"American Diplomacy for a Changing World"
a Special Task Force Report by the Academy of Diplomacy
To view the report, click here.
With the end of the cold war and the beginning of a new war against terrorism the dynamics of American foreign policy have changed dramatically. Against this background of change and uncertainty the exercise of American leadership will be critical. Diplomacy, as America’s first line of defense, will have a central role to play both with respect to the style as well as the substance of our foreign policy. This report analyzes seven critical challenges which our diplomacy must address if America is to be effective in promoting its national interests.
Over the past six months, a group of Academy members, among them some of the U.S.’s most eminent practitioners and thinkers on U.S. foreign policy, considered the themes contained in this bipartisan Report. The seven critical challenges outlined by the Report are a consensus view of these individuals, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Academy.
The Task Force Report was launched at a Press Conference
Monday, November 29th, 2004 at the National Press Club
Please scroll down to read a transcript of the press conference.
PRESS CONFERENCE LAUNCHING THE ACADEMY'S TASK FORCE REPORT "AMERICAN DIPLOMACY FOR A CHANGING WORLD"
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB
BRUCE LAINGEN: Good morning to all of you on this Monday morning in Washington. My name is Bruce Laingen. I serve currently as President of the American Academy of Diplomacy -- your host this morning.
The Academy is a limited membership, non-profit society dedicated to furthering the quality of American diplomacy and not least through C-SPAN this morning reminding the American public that diplomacy in our view must be our first line of defense.
I welcome all of you as well on behalf of members of the academy -- there are 175 of us -- you can read more about the American Academy of Diplomacy if you pick up this brochure out on the table -- all of them having served as Ambassadors in major embassies around the world or have been secretaries of state, secretaries of defense -- share the view of the Academy that diplomacy is the first line of our defense and must be furthered in every way we can.
I also want to speak on behalf of the Chairman of the Board of our Academy, former ambassador -- former Undersecretary of State -- Joseph Sisco who regrettably recently passed away. I mention him in particular because he is in effect the father of the effort that we are launching this morning; having been concerned, is concerned, was concerned with the quality of American diplomacy and looking for ways to emphasize the quality, as this report that you will see this morning —which is a report of the special taskforce of the American Academy of Diplomacy.
We are honored that two of our members, former Deputy Secretary of State, Kenneth Dam, to my left -- former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury as well -- is one of the two co-chairs of this undertaking and will speak to you this morning about the report. And to my right is the other co-chair, former Ambassador Jim Jones -- former Ambassador to Mexico – a prominent citizen around this time -- both of them are for that matter -- active in a variety of fields today beyond where they have been before.
I’m going to turn over the chairmanship of this effort this morning to the person who has been leading the process for the last three months roughly -- I believe -- to put this report together -- that is former Ambassador Anthony Quainton -- better known as Tony Quainton -- and I’m going to turn it over to him at this point to tell you a little bit more about it, it’s origins, and what we seek to accomplish this morning. Tony.
ANTHONY QUAINTON: Thank you very much, Bruce. Lest you think that the co-chairs were somehow passive participants in this process, I want to say as somebody who was the rapporteur for the half-dozen meetings that we held over the last -- almost six months that the engagement that they have made in this process and the ideas which they have put into it was truly impressive. The same is true of it as well as the almost 30 members of the Academy whose names you will see in the report who, one way or another, reviewed the draft or took part in meetings, went through the days -- as you can imagine in any process -- many modifications and additions, but this is genuinely a consensus view -- a bipartisan view of things that ought to be done in order to enhance American diplomacy.
If you look at the press release that you all have, you will see that we identified some seven different issues. We could have identified 70 different issues. It was clear as we went through our discussions that there were many issues in the world which deserve the attention of American diplomacy -- which will receive the attention of American diplomacy in the years ahead. But we tried to concentrate on a handful, which in our view would directly enhance the role that diplomacy can play as part of a larger national security effort.
While we didn’t go into very many substantive issues, we did feel -- and you will see that in both the first and the seventh item on our agenda -- that we couldn’t put out a report of this kind without at least acknowledging the importance of the threat of weapons of mass destruction and catastrophic terrorism. We would have been remiss had we left that subject aside at a time when it is of great national preoccupation.
