16th Oct 2021

US to shift diplomats from Europe to Asia

Washington is planning to move hundreds of its diplomats from Europe to the Middle East and the Asian superpowers, such as China or India.

"America must begin to reposition our diplomatic forces around the world," the US secretary of state Condoleeza Rice said in a speech to students at Georgetown University on Wednesday (18 January), the BBC reported.

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  • Condoleezza Rice argues it is not normal to have as many diplomats in Germany as in India (Photo: The White House)

She pointed out that it is not normal to have as many diplomats in Germany, with 82 million people, as in India with 1 billion people.

Adding that there are still almost 200 world cities of over a million inhabitants without any US presence - despite its 7,440-strong diplomatic corps abroad - Ms Rice indicated "This is where the action is today, and this is where we must be."

The first shift will amount to around 100 diplomats from Europe and Washington to be sent immediately to expanded embassies in countries such as India, China and Lebanon.

Many of these diplomats had been scheduled to rotate into coveted posts in European capitals this summer, and the sudden change in assignment has caused some distress to the diplomats concerned, according to the Washington Post.

The US foreign minister explained the move as part of the administration's plan to build up a "transformational diplomacy," which attempts "to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

Ms Rice added that US deployment of diplomatic staff should respond to changes in international politics after the end of the Cold War, with new threats emerging "more within states than between them."

"The fundamental character of regimes now matters more than the international distribution of power," concluded Ms Rice.

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