The Foreign Service Journal, March 2021

28 MARCH 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Notes to the New ADMINISTRATION FOCUS Look to What We Have in Common Sometimes it takes a global pandemic to remind us howmuch we have in common rather than spending time, energy and resources on all that (we think) divides us. Our humanity, both its physical vulnerability to viruses like COVID-19, as well as the strength of the human spirit that binds us to one another and the natural world, should be a core part of our foreign policy. For most of our history, American values have been synony- mous with freedom, democracy and the promotion of human rights. It’s time to remind the world of this, and we have many foreign affairs agencies and dedicated employees ready to sharpen the tools at their disposal. Filling leadership positions with official and confirmed appointees is, of course, the first step. In this we should favor career employees (over political appointees), showcasing their well-earned experience and knowledge and discrediting the “Deep State” conspiracies. Second, we must continue to diversify our personnel, at all levels and in all agencies. The strength of our “melting pot” is another American value that needs reviving. But rather than focus on recruitment, we must also invest in retention and promotion of minorities. This may require significant organizational changes, and for that we may need to dig deep. Last, the new administration should give careful consideration to greater use of soft power. We need to invest more in tools such as educational and cultural programs, the use of social media at the local level and foreign aid if we wish to not only regain our international stature but also compete with rival nations, includ- ing China and Russia. Marcia Anglarill is a cultural affairs officer in the State Depart- ment’s Venezuela affairs unit. Following the U.S. presidential election and by way of welcoming the new administra- tion, The Foreign Service Journal invited Foreign Service members to share their suggestions for how diplomacy and development practitioners can best serve and advance America’s foreign policy interests during the coming months and years. In December AFSAnets, we asked for concise answers to these questions: “How can the new administration reinvigorate U.S. diplomacy and development through the Foreign Service, and what are your specific recommendations?” The response was tremendous. Here, presented alphabetically by the author’s last name, are suggestions we received from active-duty and retired members of the U.S. Foreign Service. The authors’ views are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Journal and the American Foreign Service Association. Our thanks to all who contributed to this compilation. —The Editors