Understanding the Foreign Service Officer Nerd Behavior by Larry C Johnson

Larry Johnson-5x7

A group of lions is called a "pride." A group of crows is called a "murder." A group of geese is called a "gaggle." So what do you call a group of Ambassadors? A pomposity (that term was coined by Colonel Lang when the two of us were working on an exercise on Iran and there were three Ambassadors huddled in a corner scheming–brilliant).

There are two types of Ambassadors–political appointees and Foreign Service Officers who have made their way to the top of the Foreign Service mountain. The two fellows testifying at the opening of the House Impeachment inquiry–Kent and Taylor–are Foreign Service Officers. They are a strange lot. There are some exceptions who are normal people, such as Ambassador Morris (Buzz) Busby and Ambassador Anthony Quainton. I worked for Buzz and dealt with Ambassador Quainton on a variety of policy issues. 

I conducted training for U.S. military Special Ops forces for several years in the aftermath of 9-11. My task was to teach them how to understand the culture of the Foreign Service Officers and offer tips on how to interact. In the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks, U.S. SpecOps personnel were deployed to U.S. Embassies around the world and were having some trouble interacting with the so-called diplomats.

To become a Foreign Service Officer you must take a written and an oral exam. If you pass these exams then you win the golden ticket granting you entrance into the FSO club. FSOs have convinced themselves that only the smartest, the brightest, the most able can pass this exam. If you have not taken the exam and passed it then you are by definition not a very smart person.

 


Many FSOs looked down their nose at these knuckle dragging gorillas masquerading as Special Operations forces at U.S. They assumed they were barely literate. Imagine their shock when the FSOs discovered that a member of the elite U.S. Army CT unit or a member of the SEALS could actually speak a foreign language, had read some real literature and held an advanced college degree. Not making this up.

The Foreign Service contains many officers who take arrogance and prickishness to new heights. You make a fatal error if you believe that because they tend to be soft spoken and non-confrontational that they are not dangerous and devious. Au contraire. Many that rise in the Foreign Service have a knack for sticking a knife in the back of a perceived rival. 

Let me give you a personal example. A female Ambassador who was a Deputy in the Office of the Coordinator for Counter Terrorism had a blow up when I helped a Navy SEAL Commander, who was detailed to State, revamp a memo she had already approved because an important overseas asset deployed for responding to a international terrorist incident had been inadvertently left out of the memo. When my SEAL buddy went in to brief her on the change she started screaming at him, broke her lamp and threw a bottle of hand lotion at him. If she had been a man my friend would have physically retaliated. Instead, my SEAL buddy walked out of the office and recounted the incident to a Civil Service employee in the office. That employee happened to be the neighbor of Ambassador A. Peter Burleigh, who was in charge of S/CT during that time. 

When Ambassador Burleigh learned of her outburst he called her to his office and read her the riot act. What did she do? She assumed I was the one (I was not) who had ratted on her to Ambassador Burleigh. She set out to destroy me. My boss at the time was a retired Marine Corps Colonel, Dominick "Dick" Gannon. What a  gentleman. I counted him as a mentor and a second father. Hard as woodpecker lips and a man who lived by a code of honor. 

Dick prepared my fitness report and submitted it to his supervisor, the crazy female FSO. She demanded he change it to trash me and he refused. So she waited. Dick went overseas on a diplomatic mission and the female Ambassador snuck upstairs to the 7th floor (i.e., the Secretary of State's suite). She filed a complaint against Dick accusing him of failing to do the evaluation in a timely manner. Fortunately, the admin person she talked to, Joanne Graves, looked it over, saw that Dick had signed and informed the female FSO that the person who had failed to act in a timely manner was her. She was furious but beaten.

Just another day in the life of a Pomposity. From what I have seen of tomorrow's witness, Marie Yovanovitch, an FSO, is the same kind of person I encountered in the Office of Counter Terrorism. Arrogant and aggrieved and convinced that she is so much smarter than the troglodytes who will be asking her questions.

I am not saying that all FSOs are like this. But a large number are. You will be seeing another one of these critters in Friday's testimony.

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53 Responses to Understanding the Foreign Service Officer Nerd Behavior by Larry C Johnson

  1. Avatar akaPatience says:

    I hate to say it but it’s been my experience that a bow tie = possible pompous jerk alert.