And we wanted to say something toward the end of the report about the broad agenda as it relates to the next generation of powers in the world of diplomacy, and you will see there a discussion of China, India, and number of other rising, emerging powers in the world. And in between those two bookends is a discussion of a variety of themes where, in the task force’s judgment, American diplomacy could be strengthened -- strengthened in its attention to a range of economic issues, to emerging scientific issues, and to the much discussed and often controversial issue of public diplomacy – how America goes about presenting itself and its policies in the world.
In order to do that latter task, it’s important that the message of American diplomacy -- a message of American foreign policy because it’s not just a function of what diplomats can and can’t do -- that that message be broad and inclusive, and we have some thoughts about how we can refocus America’s message in the world. And of course all of this goes within a context of American leadership. I think none of us who participated in this process felt that America had any choice but to lead. And the report suggests some ways in which American leadership can be reaffirmed -- a leadership that already exists and of which I think we are all intensely proud.
And so our concern was to make that leadership as effective as possible; in the context of a message which is as credible as possible; with the support of diplomats trained, developed, and recruited to meet a variety of new challenges and new issues; and against a changing international background in which there are many different players -- not all of whom share either our vision or our values, and yet with whom we must interact. And finally, all of this must be carried out in a world threatened by weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.
So it’s in that framework that this report has been put together and with the strong support, as I suggested, of a group of members of the Academy, whose names you will find in the report. And I’m going to turn this over now to our two co-chairs without whose leadership and great support it would not have been possible to produce a report of this seriousness. Having made all the fine tunings that they suggested, I want to thank them and reiterate that we couldn’t have done it without them.
KENNETH DAM: Want to go first?
JAMES JONES: Doesn’t make any difference.
MR. DAM: Well, why don’t I start since I’m going to talk about the first priority. I want to stress what you just heard -- that this is a bipartisan and consensus document. The focus is obviously on diplomacy because this is the American Academy of Diplomacy and diplomacy is very important.
But our first priority is addressing the threat of WMD and catastrophic terrorism, and that’s an issue that has diplomatic, military, and homeland security aspects to it. And so our recommendation is to convene a commission composed of all of the different kinds of experts that have to work on this kind of problem. This is not an excuse to put off the issue; we think it’s quite important. It’s being worked on today but it needs to be worked on even more strongly, and we do believe that while this is a report on diplomacy, we also believe, as it said in the foreword, that diplomacy and force of course go in hand in hand. Diplomacy can be more effective when backed by quality intelligence and a military force structure that can credibly support our foreign policy objectives.
Another thing I’d like to talk about is something that doesn’t appear as an individual recommendation but runs through virtually all of the particular priorities and recommendations, and that is that there has to be an increasing partnership with the private sector. That tends to be something people say, but making it come about is of course a challenge.
But there are many areas where you can hardly address an issue in diplomatic terms without considering the private sector. The best example is addressing evolving global scientific issues. The science and technology capacity of the United States with the exception of a few places like the National Institutes of Health is almost solely in the private sector. And so we obviously need diplomacy to go to the international meetings and talk to foreign governments, but we also need to harness and cooperate with the various elements of the private sector -- for-profit or not-for-profit in this area.
Another area where this partnership is terribly important is the whole question of making our citizenry and our diplomats more competent in foreign languages, for example, and of bringing more foreign students to the United States and so forth. You will find a role for the private sector element in almost all of our seven priorities and recommendations.
MR. JONES: Okay. Before I make two or three comments on the report, let me also say how much we appreciate Tony Quainton and the marvelous job he did in bringing about a consensus document. Even though this is a consensus document, it was a bi-partisan taskforce and we had significant differences of opinion on different issues. And Tony was the one who was able to get the words together so that we could have a consensus, and so for that we are very grateful.
One of the things that we agreed on fairly early on was the fact that if our foreign policy was going to be effective and efficient, we had to a have a consensus on foreign policy, both here at home and abroad. And for whatever reason -- some said it was perhaps because the administration mishandled, others said because the circumstances of 9/11 -- but for whatever the reason, there is a belief that we really do have to build friendships around the world with people who understand what we’re trying to do and who support and join us in that effort. And for it to be effective, we have to have that kind of consensus here at home.
