What The Hell Is Going On At State?

As a degree holder in international relations and conflict management I am always interested in the doings at the State department…..since it is suppose to be the diplomatic arm of the US government it gives us wonks a scale by which we judge the actions globally of this country.

Since Pres. Trump nominated Rex Tillerson we have been struggling to get a grip on his attitudes to his new position of power.  So far I am NOT impressed.  This man is an amateur…I do not care how many companies he ran and how many trips he has made overseas….he is an amateur and needs replacing with someone with experience.

For instance. he has decided not to go to the FM meeting at NATO instead he will travel to Russia.  Russia?  Why?

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s travel plans aren’t sitting well with his counterparts in Europe. Tillerson will skip a NATO meeting early next month, the first time in more than a decade a secretary of state has done so, reports Reuters. On top of that, Tillerson will travel to Russia later in the month. “No matter how you spin it, this is unfortunate symbolism,” a veteran European diplomat tells Reuters, referring to the perception that the Trump White House is anti-NATO and pro-Russia. The State Department didn’t provide an official reason for Tillerson’s decision to skip the April 5-6 meeting in Brussels, notes CNN, but it appears he’s opting instead to be in Florida for Trump’s meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on April 6-7.

Tillerson will, however, see foreign ministers from NATO in Washington on Wednesday in a meeting about the Islamic State, notes Politico. The semiannual planning session in Brussels will be more focused on NATO itself, and Tillerson will be represented there by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, who served under President Obama. After the China meeting in Florida, Tillerson will attend a G7 summit in Italy on April 10-11, and the State Department says he’ll visit Moscow after that. Democrats were quick to pounce on the decision—”a grave error,” says one House lawmaker—and ABC News rounds up their criticisms.

Then there was his visit to China…..BTW he blew off part of his South Korea visit because he needed a nap……and his words while there were at best confusing…..

“You said that China-US relations can only be friendly,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday. “I express my appreciation for this.”

Beijing could not be more pleased with Tillerson’s choice of words. Chinese state media is now crowing because the American diplomat, who seemed resolute in Tokyo and Seoul, appears to have turned deferential in Beijing—perhaps unwittingly. In the Chinese capital, he repeated in public the preferred Chinese formulation of relations between the two powers. On the preceding day at a press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Tillerson said ties between the two countries were guided by “non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation.”

Source: Tillerson’s Deference to Beijing or Unfortunate Rookie Mistake? | World Affairs Journal

Since Trump has decided that diplomacy is not important I am guessing that the various desks with State are vacant and this leads to moronic words and actions….

His impotent tenure so far is nothing but amateur hour at the cost of the nation’s reputation…..if he is not so good at this job then why would he want to do it?

As the old saying goes: Behind every successful man there stands a woman … making him become the United States’ secretary of state. At least that’s how the adage was apparently interpreted in Rex Tillerson’s household, per an interview with Tillerson that appeared Tuesday in the International Journal Review. “I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job,” says the secretary, who IJR notes seems to have a “relative disinterest in the pomp and circumstance” of the job he now holds. In fact, Tillerson reveals that pre-2017, he’d been planning on retiring this month and heading off to hang out with his grandchildren at his Texas ranch. So what changed his mind? A little finger-wagging from his wife, Renda St. Clair.

“My wife told me I’m supposed to do this,” Tillerson tells IJR, noting that St. Clair exclaimed, “I told you God’s not through with you!” when he came home “stunned” after meeting with Donald Trump post-election and finding out the then-president-elect wanted him to run the State Department. Not that Tillerson, who turns 65 on Thursday, hasn’t since come around. “She was right. I’m supposed to do this,” he says, adding he’ll stick around “at the pleasure of the president.” Read the rest of the interview—including his take on how diplomacy mixes with the “America First” concept, and how an aide says he and Defense Secretary James Mattis “get along like gin and vermouth”—at IJR.

My wife told me I wanted the job….well maybe she should have got the nod and left hubby to screw with the oil industry.
This is not the person we need as pilot of American foreign policy…..time for Trump to see the writing on the wall and replace this toad before his does some real damage….but then that may have been the plan all along.
Further reading:

Closing Time–20Mar17

Nap Time For Bonzo!

The big story of the day is the Comey testimony and Brady’s Super Bowl jersey has been found…one is news the other mindless garbage….you decide.

Ever since Trump nominated and then was approved Rex Tillerson for the position of SecState I have been a critic….I did not think that this guy has material to handle the diplomacy of this country…..

He holds few news briefings and travels with no reporters that will report on his screw ups.

Recent I read that Tillerson skipped a meeting with a prominent diplomat in DC because he was fatigued and needed a nap.  Being an old fart I understand the need for a power nap every now and then….but sometimes it is not the best time.