  2. Avatar PJ20 says:

    I wore a bow tie most of my professional life. I liked them because in no particular order: I preferred not having a tie and bow ties are easy to fold up and put in a sport coat pocket to have at the ready; they’re distinctive and when you’re out there competing, potential clients remember the guy with the bow tie; one of my best friends was a pediatrician who always wore one. Pediatricians like them because they’re more out of reach from the little patients they have and thus their necks are jerked less often.

  3. Avatar Factotum says:

    Sounds like Peter Strozk has a perfect new career for himself – FSO.

  4. Avatar confusedponderer says:

    Ah, troglodytes … a decade ago I was told that I was one too. Because I can … count.
    As a student I worked in a marketing company that sold US credit cards. My part of the job was more honourable: I was tasked with administering the phone numbers called to do that.
    It’s like that with these numbers: You call someone and he sais “Never ever call me again, never ever, you a**hole” the number is blocked to be recalled for 6 weeks and was then called again. If the person agrees to appointment with a seller, the number is blocked for a year etc pp.
    The point is, the more you call the less numbers you have left. Call in a city for a week, starting with 5000 numbers – after a week you’re left with, say, 300 (mostly crap).
    To make after that many or any more appointments then is simply impossible or requires a lot of luck or, much worse, to re-use the numbers by nullifying all blockings (= burning resources).
    It’s that simple: To make fried eggs you need eggs, a stove and a pan (or a really hot engine hood), to make bricks you need clay, if you want to drive from Europe to Vladivostok you need … a visum, money, time, food, good weather, a warm jacket, to know russian, have a robust car and a lot of fuel etc pp.
    One day another employee (nice ties, glued hair and IMO seriously business study damaged) negotiated a new contract with the credit card company with very ambitious goals, without asking whether we had the resources (phone numbers) to achieve that.
    And we didn’t have what was needed and the bosses decided and chose not to buy more numbers. So I told the unfortunate guy tasked with achieving the demanded sales that, with the numbers left, we simply couldn’t do it.
    I was then wildly insulted to be a … troglodyte, wicked, mean, illoyal, evil, that I would lie and some more of that sort. I was fired 15 minutes later, which annoyed as hell but, on the plus side, with luck led me to a three times better paid much better job elsewhere.
    The part more entertaining me was that I was absolutely correct, which I learned a few months later from a former colleague:
    The company was bankrupt eight weeks later, and the guy who fired me had a burnout or mental breakdown three weeks later. One of the bosses went from having been a millionaire to work as a waiter. The contract partner simply chose another “executor” (who was amusingly employing the same salesmen).
    So, I was right, and what did it give me? Not much but a bad experience and, with luck, something much better elsewhere. Alas, and good riddance.

  5. Avatar Turcopolier says:

    All
    I am struck by the fact that a woman mentioned above actually threw a bottle of hand lotion at a SEAL who came to Main State to brief her. Much the same thing happened to me with a male FSO who was DCM in an embassy in which I was DATT. I had drafted a lengthy report to DIA that described the local armed forces as inept and difficult to train. The embassy had the right to append remarks to my report but not to change it or block it without my agreement. The DCM tried for half an hour to pressure me into changing my report to make it more favorable to the local forces. When I refused repeatedly to do so he threw the fifteen page message form across the room at me. I got up and left, leaving it where it fell. After talking to the ambassador the man apologized and the embassy sent my message.

  6. Avatar Diana C says:

    Yes, it’s not often that someone who is right first gets the credit. It’s true in business, educational organizations–well everywhere I ever worked. I just got used to someone else getting credit for things I had put in place firt.
    You get to the point of not caring if you don’t get the credit. You just want to be able to do your job better and go home each night.
    It’s common for females in almost every work situation I held. Pompous men getting the credit for what a whole office of females actually did–sometimes doing things and making decisions they just didn’t ask the boss to “approve.”

  7. Avatar akaPatience says:

    What??? The EXCELLENT Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is not being permitted to question today’s [self-important bureaucrat] witness. Why???

  8. Avatar edding says:

    And, see also John Solomon’s latest directed at Yovanovich at: https://johnsolomonreports.com/the-15-essential-questions-for-marie-yovanovitch-americas-former-ambassador-to-ukraine/
    Someone’s ox is getting slowly and methodically gored. Solomon’s reporting on Ukraine and the State Department has been spot on and backed up by solid evidence.