And the second point to that is we have to build and strengthen the international multilateral institutions -- United Nations, NATO, and so on. One of the fundamental things necessary in that is education. And education here at home -- one of the things we found is that for the past two generations, in our school system we have seen a significant decline in the teaching and understanding of history, geography, and of languages -- and that puts us at a disadvantage. If Americans cannot understand the world, cannot speak in many of the world’s languages, we’re at a disadvantage.
And on the other side of the coin, we have in the post-Cold War era throughout the past decade or so -- we have lessened considerably our commitment to bringing students from abroad to study here in the United States. That was an emphasis during the Cold War -- that we would try to attract scientists, engineers, social scientists, et cetera, to the United States to learn about our system, to learn about Americans, and to establish a network of friendships -- and that has lessened. So, both of those issues have to be strengthened if we’re going to have an effective foreign policy.
Another issue that I wanted to emphasize is the recognition that even though we have been very successful in promoting freedom and liberty around the world, we have not been as successful in emphasizing the other part our Pledge of Allegiance and that is justice -- freedom and justice. And many people around the world do not believe that we have the same commitment to justice as we do to freedom. And that justice can take the form of social justice, political, economic justice.
Just from my experiences in Latin America, we have been highly successful in promoting freedom, free markets, democracy, but in the process of that, we have not closed the huge gap between the haves and the have-nots. And so roughly 40 to 60 percent of the populations of Latin America have no tangible benefits from democracy and from open and free markets. And that is a time bomb that’s waiting to tick. So if we don’t provide some means for the other half to enjoy these benefits tangibly, we’re in for a rough ride over the next several years. In my judgment, the best ways to close that gap are education, health, and infrastructure.
The final thing that Ken touched on that I just want to also emphasize is this issue of science. In the Bush I administration and in the Clinton administration, they put a major emphasis on our embassies around the world promoting commerce -- to develop economic relationships. And it was something that was really promoted at the highest levels from the White House through the State Department and the embassies and was highly successful. In our judgment, we need to do the same thing on science because to handle these problems of weapons of mass destruction, et cetera, that Tony mentioned, we really have to have the highest level of talent in the scientific areas and that’s another area that I think this report emphasizes.
So with that, I think we can open it up to questions.
Q: Yes, first, congratulations to the taskforce for undertaking this. I head up a brilliant international center and we’re involved in international exchanges, and therefore my attention is drawn particularly to the endowment for America -- is recommended by the taskforce a multibillion dollar fund initially funded by Congress, I gather -- appropriations and then to go on later on with private funding and others. I commend this -- the whole idea of really putting emphasis on exchanges of all kinds frankly is something we certainly need to do.
However, I’d just like to ask -- in proposing this multibillion dollar endowment fund in this age of federal deficits and appropriations constraints, have you been in touch at all with the members of Congress to get a general feel as to whether or not such an endowment would be well received and actually funded initially by Congress.
MR. JONES: We have not -- when this taskforce was formed in May, we decided not to reach out to the administration to either party, to Congress, et cetera, because we wanted to have the benefit of the experience of the people who had been shaping foreign policy in the past, who were part of the taskforce, and we didn’t want it to get caught up in elections frankly. So we issued our report after the election. And we mae this report a framework as opposed to a specific how-to, but as a former member of Congress and former chairman of the budget committee, obviously budget deficits are something that are very important to me. What I think can be done here -- this is my personal opinion -- is they can reprogram some of things that is in the budget now to -- and add some money to it to give the public part of this fund a kick start -- a good start, and then if the legislation is written well enough, I think you will find -- so that the private sector can also participate -- I think you will find foundations, you’ll find corporations who do business all over the world, willing to put into this fund and really build it from there.
MR. DAM: Let me just add two additional points. First of all, we have a framework, a precedent perhaps I should say, in the Millennium Challenge Account and the HIV/AIDS fund that show that the Congress is willing to establish a framework for funding. The funding doesn’t all have to be upfront by any means. And I also, from my own private sector experience, know that American corporations put an enormous amount of money into education, primarily primary education. But given the world that they see out there, I think they would be willing to step up under the right kind of leadership -- private sector leadership-- to put money behind the ideas in this report.
