The Foreign Service Journal, April 2024

18 APRIL 2024 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL Mr. Nice Guy? Politico’s senior foreign a airs correspondent, Nahal Toosi, asked the question in a February column: Is Antony Blinken too nice to be Secretary of State? “He doesn’t yell or scream,” writes Toosi. But his voice becomes “intense,” and he may tap a nearby table for emphasis when he gets angry. Toosi suggests Blinken should show the public the “quiet fury” he sometimes exhibits behind closed doors. When asked about the article, the Secretary responded: “I’ll let others speak to my character, and all I can say is that most people who assume the position that I have the great privilege of assuming now don’t get there by being nice all the time.” U.S., European O–cials Sign Dissent Letter More than 800 o cials in the United States, the U.K., and the European Union (E.U.) signed and publicly released a letter of dissent against their governments’ support of Israel’s actions in Gaza, e New York Times reported on Feb. 2. e letter’s authors call on their governments/institutions to, among other things, “develop a strategy for lasting peace that includes a secure Palestinian state and guarantees for Israel’s security, so that an attack like 7 October and an o ensive on Gaza never happen again.” U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford, who resigned in 2014 over the Obama administration’s Syria policy, told the Times that in three decades at the State Department, he had never seen a dissent letter coordinated by diplomats from multiple countries. But “when war is looming that is very problematic on many levels, I can see why people are speaking out,” he said. About 80 of the signers are from the U.S., and most of those are with the State Department, according to the Times. e majority of signers are from the European Union. e E.U. does not have a formal dissent channel. Berber van der Woude, a former Dutch diplomat who did not sign the letter, told the Times that dissent by civil servants is justi ed. “Being a civil servant doesn’t absolve you from your responsibility to keep on thinking,” she said. “When the system produces perverse decisions or actions, we have a responsibility to stop it. It’s not as simple as ‘shut up and do what you’re told’; we’re also paid to think.” New Problem for Pet Owners Last year AFSA members celebrated the news that, thanks in part to AFSA’s advocacy, traveling with pets was going to become easier and less expensive as new regulations were released giving allowances for pet transport. But according to e New York Times, there’s a new wrinkle for pet owners to contend with. IAG Cargo, a cargo-handling company that ships pets abroad for multiple U.S. airlines, announced that it will be raising rates to ship animals along some of its routes beginning in March 2024. Pets Abroad UK told the Times that costs to transport pets between Britain and the United States were increasing 400 percent. AFSPA Acts Retirement-Life Communities Clements Worldwide FEDS Protection Peake Management, Inc. Property Specialists, Inc. Promax Management Richey Property Management Vinson Hall Retirement Community Windecker Financial Planning, LLC WJD Management