To his credit, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been consistent in communicating with DoS rank and file in the field. After the unlamented reign of King Rex Tillerson, it is somewhat refreshing to have a boss who acknowledges and presumably values your existence.
Most of the Secretary’s email missives are, not surprisingly, in service of whatever “foreign policy” positions the Moron-in-Chief has flatulated following his daily briefings provided by the brilliant minds on FOX News. Other messages fall into the general category of “morale building,” which is not, in and of itself, objectionable.
But all of Secretary Pompeo’s communications consistently emphasize one overarching ideal: Swagger.
Swagger (noun):A very confident and arrogant or self-important gait or manner. (Verb): To walk or behave in a very confident and arrogant or self-important way.
Apparently, the U.S. Department of State was/is possessed of an insufficient quantity of swagger. Pompeo is constantly exhorting the troops to “get back our swagger,” “use your swagger,” and “swagger like it’s 1999.” (OK, that last one’s on me.) He employs the word so often that it has become a running gag, with some DoS wags proposing “swaggering talking points,” swagger evaluations,” and, of course, a “Bureau of Swagger Affairs.”
(The Secretary also signs his memos with gems such as “Keep on crushing it.” Because… your average American diplomat is a 25 year-old dudebro, maybe?)
Unfortunately, IMHO, the concept of “swagger” as an essential tool of diplomacy is some wrongheaded nonsense.
I am admittedly a low-level State Department employee. But since 2007 I have worked in a dozen offices in five embassies on four continents and observed that diplomacy appears to be conducted most successfully by people who are intelligent, confident, well prepared, and respectful. They do not strut. They do not dictate. They do not conflate bluster with strength.
And effective diplomats do not have a burning need to comport themselves like a former Tea Party Congressman from Kansas, much less a bellicose despot from Queens.