The issue is whether ambassadors to countries like Pakistan should be able to veto CIA plans - the use of drones, for instance - that they believe will be harmful. How, in other words, "covert weapons should coexist with the goals of statecraft," Ignatius writes.
Cameron Munter, the outgoing US ambassador to Pakistan, has been trying to strengthen our relationship with that country, and he has been concerned that the Obama administration's ramped-up use of drones is making things worse.
Obama, Ignatius writes, has decided to let the decision about that question rest with the CIA director and himself. That gives diplomacy a back seat: not a positive change.