In her address at a Florida university, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice pointed out that America is yet to unlock the potential of the minorities and exploit the diversity of the nation to its advantage, emphasising the need for more representation for them at the diplomatic level.
Says individuals like U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma build bridges and deepen partnerships in a globalised world.
America’s national security apparatus does not reflect its ethnic and racial diversity, National Security Advisor Susan Rice has said while noting that individuals like U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Verma build bridges and deepen partnerships in a globalised world.
“We must acknowledge that our national security agencies have not yet drawn fully on the strengths of our great nation. Minorities still make up less than 20 per cent of our senior diplomats,” Ms. Rice said in her address at a Florida University.
Push up the minorities
“Less than 15 per cent of senior military officers and senior intelligence officials. Too often, our national security workforce has been what former Florida Senator Bob Graham called ‘white, male, and Yale’ In the halls of power, in the faces of our national security leaders, America is still not fully reflected,” Ms. Rice said in her address, which is expected to have a long-term implication on the diversity of the national security apparatus.
“We can see the profound importance of our diversity in the realm of foreign policy and national security. Those who deride our diversity, my answer is: I see why it matters every day, in those who protect this country and grapple with the toughest global issues we face,” she said, noting that she is privileged to work with brilliant and dedicated professionals across the government.
The positives of diversity
Ms. Rice has argued that a diverse national security workforce enables the U.S. to unlock all of its nation’s talent. There are some 320 million people in the United States. Nearly 40 percent are minorities, and an increasing number of them are earning college and graduate degrees.
“As America becomes more diverse, so do our best people. The next Colin Powell or Madeleine Albright or Bill Richardson is out there. Our country — and our policies — will be stronger if we can bring them on-board,” said Ms. Rice.
In U.S. President Barack Obama’s first term, Ms. Rice served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Arriving at better decisions
Ms. Rice said leaders from diverse backgrounds can often come up with more creative insights, proffer alternative solutions, and thus make better decisions.
“Think of the LGBT person in Bangladesh who knows that someone at the American embassy understands who she is. Think of the Iraqi soldier, learning to fight alongside Iraqis from other religious sects, who takes inspiration from America’s own multi-ethnic force,” she said.
Bottomline: tap minorities’ potential
“Think of young Haitians drawn to converse with a Foreign Service officer who has dreadlocks like their own — or our Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, showered with rose petals when he visits his grandmother’s ancestral home in Punjab. That is how we build bridges and deepen partnerships in an increasingly globalised world,” Ms. Rice said.
She said without tapping into America’s full range of races, religions, ethnicities, language skills, and social and economic experiences, the U.S. is leading in a complex world with one hand tied behind its back.