- The Washington Times - Monday, July 17, 2000

Securing embassies

Sen. Rod Grams is urging the State Department to deal with the "emerging threats" to the security of American embassies, which have been attacked by car bombs or surrounded by mobs in troubled spots around the world.

"To focus solely on the threats of the past without preparing ourselves to confront emerging threats would be an error," the Minnesota Republican wrote in an article in the Foreign Service Journal.

Mr. Grams, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on international operations, noted that Congress has long been complaining about lax embassy security. Mr. Grams sponsored a bill this year that requires the department to concentrate on the embassies and other diplomatic missions that are most under threat.

He also advocated the installation of "chemical and biological agent detection and identification" devices "to allow personnel to respond appropriately to an attack, minimizing causalities."

"Congress, once again imposing its will through reporting requirements, is compelling the State Department to decide if there are some diplomatic facilities that are so vulnerable they should be closed," he wrote.

Mr. Grams called for "new ways of doing [diplomatic] business, like examining the feasibility of opening new regional outreach centers."

"There are steps that we should be taking to provide a higher level of security in this age of transnational terrorist threats," he wrote.

"Secretary [of State Madeleine K.] Albright has said that no overseas embassy can be considered a low-threat post. Therefore, we must acknowledge that the world is changing doing business as usual is not going to work.

"We need to think outside the box and explore new ways to confront new challenges. I understand that there is a tradeoff between security and accessibility… .

"Those who talk about open embassies are harkening back to an era that is long passed. We don't want our facilities to be fortresses, but sacrificing aesthetics may be the price we have to pay for safe lives."

A new journal

New Jersey's Seton Hall University has entered the foreign policy magazine field with a little journal with big ideas.

The inaugural issue of its Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations features articles by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Robert E. Hunter and Greek Foreign Minister George A. Papandreou. It also recycles some speeches by Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat.

"The dawn of a new millennium is an auspicious time to found a journal dedicated to promoting greater international understanding," Mr. Annan wrote.

"We are about to open a new chapter in human history, a chapter in which, more than ever before, we shall all share the same destiny. Nations, cultures and individuals interact on a daily and even hourly basis.

"We face both the new challenges of globalization and the age-old scourges of conflict, poverty and intolerance."

Mr. Hunter noted that the publication of the new journal "is timely, useful and appropriate," coming a decade after the end of the Cold War.

"To be sure, the Cold War was an aberration," he added, "But by its end it had sunk deeply into the consciousness of political leaders, analysts and other commentators so much so that few if any of these figures predicted its end, even though, in retrospect, that end has taken on the color of inevitability"

Mr. Hunter called for a "renaissance in strategic thinking."

Mr. Papandreou wrote about Greece's new approach to regional relations that he calls a "total Balkan approach."

"In this era of dramatic change for Southeastern Europe, Greece is pursuing a foreign policy aimed at creating greater regional stability, democracy and development.

"This policy is based on a simple but profound truth: that the interest and well-being of the people in our region are aligned with the principles and policies of Greece."

The journal will be published twice a year by the university's School of Diplomacy and International Relations.

More information about the journal can be found on its Web site (https://diplomacy.shu.edu).

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