themselves to "gauzy 'global' concerns," ranging from women's issues to entrepreneurship to youth affairs to something called "global intergovernmental affairs." The upshot is a lack of focus and irrelevance as State more resembles a Rube Goldberg perpetual motion machine than a functioning foreign ministry.
Making matters worse has been a steady trend to gut and marginalize the Foreign Service, traditionally the government's selectively recruited core of diplomats. Only 14 percent of the Department's senior positions are now occupied by career FSO's, the rest taken up by political appointees. And in Obama's second term, over half of ambassadorships have been sold to campaign money bundlers or given away to cronies. At some 8,000 officers, the Foreign Service is dwarfed respectively by CIA case officers, FBI agents, Forest Service members and even military band musicians. Add to the Foreign Service's marginalization a concerted policy to man diplomatic positions with civil servants and non-State agency personnel.
The state of dysfunction is such that the resultant decision-making and operational vacuum is filled by the White House and Pentagon and intelligence agencies. The NSC staff has at least quadrupled in size under the current administration, with several hundred staffers (few of whom are FSO's) taking on all significant foreign policy decision-making to the point that foreign ambassadors routinely do their business at the White House rather than at Foggy Bottom and officials at State are frequently blindsided by diplomatic initiatives emanating directly from the White House.
The consequences of working with a broken foreign policy machine are fraught with dangers, ranging from bad, short-sighted decision-making to militarization of our foreign policy as DoD, the combattant commands and intelligence community increasingly take on functions that a dysfunctional State Department is incapable of carrying out. As Pope says, "A functioning foreign ministry and a sound diplomatic service are essential components of a healthy national security system, and their weakness contributes to the militarization of our approach to the world."
The Demilitarization of American Foreign Policy is a concise (77 pages) and highly readable study of a malfunctioning U.S. foreign policy apparatus that is in danger of derailing, written by a veteran Foreign Service professional and former ambassador. I recommend it as a must-read for foreign affairs scholars and practitioners alike; it deserves broad dissemination as a resource for sparking a much overdue debate on reforming the State Department and how U.S. foreign policy is formulated.