Foreign Policy

Report: The State Department Isn’t Taking Ambassadors’ Calls

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The few ambassadors who remain at their posts after the Trump regime recalled the majority of them without replacements say they're having trouble communicating with the agency responsible for directing them.

Ambassadors who spoke to the New York Times for a profile on turmoil at the State Department say they've resorted to going above the department's head because Rex Tillerson is an aloof man who has no idea what he's doing.

“It’s not that he’s a weak secretary of state or a strong one — he’s in a different category,” said Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who is writing the second volume of his history of American foreign policy. “I have a hard time thinking of one who has come in with little foreign policy experience and has less interest in surrounding himself with the people who know something about the regions and issues that he has to deal with.” [...]

Three foreign ambassadors — one from Asia and two from Europe — said they had taken to contacting the National Security Council because the State Department does not return their calls or does not offer substantive answers when it does.

The way I see it, this is symptom of a larger problem and that is that Rex Tillerson is doing exactly what he was chosen to do: mostly nothing.

I have no idea what's in Tillerson's heart or if he's actually trying to do the job, but I don't think he was chosen to do the job. I think he was chosen to do nothing. He was chosen to be ineffectual. The weaker the State Department is, the easier it is for Trump and his children to chart their own foreign policy that is favorable to their future financial interests.

From the Muslim travel ban to their cozy relationship with other shady regimes, American foreign policy has been hijacked to enrich the Trump family and their friends.

They may expect to, but I'm skeptical that Trump's political donors will ultimately get exactly what they want out of him. Everyone who works with Trump eventually regrets it.

  • muselet

    Donald Trump doesn’t believe diplomacy is of any value. In his (for want of a better word) mind, there are winners and losers, dominators and the dominated, and mutual interests don’t exist.

    Apart from being a breathtakingly bleak view of the world, it’s also dangerous. Reducing tensions and finding common goals prevents wars.

    Without knowing, I’ll bet Rex Tillerson has had business ventures stymied or even stopped outright by the State Department and various Foreign Ministries, so he has no use for diplomats, either.

    We’ll be lucky to get through the next 3½ or 7½ years without the US getting into multiple shooting wars.


  • Aynwrong

    I’m repeating myself but this is why I shake my head every time some pundit comes on TV (including the liberal ones) and tells us that McCain and Graham will save us. McCain and Graham who voted to confirm this dilettante and personal Putin award recipient as the nations chief diplomat.

    • That’s one of the many reasons I can’t watch the news anymore. They let those to “venerable” statesmen lies their asses off without any pushback whatsoever. It’s complete BS.

  • ninjaf

    Trump thought that no one in the government really works, therefore he appointed people who feel that they don’t really need to do much of anything for their agencies. Imagine their surprise to find out that we actually have a pretty efficient — if not somewhat arcane — bureaucracy that keeps our country running.

    Let’s hope that the bureaucracy can outlast this administration.

    • Tony Lavely

      “… we actually *had* a pretty efficient…”

  • Badgerite

    Right on the money,JM.

    • Georgie

      And his ties to Russia’s oil of course.