Diplomats too often get caricatured as wimps in striped pants. The reality is that a substantial number of civilian representatives have performed commendably in the face of considerable danger during the past decade—not as many as were needed perhaps, but those who volunteered to go “down range” were often a profile in courage. Two of the best diplomats to emerge out of the cauldron are Ryan Crocker and Robert Ford—two veteran Arabists who served very capably in Iraq. Crocker is now ambassador in Afghanistan, Ford in Syria, and they are showing some welcome backbone in the performance of their arduous duties.
Here is how Crocker reacted to the terrorist assault on his embassy yesterday: “If this is the best [the Taliban] can do, I find both their lack of ability and capacity and the ability of Afghan forces to respond to it actually encouraging in this whole transition process.”
Meanwhile, Ford continues to bravely challenge the illegitimate Assad regime: On Sunday “he attended the funeral of a Syrian activist shortly before it was attacked by Syrian security forces.”
Kudos to both men. If only the State Department could figure out how to clone them–or at least inspire more of their colleagues to imitate their sterling example.