MR. QUAINTON: Let me just add a couple of brief words on that. You will see in the report that this particular proposal is not fleshed out in detail because clearly the complexity of putting together a fund of this kind was well beyond the capacity of all of us who were thinking about it. And so we haven’t tried to write a blueprint here, but to suggest a need where major resources are required in order to defend and promote the exchange program in which you’ve been so much involved, and also to reach out into the American educational system to strengthen our own national system in its ability to teach and promote international relations, geography, and foreign languages.
MR. JONES: Yes, right in here.
Q: Thank you very much for your presentation. Excuse me for my flu.
I’m with the Embassy of Belarus. If you’d be so kind, I have three questions to you. The first question to you is, is it still necessary to build a national consensus in the United States about foreign policy because as far as I could grasp, both President Bush and Senator Kerry had the same foreign policy agenda during the election campaign.
The second thing about bringing some more foreign students into the United States, but taking into consideration the achievements of modern technology and so on and so forth, isn’t a little bit even cheaper and I’d say more profitable, and more technologically and politically, by the way, advanced to bring American education institutions, educational groups, and so on, and so forth to foreign students abroad?
And the third thing -- everybody is speaking about the end of the Cold War, but – (inaudible) – from events -- Ukraine is only the last but not the least, which proves that I doubt very much at least that the Cold War is so much over. So what would you think will be the relations between the United States and the former Soviet Republics -- of course Belarus and Russia -- if you were to comment? And how would you see the outcome -- the net outcome: another Cold War, another confrontation or complete failure of the former Soviet side or some kind of a new balance?
Thank you very much.
MR. DAM: Let me respond – at least the first response. On the idea of consensus, I agree with you. I think that there’s been too much attention to differences in the United States. And with regard to our priorities in our report, I don’t think there are large differences, but nevertheless there has to be a greater sense of consensus in the country. So I basically agree with you.
With regard to technology -- delivering through technology, the Internet and so forth, what we have to say to the rest of the world -- I think that’s fine. But the fact of the matter is those of us who have spent a lot of time abroad realize that it’s the people who came as students to the United States or in internships to the United States, or as young business people to the United States who probably have learned the most because a lot of it is not transmittable by normal technological means. It has to do with values. It has to do with know-how, not just science and engineering.
So I think both are important. And with regard to the third issue, we really didn’t discuss the issue you raise and so I don’t think it would really be appropriate to speculate on that as a part of this particular meeting. But obviously, each of us has opinions on the subject you mentioned.
MR. JONES: Well, I would just add that with regard to the consensus, we really have to have a consensus in order to be effective in our foreign policy. We have a consensus on fighting terrorism. We did not have a consensus on the specific parts of that as to whether or not the Iraq war in the way it was done was part of the effort to fight terrorism. And so I think that’s one of the ways in which we can be more effective -- if we have a consensus, not only on the general goal, but on the specific ways to get there. We’re not too far apart now and so we have to go forward with a consensus in my judgment.
Regarding the second part on foreign students. I think the most important thing there is the relationships that are built up. You cannot get from a television set or a computer screen the same kind of feeling about another culture as you can in living in that culture, and I think that’s the important thing about what we’re trying to do. And I would just – I would say our neighbor to the south, Mexico, is a great example of that.
When I was a young man working in the Johnson White House -- when we went to Mexico in 1966, I didn’t find a single leader in business or government in Mexico who had any education in the United States or that kind of relationship. When I went back as Ambassador in the ’90s, it was hard to find someone who hadn’t had that experience. The real value of that was living in the dorm, getting to know people on a human basis so that you’re not dealing with a stereotype, rather you’re dealing with real human beings and you form those kinds of relationships that allow you to solve problems beyond your school years, and I think that’s the important part. And I would agree with Ken -- we did not talk specifically about that, but I think the Cold War -- when we talk about the post-Cold War period, we’re talking about a much more diffused world, not just a Soviet Union/United States polarized world, but a much more diffused and complicated world that we have to deal with.
MR. QUAINTON: Right here. Yes, in the back.
