Diplomacy doesn’t work in a zero-risk world

Sealing our embassies off to every possible harm also works to prevent productive dialogue between countries

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Columnists

November 11, 2021 - 10:00 AM

Embassy row in Washington, D.C. Photo by The Library of Congress

“A world of zero risk is not a world in which American diplomacy can deliver,” U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken said as he introduced his plan for modernizing American diplomacy at the Foreign Service Institute.

Part of that plan, he said, would address the overly strict security protocols that prevent our diplomats from doing their jobs. Some in Congress agree and are working to pass legislation to do the same.

And it’s long overdue. Diplomacy is about relationships and trust — to build them you need to meet people where they are and be part of their world. It’s hard to be an effective diplomat from inside a bunker.

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