  9. Avatar akaPatience says:

    I learned the issue was that Devin Nunes was not permitted to hand off his remaining time to her at one point due to procedural rules.
    Rep. Stefanik in fact questioned the witness later, and btw did an excellent job as usual, forcing the witness to impeach her previous testimony and admit she was aware, from Obama administration prepping before her Senate confirmation hearing, of its concern about Hunter Biden and Burisma. If asked about it, she was coached by the Obama administration to answer that questions about Hunter Biden and Burisma be referred to VP Biden!

  10. Avatar John Merryman says:

    Trump seems to have the whole system in a circular firing squad.
    Given his career of heading out the back door with the cash, as the lawyers are coming in the front door, he might actually have some idea what he’s doing.

  11. Avatar JohnH says:

    Can anybody explain to me what Democrats hoped to accomplish by having Yovanovitch testify? I mean, a lot of people, including me, have had their boss do them wrong. Are we supposed to be shocked that it happened to Yovanovitch? Is Yovanovitch a member of some kind of Protected Species, class, or ethnicity?
    I don’t get it. I think Democrats are flailing about and will ultimately embarrass themselves more than Mueller already did.

  12. Avatar walrus says:

    As I have said before, narcissists are great haters and once you “cross “ them they will do their best to kill you or your career forever. They don’t give up until you put an Oak stake through their heart.
    Mitt Romney is a good example. Read the book “bad blood” about Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos Inc. for a detailed example of the modus operandi of a narcissist.

  13. Avatar Factotum says:

    No coincidence Cassanda was a woman. Agree Diana, one does eventually accept this reality because the important issue is getting something done. As it is said, the reward of the good life is the good life itself. Same for a good idea- its outcome if the reward even if the credit is not.

  14. Avatar Factotum says:

    Trump’s tweet today was not witness intimidation It was merely the right of the accused to confront his accuser – 6th and 14th Amendment constitutional rights.
    If Schiff under color of law insists on accusing Trump of “high crimes”, Trump darn well gets to exercise his criminal prosecution rights.

  15. Avatar Factotum says:

    Orangeman bad. Trump made her feel bad. High crime. Cancel 2016.

  16. Avatar Factotum says:

    Right now, since there is no trial and no crime, there can be no “witness intimidation”. Democrats are either blowing smoke or creating a smoke screen – multi-taskers, often at the same time. This woman Yovanovich is just a mouthy chick at this time, who earned her verbal smackdown. No harm, no foul.

  17. Avatar JohnH says:

    I think I’m finally beginning to figure out what this is all about.
    David Ignatius: “When you think about the Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines of this nasty proxy battle against Russia, the debate becomes more visceral and perhaps less confusing. As Ukrainians were struggling with near-daily shellfire, Trump appeared to treat military aid appropriated by Congress as a personal political tool.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/people-died-while-trump-played-games-with-ukraines-military-aid/2019/11/12/a4cc18a6-0598-11ea-b17d-8b867891d39d_story.html
    Of course, most of those people died years ago, under Obama. But no matter. Ignatius’ tearful column echoes Yovanovitch’s tearful testimony: play on people’s sympathies and get them to support the borg’s desire to turn Ukraine into a serious frontline state.
    Their big accomplishment this century was to grab Ukraine from the Russkies. And now Trump is threatening to mess with their glory. Impeachable!!!
    For those who wanted Ukraine so badly, I can only say, “You should have been careful of what you wished for, because you got it … and it’s no prize.”

  18. Avatar confusedponderer says:

    Factotum,
    re: As it is said, the reward of the good life is the good life itself. Same for a good idea- its outcome if the reward even if the credit is not.
    That reminds me of Sherlock Holmes and Watson telling the cops that the reward to him is the investigation itself.
    I admit, unlike Sherlock, I worked there for the money. I had to pay a university fee, a rent, food, good whiskey and an occasional holiday.
    And for that I had to tolerate sometimes creepy bosses. In that sense the money was not so much a reward but also a compensation.
    There was the day the later waiter boss insisted to install a picture at the wall behind my chair himself (to glimpse at my desktop?).
    The IT could have helped him getting 20 screenshots per minute from my desktop without him distorting his back. Subjective priorities I assume. It also annoyed him that I went out to get fresh coffee.
    An more hilarious thing was that they had a corporation truck march in an CSD LGTB parade. After them there came a fetish troop with a lot of leather, latex, gas masks, shields, whips and chains.