If you have been watching the news or even listening to the ramblings of some alt-Right asswad then you will know that we are having a bit of a problem with the North Korean situation.  So much so that Tillerson went to the region for meetings with Japan, China and South Korea…I am guessing that they were holding meetings on North Korea.

While Tillerson was in South Korea he cut his visit short because he was fatigued and needed some rest……

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned of nuclear war with North Korea on Friday, a grim and alarming statement not to be taken lightly. But with the American media sidelined during Tillerson’s four-day visit to Asia, it has largely fallen on the South Korean press to report on the state of the negotiations, and how the U.S. and South Korea are planning to move forward together. It is through The Korea Herald, then, that it was revealed Tillerson cut short his meetings with South Korean leaders because he was too tired.

Source: Rex Tillerson reportedly cut short badly needed diplomatic consultations about North Korea because he was tired

Fatigued?  Too tired?  He does realize that there is a nuke program that needs attention?  But nap first?  Is that his plan?  I feel as if we are in good hands (sarcasm)

I think there are two options….one–fire this toad and find someone with foreign service experience….but if that is not on the list then I suggest a supply of Red Bull or any other energy drink to help him stay awake for important stuff.

Christ!  My dog could do a better job as SecState…I know she is smarter than Tillerson and she can stay awake long enough to do her duty.

Is State Department Being Phased Out?

No that is not a trick question.

Yes I am a foreign policy wonk and an antiwar activist…..there is nothing more important than what the US does on the international stage……and our state department is the diplomatic arm of our government…..and it has been inflicted with a cancerous tumor.

We live in a multi-polar world and diplomacy should be the cornerstone of our activities…..

Source: The Importance of Diplomacy – In Saner Thought

Since this country lost its collective mind and elected Trump it appears that his plan is to do just as the title suggests…..I first wrote about this in a recent post……..

Source: The Day Diplomacy Died – In Saner Thought

But the moves around our State Department has even some military people worried……

America’s generals are talking turkey. But we’re not talking about the well-known idiom for “speaking frankly” about a subject … although over 120 retired generals did just send a frank letter in response to a new State Department-slashing budget proposal by President Trump.

In that unusual military missive, a group of “former three- and four-star generals” led by “Retired Gen. David Petraeus, a former CIA director, and retired Adm. James Stavridis, the former NATO supreme allied commander,” pleaded with lawmakers and yet another general, new National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, to preserve State Department funding.

Source: 120 U.S. Generals and Admirals Just Sent Trump a Dire Warning About Diplomacy | Alternet

Is this what a government geared to war looks like?

Our SecState is a no show at many diplomatic functions….plus there has been very little as far as briefings go….Tillerson’s silence speaks volumes for the plan of the Trump lackeys in the White House.

In the coming days and weeks I will be looking at the US responses around the world to armed conflict…..Syria is about to become an extension of our program of continuous war….more nation building….a concept that has NOT worked out well for the US and yet we still think we can do it.

The coming years will be hard on the nation and its soldiers…..diplomacy may the only thing that can save this country from more terrible plans of conquest…I mean you cannot sling a cat in the White House without hitting a general in the ass……..and Trump is doing all he can to kill that much needed diplomacy…..I weep if he is successful.

Closing Thought–09Mar17

Our Man In Moscow!

I have been waiting to see just who our presidente would choose as the ambassador to Russia….it would very telling…..

Now I do not need to fret any longer…he has made his choice….and it leaves me a bit scratching my head……

A White House official says former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is President Donald Trump’s choice to be the next US ambassador to Russia, the AP reports. Huntsman will be nominated for the diplomatic post as senior members of Trump’s administration face questions about their contacts with the Russian government. The White House official spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement.

Huntsman served as the ambassador to China during the Obama administration and speaks Mandarin. He had been considering a Senate run in 2018, a decision that would depend on whether Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, runs again. Huntsman in October called on Trump to drop out of the presidential race after the release of a recording on which Trump bragged about groping women.

By all accounts he was a good ambassador under Obama to China and now he heads to Moscow…..how did this person get two plum assignments for the State Department…the US two international rivals in all things….especially since Huntsman was so nasty to Trump during the campaigns…..Trump holds a grudge to the extreme yet not when it comes to Huntsman…

This is a bit suspicious to me…..there is more going on here than the placement of diplomats…me thinks.

America’s Lost Tradition on Non-Intervention

My regulars know of my interest in foreign policy and international relations.  After my stint in Vietnam (2 1/2 years) I went to university and majored in international relations and after my war experience I became one who believes in non-intervention……that is diplomacy should be exhausted before the consideration of going to war is even on the table……

From the beginning of this country we were following a non-interventionist road….and after WW1 that path became closed and the interventionists, war profiteers, have rule foreign policy ever since……

I found an interesting article that covers this situation from a historical perspective (and you know how I enjoy those?)….

