Academy of Diplomacy’s Pickering and Neumann Warns Secretary Kerry About Risk Avoidance At All Cost
— Domani Spero
The American Academy of Diplomacy’s chairman, Ambassador Thomas Pickering and its president, Ambassador Ronald Neuman wrote a letter last week to Secretary urging his “support to get America’s diplomats into the field and back into contact with local societies.” The group is concerned that the demand that civilian officers operate “at or near zero risk” undermines the effectiveness of American diplomacy and America’s national security interests.
As terrorist attacks have grown, security restrictions have become more intense. This has been necessary but is now too dominant in decision making. Many of us have run critical threat posts. We have no illusions about the need to calculate and mitigate risk. But ultimately we must all judge the relative risks of any action against its benefits to the national interest. What we see happening in far too many places are decisions reﬂecting Washington guidance to avoid risk at all cost. This approach is spreading from critical threat posts…
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