Often, American diplomatic efforts - though quite often successful - are derided as being 'a day late, a dollar short, and too loud for the audience.' Our diplomatic service (the U.S. Foreign Service) attracts the best and brightest, but along the way, despite their intelligence and dedication, they fall into a rut. Ever wonder why? I spent 30 years in the Foreign Service, and quite often wondered why we seemed to spend so much time trying to push ropes up hills. Here, in an article written in the 1990s, a Foreign Service junior officer (using a pen name for obvious reasons0 breaks the code.