Most diplomats—even retired ones, like me—don’t make a habit of speaking publicly on political issues. But we never hesitate to make our voices heard when America’s national interest is at stake. And in the wake of Rex Tillerson’s continued attempts to gut the State Department, his replacement can and must take decisive action to restore American diplomatic leadership and capabilities. That is why I joined two hundred of my former colleagues in writing to Senators Corker and Menendez to highlight the urgent need to reinvigorate U.S. diplomacy.
The upcoming nomination hearing for Mike Pompeo to serve as the new Secretary of State offers a pivotal opportunity to secure his commitment to reinstate American leadership in the world. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee needs to hear loudly and clearly that Pompeo intends to lead internationally, and that he understands the vital importance of adequately funding and staffing the Department of State.
Whether we like it or not, we live in an increasingly interdependent world. Isolationism and wishful thinking did not work in the 1930s—and will not be any more successful in confronting the even more complex global challenges that we face today. If the United States is serious about safeguarding and promoting U.S. national interests, then it is imperative that the country assumes a leadership role within the international community.