The NY Times Sunday Book Review has a review today of THE SECOND WORLD, a book by Parag Khanna. Khanna predicts that the U.S. will be one of three superpowers, the other two being China and the European Union. The review suggests the State Department will need to play an important role in this future if the U.S. is to compete.
Still, if the United States is going to compete successfully, the next administration must undertake some deep-seated fixes at the State Department. In the Arab world, Khanna notes, Chinese diplomats “show deference to local culture by learning Arabic and even taking Arabic names.” America will not become more diplomatically competitive by cutting the State Department further, as many conservatives would like. Already, America’s image and standing in the world have been weakened immensely by closing American libraries and consulates, or putting them behind forbidding security barriers ....The diplomatic ranks need to grow; there are more musicians in America’s military bands than there are foreign service officers, and the generals and admirals who head the various commands, like the Central Command or Centcom in Florida, have more aides and advisers than the country has ambassadors and assistant secretaries of state.
You can read the entire review here.