Washington should rethink the importance of each country to U.S. interests and adjust the U.S. diplomatic presence accordingly. Many of the functions currently performed by embassy personnel–information gathering on obscure or unimportant subjects, for example–are irrelevant, and many essential functions could be performed equally well and at much lower cost by local hires or even private organizations.
Extraneous foreign policy institutions, including the United States Information Agency, the Agency for International Development, the Commerce Department’s overseas opera‐ tions, and U.S. membership in myriad multilateral special‐interest organizations should be eliminated. The Office of the Special Trade Representative should concentrate on core missions–such as opening world markets–and stop engaging in peripheral or even harmful protectionist activities.
Washington today dominates the diplomatic world. If the United States were to take the lead in modernizing the conduct of diplomacy, other nations would probably follow suit, changing the conduct of international relations to better meet the demands of the post‐Cold War era.