Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Are Trump’s Tweets Undercutting U.S. Diplomacy?

Beyond apparent policy disagreements between the president and Rex Tillerson, the State Department struggles to absorb mixed signals. The Atlantic, KRISHNADEV CALAMUR 3 OCT 17, President Trump’s tweets Sunday, declaring it a waste of time to try to negotiate with North Korea, appeared to contradict the sentiments of his own chief diplomat, who is at least formally taking the lead on the administration’s North Korea policy. It wasn’t the first time the two men seemed to express different positions on significant foreign-policy issues. But there’s a deeper story beyond whatever temperamental or policy gulf may exist between Trump and Tillerson as individuals—and that is how the contradictions affect the sprawling foreign-policy apparatus Tillerson is supposed to run.

 

“One can never be sure whether the policies we’re working on will be supported by the president or not,” a State Department official, who was not authorized to speak to the press and asked for anonymity, told me. “It creates a great deal of uncertainty and obviously further harms morale in an environment in which morale is already very low.”……

at the State Department, reports about poor morale have abounded since Tillerson assumed his position in February. The secretary was described as aloof, his plans to reorganize the State Department were criticized, and the Trump administration’s proposal to cut the department’s budget by 30 percent was met with horror. A hiring freeze at the department, combined with the fact that most of the senior positions requiring Senate confirmation are still vacant, have also resulted in multiple news reports about dysfunction.

Added to all this is the perception that Trump doesn’t care about the work the State Department is doing. The president has not only appeared to contradict Tillerson publicly on Qatar, NATO, and Iran—besides North Korea—he has also appeared to suggest that his “America First” message is not simpatico with multilateral cooperation with America’s traditional allies.

At one point, he thanked Russia for its expulsion of U.S. diplomats in retaliation for a similar step by the Obama administration, as well as its seizure of Russian compounds in the U.S., because, in Trump’s words, “we’re trying to cut down our payroll.”…..https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/10/trump-tillerson/541671/

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October 4, 2017 - Posted by | General News

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