Thursday, May 29, 2003
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The merits of American diplomacy
Critics of U.S. foreign policy tend to focus on the statements/actions of policy principals (i.e., cabinet secretaries) and their immediate deputies. However, a signal virtue of U.S. diplomacy is the ingrained habit of trusting subordinates to innovate and adapt to local circumstances, and then copying those innovations when they work. This is true even in the most centralized and hierarchical foreign policy organization -- the U.S. military.
Two examples. The first should make the guys at OxBlog happy. According to the Chicago Tribune, in Afghanistan the U.S. military has modified its position on how to deal with incidents that lead to civilian causalties:
Both of these examples are small steps. They'll probably have a mixed record of success. However, actions like these by local foreign policy operators are a key way in which the wellspring of successful American foreign policy is constantly replenished.posted by Dan on 05.29.03 at 11:24 AM