The Honorable Thomas Shannon

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (2016-2018)

"Diplomacy in Washington will most likely stay in this pandemic-induced hibernation until a vaccine of effective treatment for COVID-19 is developed. In other words, the Washington of today and tomorrow will more closely resemble the Washington of Theodore Roosevelt than the Washington of Barrack Obama. This will call for a restructuring of Embassies in Washington and raise the profile of Ambassadors as frontline representatives of their countries.

Before the pandemic, Washington had a convening and convoking authority. Heads of governments and states, ministers, and other high-ranking officials traveled to Washington to meet their counterparts, or to participate in multilateral meetings at the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. Embassies were platforms that managed these visits, and they were organized and staffed to direct the flow of official visitors through Washington.

Today, much of that work has devolved to virtual encounters through video conferences and phone calls, or to a more traditional form of diplomacy with Embassies and Ambassadors carrying the load of representation and advocacy."

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