The Foreign Service Journal, December 2007

some new players don’t understand. A good relationship is not the end; it’s the means. If we have a candid, hon- est relationship, then you can do a great deal. If you have Pyrrhic victories, they’re not going to be there for you the next time.” Such overaggressive attitudes, she stresses, are typi- cally not exhibited by longtime overseas personnel, such as members of the Foreign Commercial Service or Foreign Agriculture Service. “Where it intrudes is when you get TDYers, DOD with its special teams, and inves- tigative deployments. They are not really part of the country team and they are reflecting particular Washington parochialisms. The problem is that some of these are becoming much longer-term.” In addition, the war on terrorism has added to the questions about who in the embassy answers to whom because of the long-held policy that military personnel involved in combat operations answer to their military commander, not to the ambassador. “The military can operate without informing the ambassador if they are doing battlefield preparation. The problem with that is if you have a global war on terrorism, the battlefield is every- where. Ergo, there are no rules anymore,” says Bodine. If she is right, the next few years could be crucial. A whole generation of Foreign Service officers has now come up in the post 9/11-environment. “There’s nothing worse than to go to an interagency meeting and the other guy has a bigger dog in his yard,” Bodine says, referring to Defense’s clout during the Bush years. “We’ve become third-rate soldiers as opposed to first-rate diplo- mats. It’s going to take concerted effort by the new Secretary of State, whoever that is, to prove that diplo- macy is not an arcane art form.” Staples, like many other diplomats interviewed for this story, doesn’t see the situation the same way. If anything, he says, the terrorist threat “has made people pull togeth- er even closer overseas.” Regardless, leadership by the chief of mission remains the key element in keeping embassy country teams running smoothly to carry out U.S. objectives in each country. F O C U S 28 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 7 * per night, single or double occupancy subject to availability Y our search is over, choose a hotel where the federal per diem rate is available year-round. * Luxurious Suites All rooms with full size kitchen & stove tops Fitness center Complimentary in-room coffee Full service restaurant Parking available Across fromMain State White House, The Mall, and Metro Foggy Bottom station (blue & orange lines) within walking distance Accommodations State Plaza Hotel 2117 E. St. NW Washington, DC 20037 Telephone: (800) 424-2859 (202) 861-8200 Parking Available Rated 1 / 2 by AAA E-mail: