Do we really need a standing Embassy?
In the age of the Internet, cell phones and computers, we in the West are subjected to Youtube videos depicting partisan politics and other nonsensical information, coming from every conceivable quarter, attempting to influence us in some way. In fact, some of my closest friends have sent me various none-too-flattering and bogus third-party political ads that supposedly expose the “real” President Obama. The sad part is that my friends really do believe the untruths they get in their email from well-made and well-funded videos. The populations in Arab countries have technology and are also exposed to bogus video material. The difference between my friends and the recent embassy violence is that fanatics in Arab countries are willing to act on what they hear (as truth) from third parties. This begs the question: What is the purpose of having U.S. embassies in dangerous unstable countries? Not much when we consider that we can conduct all embassy business on dedicated websites and with roaming cell phones. Embassies, in my opinion, are dinosaurs and are as useful as our old hard-line home phones and writing notes and mailing letters to relatives. Our business and our presence in the Middle East can easily be done by diplomatic field agents who would conduct their business on a case-by-case basis from an undisclosed and remote location in cyber space. And in today’s “cost cutting and downsizing world” our embassy business can be accomplished by using something called management by exception. Legal embassy questions can easily be handled on an hourly basis by local indigenous attorneys who can be paid on retainer. Chris Stevens, future embassy deaths, and storming and burning embassies would never have to occur again if we completely overhaul and revamp the concept of a brick and mortar embassy.