Q: I know you’re a diplomat so I don’t want to get too controversial – (laughter) -- I’m Jim Lobe from Inter Press Service – or a hint to any dissent. (Laughter.) But I wondered if perhaps if you could assess the Bush administration’s performance now that the election is over over four years on these proposals, specifically with respect to item number two. I mean, did your taskforce discuss the question of whether it was advisable for the administration to renounce the ICC, to try to negotiate BIAs with other governments? That it was a good idea to walk away from Kyoto or even in this week to announce at the last minute that it wasn’t going to attend the landmine conference in Nairobi nor pay for any part of it under dues?
How do you assess the degree to which this administration has shown sensitivity to the priorities that you’ve laid out?
MR. JONES: (Laughter.) We did not speak of those issues specifically. There was some conversation but that was not a major part of trying to build a consensus. What we did talk about were the various multilateral institutions and the fact that we had to be what President Bush said four years ago —a little bit humbler and even though we are the most powerful nation in the world, sometimes if we act like that it can undermine our efforts, and so we had conversations like that.
We did have conversations on global environmental issues, hence the real recommendation there is we need to put more emphasis on the science part of our foreign policy starting from the White House through the embassies, et cetera.
MR. QUAINTON: Right back here.
Q: Bill Jones from Executive Intelligence Review. There’s a book making the rounds now by John Perkins called “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.” He is a gentleman who was recruited by the NSA during the late ’60s, and was recruited to go into private companies to conduct U.S. foreign policy, especially in the economic area. And the idea was, as he explains in his book, to create the advantages for U.S. corporations vis-à-vis competitors. And the consequences of this in places like Latin America of course have been devastating. We know during the debt crisis in the 1970s, early 1980s, that Latin America, if you make a comparison, most of the Latin American countries including Mexico have more than paid back the debt that they owed in 1970 and now find themselves deeper in debt because of the terms of trade. And what the Perkins book does -- it’s an insider exposing the mechanisms in which this inequitable economic situation was created.
Now, one of your points of course is equitable economic development and just as you emphasize here, is it not going to be necessary to re-look again at the way economic policy has been conducted, especially the interface between corporations -- big corporations like Bechtel, Halliburton, and the U.S. government to the disadvantage of the countries, especially in the Third World who really haven’t gotten their economies off the ground because of these mechanisms? You see that as an important part of this type of development towards equitable economic development.
MR. DAM: Let me take that. We didn’t specifically discuss the Perkins book nor have I read the Perkins book, but I don’t think that there is anybody in recent administrations who has favored using intelligence -- if that’s what’s being suggested -- to further the position of U.S. corporations. That has been strictly ruled out in cases I know that have come to the public attention.
Obviously, there is a certain difference of opinion about what the best means are to enhance economic development. The economic journals and the World Bank working papers, and Inter-American Development Bank papers, and so forth are full of a discussion of this issue. The important point is that we make it a priority. Economic development is in everybody’s interest. It’s very much the U.S. interest that Latin America and other parts of the world develop, and the justice aspect of that is quite important. I think it’s impossible to go much deeper than that. These are the priorities and that’s what we’re focused on.
MR. JONES: Let me just add to that. We’re not talking about artificial redistribution of wealth. What we’re trying -- at least in my judgment -- in Latin America -- you have a situation where, in some cases, 60 percent of a country’s population has no tangible benefits from democracy or from free markets. And why is that? In my judgment, it’s basically three things. If you were to plunk a very modern factory into some of those locations it would be a failure because the people are not educated enough to operate it, their healthcare system is not able to provide for a reliable, steady workforce, and if you produced a product, you couldn’t get it to market efficiently because of problems with the infrastructure.
So I think those are the three keys to allowing and giving an opportunity to the ones who are not tangibly benefiting free markets and democracy. There does need to be another situation; that is a fair judicial system a legal system that they can have confidence in.
So, to me, that is really the emphasis that should be made and we see that being done in places like China and other parts of Asia. They are competitive and highly competitive because they have the educational skills to be able to produce products efficiently, and that’s what we were talking about -- at least I’m talking about in Latin America.
MR. QUAINTON: I believe we have time for one more question and there’s a hand right back here. I believe you’ve had your hand up before.
Q: My name is Mary Mullan and I was working with the -- (inaudible) -- support committee recently, but I’m formerly a teacher. And I thought -- you said education was very important -- to look at their education of the children of the diplomats abroad. I’ve taught in four different countries; only once did I teach in an American-Canadian school. And people from other countries generally respect American education. This was -- maybe not today, but when I did teach several years ago -- able to reach a variety of different types of people in one classroom.
