Bottle Neck of Comments

As is probably evident from the lack of new posts, I hadn’t checked in on the site for a few weeks. Blame it partially on a week of lounging around a resort in beautiful Mallorca and partially on not having anything worthwhile to say.

At any rate, I logged in today to do some updating and noticed there were quite a few comments stuck in the moderation queue. Sorry about that. Normally I get an email notifying me of comments and I approve and try to respond. They should all be live on the site now. On the right hand side you’ll see a box that lists recent comments in case you want to check them out.

The Ambassador Who Worked from the Toilet

This article from Ars Technica is a pretty interesting read and addresses two undeniable facts of the U.S. Department of State:

  1. It can be very easy for one bad person at post to ruin the morale for everyone. That is especially true when the person is the ambassador.
  2. Our colleagues in IRM are underpaid and have to deal with a lot of complaints that are really out of their control.

24 Hours With A U.S. Diplomat

One of the more popular features of this blog has been my series of posts about the day in the life of a Foreign Service Officer. I haven’t added new entries to that series in a while because I’ve covered most of the work that I feel comfortable with. Fortunately, CNN has come along to do my job for me. Even better, they profiled someone I worked with.

Charlie Slater, 59, has spent the last 21 years working in U.S. embassies all over the world — from Sierra Leone and Pakistan to Thailand and Ethiopia.


Can You Pass the FSOT?

I recently noticed the U.S. Department of State offers a practice test on their site that will give you a rough approximation of your chances of passing the FSOT. After nearly nine years in, I thought I’d take it and see if I would have any chance these days of successfully beating the exam.

FSOT Results

A solid “B”. Better than most of my college grades.


How to Close a U.S. Embassy

I’m certain you’ve all been following the news. The United States is closing – at least for the moment – the embassy in Sanaa, Yemen due to the deteriorating security environment following a recent coup. This is a big step, and not one taken lightly. It is no simple thing to close one of our embassies and besides the diplomatic impact, it also throws the lives of those USG employees working at the mission into turmoil.

Peter Van Buren (famously known for all of this stuff) has written a very informative piece for Reuters about the nuts and bolts of closing an embassy.