My regulars know that I am a bit of a foreign policy wonk and that I do some consulting on the side just to keep my mind sharp.
In all my time of working in foreign policy and conflict management and resolution I have NEVER seen a worse time for the US internationally.
The Trump administration’s lack of structure or experience is hobbling its ability to conduct an effective foreign policy, argues Richard Haass, president of the Council of Foreign Relations. “I think it is a recipe for disaster to have multiple centers of authority, to have informal lines of authority,” he said. “I think this administration is doing itself a disservice.
“It’s a decentralized, improvisational administration,” Haass said; he dubbed it an “adhocracy.”
Haass, who served as a high-ranking State Department official in the administration of President George W. Bush, was sharply critical of the results of that organizational incoherence. “It’s very hard for the administration to have a single doctrine or policy,” he said, citing rival factions within the administration and widespread vacancies in its senior ranks.
Originally I was not too receptive to Tillerson as SecfState because he had no diplomatic chops he ran Exxon…..but since his nomination the Trump admin has been hostile to him and his duties….even going so far as letting son-in-law handle delicate negotiations…..not cool.
Tillerson recently showed some cajones by going off on a Trump-ite in the WH…..
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly took out his frustrations on a White House official Friday after facing negative news reports and delays in getting appointments approved.
Tillerson went after the head of presidential personnel office, Johnny DeStefano, for dismissing his appointments to senior State Department positions and questioning his judgment, Politico reported Wednesday.
Tillerson complained that President Trump promised him room to make the decisions and hires that he deems best, a senior White House aide familiar with the conversation told Politico.
He, however, has faced delays and blocks to his proposed hires, saying that DeStefano’s office should not “have any role in staffing,” a person familiar with the meeting said.
The secretary also expressed frustration that people within the Trump administration are leaking negative reports about him to the press, the source said.
His, Trump’s, policies, whatever they are, have done nothing to solve any of the problems facing the US….if anything his attitude is making things worse….
Since Tillerson has been boxed out by the Trump boyz people are starting to ask….and I am one of those…..who is making US foreign policy?”
It’s a time of trial and tribulation for America’s allies and adversaries alike. Just what is U.S. policy these days? More fundamentally, who is deciding U.S. policy?
A presidential transition always creates uncertainty. Even when the Oval Office is passed between members of the same party, approaches and emphases differ. Personal connections vary. But today the differences are within a single administration.
Indeed, in virtually no area is policy settled.
President Donald Trump came into office committed to rapprochement with Russia. Yet even before taking office his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, sounded like bombastic Sen. John McCain in calling Moscow the greatest threat facing America. Later, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson demanded Russia’s withdrawal from Crimea—a political impossibility—before bilateral relations could improve. Now the U.S. military has shot down a Syrian plane, fielded by the Assad government, a Moscow ally, triggering Russian threats against U.S. aircraft.
Best answer is amateurs and idiots…….people that have no idea of the nuisances of diplomacy….and that is making this worse……
An Australian paper has seen this rise in ineffectiveness……
Donald Trump is unique among US presidents not for his rough treatment of America’s enemies but of its allies. His Vice-President, Mike Pence, must be aware of the problem. He offered Julie Bishop a way around it: “If you ever have any issues with the boss”, he told Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, “give me a call”. It’s the diplomatic equivalent of a detour around a crash scene, a scene that Malcolm Turnbull had to fight his way through in his notorious first phone call with Trump.
The world is losing all respect for the US under the boot of Trump…..his decisions are not made with the eye on the US but rather an eye on Trump Industries….
Five months into the era of President Trump, the world’s perception of the US and its leader has sunk to the level it was at late in George W. Bush’s presidency, according to a new Pew Research Center poll of people in 37 countries. The poll was conducted among more than 40,000 people between February and May. Among the findings:
- There has been a massive decline in confidence in the US in its nearest neighbors, Pew says. The proportion of people saying they have at least some confidence in the American president has dived from 83% to 22% in Canada, and from 49% to just 5% in Mexico.
- Some 55% rated Trump as a strong leader, though 75% said he was arrogant, 65% intolerant, and 62% dangerous. Only 23% said he cared about ordinary people.
- Overall, just 22% of people polled worldwide had confidence in the US president to do the right thing—and only 49% had a favorable view of the US, down from 64% two years ago.
- The Guardian notes that this is the first time in Pew polling history that a majority of Canadians have not seen the US as a force for good in the world.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin also had low marks worldwide, though not as low as Trump.
- The decline was especially steep in western Europe and Latin America, but the fall in confidence was widespread, reports Reuters. “The share of the public with a positive view of the US has plummeted in a diverse set of countries from Latin America, North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa,” Pew says.
- Poll respondents disapproved of all five Trump policies they were asked about, including the US-Mexico border wall and withdrawal from trade agreements.
- There are two bright spots for Trump: Russia and Israel. Confidence in the US president is up in both countries and favorable views of the US are up to 41% in Russia from 15% two years ago.
- Former diplomat Frank Wisner links the fall in confidence in the US to Trump’s lack of commitment to principles including free markets and the rule of law. “America’s image has taken hits in recent years, from the decision to invade Iraq to the events of 2007 and 2008, when the American financial model took a huge hit,” he tells the Washington Post. “But the most consequential is the ascent of Mr. Trump to the Oval Office.”
I am hoping that Trump will eventually see the light…after all he has been Prez for only 6 months and has a long way to go……our reputation is dying and as I look at the line-up I do not see it getting much better in the foreseeable future.
If nothing changes are we, the US, lose our standing as the beacon of leadership in the world….then who will step up and try to replace us?
It is increasingly clear that US President Donald Trump represents a departure when it comes to America’s global outlook and behavior. As a result, the United States will no longer play the leading international role that has defined its foreign policy for three quarters of a century, under Democratic and Republican presidents alike.
We have already seen many examples of this change. The traditional US commitment to global organizations has been superseded by the idea of “America first.” Alliances and security guarantees once regarded as a given are increasingly conditioned on how much allies spend on defense and whether they are seen to derive unfair advantage from trade with the US.
My advice is to keep an eye on China and its moves internationally.
Unless the Trump posse gets their crap together the US will lose all standing in the world….and that will not be a good thing for the people of the nation.
There is a foreign policy debate the we as a nation need to have……but will we?
Donald Trump’s presidency is having multiple pernicious consequences for American power and policy in the global arena. Yet one of the most harmful — if least noticed — of these is that America is missing the opportunity to have the searching debates has been missing out on since the Cold War’s end. The international environment has changed dramatically in recent years, in ways that are upending longstanding patterns of American policy. But the prospects for constructive debate on these issues are being swallowed up by the chaos and unforced errors that have so far characterized Trump’s presidency.
In some ways, Donald Trump should be ideally suited to lead such a debate, simply because no recent US president has been less attached to America’s self-evident truths. During the campaign and the early months of his administration, Trump challenged conventional wisdom on issues from trade to counter-terrorism to relations with Russia. To be clear, many of the changes that Trump has proposed making to US policy are of debatable merit at best. But there is no denying that fresh thinking is needed, if only as a spur to greater creativity in a more difficult world.
Something needs to change in our approach to foreign policy……but will it?