Senior Policy Director Alexandra Bell wrote an op-ed in Inkstick about why the State Department’s new #swagger social media campaign goes against what diplomacy stands for.
“Few things in the world are certain, but make no mistake, Secretary Mike Pompeo does not have swagger. Neither does the State Department.
In simple, definitional terms, “swagger” is described as confidence bordering on arrogance and self-importance. While confidence is a key to diplomatic work, the latter two qualities are anathema to it. Despite the poor associations, Secretary Pompeo is desperately trying to make #swagger happen.
Even the tourists walking down 23rd Street must have been able to feel the collective cringe coming from inside Foggy Bottom when the Secretary launched his new Instagram feed. The opening image showed the venerable State Department seal altered to read “Department of Swagger.” Defying the laws of probability, the second image was even worse. It featured the Secretary’s image alongside William Shakespeare and General George Patton, ostensibly in reference to their prior uses of the term swagger. Of course, the post also had the effect of associating the current Secretary of State with an almost mythic American military leader and the most influential author in the history of the English language. Subtle.
The colloquial definition of swagger was not lost on Secretary Pompeo. In more modern terms, a man with swagger has style and charisma; he is effortlessly cool. It is this definition of swagger that the former Kansas Congressman is pushing. He is, no doubt, a man of some talent. He holds a position once held by some of the greatest thinkers this country has ever produced. He should be proud of what he has accomplished, but he needs to keep his ego in check.” Read more