By implicitly criticizing U.S. interventionism, President Trump’s inaugural speech drew denunciations from the Washington establishment as a dangerous deviation, but his message actually fit with U.S. traditions

Although the media trashed Donald Trump’s inaugural address as radical and scary to the United States and the world, his views on American security policy nevertheless may be closest to that of the nation’s founders than those of any U.S. president since the early 1800s.

In his speech, the new president pledged that, “We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.”

Source: America’s Lost Tradition on Non-Intervention – Consortiumnews

I still believe that diplomacy should be the first order of any international policies….even in the age of ISIS (please I am NOT talking about negotiating with terrorists…if you cannot understand that the move the Hell on)……

The only people that profit from the state of the world these days are the war profiteers…..the rest if us are just scared.

Finally, Some Leadership!

We have been involved in the situation in Syria now for years and the way things look it may be even more years….

In the past we have held talks with this group or that….with this batch of rebels or that….and in all that time few have spoken with Syria’s Assad to see if there is any possibility of cooperation and a speedy end to the conflict.

The best we could muster was McCain and his entourage meeting with a few rebels here and there and few other elected officials meet with refugees…but nothing with the government of the country….

Well that may have changed.

I seems that a US rep Tulsi Gabbard has ventured to the capital of Syria……

Long opposed to US attempts to impose regime change in Syria, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D – HI) has made a trip to Syria this week, an unannounced visit which saw Gabbard spending considerable time in the capital city of Damascus “to promote and work for peace.”

Gabbard’s office, citing security, says a lot of the details of the trip are not going to be revealed until she has returned to the United States, and they declined to say if she had met directly with President Bashar al-Assad, though they did confirm she’d met with several government leaders while in Damascus.

(antiwar.com)

The big tah-do is the media asking who paid for the trip…..since she met with Trump a few weeks ago there is wild speculation about her possibly having a spot in the Trump cabinet……

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s office won’t say who is paying for the Hawaii Democrat’s controversial trip to Syria and Lebanon this week.

Gabbard spokeswoman Emily Latimer said the trip wasn’t funded using taxpayer dollars and was approved by the House Ethics Committee but wouldn’t provide further information when pressed by POLITICO. The lawmaker is currently on the trip, though it’s not clear exactly when she’ll be returning.

Source: Gabbard won’t disclose who’s paying for secret trip to Syria – POLITICO

This situation will fall by the wayside with all the hoopla over the inauguration….which is sad for this could be a monumental situation if the talks were productive….but for now we may never know….and this is a bright light in the web of international affairs…..

The Monroe Doctrine

Over the weekend my daughter and granddaughter stopped by for a visit…..and we did what we always do….schmooze……I asked my granddaughter how school was going and she said that she was studying the Monroe Doctrine in her American History class……..I asked her what her lessons said about the document…..after she gave the whole thing I told her that it was very simplistic and she asked about more info for she had to do a report…..

After our talk I thought since I like to torture my readers with historic perspectives that this subject would be a good post here on IST….

After some thought I realized that few Americans realize what the document is all about….I mean it was quoted during the Cuban missile crisis as a reason for the US response….

Shall we look at the Doctrine?

In his December 2, 1823, address to Congress, President James Monroe articulated United States’ policy on the new political order developing in the rest of the Americas and the role of Europe in the Western Hemisphere.

The statement, known as the Monroe Doctrine, was little noted by the Great Powers of Europe, but eventually became a longstanding tenet of U.S. foreign policy. Monroe and his Secretary of State John Quincy Adams drew upon a foundation of American diplomatic ideals such as disentanglement from European affairs and defense of neutral rights as expressed in Washington’s Farewell Address and Madison’s stated rationale for waging the War of 1812. The three main concepts of the doctrine—separate spheres of influence for the Americas and Europe, non-colonization, and non-intervention—were designed to signify a clear break between the New World and the autocratic realm of Europe. Monroe’s administration forewarned the imperial European powers against interfering in the affairs of the newly independent Latin American states or potential United States territories. While Americans generally objected to European colonies in the New World, they also desired to increase United States influence and trading ties throughout the region to their south. European mercantilism posed the greatest obstacle to economic expansion. In particular, Americans feared that Spain and France might reassert colonialism over the Latin American peoples who had just overthrown European rule. Signs that Russia was expanding its presence southward from Alaska toward the Oregon Territory were also disconcerting.

I then found an article…an updated look, if you will at the document.

Revealing his “deal making” chops, the Donald started, even before the election, by giving Czar Vlad a greenlight for his conquest of Crimea and the Ukraine, getting, in return, Czar Vlad’s help in the election.

Source: Old Whine, New Orange Bottle – LA Progressive

Soon we will have brand new spanking president….will he use the doctrine in his sweep of international relations?

Class dismissed!