How Important Is National Security?

If you are a regular here on IST then you are well aware that I feel foreign policy and our national security is of the utmost importance.  Our security depends on how we conduct ourselves on the international stage.

My first problem with the Trump administration is that of SecState…our number one diplomat…..Tillerson is our new top diplomat and so far he has been a no show at too many announcements being made by the Trump admin…..

This person needs to be on lead when anything international is announced or attempted…he is suppose to be there to take the heat off of the president and so far he has been absent……

A word that has been dogging Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: absence. Absence from the spotlight, from a high-profile human rights event Friday, and from the press, though that’s set to change, somewhat, as of Monday. A rep for the State department attempted to answer the question of where, exactly, Tillerson has been, noting 32 phone calls with representatives of foreign countries and 15 in-person meetings on US soil with “foreign interlocutors” (plus two trips abroad), per Politico. The latest:

  • The State Department has historically held a daily press briefing on each business day; under Tillerson, there have been none. That’s set to change Monday, though the approach has been tweaked: There won’t be briefings on Fridays, and two of the weekly briefings will be conducted over the phone.
  • Politico’s take on the lack of briefings thus far: “The long silence has irritated American diplomats who have watched other foreign ministry spokesmen … try to seize control of narratives without State being able to respond.”
  • Another absence that irritated and confused some: Tillerson didn’t attend Friday’s release of the department’s annual report on human rights around the world. CNN reports that for decades the secretary has given the introduction at the high-profile event, and points out that during two exceptions under George W. Bush, the secretary was on a trip abroad; that wasn’t true of Tillerson.
  • He’s also been absent from President Trump’s first three summit meetings with his foreign counterparts: Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Japan’s Shinzo Abe and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, though Tillerson has met with Netanyahu. Just Security sees this as “very odd … especially for someone who has no foreign policy experience and most likely does not have prior relationships with these leaders. Plus, being present at a meeting with the president shows foreign leaders—and the public and the State Department staff—that the president trusts and listens to you.”
  • Some say it’s just Tillerson doing what made him so successful as CEO of Exxon: “He’s an engineer and engineers learn the facts and follow where they lead. He’s a systems guy, a step-by-step guy … He’s starting out slow as he learns the job,” a former national security adviser for George W. Bush tells the Los Angeles Times.
  • We may see what Tillerson is made of soon enough, though. The White House has indicated it plans to slash the State Department’s budget. Tillerson has yet to publicly comment on the news (the LAT points out Mitch McConnell has, saying the Senate isn’t likely to greenlight extreme cuts).
  • But this after “he lost … his first battle with the president,” as one State employee tells the Atlantic: Tillerson’s choice of (past Trump critic) Elliott Abrams as his No. 2 was vetoed by the president. The position remains open.

At Vanity Fair, Emily Jane Fox sees a “curious silver lining” for Tillerson. “While the Russian intrigues swirling around the president continues to ensnare more members of his administration, the one man who knows Putin best has managed to stay off the radar by remaining off the grid. It may just be that his diminished role role might be what allows him to walk away the least scathed in the end.”

So far I do not see why we need this position anyway.  Trump has set about all but killing the State Department.

I was disappointed when Obama named Kerry to the State position.  But at least he was a visual secretary…..Tillerson is cowering in his office….why?

Is the Department of State on its downhill run?

Source: The Day Diplomacy Died – In Saner Thought

Without a vibrant State Department our place in the world is in jeopardy…..US diplomacy is dying…..we can thank Pres. Trump for that….but will it ever return?

Sorry if this offends someone’s sensibilities but as a foreign policy wonk I see NO good coming from this appointment.

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11 thoughts on “How Important Is National Security?

  1. I think this is a strong example of Trump and his gang of thugs closing the ranks, unwilling to take advice or let “outsiders” into the circle. It’s more than disturbing. I too was very disappointed in the selection of Kerry and felt he was basically a puppet but as you point out he was allowed to be a presence.

  2. As I mentioned on this same subject in my State Department post on March 7… http://www.findingpoliticalsanity.com/index.php/hey-anyone-remember-the-state-department/
    I am sure Trump’s dissolution of the State Department has strong roots to him trying to tear down the statues of the Hillary Clinton old guard. He’s an idiot. There.. I name called. 🙂

    I’m with you, chuq… on this idea that the U.S. is a world player and world leader in all aspects of human endeavor.. and you can’t just pull in and circle the wagons in to quasi-patriotic attempt to return to some stage of domestic-only white Americanism. Isolation will never keep us great. Gobalization is the way to go to keep America strong and involved. The State Department is absolutely critical to our national security.. not Jared (F***ing) Kushner. Tillerson is an impotent figurehead.

  3. If I facepalmed or let my forehead thud on the table every time I read something about the cabinet, my brain would be scrambled eggs and spam because of the skull fracture. Major brain drain going on–unfortunately, I think it’s our brains being desensitized to general stupidity and incompetence so that we’ll be too numb to resist when the 1%’s clones come and take over while they hide in champagne-filled bunkers.

  4. Some observations from an outsider.
    It does seem that many Americans regard their ‘place in the world’ as being of great importance. The reputation of America as a superpower, something to be reckoned with, respected, perhaps feared. All that time spent on achieving this has come with the neglect of a huge segment of your own population, and a lack of concern for the average worker, and the poor. It was perhaps this very issue that caused the backlash allowing Trump to be elected.
    Time to concentrate on the internal problems facing your country, and take a step back from the ‘world stage’ for a while. Just a foreigner’s view…
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Good insight–that’s been my view for over a decade, too. I can’t help but ask about all this defense spending and what we’re doing trying to police the world and be everybody’s buddy and make ourselves look so powerful. Heck, isn’t that partly how Communist Russia finally imploded: overstretching and slapping band-aids on their mistakes, to the neglect of their own people?

      There are lessons here, but the “American Exceptionalism” (bullshit) gives an ego-boost and it’s back to business. I hate it, because we’ve got enough issues here–why we try to take care of/deal with everyone else when we can’t take care of ourselves right now?

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