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> US to shift diplomats from Europe to Asia, Is this in America's best interest?
Billy Jean
post Jan 23 2006, 09:59 PM
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Washington is planning to move hundreds of its diplomats from Europe to the Middle East and the Asian superpowers, such as China or India.

"America must begin to reposition our diplomatic forces around the world," the US secretary of state Condoleeza Rice said in a speech to students at Georgetown University on Wednesday (18 January), the BBC reported....

The US foreign minister explained the move as part of the administration's plan to build up a "transformational diplomacy," which attempts "to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

Ms Rice added that US deployment of diplomatic staff should respond to changes in international politics after the end of the Cold War, with new threats emerging "more within states than between them."

"The fundamental character of regimes now matters more than the international distribution of power," concluded Ms Rice.

Is this democracy run amuck? It seems to me, that our "conquer and democracize" mentality is spreading. Why do we need all those diplomats in Europe? It's safe and secure. Yeah, right.

Is this announcement (which was made the same day as Dr. Solana's meeting w/Condi, the 18th of January, 2006) in the the best interest of the US?

Why are we pulling out and redistributing our diplomats?
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post Jan 24 2006, 03:49 AM
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QUOTE(Billy Jean @ Jan 23 2006, 04:59 PM)
Is this announcement (which was made the same day as Dr. Solana's meeting w/Condi, the 18th of January, 2006) in the the best interest of the US? 

I think it may well be short sighted, Europe is quite now but they have a noisy history. I saw a stastic somewhere that the GDP of Spain was greater then all of the Middle Eastern nations combined. We have pulled most of our military out of Europe and now our diplomatic corp is being redistributed. I can't help but wonder if we might live to regret this.

Why are we pulling out and redistributing our diplomats?[/b]  huh.gif

The short answer is because it's a great big world and we have to be in touch with more of it. India and China are becoming economic giants with populations that dwarf the size of the United States. We have a vested interest in being aquainted with the political infrastructure of these regions.

Attention is shifing away from Europe and for the time being this seems like a wise course of action. Asia is not prone to aggressive military action, for the most part and India has very little resourse to turn into a superpower. Europe has the means and the will to challenge the U.S. as the dominant military force on the planet. I shudder to think what would happen if they decided to express their economic might militarily. It would make WWII seem like a cakewalk.

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post Jan 24 2006, 01:27 PM
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Is this announcement (which was made the same day as Dr. Solana's meeting w/Condi, the 18th of January, 2006) in the the best interest of the US?

No. One of the primary functions of the diplomatic service is the promotion and nurturing of trading links. Despite the very rapid growth of China, India, and other such economies, the whole of the EU (taken together) is far larger than any other economic area on Earth (except, currently, the USA itself, though if and when the EU economy begins to grow again, this may not be true for much longer).

The sensible thing to do would be to just enlarge the diplomatic service so you could pay adequate attention to new and developing reasons (the logic for doing so is impeccable) AND stay in close touch with more mature and stable part of the world.

Why are we pulling out and redistributing our diplomats?

I'm not sure. The redistribution is easy enough to explain - the new prominence and clout of emerging economies is undertstandable enough for commercial, economic and political reaons.

The pull-out from other areas is less easy to explain. My hunch is that the seemingly permanent American allergy to "big government" and the higher taxes that might be able to pay for an braodened or enhanced diplomatic service are just not things that anyone influential in modern America is prepared to contemplate.

The historical reasons for this are understandable enough - economically, America has been supremely dominant for over a century, so the only important international relations you've had to maintain have been with foreign dimplomats on American soil

And polticially or militarily, the major threat during the last century has been the Soviet threat to Europe. America's diplomatic engagement with foreign powers on their turf has therefore come to be viewed as threat- or issue-related, rather than a good or necessary thing in itself.

In the medium term, however, it is possible (if not yet inevitable - that only applies in the long term) that America's economic dominance will no longer be supreme. If and when China, the expanded EU trading area and then India (most likely in that order) become larger economies, competing for and drawing in more resources than America, America may well live to regret this view that foreign diplomacy is a dispensible asset.
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