The Foreign Service Journal, April 2022

10 APRIL 2022 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL LETTERS Retirees, Rejoin AFSA! Last year, I began planning in earnest for retirement after 30 years of service as a Foreign Service officer. I’d always placed the highest value on my long- standing membership in AFSA, so I researched the benefits accorded to retiree members. Looking at its easy-to-use website ( , I discov- ered that retiree members receive many perks, including a subscription to the invalu- able Foreign Service Journal and numerous discounts from retailers. Moreover, retiree members can sign up to receive the Daily Media Digest and the AFSA Retiree Newsletter. AFSA also includes retiree members in focused events and discussions. These are just some of the tangible aspects of membership. The intan- gible facets are as important given that AFSA retiree membership is a bridge to continued engagement in interna- tional affairs. A retiree can live any- where in America or the world and still play a vital part in the AFSA collective. Through membership, a retiree is also directly supporting the premier platform devoted to representing and serving the foreign affairs community. I should also note that membership dues are low. Rates are pegged to the approximate level of a retiree’s annuity and can be deducted automatically. With these facts in hand, I’m proud to say that my first act after retirement was to rejoin AFSA! I strongly recommend that foreign affairs professionals entering the retirement portal consider joining, as well. Joseph L. Novak FSO, retired Washington, D.C. GWOT Truth-Telling Larry Butler’s “The Global War on Terror and Diplomatic Practice” (Sep- tember 2021) is thoughtful, a “whole-of- career” reflection on GWOT and diplo- matic malpractice. And it is unsparing. Good of the FSJ to run it, not run from it. Butler employs to great effect his histori- cal and institutional matrix, looking at distinct periods (Cold War, interwar, GWOT, now great power competition) and considering policy frameworks (multi- lateral, bilateral and unilateral). That’s insightful for those of us who lived through these periods and worked within these frameworks. It should be used in A-100 training. And Balkan hands will appreciate his reference to their struggles in the 1990s, seen by many of their colleagues at the time as a curious obsession, quixotic. Striking for me: Twice he cites a Dip- lomatic Security assistant secretary (by name no less), but not a single Secretary of State; he also recognizes the impor- tance of U.S. military regional commands, but doesn’t mention State’s regional bureaus—all of which, especially the omissions, illustrate his points. Unsparing. Butler argues that not only is State sidelined in Washington, but the Foreign Service is marginalized out in the field as the culture has become “inward-looking, preoccupied with security, suspicious of locals and unwilling to take risks.” Very regrettable. His most acerbic critique. Hard to imagine the Balkan hands back in the day trying to operate under such constraints. And, sadly, the new generation of diplomats may not experi- ence constant personal interaction with foreigners, a hallmark of the profession for centuries—not to mention missing out on “sauntering among the local people.” After finishing the piece, I felt a little depressed by its truth-telling but, as in the familiar paradox, buoyed by its truth. Fletcher M. Burton FSO, retired Nashville, Tennessee Moscow Signal Concerns Jim Schumaker’s “Before Havana Syndrome, There Was Moscow Signal” (January-February 2022) stirred concerns and questions in us. Here’s our story. I was assigned to Embassy Paris in 1969 for my first tour as what is now referred to as an office management specialist. I met my husband, Leo Cyr (U.S. Air Force), in January 1970 while he was assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency’s security office at the Paris Peace Talks on Vietnam. We married in Paris in April 1972, soon after the proscription against FS women marrying was abolished. We returned to Washington in 1973: Ann to State; Leo to the Pentagon. Leo retired from the USAF in 1974 and a few months later joined the State Department as a “communicator.” We arrived in Beirut, our first tandem assignment, in March 1975—a week later, the civil war began. I was evacuated to Athens in April 1976; Leo was evacuated in June. There’s actually a rather long story involved; but to fulfill our 18 months abroad before home leave and transfer to Hong Kong, we were sent to Moscow on temporary duty from August to October 1976. This was supposedly at the end of the microwaving. The majority of my time was spent in the science and com-