Cherchez les femmes!

Hey, rah-rah, women at the State Department, but does anybody worry about the image this might present to profoundly sexist cultures? Or calculate which negotiations a sex imbalance is likely to hinder or hurt? One would think sending an all-woman team to Finland might well help, but doing the same to, say, Yemen, might be catastrophic if taken as an insult.

You’ll recall we had this same discussion about racism abroad. It’s a tough balance, as our profoundly anti-racist, anti-sexist society rightly celebrates these achievements, but in our insularity (or denial?) fails to realize that these, too, entail trade-offs.

Well done, mesdames, but if you suspect America’s interests are better served by your not taking a plum position because of your sex, please do so—trade with a guy who’s got an equally good gig in the non-Neanderthal world…

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