Joel Mowbray

  Responding to Robertson, Boucher moaned, "I lack sufficient capabilities to express my disdain."  But when asked last July whether or not the United States had a message for thousands of Iranian protestors who want the freedom that many Americans regularly take for granted, Boucher flatly replied, "No."

  Refugees attempting to flee Kim Jong-Il's "paradise" in North Korea must wish that State merely ignores them.  Efforts by Congress or various parts of the administration to make it easier for North Koreans to escape and seek refuge in the United States have been beaten back by the State Department. Refugees pouring out of North Korea could lead to the implosion of a nuclear tyranny-and supporting Iranian demonstrators could do the same there-but that's precisely why State plays obstructionist: it doesn't want "instability."

  State's desire for "stability" is so great that in cases of American children kidnapped to foreign lands, Foggy Bottom does precious little, if anything.  Not only does State not fight for the safe return of abducted American children, but it generally does not even ask the foreign government to send the kids back to the United States.  It's not that State doesn't care about the kids; the children just aren't important enough for State to "risk the relationship" over them.

  Looking at the State Department's tragically flawed track record, it is almost hard not to think as Robertson did.  Choosing more tasteful-and appropriate-words, the real solution might be to, in the words of one Foggy Bottom official, "Shatter the place into a thousand pieces."

  Any institution that props up the likes of the Iranian mullahs and Kim Jong-Il, while refusing to help kidnapped American kids, needs nothing less than a complete overhaul.  One benefit would be a culture where State gets worked up when it actually should.

Joel Mowbray

Joel Mowbray, who got his start with, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.

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