Yesterday Stimson hosted a panel discussion to mark the release of “Diplomacy in a Time of Scarcity,” a follow up to the 2008 “Foreign Affairs Budget for the Future” and another collaboration with The American Academy of Diplomacy. Featured panelists included Ambassador Thomas Pickering, Ambassador Tom Boyatt, Ambassador Ronal Newmann, Stimson President Ellen Laipson, and BFAD Director Russell Rumbaugh.
The United States faces unprecedented challenges in conducting diplomacy and development as it responds to the residuals of three wars, a constantly changing global environment, and a stern, new era of fiscal austerity. This squeeze threatens to end recent International Affairs personnel expansion before achieving the goals Stimson and AAD outlined in 2008 – or even to erode recent gains before the needed improvements have been realized or new missions have been absorbed. "Diplomacy in a Time of Scarcity" examines the challenges of the world today and the progress in preparing our foreign policy personnel for those challenges.
As both a panelist and contributor to the report, Russell Rambaugh explained the importance of maintaining a full strength civil service to fulfill our foreign policy needs:
Diplomatic capacity has seen significant gains in the last four years, and over the last decade, but these gains should not be overstated. They represent efforts to address long-standing deficiencies and shortages, and have not readied our diplomatic capacity for the challenges we already faced, let alone set us to proactively engage the changing challenges of tomorrow's world.
We hope that “Diplomacy in a Time of Scarcity” and the accompanying panel discussion will ground the discussion on how to make American diplomacy most effective in the coming years.