Exploring a New Frontier for Diplomacy

Letter from the Editor


Cryptocurrency, blockchain, fintech, digital currencies, CBDCs, Web3. What do all these technologies have to do with the Foreign Service? They are all new frontiers for diplomacy, which we begin to explore in this edition.

We turned to a knowledgeable guide, financial technology (fintech) expert Yaya J. Fanusie, to get oriented. As he writes in a Nov. 30, 2022, Lawfare report, calling this “a Sputnik Moment” for central banking: To win in this global competition of digital finance, the U.S. must first realize that the race has already started and a plan is needed. The race won’t be won by doing what is easy, but by doing the visionary things that are hard.

In spite of the recent crypto currency crashes, digital finance is here to stay, and the ways it affects U.S. relations and interactions with the world are evolving. Fanusie leads the focus with “Playing Catch-Up with China’s Fintech Strides.” He shows us why the United States government must pay attention to the evolution of China’s work on digital currency, suggesting that the U.S. needs to “lead from the front.”

Next, we posed broader questions to Crypto Council for Innovation CEO Sheila Warren. Find her answers in the Q&A, “What Should We Know About Digital Currency?

This month’s Feature from Ambassador Larry Wohlers is a sobering look at “Losing the Peace in the Central African Republic.” There are lessons here for the international community on stabilization efforts in failed or failing states.

In a timely Speaking Out, as evaluation season winds down, we bring you “actionable” suggestions from recently retired FSO Virginia Blaser on “Why Our Evaluation System Is Broken and What to Do About It.” Trying out some of the sample questions for running evaluation meetings from her new Manager’s Workbook, I think she’s on to something—whether or not we learn to love the EER!

In President’s Views, Ambassador Eric Rubin raises a critical issue for the FS community: “Road Safety—A Clear and Present Danger.” And with a friendly reminder to review your retirement plan regularly, John Naland lays out “12 Things to Do” to stay on track.

As the junior public diplomacy officer in Copenhagen 35 years ago, Dan Whitman had a portfolio that included covering Greenland. In this Reflection, he tells the story of “A Greenland Friendship” that started on the job and lasted a lifetime.

This month’s Local Lens is a stunning shot from Grand Harbour, Malta, by FS Regional Psychiatrist Mike Regal.

As always, we welcome your comments and submissions. Write to journal@afsa.org.

Shawn Dorman is the editor of The Foreign Service Journal.


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