The Foreign Service Journal, October 2019

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | OCTOBER 2019 9 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Diplomats Write BY SHAWN DORMAN W elcome to the annual celebration of books by members of the Foreign Service community. It’s always a treat to see what our friends and colleagues write and publish; and it’s inspiring. This year we present 46 new volumes by FS members. The author of one of the books, FSO Patrick McEach- ern, also contributes our cover story, “What Does North Korea Want?” With titles like Lions at the Legation, Masters of Mayhem, Ideology and Col- lapse, Egyptian Advice Columnists, The Back Channel, Crossing the Sahara and Drunk at the State Department , there’s surely something for everyone. The 17 memoirs illustrate the unique adventures of diplomatic life. The title of one of those captures it best: No Ordinary Life . In addition, the Of Related Interest section features 24 recent books that are not by FS authors but cover relevant subjects, including China. In the mix, you’ll find Belt and Road, China’s Dream, Visa Lottery Chronicles, Jerusalem and Washington , and The Sit Room , as well as a murder mystery with an FSO protago- nist, and a primer on Russia. We hope these selections offer an enlightening and comforting break from the sometimes surreal realities of Foreign Service work today. To put it bluntly, we are in an era of anti- diplomacy. The U.S. president tells us it’ll be no problem get- ting a new, a fourth, national security Shawn Dorman is the editor of The Foreign Service Journal. adviser because “It’s very easy, actually, to work with me. You know why it’s easy? Because I make all the decisions—they don’t have to work.” This would be amus- ing if it weren’t so dangerous, reflecting as it does the absence of a functional foreign policy process. No wonder so many U.S. diplomats today ask themselves whether to stay or go. Dozens of senior-level Foreign Ser- vice officers have left since 2016, many of them pushed out (directly or indirectly). So many of the mentors for the Service are gone. International agreements that diplomats spent months or years to nego- tiate have been torn up, and relations with allies strained. We’ve seen the recent op-eds from two mid-level FSOs who chose to leave (see Talking Points). In this edition’s Speaking Out (“There Is No ‘Complacent State’”), FSO Andrew Ke lly responds to the public resignations with a discussion of Foreign Service professionalism. Ambassador Eric Rubin looks at the situation today in his President’s Views column and offers an appeal to the For- eign Service to “please stay.” The Foreign Service, the country, “needs you.” The United States must continue to engage with the world, regardless of the actions and policies of any one adminis- tration. And we need U.S. diplomats and development professionals out in the field to do that. Thank you for serving. Please keep in touch with AFSA, and please keep the conversation going on these pages. n