Date of this Version

9-18-2017

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Published version

Murray, S., & Blannin, P. (2017). Diplomacy and the war on terror. Small Wars Journal.

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Copyright © 2017, Small Wars Foundation.

Distribution License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

ISSN

2156-227X

Abstract

Introduction: Declarations from US Presidents since WWII have championed values as the linchpin for US national security and foreign policy, however, current Secretary of State Tillerson has been a vocal advocate for removing the ‘promotion of democracy’ from State’s mission statement as well as the separation of values and policy.[1] Moreover, the nascent Trump administration has been open in its chagrin toward the State Department, diplomacy and multilateral fora in particular and has prioritised pursuing “constructive, results-oriented bilateral relations.”[2] This line of thinking is a direct reflection of President Trump’s inauguration speech in which he declared that the US would not impose its values on others.[3] The Secretary told a meeting of departmental staff in May 2017, that the “fundamental values of freedom, human dignity, the way people are treated” guide US policy, but they “are not our policies.”[4] Tillerson declared that “sometimes values have to take a back seat to economic interests or national security.”[5] The Secretary concluded that “interests come first, and then if we can advocate and advance our values, we should.”[6] This approach raises several questions such as: will the US’s allies and partners follow suit; what will be the long-term outcome of an ‘overt’ separation of interests and values; and more importantly, can diplomacy, the core of Western-led global stabilization efforts, survive the ‘new’ norm?

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