Edition: 030717 – Words: 1034 – Audio: 08:49
No question there’s enough conflict, confrontation, and confusion emanating from the White House and spreading out across the media and America to fill a… well, fill a septic tank. But while we’ve all been focused on
things like Russia, congressional investigations, bathroom tweets, and hating the press… it seems the State Department has been gutted in the last 45 days. What… you never heard that?
One source with a fairly concise article (sorry, the source is not some conservative alternative fact site some of you might require as truthful reporting) is The Atlantic, from March 1st.
Here’s a quote…
“This week began with reports that President Donald Trump’s budget proposal will drastically slash the State Department’s funding, and last week ended with White House adviser and former Breitbart head Stephen Bannon telling the attendees of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that what he and the new president were after was a “deconstruction of the administrative state.” At the State Department, which employs nearly 70,000 people around the world, that deconstruction is already well underway.”
How much more obvious can anyone get in understanding Bannon’s influence with Trump.. and.. pushing his own agenda to tear down American institutions simply because it doesn’t fit his view of America. Here’s what’s happening over there at State.
“With the State Department demonstratively shut out of meetings with foreign leaders, key State posts left unfilled, and the White House not soliciting many department staffers for their policy advice, there is little left to do.”
Remaining staffers have stopped working late hours, meetings lack substance.. and career diplomats, once loyal regardless of party affiliation of whatever presidential administration is in charge, loosing faith, idealism in their jobs, and watching American influence in the world fading. Even communication with the American embassies and consulates around the globe has little direction, and that “feeling” gets passed to the host governments, and that’s one reason other governments in the world see the U.S. as being confused and in political conflict with the new administration.
One mid-level staffer was quoted…
“They really want to blow this place up,” said the mid-level State Department officer. “I don’t think this administration thinks the State Department needs to exist. They think Jared [Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law] can do everything. It’s reminiscent of the developing countries where I’ve served. The family rules everything, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs knows nothing.”
…and then there’s this…
“There hasn’t been a State Department press briefing, once a daily ritual, since the new administration took over five weeks ago—though they’re scheduled to resume March 6. These briefings weren’t just for journalists. They also served as a crucial set of cues for U.S. diplomats all over the world about policy priorities, and how to talk about them. With no daily messaging, and almost no guidance from Washington, people in far-flung posts are flying blind even as the pace of their diplomacy hasn’t abated.”
Then Tillerson took over.. and it appears he’s carrying on with the current White House leadership antics…
“When Rex Tillerson finally arrived in the building, members of the department I spoke to had very high hopes for him. People wanted to like him. But his remarks to the staff left many cold, and confused. “He only spoke of reform and accountability,” said the State Department staffer. “He offered no vision of America and its place in the world.” He also spoke of protecting missions abroad, which some read as a gratuitous reference to Benghazi. “It landed like a thud,” said the staffer. “There are all these people whose sole focus is protecting missions abroad. What do you think we’ve been doing for all these years?”
Ok.. enough quotes.. you get the point, and the problem here. Yes, admittedly State’s vacancies of secretaries and undersecretaries waiting for appointment has led to some of this lack of daily direction. Also, it’s VERY apparent Tillerson is not getting direction from the White House. New or not, Trump should have gotten the State Department in shape up front.. way before this impulse need to replace Obamacare or build some ineffective wall. In what seems to be a strange reaction from the international community, Trump’s confusion seems to have stalled, at least for now, the progress of world events.
But there are a couple (and likely more than a couple) origins for all this. One I already mentioned, Bannon wants to tear it all down to fit his world order. Another is… while it could be said that State needed some re-organization and re-purposing… and I would agree to that… even going ahead with that you’d think might require some thought and planning, rather than cut funding and gut the place on some impulse move (becoming so common in this administration.. acting without thinking) inside the first 45 days.
But here’s the main motivation as to why Trump attacked the State Department. He has the psychological persona and demeanor to view State as being nothing but some extension and presence of Hillary Clinton, her 30 thousand emails, Benghazi, liberalism, his misogyny toward her… and it’s very likely he assumes the employees there are a nest of liberal political spies out to do him in. He’s cleaning house not because he thinks it’s some huge, unmanageable bureaucracy, but rather he is purging everything Hillary.
In the meantime, his idiot vendetta is hurting America. He is NOT making America great… but rather doing the reverse. I’ll leave this with one more quote from another State staffer…
“They certainly have a right to staffing, or lack of staffing,” the staffer said of the new administration. “But doing it without an analysis of where the inefficiencies are, the cutting just won’t be rational or effective.”
Won’t be rational or effective. That pretty much sums up the Trump presidency so far.
Carry on, America