With the 2000 election of George W. Bush expectations were high among supporters of an energetic IRF policy. Events, however, were soon to disappoint them. It quickly became apparent that the new President's enthusiasm for religious liberty had few foreign policy implications. Most strikingly, the Bush administration allowed the IRF ambassador's position to remain vacant for some 16 months. Meanwhile, the State Department considered “double hatting” the IRF ambassador's job under the new Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Within Foggy Bottom the IRF office remained quarantined. Despite the efforts of the author, who was the de facto head of the office, and his small but hardy crew of colleagues, religious freedom remained an insignificant factor in U.S. foreign policy. Surprisingly, this remained true even after the attacks of September 11, 2001. One bright spot was the annual IRF Report, which accurately catalogued the facts of religious persecution.
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