The bad news? President Donald Trump may be dismantling the State Department. The good news? No recent president has made much use of those diplomats anyway, so they are unlikely to be missed. And that’s really bad news….
President George W. Bush’s post-9/11 inclusion of North Korea in his “axis of evil” scuttled that last real attempt at direct diplomacy with Pyongyang. Bush demanded regime change, which led to the North going nuclear…
With one failed exception, President Obama also avoided substantive negotiations with Pyongyang, while warning that the United States “will not hesitate to use our military might.” The Obama administration-driven regime change in Libya after that country abandoned its nuclear ambitions sent a decidedly undiplomatic message to Pyongyang about what disarmament negotiations could lead to….
It is clear that President Trump thinks little of his State Department. Morale is low, the budget is under attack, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s reorganization plans have many old hands on edge. But the real question of what is wrong with President Trump’s non-relationship with State is answered by asking what value Presidents Bush and Obama derived from a fully staffed State Department, when they either ignored its advice or simply ignored diplomacy itself….
Having the right number of senior diplomats around is of little value if their advice is not sought or heeded, or if they are not directed towards the important issues of the day.
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