In an op-ed for Foreign Affairs this Monday, former career Foreign Service officer and president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, William J. Burns, argues that President Trump has headed the biggest attack on US diplomacy that he’s seen in his entire career.
“The contemptible mistreatment of Marie Yovanovitch—the ambassador to Ukraine who was dismissed for getting in the way of the president’s scheme to solicit foreign interference in U.S. elections—is just the latest example of President Donald Trump’s dangerous brand of diplomatic malpractice,” Burns writes. “His is a diplomacy of narcissism, bent on advancing private interests at the expense of our national interests.”
Burns is careful to point out that shady diplomacy and bullying of professional diplomats is nothing new, but the damage done by Trump and his inner circle “will likely prove to be even more severe to both diplomatic tradecraft and U.S. foreign policy.”
According to Burns, today’s leaders are backing down in the face of Trump’s “war on diplomacy,” which has been waged by Trump for nearly three years.
“The White House regularly pushes historic cuts to diplomacy and development spending, which is already 19 times smaller than the defense budget,” writes Burns, pointing out that career diplomats have been “sidelined, with only one of 28 assistant secretary-rank positions filled by a Foreign Service officer, and more ambassadorships going to political appointees in this administration than in any in recent history.”
“One-fifth of ambassadorships remain unfilled, including critical posts,” with applications to join the Foreign Service declining “precipitously,” Burns adds.
All actions that “distort diplomatic practice and decapitate the American interest,” he writes.
“By using his public office for personal gain, Trump has affirmed Putin’s long-held conviction—shared by autocrats the world over—that Americans are just as venal and self-absorbed as they are, just more hypocritical about it.”
Read the full op-ed here.
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‘This is not about tweets!’ GOP lawmaker deflects wildly when asked about Trump’s attacks on Yovanovitch
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) on Friday was not happy to be asked about President Donald Trump's tweets attacking former American ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
During a press conference that occurred after the day's impeachment hearings, Stefanik tried to make the case that nothing in Yovanovitch's testimony provided any reason to impeach the president.
She was thrown off her game, however, when a reporter asked her whether the president's tweet harmed her party's ability to send a consistent message.
"We're not here to talk about tweets but impeachable offenses!" she angrily replied. "Let me answer your question. These hearings are not about tweets. They are about impeachment of the president of United States. This is a constitutional matter."
‘I demand to speak!’ Republican bursts into anger over Adam Schiff’s closing remarks
Republican Rep. Mike Conaway (TX) was not pleased that House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) got the last word at the second public impeachment hearing on Friday.
During his closing remarks, Schiff said Trump had engaged in "an effort to coerce, condition or bribe a foreign country into doing [his] dirty work."
"The fact that they failed in this solicitation of bribery doesn’t make it any less bribery. Doesn’t make it any less immoral or corrupt. It just means it was unsuccessful. And to that we owe other dedicated public servants who blew the whistle. Had they not blown the whistle we wouldn’t be here and I think it is appalling that my colleagues continue to want to out this whistleblower so that he or she can be punished by this president," Schiff said.
‘I’m sorry — is there a question there?’ Yovanovitch snaps back at Jim Jordan’s jumbled posturing
As questioning of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch resumed on the second day of the House's public hearing in their impeachment inquiry, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tried to suggest that there was a culture of anti-Trump sentiment amongst elements of the Ukrainian government and its US envoys.
Jordan then questioned Yovanovitch as to why she didn't try to intervene to make the environment less politicized.
"One of the things we've heard so much over the last six weeks in depositions, and frankly in the hearing on Wednesday, is how important bipartisan support is for Ukraine," Jordan said addressing Yovanovitch. "Democrats and Republicans agree they want to help Ukraine, in fact, [Ambassador Bill Taylor] said, 'Ukraine's most strategic asset is this bipartisan support...'"