Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Is America Ready For A Male Secretary Of State?

From Foreign Policy:
But beyond just the raw stamina needed to robustly represent the United States at home and abroad, others wonder if a man would simply bring the same skills to the table as does a woman. In numerous studies, women have been ranked as more emotionally intelligent than men while enjoying a greater ability to empathize with their interlocutors. Both men and women consistently rate women as better listeners than men. While some level of stereotyping is likely at work in these findings, there is much to argue that women are more culturally attuned and adept at interpersonal skills than their male counterparts. What skills could be more important for a good diplomat?

The pro-women camp doesn't just hang its hat on the touchy-feely side of diplomacy. Certainly, when thinking about secretaries Clinton, Rice, and Albright, there are many who have questioned their policies and abilities from both the left and the right. That comes with the territory. But one would be hard-pressed to find someone who argued that any of these three secretaries was too soft for the job. I don't mean to be too blunt about it, but are there any men out there right now who would bring the same level of toughness to the position? Because of a desire for political correctness, can we risk appointing a man to this job when we are unsure if he will be tough enough to stand up to tyrants in Iran, North Korea, and Cuba?

It is also important to note that secretaries Albright, Rice, and Clinton have all been able to give total commitment to their jobs, at some level of personal sacrifice. Albright was divorced long before her diplomatic career reached the highest levels. Rice never married or had children. Clinton enjoys the relative freedom of being married to a former president of the United States, who is a very active globe-trotter himself. Putting it delicately, some wonder whether a man with more "traditional" family commitments simply would have the time, energy, and focus required to be fully effective as secretary of state. As many a family-minded man has learned, in the demanding and competitive world of modern diplomacy, you just can't have it all.
Do go to the article and read the whole article. Then read the comments. Sometimes satire is too subtle and is simply lost on people. I'm not sure if that makes me want to laugh or cry.

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