Is American foreign diplomacy too focused on security?

Security at American embassies and consulates is under scrutiny in the wake of the attack in Benghazi.

But when Robert F. Worth interviewed members of the foreign service for the New York Times about how safety concerns affected their diplomatic work, he found many of them felt hampered by too much protection, not too little:

All the ambassadors I spoke with said they had good working relationships with the security chiefs, and they were grateful for their help in understanding risks. But more junior diplomats told me the security officers exercised a subtle influence on all kinds of decisions. “They don’t want to say yes because it’s easier to say no,” one midlevel diplomat told me. “We all fight this battle every day. My first thought on hearing about Chris Stevens’s death — aside from the sadness — was that this is going to make it even harder for us.” Several diplomats told me that if the security constraints get worse, they will consider changing careers.

How would any further increase in security detail affect the mission of American diplomats around the world? Worth joins Kerri this morning at 9:06, along with Edward P. Djerejian, the founding director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.

  • Will Shapira

    The discussion of Nov. 28 was, as usual on MPR, limited to the very narrow capitalist-limited editorial parameters of the program and of an implict view of our forieign policy and diplomacy excluding our arrogance, exceptionalism, plutocracy, oligarchy and hegemony, all of which have made us the scourge of the world.

    Any diplomat who does not embody those “qualities” won’t last very long if, indeed, (s)he somehow sneaked under the wire in the first place.

    When are you going to broaden your editorial horizons and have on guests and callers with broader, more globally-oriented points, more contemporary of view?

    Anything less than a major shift in your policy qualifies you for an immediate examination for the deadly intellectual disease known as craniorectal intussussception which may or may not be included in your current medical coverage. But that’s another story for another time.