The Foreign Service Journal, January-February 2019
8 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL When members of Congress directly associate the great work of the Foreign Service overseas with prosperity here at home, it helps them justify providing the funding and authorities needed to put a full Foreign Service team on the field, to cover every base, to win the game. Kim Greenplate, AFSA’s director of advocacy, devotes her column this month (see page 63) to “Showing the New Congress that Economic Diplo- macy Works.” As the Foreign Service seeks to rebuild in the wake of recent hiring freezes as well as a decade-long decline in funding for core diplomacy, we need vigorous support from Congress. With rising competition from China and other countries, we need that support urgently, to avoid ceding yet more ground. AFSA’s ongoing work with congres- sional champions stands directly on the shoulders of the work you, members of the Foreign Service, do all around the world. I encourage you to polish your own stories of success (or even failure, which can be equally instructive), so you can share them with members of Congress when they visit your post. And please read the Economic Diplomacy Works stories in this co llec- tion for inspiration and practical tips on doing your own job better. If you are in Washington, please join us for the Eco- nomic Diplomacy Works panel AFSA is hosting with the U.S. Diplomacy Center at noon on Jan. 15. And watch AFSA’s daily media digest for links to “Ameri- can Diplomat” podcasts on the theme of economic diplomacy. In March we will mark the 100th anniversary of The Foreign Service Jour- nal. We’ve been reviewing our FSJ digi- tal archives in preparation for a centen- nial exhibit in partnership with the U.S. Diplomacy Center. The very first edition of the FSJ , then called Ameri- can Consular Bulletin , is filled with articles about practical steps to enable commerce, from the role of consular officers in paying advance wages to seamen working on American vessels in foreign ports, to proper postage for export trade letters. The letter from the editor explains that “the Consular Service was organized by our Government for the purpose of furthering the interests of American businesses abroad.” I share this as a reminder that this— Foreign Service support for American business— is not some new-fangled thing. Nor is it ancillary. It is foundational to our purpose. It is a major reason why the U.S. Foreign Service was created, why we exist. In my AFSA role as the “voice of the Foreign Service,” I have spent a fair bit of time on the road telling the proud story of the Foreign Service to Ameri- cans all over this great country of ours. One part of our story that I know reso- nates is what we do to increase prosper- ity at home. When I explained how the Foreign Service worked to open markets overseas for American-grown soy, the audience at Farm Fest in southern Min- nesota immediately grasped that what we diplomats do matters to them. When I explained how the Foreign Service helped a local firm get a stun- ning glass sculpture into the lobby of a new luxury hotel in China, the audience at the San Francisco Commonwealth Club immediately saw how our global network of embassies delivers for local business—and they grasped also my further point that the resulting display of American design excellence boosts our country’s image with everyone who sees it. When we in the Foreign Service make this mission—helping American businesses compete and win—a prior- ity, we help build a domestic con- stituency, and we shore up bipartisan support in Congress for an adequately funded Foreign Service. We also directly and concretely bolster America’s global leadership by refusing to cede the game—a game whose rules the United States wrote—to rivals and adversar- ies. n The first Foreign Service Journal.