This will be a brief post, as i'm trying to be quiet so as not to wake my house guest on the couch ten feet away. (The Arabic student network comes through yet again - a friend from my program in Wisconsin is staying with me until her apartment lease starts Saturday.)
We've finally moved out of most of the bureaucratic phase of orientation, thank any and every passing deity. We've started two new modules, or thematic units, that won't be concluded for another few weeks. One is Foreign Service writing, which the former copy editor in me finds amusing and entertaining. The other is Diplomatic History, designed to give us a grounding in the history of US foreign policy since the inception of the nation. i'm finding it fascinating, not the least because it's been six years since i studied this in a course. There's an added impetus for me to understand these issues now, courtesy of my job title. For example, the election of 1800 is more now than just two dead white guys facing off (not that i thought it that simplistic, but stick with me here), it's the first peaceful, regularly scheduled transfer of power from one party to another. It's also relevant because the winner (Jefferson), one of the nation's more eloquent founders, was also an ardent supporter of slavery. How we view this mixed legacy and how i can apply and convey those lessons once overseas is very relevant to me.
i have a couple of post ideas in the works but not produced yet. For the next few days, you'll probably be seeing a lot of historical stuff, so feel free to tune that out if you so desire. Here's a thought piece for you as i go get ready for work that will be especially familiar (maybe?) to people from ASMS. Think about Washington's farewell address to Congress. Is it relevant to consider his concerns when thinking about our own foreign policy now?