But what my criticism would be was that the way they set up their curriculum -- they didn’t include -- this was in Kenya -- they didn’t include the Kenyans in the schools itself. And there is a -- I know when you have a school abroad you are supposed to have a certain amount of the natives of that country in your school, and the Americans were not doing that. And when they introduced the American students or the Canadian students to the culture, it was more of a visiting type of thing. They would take a bus and go out and visit instead of having them work within the culture, maybe in some of the Kenyan schools, maybe in some of the Kenyan areas. And I suggested this when I was a teacher there.
MR. JONES: I think you’re making a very good point there. Ambassador Quainton was a career foreign service officer and basically was in charge of the management, so to speak, of the State Department. I think he would be better equipped to answer that.
MR. QUAINTON: Well, I see a lot of colleagues in the audience who would be equally competent here, but having served on every continent and seen American schools on every continent, it seems to me that some of what you described is accurate, but also some schools make the kind of effort that you suggest should be made. Clearly, an American school in a foreign environment must be part of that environment in some way and have interaction with the local culture and the local people.
In some countries, foreigners are not allowed to go to American schools and so it’s not always possible to do what you suggest. In others, there are substantial numbers of foreign students in American schools. So I take your point. I think we all take your point that the American schools overseas are one aspect of this larger desire to promote interaction between our country and the world, which we address in a variety of ways in this report. Obviously, we could do better, but you’d be surprised at the number of places where it’s done extremely well.
MR. JONES: Yes?
MR. QUAINTON: Bruce, go ahead.
MR. LAINGEN: A reference has been made by some of the questioners and in the discussion on your part about American business overseas, and I just want to take the advantage of the fact that the American Academy of Diplomacy has recently published a book on that subject called “Commercial Diplomacy and the National Interest,” written by a man named Harry Kopp. It’s referred to in this document that we distributed among you here today and for the general TV audience that may be listening today. We take advantage of that at every opportunity we can as an academy. You can read about that in our web site – American Academy of - just academyofdiplomacy.org and I commend that to you.
MR. DAM: Thank you, Bruce.
MR. QUAINTON: Thank you.
Q: I’m Al Millican (sp), affiliated with Washington Independent Writers.
MR. DAM: This will have to be the last question.
Q: To what extent do you deal with the major religions of the world? And how knowledgeable and wise and sensitive to religious beliefs and practice are today’s diplomats. Specifically, what more does the United States government need to do in regards to Islam, particularly when waging a war on terrorism? And how important do you believe it is to know accurately how the United States diplomatic and foreign affairs history has been affected by religious influence, particularly Christianity?
MR. DAM: Well, my take on that is that knowledge of religion in various parts of the world is very important. I think that the Foreign Service officers whom I have known who have been area specialists have been very, very knowledgeable. I think there’s a great reservoir of knowledge in our diplomatic community, but I do think that along with language and knowledge of countries is not just a knowledge of surface things that you can count or look at, but also ideas, reigning ideologies, and religion. And so I think that’s part of educating, not just diplomats, but the American people about what’s going on in the world, and it fits in very well with what we have advocated. And certainly Islam is one, but only one, of those religions that could be better understood in the United States.
MR. JONES: We didn’t specifically study religions in the whole aspect of foreign policy, but what we did do is look at cultures and religion -- and as Ken said -- language is very much a part of the culture. And one of our concerns is that there are parts of this world, including the Middle East, where we do not have a sufficient supply of people who understand the total cultures and languages of those areas, and that is an emphasis that we need to make.
MR. QUAINTON: Well, let me bring this to a close -- thanking our two co-chairs once again for a really tremendous labor of love. This was a truly non-partisan effort. This is a report, which could have been made at any time in the last ten years and probably should have been made long before now. We’re happy to put it out for the consideration of both political parties -- the leadership of the country today -- in the hope that it will stimulate discussion of diplomacy and its importance.
MR. DAM: And once again we thank Tony Quainton for his efforts on this report.
MR. JONES: Thank you.
ACADEMY OF DIPLOMACY
Modified on: Monday, August 3, 2012
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