The Foreign Service Journal, January-February 2022

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2022 33 The deputy mayor of Los Angeles argues that breaking down the silos between foreign and domestic policy will make international affairs more relevant for middle-class Americans. BY N I NA HACH I G I AN Local Governments Are Foreign PolicyActors, Too Nina Hachigian is Los Angeles’ first deputy mayor for international affairs, appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2017. She served as the second U.S. ambassador to ASEAN in Jakarta from 2014 to 2017. I n our 2008 book, The Next American Century: How the U.S. CanThrive as Other Powers Rise , Mona Sutphen and I concluded that American foreign policy ought to prioritize security challenges that could harmAmericans where they live. We cited climate change, terror attacks and a pandemic, which could emanate from the wet markets in southern China, as examples. We were not especially prescient—the security community knew a virus like COVID-19 was coming. What I did not give any thought to at that time was the role of local governments in addressing these transnational chal- lenges. My public sector work until then was varied—in three branches, in D.C. and overseas—but only federal. Inmy current position in the city of Los Angeles, I have come to appreciate that because humans are corporeal, they will have security needs, like testing and vaccines, that have to be met where they are physically located. States and cities are a bridge fromnational policy to indi- vidual Americans. On the domestic side—in housing, education andmore—the connections between our capital city and the rest of America are well worn. Local governments, though, are also active in international affairs, as Los Angeles’ example demonstrates. And this activity, if supported and leveraged at the federal level, can be of significant benefit in conducting an effective and successful foreign policy. A Bridge to Individual Americans Los Angeles is the second-largest city in the United States. Los Angeles County has the 18th-largest economy in the world— larger than Turkey’s or Switzerland’s—and a population larger than many countries. Ours is the busiest port in the Western Hemisphere, and pre-COVID-19, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) ranked third in the world for passenger traffic. FOCUS ON SUBNATIONAL DIPLOMACY YANNBLINDSALIDA