Thursday, January 19, 2006

Diplomats Will Be Shifted to Hot Spots

WaPo reported Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that she will shift hundreds of Foreign Service positions from Europe and Washington to difficult assignments in the Middle East,

This is a fantastic idea, but I bet a lot of those soft State Department bureaucrats will quit. Which is a good idea, because they can be replaced by good people, and it is normally difficult, if not impossible, to replace career State Department bureaucrats.
Asia and elsewhere as part of a broad restructuring of the diplomatic corps that she has dubbed "transformational diplomacy".... As part of the change in priorities, Rice announced that diplomats will not be promoted into the senior ranks unless they accept assignments in dangerous posts, gain expertise in at least two regions and are fluent in two foreign languages, citing Chinese, Urdu and Arabic as a few preferred examples.
I bet that really ticked off a lot of the career bureaucrats.
Rice noted that the United States has nearly as many State Department personnel in Germany -- which has 82 million people -- as in India, with 1 billion people.
We have way too many military in Germany as well.
As a first step, 100 jobs in Europe and Washington will be immediately shifted to expanded embassies in countries such as India, China and Lebanon. Many of these diplomats had been scheduled to rotate into coveted posts in European capitals this summer, and the sudden change in assignment has caused some distress, State Department officials said.
"Some distress"; I bet they are yelling at the top of their lungs

Betsy blogged I bet it has caused "some distress." They thought they were going to be quaffing beer in Germany and now they have to decide if they truly want to move their families to Lebanon. I can relate. I wouldn't want to move there either. But then, I didn't sign up for work in the foreign service. As you read about the changes that Rice has planned, it's clear that she is shaping up to be one of the most important Secretaries of State as far as the impact that she will have had on the State Department.

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