  19. Avatar confusedponderer says:

    Factotum,
    re: Right now, since there is no trial and no crime, there can be no “witness intimidation”
    Aha. So to you a witness is only a witness when there is a trial? I strongly doubt that.
    According to Wikipedia “A witness is someone who has knowledge about a matter. In law a witness is someone who, either voluntarily or under compulsion, provides testimonial evidence, either oral or written, of what he or she knows or claims to know.”
    Police for instance listens to many many witnesses – a long time before a trial, in fact as part of an investigation if there was a crime, if there will be a trial and against whom.
    What the impeachmentery right now is about is to find out if Trump has comitted high crimes and misdemeanors.
    If that was and is so, then, criminality aside, the culprit likely at least isn’t the right man at the job.
    Telling a witness in such matter that there will be consequences for saying the unwanted things … is probably just an oopsie mistake of a very responsible man utterly bored by tweeting, supressing pictures of him doing so because then he is wearing glasses, playing golf or armtwisting Ukraine into helping him against the Bidens in his next election campaign?
    At that time there very well can be a witness intimidation.
    If you deny that you’re kidding yourself.

  20. Avatar Stephen Richter says:

    anything on Roger Stone? I do not understand why he did not put forward a defense at his trial. This was a jury trial. Put on a show, call Mueller to testify as to when he knew there was no collusion yet continued on with the investigation. And why did Roger put out the picture of the judge in the cross hairs, which got him banned from speaking in public? It is like he did that deliberately for exactly that end. Do not speak and defend yourself to the public. Do not speak at your own trial. Eventually get a Trump pardon. We had a never ending Mueller investigation. Now the Durham thing goes on and on. Flynn took a plea and did not speak in his own defense. Stone lets himself be convicted. The conservative media does not ask any questions of its own side. What is going on??

  21. Avatar Diana C says:

    Yes, Cassandra was my favorite of all the women in the mythologies of ancient Greece. One of my favorite female dog companions was named Cassandra.

  22. Avatar Diana C says:

    I am so sick of this entire charade. It’s being perpetrated by an entire group of elected persons who can’t figure out what their “real jobs” should be. It’s Adam Schiff trying to find his “deep throat” and not having any luck at all, while wasting the time that could be spent more wisely on actually doing the job his was sent to do for the people.
    It’s also a clear example of how the entire state of CA should be given a good cleaning. When I was young, all the cool kids were “California dreaming.” But now all California represents to me is the nightmare(s) before Christmas of Schiff and Pelosi.

  23. Avatar confusedponderer says:

    Factoum,
    re: Orangeman bad. Trump made her feel bad. High crime. Cancel 2016.
    Some people dislike Trump for real reasons, and good ones as well. It’s not his ridiculous hair and that odd skin colour.
    It’s what he says, tweets and does and how he does it, what he doesn’t and why.
    Recently making Rudy Giuliani a pivate shadow foreign secretary is bad enough (who wants a man in such a position for whom – on a good day – reality is not reality) not to mention making tweets a means to express foreign policy positions (that may, perhaps, or not, last for the next 30 seconds).
    The late Clinton-Pizzagate-Padeophile-Porno-Prostitution-Whatever-Else idiocy was eagerly spread by Trump and dishonourable Trumpists like Flynn.
    However idiotic, it led to some nutcase going to the pizzeria, armed up with a pistol and assault rifle, “to dispose that crime” (however fictious).
    Such babbling has consequences. In this case it was just luck for the bystanders that that loon did not drink, speed, coke, crack or LSD himself up before so that nobody got shot.
    America, like every country, probably has some problems. One of them likely is ever arbitrary Trump (who seems to see unpredictability as a show of strength – not as a weakness).
    The other is that – with Biden, Pelosi and Trump – the totalised age of all three top candidates for US presidency is 228 years. Trade minister Wilbur Ross is 81 years old. Chuck Grassley is 86 years old. Mitch McConnell is 77 years old.
    Beware of the flu … are senate and the Whitehouse becoming a nursing home for the elderly?

