Small Wars Journal

Top U.S. Diplomat Blasts Trump Administration for ‘Decapitation’ of State Department Leadership

Top U.S. Diplomat Blasts Trump Administration for ‘Decapitation’ of State Department Leadership by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian - Foreign Policy

Two former ambassadors have rebuked the White House in an increasingly vocal backlash against its efforts to sideline the State Department.

“Our leadership ranks are being depleted at a dizzying speed,” Barbara Stephenson, a former U.S. ambassador to Panama and current president of the American Foreign Service Association, the union for foreign service officers, wrote in a letter for the December 2017 issue of the Foreign Service Journal.

Scores of senior diplomats, including 60 percent of career ambassadors, have left the department since the beginning of the year, when President Donald Trump took office, according to the letter. There are 74 top posts at State that remain vacant with no announced nominee.

“Were the U.S. military to face such a decapitation of its leadership ranks, I would expect a public outcry,” Stephenson wrote.

It’s not just top leadership that is fleeing. New recruitment is falling dramatically as well, shrinking the pool for future talent. The number of applicants registering to take the Foreign Service Officer Test this year will be fewer than half the 17,000 who registered just two years ago, she wrote.

Stephenson wasn’t the only top diplomat with harsh words for the White House this week…

Read on.


Again, and as I note in the "The Cancer of Islamist Extremism Spreads Around the World" thread here on SWJ,

a. The manner in which we might look at the "decapitation of the State Department;" this might be viewed through the lens of

b. President Trump becoming America's -- and indeed the West's -- Gorbachev. To wit: the individual who looses his nation's portion of the Old Cold War; this, by abandoning his nation's revolutionary purpose/its "raison d'etre" and, thereby, destroying its cohensiveness.…

In this regard, to see President Trump specifically working, in his decapitation of the State Department and other agencies, to undo the "expansionist" ideas -- but most importantly the "expansionist" abilities and capabilities -- often associated with our State Department; for example, those espoused and/or established by former Secretary Clinton:


Traditional Anglo-American geopolitical thought is not Clinton’s only inheritance from the past. She also shares the optimism about America found in the Methodist religious tradition in which she grew up. The spirit of the 19th-century missionaries who fanned out across the world to promote development, human rights, and social and economic reform lives in her and shapes her basic thoughts about what American power is for. For some realists, “global meliorism” — the belief that U.S. foreign policy can and should try to make a better world — is a dirty word. For Clinton, it is a bedrock conviction. “We are the force for progress, prosperity and peace,” she said during a remarkable speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in early 2013.

This combination makes Clinton an American exceptionalist: She believes that the United States has been called to a unique role in leading the world, and that the American state and the American people, at home and abroad, can be powerful instruments for good. ...


Next, from Robert Kagan's "The World America Made" (Page 14):


Americans say they want stability in the international system, but they are often the greatest disruptors of stability. They extol the virtues of international laws and institutions but then violate and ignore them with barley a second thought. They are a revolutionary power -- but think they are a status quo power.



If the U.S./the West under President Trump -- much as the Soviets/the communists under Gorbachev -- are "a revolutionary power no more,"

Then, is it in this the manner that we might best see the Trump Administration's "Decapitation of the State Department," etc.?