Op-Ed by Kirk Johnson: The Iraqi Friends We Abandoned

This op-ed by 2014-15 visiting fellow Kirk W. Johnson was originally published in The New York Times. LOS ANGELES — "Let's be perfectly coldblooded about it," President Richard M. Nixon mused to Henry A. Kissinger. "South Vietnam is probably never gonna survive anyway." It was August 1972, and Nixon was worried about the inevitable collapse of South Vietnam after American forces withdrew. Mr. Kissinger concurred: "We've got to find some formula that holds the thing together a year or two. If we settle it, say, this October, by January '74 no one will give a damn." This formula became known as…

We need more diplomats … and time to train them

When President Obama said, "Our commitment in Iraq is changing – from a military effort led by our troops to a civilian effort led by our diplomats," he underscored a fact that has become very clear from the research I am doing for the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Stimson Center in Washington on preparing our diplomats for 21st century statecraft. A key message of our research to date is the absolute necessity for Congress to continue funding a surge in State Department hiring – an initiative launched in 2009 called Diplomacy 3.0 – so that we have not…