  24. Avatar srw says:

    “grab Ukraine from the Russkies”?? I thought as the Soviet Union crumbled the Ukrainians sought an independence from the Soviets or Russia. In any regards, I wish Ukraine could become a southern Finland, not threatening to Russia but aligned culturally and economically with western Europe. Hope Zelenski can achieve something on this order.

  25. Avatar akaPatience says:

    What “consequences” were in Trump’s tweet? She lost her job in May, before the POTUS’ phone call in question with Pres. Zelensky even took place. Plus, she was a witness to nothing germane.
    The new Ukraine president wanted a new ambassador. She was a holdover, with suspected loyalties to his predecessor.

  26. Avatar akaPatience says:

    A group of FSO = “Pomposity”, or how about “Snakes On A Plane”?

  27. Avatar turcopolier says:

    akaPatience
    She did not “lose her job.” She was removed as ambassadr to Ukraine. She is still a Career Ambassador in the Fireign Service currently assigned to Georgetown University.

  28. Avatar Paul Merrell says:

    There’s a mistake in that Solomon article. He speaks of a “Geneva Convention,” but it’s actually the “Vienna Convention.”

  29. Avatar Upstate NY'er says:

    It comes down to who is worse for the country?
    The pseudo-socialist, America-hating media-Democrat party OR the stupid and feckless (and I mean really stupid) Republicans?

  30. Avatar Fred says:

    Just what does a career ambassador make? Seems like a highly paid SES position, not counting the housing and perks of foreign assignment.

  31. Avatar Factotum says:

    confused says: “What the impeachmentery (sic) right now is about is to find out if Trump has comitted (sic) high crimes and misdemeanors.”
    Translation: there has to be a pony in there, somewhere. aka a fishing expedition because we don’t like the 2016 election outcome. Hardly the dignity one expects within our Halls of Congress.
    But agree, one expects a little more dignity from the Executive Branch too. Wish those who acted to over turn the 2016 election on day one of Trump’s Inauguration could provide a do over and dedicate their efforts instead to winning the hearts and minds of voters in 2020.
    Or dedicate their efforts to at least try to understand why Trump won from the perspective of his voters as well as those who got on board after his election. Who are we and why do we support this person as our duly elected POTUS.
    What might had been, had not the deep state been such poor losers. Here is the ironic kicker, as a life long Democrat (non-union democrat), i became a conservative after Bush was re=elected and I embarked on my own personal enquiry into who were those people and how could they re-elect this perfectly awful person again.
    I listened and I learned and eventually agreed with them. Amazing. I suggest anti-Trumpers do the same thing because he will be re-elected in 2020 and it is pity to waste four more years in rabid opposition after yet again, the people have spoken.

  32. Avatar Factotum says:

    My own recollection is no one can surpass the evil machinations of Lyndon B. Johnson. Trump has a long way to go to even get close to that level of naked political cynicism.
    Be glad Trump is a little rough around the edges in both public and private. You know what you are getting; not the burnished patina other political operatives were able to cast as their public image.
    Personally, I don’t need a faux veneer to be called the “dignity of the office”. I find Trump’s blunt truthfulness far more refreshing and welcome. Stock market seems to agree – they don’t like instability and they registered their thoughts about the current “impeachment” inquiry clown show – Democrat virtue-signaling fig leaf hearings. The market – the real heart, soul and engine of the grand American experiment – is registering a collective yawn.

  33. Avatar Factotum says:

    When did America ever give anything away to foreign nations for free and not expect something in return. And if we did, why should we?
    Bad enough most of our “foreign aid” comes back to us directly to support military-industrial employee unions who get that “foreign aid” back into their own Democrat pockets with mandated arms purchases.
    Trump has not made himself a pawn of the Democrat defense industry unions …yet. So his expectation in return for foreign aid will be more to his own interests, than the Democrat defense industry unions interests – no wonder these special interests who drive the Democrat party are howling right now. They don’t care about CROWDSTRIKE. They just care about getting more defense industry contracts so this money flows back into their pockets.

