Battle Hymn of the Diplomats

Awash in Wilsonian hubris, the State Department’s meandering and militaristic QDDR will ensure Foggy Bottom remains second-rate—both inside the Beltway and overseas.

Issue: Mar-Apr 2011

U.S. Department of State, Leading Through Civilian Power: 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (Washington, DC: Global Publishing Solutions, 2010).

ONE UNDERSTANDS that government reports make dull reading, but perhaps starting Leading Through Civilian Power, the State Department’s first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), with a geostrategic fairy tale was what the French like to call “a false good idea.” First comes the scene setting:

Somewhere in the world today, a jeep winds its way through a remote region of a developing country. Inside are a State Department diplomat with deep knowledge of the area’s different ethnic groups and a USAID development expert with long experience helping communities lift themselves out of poverty. They are on their way to talk with local councils about a range of projects—a new water filtration system, new ways to elevate the role of women in the community, and so on—that could make life better for thousands of people while improving local attitudes toward the United States.

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