U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reflects on the life of Anne Smedinghoff, a Foreign Service Officer who lost her life in Afghanistan on April 6, and says she was as “everything our country stands for,” during his remarks to U.S. Consulate General staff and families in Istanbul, Turkey, April 7, 2013. Go to www.state.gov for details about the Secretary’s travel. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reflects on the life of Anne Smedinghoff, a Foreign Service Officer who lost her life in Afghanistan on April 6, and says she was as “everything our country stands for,” during his remarks to U.S. Consulate General staff and families in Istanbul, Turkey, April 7, 2013. Go to www.state.gov for details about the Secretary’s travel. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

Good luck @BenAffleck and #Argo at the Oscars. Nice seeing @StateDept & our Foreign Service on the big screen.-JK
Foreign Service Worth Its Expense

Harry S. Truman Building, State Department headquarters, Washington, DC, Mar. 9, 2009. [AP File]

About the Author: Terrence Williamson is a senior Foreign Service officer. He recently served at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin and is now the Diplomat in Residenceat Morehouse and Spelman Colleges.

In more than 25 years as a U.S. diplomat, I spent about half of my career serving abroad from Japan to Panama and Germany to Cote d’Ivoire, and I have been fortunate to witness the great things our country can do around the world.

Our diplomats work to enhance our national and economic security interests by promoting political stability and economic prosperity abroad. We do this at a cost of slightly more than one percent of the entire federal budget — in fact, my colleagues in the Foreign Service and I barely could staff one aircraft carrier.

I know that we face a difficult budgetary climate, but American taxpayers get an excellent rate of return on their investment in diplomacy. Let me reflect on my career to show how drastically reducing State’s budget is short-sighted.

In the 1990s, I served in Cote d’Ivoire when its neighbor, Liberia,… more »