Friday, October 19, 2012

Why American Embassies Should not be Overly Fortified

The Russian Embassy in Minsk

Sometimes, especially when dealing with countries "in transition" such as Libya, it is better to be diplomatic than to tell the whole truth. We have an entire government department (state) full of people we call (this is a shocker) diplomats to do this for us. 

We do *not* need a numbnuts like Romney to come along and get in the way of our (hopefully) carefully crafted foreign policy.

We also don't need him yammering about how our elected president isn't kissing up to Bibi enough. That gets the Iranians stirred up, which is exactly what we and Israel do NOT want. 

Sometimes appearances are more important than reality, especially in the realm of diplomacy.

Do we want all our embassies and consulates to look like fortresses? No. Ideally, their defense should be both subtle and hidden. The embassy-as-castle was long associated with Soviet paranoia. "We don't trust our national hosts" is what a fortress-embassy says to the world, especially if it has lots of mysterious antennae on its roof. 

We're Americans. We need to approach the world with a smile and open hands. We are your FRIENDS, people of (fill in country here). So we have some snipers in the trees and our ambassador has an ankle holster. Yah. 'Cause us Americans may be happy, open people, but we can also be sneaky SOBS when the occasion calls for it. 

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