Thursday, June 30, 2011

Training American Diplomats for Service in the Middle East State Department Bureau and Countries in the Region

Many Americans who join the diplomatic service do so out of a sense of doing good for the world, eliminating poverty and disease, and promoting human rights and democracy.

The Middle East is the perfect place in which to try to accomplish these goals.  But dreams must take reality into account.  Otherwise, failure and even making things worse are the likely outcome.

Every diplomat or desk officer with responsibility for the Middle East should be required to see Lawrence of Arabia and Khartoum every day for two weeks, followed by in-depth study of Shia-Sunni relations.  The last requirement is to spend a week in Baghdad changing coffee shops several times a day to get first-hand knowledge of frequent bombings.

Only then is reality likely to inform U.S. Mideast foreign policy.

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