The Foreign Service Journal, November 2019

16 NOVEMBER 2019 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL national interests—and those of our clos- est allies and partners—to the President’s personal political interest.” Ambassador Kurt Volker resigned as the U.S. special envoy for Ukraine on Sept. 27, shortly after three House com- mittees announced that he was among several State Department officials who would be summoned for depositions in the investigation related to the impeach- ment hearings. As we go to press in mid-October, House committees have conducted depo- sitions with five current or retired State Department officials, as well as officials from the National Security Council and the Department of Defense. Yovanov- ich, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland appeared despite the objections of the White House and the State Department, after the House subpoenaed them. when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now.” In the July 25 phone call with Presi- dent Zelensky, President Trump criticized former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, calling her “bad news” and stating that “she’s going to go through some things.” On Sept. 26, the American Academy of Diplomacy issued a press release in response: “The American Academy of Diplomacy calls on the administration to make clear that it will not act against career diplomat Ambassador Marie Yova- novitch for doing her duty and working to support long-established U.S. policies and values.” AFSA also issued a Sept. 26 press release calling on all Americans “to h onor and respect the non-partisan, non-politi- cal work of the dedicated public servants of the U.S. Foreign Service.” “Our members pledge their lives to service to their country and its interests,” the AFSA release stated. “Any attack on their integrity and commitment to non- partisan service does a great disservice to them, to their families and to our country.” On Sept. 27, more than 300 former U.S. national security and foreign policy officials signed a statement supporting the impeachment inquiry into President Trump and warning that his actions represent a “profound national security concern.” “President Trump appears to have leveraged the authority and resources of the highest office in the land to invite additional foreign interference into our democratic processes,” the former offi- cials wrote. “That would constitute an unconscio- nable abuse of power. It also would rep- resent an effort to subordinate America’s 50 Years Ago The Bridge Between Peoples T he problem of building bridges between cultures has recently occupied a great deal of attention, but practi- cally all the attention has been devoted to the development of mutual understanding between the two pieces of dry land at either end of the bridge and very little to the shape of the bridge or to the necessity for finding patches of dry land in the morass under the bridge on which to construct interme- diate supports. The modem diplomat takes for granted the need to know at least enough of the other culture to avoid social faux pas and establish some kind of rapport. It is beyond the Western diplomat’s capacity to pull his colleague wholly to the West- ern shore, and any effort on his part to move the meeting ground back to the opposite shore will surely fail. He must resign himself to working most of the time in a twilight zone in the middle of the bridge, with few cultural guideposts to mark the way. The search for a secure and stable meeting ground in some kind of halfway house is fraught with peril. The danger always exists that one will emerge from the dash across the bridge into one’s colleague’s culture only to discover that the colleague has run past in the other direction. Anyone who has spent any time in Japan is familiar with the homely example of the American who bows low to greet a new Japanese acquaintance, to be rewarded only with a close look at the latter’s outstretched hand waiting to be shaken. —Kingdon W. Swayne, a former Foreign Service officer who served from 1946 to 1966, excerpted from his article of the same title in The Foreign Service Journal , November 1969.