The Foreign Service Journal, May 2021

10 MAY 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL LETTERS Risk Management Required Congratulations on the Ron Neumann and Greg Starr arti- cle in the March FSJ , “Chang- ing a Risk-Averse Paradigm at High-Threat Posts Abroad”! Finally, finally , the issue of the security takeover of development and diplo- macy is out in the open. The cause—OK, who’s responsible—has been identified, and the need to change that makes eminent sense. As part of the team for shelter after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, I was given a map of areas that were off limits for security reasons. It was almost the entire city, and so what could one do? Ignore it. We are adults. We are not foolish; yet we also know that we need to be out seeing what is happening and engag- ing with those we want and need to work with. Had there been a rational approach to identifying the truly unsafe places, that would have been useful. That Haiti experience reminded me of the Sri Lankan government’s declara- tion of no-build zones that made no sense at all after the 2004 tsunami. It was also ignored. Had it been made to point out the truly unsafe areas, it, too, would have been useful in working with the communities on relocation—always a sensitive issue. How does one relocate fishing communities into the hills, miles away from their livelihood? The issue of face time is the impor- tant one, for it conveys to those we work with that we are with them and need to work together where they are. To invite partners, nationals and others, as well, to come to our safe havens is only to make them vulnerable and targets. Credit is due, as well, to the Harvard Belfer Center report, “A U.S. Diplomatic Service for the 21st Century” (by Nick Burns, Marc Grossman and Marcie Ries), which suggests such a name change in its list of 10 actions. AFSA has a large number of major issues to deal with, as the “Notes” make clear. But this one is not only likely to have a very beneficial effect; it should be relatively easy to implement because it will not generate a political struggle. Ed Peck Ambassador, retired Chevy Chase, Maryland Father-Son Ambassadors Further to Stephen Muller’s engaging article on father and son ambassadors (“Like Father, Like Son: The Francis Ambassadorships,” March FSJ ), I wo uld add that London was host to a three- some: John Adams (1785-1788), his son John Quincy Adams (1815-1817) and his son Charles Francis Adams (1861- 1868) all headed up the U.S. mission in London. And, to add a fourth generation, Charles’ son, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Henry Brooks Adams, was his father’s secretary during those seven years in London. n Robert Fretz FSO, retired Edmonds, Washington Well done, American Academy of Diplomacy and FSJ . I hope that something constructive is done about security. It is necessary, like any tool. Earl Kessler FSO, retired Santa Fe, New Mexico An Excellent Suggestion I am reasonably sure that there will be a number of comments on the extensive, thoughtful, rational and rea- sonable collection of “Notes to the New Administration” in the March Journal . There is one, in particular, that prom- ises to have a significantly meaningful effect if instituted, and I would like to very strongly support it. On page 53, Alexander Titolo recom- mends that the name “Foreign Service” be changed to “United States Diplo- matic Service” to give the public an idea of what our small and out-of-sight organization does. Think about it. Many other agen- cies, with names that clearly describe what they do, have employees assigned abroad, engaged in, yes, “foreign ser- vice.” (There are other grounds for confu- sion, too. When I told my boss I was leaving Shell Oil to join the Foreign Service, he asked why in the world I wanted to be in the French Army. I said, “Foreign Service,” not “Foreign Legion”—which, of course, went right past him.) Given that our nation is not generally considered to have a population broadly and deeply knowledgeable about and interested in much of the rest of the world, the name “Diplomatic Service” would at least provide a clue. Share your thoughts about this month’s issue. Submit letters to the editor: