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One More on the Problems at State

Via Vox: The astonishing dysfunction of Trump’s State Department, in one quote

Mexico’s foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, was in Washington. The Los Angeles Times’s Tracy Wilkinson asked State spokesperson Mark Toner what the plans were for his visit. Toner, a highly regarded career foreign service officer, apparently had no idea that a key foreign dignitary was even in the city

The piece concludes:

There are two major takeaways:

  1. Tillerson’s State Department is so poorly staffed (he doesn’t yet have a deputy or a permanent spokesperson) and out of the loop on high-level decision-making that its press secretary wasn’t even informed of a visit by the top diplomat from one of Washington’s most important strategic partners.

  2. Foreign governments appear to be recognizing State’s weakness in the Trump administration and are bypassing America’s trained diplomatic corps. Instead, they’re speaking directly with White House aides whom they see as wielding real influence over the president. That includes ones like Jared Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law, who has no experience in international affairs or diplomacy.

 

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. DrDaveT says:

    Instead, they’re speaking directly with White House aides whom they see as wielding real influence over the president.

    Mexico knows a banana republic when it sees one, and knows how the game is played in such places.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  2. Mikey says:

    Foreign governments appear to be recognizing State’s weakness in the Trump administration and are bypassing America’s trained diplomatic corps. Instead, they’re speaking directly with White House aides whom they see as wielding real influence over the president.

    This is, of course, exactly what Trump wants, and is yet another hallmark of authoritarianism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  3. M. Bouffant says:

    Surely you don’t expect Tillerson to fulfill his diplomatic duties; his real job is to use the resources of the State Dep’t. to fly around the world & negotiate sweetheart oil deals while Trump is handling foreign policy on Twitter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    Are we witnessing the frontiers of a new American baksheesh-driven government? Will the GOP care as long as Paul and Mitch get their cut?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. Not the IT Dept. says:

    I think you dropped something in your post. “The piece concludes:” should be followed by another quote, I believe?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Not the IT Dept. says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    Ah, okay. Got it. Disregard earlier comment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. @Not the IT Dept.: I failed to format it as a quote. Thanks for noting that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. Other usually unexperienced problems had to face with these kind of problems. In some sense, Trump is similar to Carter: a pretty unexperienced politician that does not have a base of support among the elected officials of it’s own party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Sherparick says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    1. How relations are being built with the Trump regime. – https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/kushners-set-to-get-dollar400-million-from-chinese-firm-on-tower/ar-AAogC9k

    2. https://qz.com/930896/a-curious-timeline-of-trademarks-granted-to-donald-trump-by-an-increasingly-helpful-china/

    3. http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/13/politics/donald-trump-xi-jinping-summit-mar-a-lago/

    I think we are about to see a big “never mind” about China and U.S. trade and security tensions. As Trump said during campaign: “If you are nice to him, he believes in being nice you.”

    As I have been saying since 8 November, we are so screwed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0