Finally, some good news on the future of public diplomacy. Read Clinton Moves to Widen Role of State Dept. at The New York Times by Mark Landler and Helene Cooper.
The steps seem intended to strengthen the role of diplomacy after a long stretch, particularly under Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, in which the Pentagon, the vice president’s office and even the intelligence agencies held considerable sway over American foreign policy.
This is a very promising beginning to what appears will be active leadership at the State Department. The emphasis on working with Congress is required and refreshing. It gets very old reading opinion pieces that lament the lack of resources at State while completely ignoring the lack of proponents and evidence of change that would show the necessary change to get more money. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that Under Secretary Jim Glassman has only recently begun asking for more money, but shouldn’t his boss be the one knocking heads in Congress? It’s broke and it needs fixing and without leadership to fix it, more money will be hard to come by.
The only unfortunate thing about the “hit the ground running” approach is I’ve heard from multiple sources that Hillary Clinton’s nomination hearing will take place the same week as the Smith-Mundt Symposium, which is the week before inauguration. Hey, instead of drawing Congress and the media away from the media, perhaps the nominated Secretary of State could swing by the Symposium, on January 13 we will be across the street from the Capitol and the Senate office buildings at First Street and Constitution Avenue…