Minting dumber diplomats does not seem like a smart strategy, any more than making math, physics, chemistry, biology, or nuclear science “subjective” – to assure the proper mix of political prejudices, skin color, ethnic and gender identification (broadly construed). Yet State is moving that way, fast.
The reason for a merit-based testing anywhere is simple – to get merit. The reason colleges test with SATs or ACTs is to evaluate candidates on merit. Intelligence, preparation, natural acumen are testable, not random, not fungible, not subjective.
Think about it. Pilots, ship captains, doctors, lawyers, and construction engineers are certified to assure they can fly, navigate, operate, litigate, and build competently. Diplomacy is no less important.
Until now, the Foreign Service Exam – intentionally hard, so low pass rate – was used to weed out candidates not up to the job of being a diplomat, which calls for proficiency in languages, quantitative skills, geopolitical, historical, and national security acumen.
Suddenly, the State Department is going from “woke” to “super woke” – borrowing from Biden’s “Super MAGA” concept. They have decided, rather than a merit-based screening exam which uses objective standards to reduce the pool, to identify candidates who fail with a fresh sift, using “subjective” ideas.
When the association of former Foreign Service Officers, a liberal group, is concerned, you know something nefarious is afoot. Maybe China has finally gotten control of the selection process and wishes to accelerate our decline and their dominance. Maybe Biden’s wicked smart team has the magic sauce.
But me thinks not. What is happening is that partisan politics is now infecting – in a more virulent and infectious way – the professionalism of diplomacy, the Foreign Service. And why not? We have excuses being made for everything from drug use to low IQ at other federal and state institutions, why not here?
The answer is – and it may cross apply to all the other places excuses are being made to inject leftist politics into decision-making – the stakes are too high. If we would not entrust our lives to a pilot, surgeon or engineer who had failed certification, why would we entrust national security and diplomacy to a washed-out wannabe?
The irony of this Biden-Blinken decision – and it was made at the top – if that aiming to satisfy another craven political constituency instead of thinking nationally, the country itself will, over time, be placed in jeopardy.
No indication exists that we do not have highly talented and scholarly candidates for the Foreign Service – who have passed the tough exam – and who are of every demographic flavor, including Caucasian, Black, Asian, Hispanic, Jewish, Arab, Slavic, Russian, Australian, or name your flavor.
So, what is the point? If exceptional candidates exist from all these groups, why now dumb down the process, integrate a secretive re-sifting process, which allows those who fail to be admitted?
The answer can only be craven politics. If those who cannot pass the exam are admitted – it can only be for reasons aside from merit, and even from traditional protection of ethnic minorities.
It must be to sneak into the process those who would otherwise be utterly unfit but come from a domestic political constituency of interest to Biden and Blinken, perhaps those who cannot pass the exam but are transgender, one of the 72 flavors of sexual identity, perhaps from an ethnic group favored by Biden-Blinken, even if unable to pass.
The reasons are ultimately of little importance, although interesting to learn. Truth is that unqualified diplomats, those unable to pass the basic, traditional, merit-based Foreign Service exam should not be allowed to serve, and potentially dominate the diplomatic community.
Why? Because politics aside, this would be wrong whether done for left or right. It places the national security of all Americans at risk, vesting enormous geo-political, security, intelligence, and diplomatic authority in those who could not, at root, qualify for this level of trust.
The right answer is to put a bright light on this indefensible, politically driven, and ultimately dangerous policy shift right now. Left and right should both want this, and not want what was always merit-based to go dark and subjective.
In a double irony, China and Russia are becoming known for making entry into their diplomatic corps harder, at a time when we appear content to lower standards and put ourselves at risk.
For the sake of our nation’s safety, this internal policy should be reversed. The world is dangerous enough, without making it more so by advancing to serious diplomatic roles – opening the Foreign Service to – those objectively unqualified. If we want good pilots, surgeons, and engineers, we should want minimally qualified, professional diplomats. Is that so hard to understand? Do we really want dumber diplomats?
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