  34. Avatar Factotum says:

    Dunham investigation just started. It is the Horowitz investigation that is dragging out well past its due date – but it does seem now “imminent.
    The Dunham investigation which has recently and rapidly moved to become a criminal investigation deserves the time it needs, because far more is at stake and it now covers several continents. Horowitz happened in our own back yard and under Obama’s imperious nose.
    Long ago, Stone admitted he was going to be charged and probably going to jail. Where is the surprise element in what just happened? Who knows what he was up to on any given level. Or what martyr games he is now acting out in this new chapter of his odd life.

  35. Avatar turcopolier says:

    factotum
    Durham, not Dunham. How old are you?

  36. Avatar turcopolier says:

    factotum
    Finland. We gave them a lot of foreign aid and to our surprise they paid it back. What is it you think we expected to get from SVN? Nuoc Mam and French owned rubber plantations?

  37. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Factotum
    I agree. I still hate LBJ and would piss on his grave and that of Mcnamara if given the chance.

  38. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Fred
    It is a pretty good living especially when you include the childrens’ schooling in Europe and the differential pay for “hardship” posts.

  39. Avatar Factotum says:

    The Russians have been renting the Crimean port of Sebastopol for how long as their warm water military port. They even fly the Russian flag over the Russian navy headquarters in that formerly Russian empire city and home to the Russian royal family ‘s summer home.
    Not so sure there is a bright line between Russia (Mother Russia) and Ukraine that does not still profoundly complicate facts and political loyalties even today. Also makes it more understandable Russia’ relentless quest for a western facing warm water port. They have such vast, but badly-sited, real estate to call their “country”.
    One can only assume “global warming” that could potentially unlock their huge untapped Siberian resources would be a gift from heaven for the Russians. As Robt McNamera advised in Fog of War – empathize with your enemy. Which by no means puts America second. Just a little more sober.

  40. Avatar Factotum says:

    Old enough to know what polio was, getting our first family, TV and remember vividly when JFK was shot. And when “modern” was modern; and not mid-century classic.

  41. Avatar confusedponderer says:

    akaPatience,
    re: She was a holdover, with suspected loyalties to his predecessor.
    The obvious problem generously ignored by you here is the ‘suspected loyalties’ part.
    Is there any proof that she is an Obama … very well hidden easter egg? Pompeo and torture site Haspel served under Obama, you noticed? Also suspected illoyal … Obama moles?
    There should be proof, not just allegations of ‘suspicion’.
    By that low standard you yourself could easily end up as a suspected Putinist because you … drink russian vodka. Proof I don’t have – and I don’t need it because you’re suspicious, because I say so.
    Without proof you have nothing but smearing and/or reputation destruction – and even that only if the person even cares about these ‘facts’ and ‘reality’ … things.
    As Giuliani on a worse day put it on tv, loudly: “No, it isn’t truth! Truth isn’t truth”
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/shortcuts/2018/aug/20/truth-rudy-giuliani-legal-adviser-trump
    Yes, and tonight you’ll get a glass of milk, some cookies and have a wonderful night and more as sweet dreams.

  42. Avatar Factotum says:

    Old enough to also not take offense when someone says “okay boomer” since i know they are not talking about me, and probably don’t even know there are people still alive who were born before the boomers. Not a real fan of what the boomers did to our country either. Part of the last generation to be raised by Depression-scarred parents who instilled such deep and practical values in their offspring.

  43. Avatar turcopolier says:

    factotum
    I, too, am a pre-boomer.

  44. Avatar anon says:

    Lol.snakes on a plane.

  45. Avatar vig says:

    easy to fold up and put in a sport coat pocket to have at the ready
    that seems to fit Kent, if I may, slightly tongue in cheek. One of my best friends is a “bow-tier”, never seen him with tie. But also very, very rarely with bow tie. Maybe that’s the categorical problem?

