[OPE] Consequences of the militarization of US diplomacy

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Sun Oct 19 2008 - 14:11:20 EDT

US diplomacy tainted by 'militarization'
By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - While the Pentagon's budget has risen to heights not seen since World War II, United States diplomatic and foreign aid assets have largely wasted away and must be quickly rebuilt by any new administration that takes office in January, said a new report released in Washington this week by former senior foreign service officers. The report, written by the American Academy of Diplomacy (AAD) and the Henry L Stimson Center, calls for a nearly 50% increase in the number of diplomats and aid and development specialists recruited into the foreign service over the next five years.

This would cost about US$3 billion - approximately what the Pentagon currently spends every 10 days on military operations in Iraq - over current budget estimates. "Since the fall of the Berlin Wall [in 1989], the diplomatic capacity of the United States has been hollowed out," according to the 26-page report, "A Foreign Affairs Budget for the Future", which said a continuation of the status quo cannot continue without serious damage to the US's "vital interests".

A vacuum created by the lack of diplomatic resources - particularly in comparison to the Pentagon's budget and manpower - has translated into the militarization of US foreign policy, warns the report. "Today, significant portions of the nation's foreign affairs business simply are not accomplished ... The work migrates by default to the military that does have the necessary people and funding but neither sufficient experience nor knowledge. The 'militarization' of diplomacy exists and is accelerating."

Complete text http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JJ17Ak02.html

The report http://www.academyofdiplomacy.org/publications/FAB_report_2008.pdf
More comment: http://diplomacy.foreignpolicyblogs.com/2008/10/13/fixing-a-hollow-service/ http://publicdiplomacypressandblogreview.blogspot.com/2008/10/october-14.html

Andrew Bacevich has this to say in an interview about his new book:

To the extent that self gratification has come to be the primary definition of what it means to exercise and enjoy freedom, then there really has to be another cultural revolution to see if freedom is anchored to some conception of truth, something that's more permanent then the acquisition of material goods. I don't have any expectations that such a transformation will occur. And that's really one of the reasons that I'm relatively pessimistic going forward. http://www.motherjones.com/cgi-bin/print_article.pl?url=http://www.motherjones.com/interview/2008/10/andrew-bacevich.html

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