The Highest Praise I’ve Ever Received from an Amphibian

 

Commander Salamander may not be Elon Musk or Lady Gaga, but he’s a minor celebrity in the national defense space. So this gave me a little thrill.

If you’re interested in how DoD undermines its own military diplomats, the full article is here. Here’s an extract to give you a taste:

I recall an instance on which I accompanied a senior Australian officer to the U.S. for an official counterpart visit. During the trip, despite specific instructions to the contrary, one four-star officer’s staff summarily removed my place setting before their meeting, judging that my rank did not merit my inclusion. Meanwhile, the setting for my Australian counterpart—a two-star general—was left in place.

Having experienced such indignities before, I walked in anyway. Fortunately, I was not ejected, though I was conspicuous as the only one at the table without a place setting. More importantly, a clear message was sent to the Australians: the U.S. defense attaché is relatively unimportant.

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  1. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    A sharp, well written article, Jailer. And what a career you’ve had! 

    • #1
  2. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Best Ricochet headline of the week!

    • #2
  3. She Member
    She
    @She

    Bravo.  I suspect the concerns outlined in the letter go a long way to explain why the most senior officials in the DoD are so regularly wrong and so regularly seem so clueless when things on the international stage are moving quickly, if they’re receiving their real-time information from the dilettantes who fly in and out for Important. Meetings. with host countries while knowing very little about them, their culture, or their peoples.

    God forbid that they should lower themselves to talk to, listen to, or learn from, those who job it is to understand such things, those who have formed relationships with the involved parties, and those who have been, and will be, in country far longer than themselves.

     

    • #3
  4. John H. Member
    John H.
    @JohnH

    I draft more responses than I post. The exercise is always good. I composed something this morning, revisited it after a few hours, decided it was expendable. I have seldom regretted tearing up a response. This however is one of the times. 

    I won’t try to reproduce what I wrote, though it ended with something about pouting at one’s place at the table, and running to a rulebook and flipping to the relevant passage and saying, “Says right here I’m the single point of contact for DoD issues!” Whereupon (I imagined – I’ve never been a diplomat) the ambassador says: Buck up, soldier. This is bigger than all of us.

    But how much do I know about diplomacy, specifically about what military attaches do? Well, I can guess. To those who are reading this on the Main Feed but who aren’t subscribers to Ricochet, I think that that link will be dead or diverted. I hope nevertheless that you are intrigued just enough to lay down $5!

    • #4
  5. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    In the Marines, a typical response to this is to advise you to call 1-800-Waa-aaah.

    That’s the world of politics and that’s just the way it goes.  

    • #5
  6. Jailer Member
    Jailer
    @Jailer

    John H. (View Comment):
    Whereupon (I imagined – I’ve never been a diplomat) the ambassador says: Buck up, soldier. This is bigger than all of us.

    Actually three of the four ambassadors I served under have read my article and agree with it enthusiastically. The fourth is so retired he’s unreachable.

    • #6
  7. Jailer Member
    Jailer
    @Jailer

    Skyler (View Comment):

    In the Marines, a typical response to this is to advise you to call 1-800-Waa-aaah.

    That’s the world of politics and that’s just the way it goes.

    Semper Fi, Marine. Thanks for your service.

    • #7
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