  46. Avatar Fergus Boon says:

    I spent thirty years in State. I met only one officer who merited my full respect as a human being and a leader. The rest were either molded by the demands of State or were so devoid of the basic virtues one assumes human beings possess to resemble the minions of the ninth ring of hell.
    Ambition reigned supreme. I blame this on the get promoted or get kicked out theory that reigned. Hence everyone was not a comrade but a rival to be guarded against or in some cases stabbed in the back. There were many two faced officers in State whom I wouldn’t trust with a white hot stove. Its odd, you will find many military personnel with life long friendships, not so with State. The postings do not create enduring bonds but State tends to prevent this outside of a special sort of rabi system. This creates a perverse system where the worst elements of State clones itself. Efficiency and effectiveness isn’t encouraged, as this only serves to demonstrate both the unprofessionalism of state and its lack of managerial skills. Political reporting is laughable, as evidenced by what is read in morning briefing at the command centers in Washington. State’s reporting ranks somewhere after Lil Abner. Its economic analysis ranks somewhat less than what is on your corn flakes box. The sole role appears to be the handing out of visas, mainly to gain access to important political actors. Our embassies are too large, useless, and serve too often as places for US agencies to send off high ranking members for an early retirement if a pleasant location, and to an early punishment if an unpleasant location.
    Our staff really isn’t specialized. Few are fluent in languages or culture. Difficult cultures or assignments should pay more. Why pay more for an assignment to Berlin or Rome when the need is as great or greater in Madras or Rangoon? The answer is the high and mightys will not tolerate someone serving at a more difficult post earning more despite the stiffer requirements and demands than one might encounter at a post that has been established for fifty or more years with a formally trained staff that is fully supported by a local government. Contrast this if you will with the difficulties in operating in a place like Venezuela, Salisbury, or Johanesburg.

  47. Avatar confusedponderer says:

    Factotum,
    in an impeachment Trump doesn’t get criminal prosecution rights because an impeachment is not a criminal case.
    And senate and congress are not a court and they cannot send Trump to jail.
    They can however kick him out when he is found to have comitted high crimes and misdemeanors. Then Trump loses his beloved immunities but it still is a political investigation, where different rules apply than in a criminal court.
    And telling an inconvenient witness that speaking ‘will have consequences’ is not ‘confronting his accuser’ but is a rather open threat.
    It may, if Pizzagate is an indication, cause some pro-Trump nutcase to attack, hurt or murder her, with a chance to hear some more ‘bad people on both sides’ blather from Trump.
    That written, if Tump has comitted high crimes and misdemeanors he may then later, after being ‘un-presidentialed’ and ‘de-immunised’ be trialled for that in a criminal court and perhaps sent to jail if found guilty.
    For the perpetually witch-hunted all that may be vile, horrible or irrelevant.
    If, however, the high crimes and misdemeanors are proven and found to have been crimes then it would be justified and necessary to end Trump’s presidency.
    Why? Criminals shouldn’t be in Wall Street, Congress, Senate or the Whitehouse. Even a president, orange or not, is obliged to obey laws – be it on tax paying, campaign fiancing, re-election or foreign policy.

  48. Avatar Karen Rosenheimer says:

    Interestingly, I tried to share this article on Facebook & they removed it. I shared the American Thinker article “The silly sanctification of Marie Yovanovitch” which referenced/linked Larry’s article above so I also tried to post it & FB removed it. No notice or reason given by FB. It just mysteriously disappeared from my Timeline.

  49. Avatar turcopolier says:

    fergus Boon
    Were you an FSO? A goood many of the faults you mention are also found in the military but on the whole I confess to have been appalled by the great majority of FSOs that I knew and know. The exceptions were usually former military people.

  50. I read this article through the link listed in the American Thinker article “The silly sanctification of Marie Yovanovitch”. I clicked on the Larry C. Johnson link referenced in that story. I shared the American Thinker article on my Facebook page without issue. I also then tried to share this article by Larry “Understanding the Foreign Service Officer Nerd Behavior” to my Timeline and FB removed it! I have no idea why it was removed. FB removed it without notice to me & it even disappeared from my activity log; as if it never happened.

  51. Avatar Factotum says:

    Sharyl Attkisson lays it all out, simply and clearly:
    Trump was not engaging in irregular conduct in Ukraine. It was Schiff’s string of in-house witnesses who were were dealing in extra-legal shadow diplomacy, sabotaging the President swith their own personal agenda
    https://sharylattkisson.com/2019/11/silent-bombshell-in-last-weeks-impeachment-testimony-state-dept-witnesses-are-the-ones-who-conducted-shadow-diplomacy/
    Well done, Sharyl.

  52. Avatar smoke says:

    Is Atlantic Council still the news and politics editor for Facebook?

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