US to Reduce Diplomats in Iraq, Afghanistan to Focus on Russia and China

Officials say priority is now 'great power competition'

State Department officials say that a broad transition of diplomatic resources is in the works, with many diplomats to be reassigned away from Iraq and Afghanistan in favor of “great power competition” with Russia and China.

This suggests that the diplomats aren’t actually going to China and Russia, but rather are going to various nations along their periphery to drum up diplomatic tensions between the two nations and other nations in their regions.

Some drawdown is likely to be fairly simple. The US Embassy in Iraq, for instance, is vastly oversized for the nation’s importance to US interests. It is unclear, however, whether the Afghan peace talks will as easily support a drawdown.

Either way, it’s clear that the US priority is drumming up further hostilities toward Russia and China on the international scene, and that is where a growing amount of the State Department’s resources will be going.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of