Thursday, January 05, 2017

Headfirst Into a Political Abyss

What’d I miss?/
What’d I miss?/
Headfirst into a political abyss! - Thomas Jefferson, Hamilton the musical

Considering how much respect Trump has for both our long-standing alliances and the very concept of effective foreign policy - that is, none at all - this move shouldn't be surprising (via the New York Times):

President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition staff has issued a blanket edict requiring politically appointed ambassadors to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day, according to several American diplomats familiar with the plan, breaking with decades of precedent by declining to provide even the briefest of grace periods.
The mandate — issued “without exceptions,” according to a terse State Department cable sent on Dec. 23, diplomats who saw it said — threatens to leave the United States without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in critical nations like Germany, Canada and Britain. In the past, administrations of both parties have often granted extensions on a case-by-case basis to allow a handful of ambassadors, particularly those with school-age children, to remain in place for weeks or months...
W. Robert Pearson, a former ambassador to Turkey and a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, said the rule was “quite extraordinary,” adding that it could undermine American interests and signal a hasty change in direction that exacerbates jitters among allies about their relationships with the new administration...

Basically, Trump wants to prove a point: He's boss, and everybody dances to his tune.

With regards to the personal issues for ambassadors - suddenly booted out of their residencies - this is minor: they should have been making arrangements to clear out the day after the universe imploded on itself on November 9th. But like Pearson noted, and what everyone else has to see, what this move does is destabilize our nation's ability to perform any kind of smooth transaction between one administration and the next.

This move can possibly leave us without envoys with key allies - or worse, with unhappy rival nations like China - during a chaotic global situation. We're already knee-deep into the sixth year of a Syrian Civil War with nations like Turkey, Russia, Iran, and nearly every other Middle Eastern player drawn into that firestorm. We've got a NATO alliance on edge with Russia still pushing a Ukrainian border war. China's already pissed about Trump and Taiwan, and has got the South China Sea - affecting everybody from Japan to Australia (which brings in the UK Commonwealth) - on its mind.

And we already know how bad Trump has got it for his BFF Putin.

We're talking about a foreign policy situation already in chaos before Trump is even swearing an oath to a Constitution he's bound to break the second he puts hand to a Bible (which will likely burst into flames the second he touches it).

And yes, 62 million of you voted for this train wreck on arrival.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

Here we go again. Even W wasn't this dumb.

-Doug in Oakland