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Monday, November 18, 2019

Impeachment Hearings: Ego and the Ambassador, and a Mistake by President Trump

I'll keep this short. I don't want to repeat unnecessarily the themes I laid out in my post of November 13 discussing the testimony of Kent and Taylor.

Many of you likely watched the Congressional impeachment testimony by former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.  Both the Diplowife and I kept shaking our heads while Yovanovitch spoke; at the end of it all, the Diplowife said to me, "This is why the Foreign Service has such a bad reputation." I agreed with the Diplowife; in sum, I found it an embarrassing spectacle.

Just a few notes.

I hate false bravado. The whole "we are the hostages of Tehran, the martyrs of Tripoli" shtick in defense of the Foreign Service was almost more than I could bear. I have never heard a military man or woman do something similar. Braggadocio is not a trait of the best of our military, and should not be a feature anywhere else in our bureaucracy. It was all rather embarrassing, particularly given that both the hostages in Tehran and the dead in Tripoli were abandoned to their fate by lefty Democrat policies and administrations--something I wish the Republicans had pointed out.

Even worse, however, was the whole "our foreign policy in Ukraine is in disarray" meme. When you hear somebody from State say that, remember what they generally mean is that the President has not done what the "experts" told him to do. It also means, more importantly, that he hasn't filled all the jobs at State that State says it needs to do the wasteful foolishness that State does much if not most of the time.

Yovanovitch, and before her Kent and Taylor, gave totally tone deaf but standard State Department talking point/memo-type speeches laying out the great importance of Ukraine to our national interests. Yawn. You know how many papers of that sort I have written? I am ashamed to tell you. Be it Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Central African Republic, Tuvalu, or San Marino, any career Department sort can turn out a paper in an instant as to why any country, no matter how insignificant in reality, is in the forefront of American interests. We must promote good governance in Togo to defend our vital core interests . . . . yeah, yeah, yeah.

Also please note the unvarnished arrogance of the Ambassador. She was named to the position under Obama about six months before the end of that execrable misadministration. A standard tour, if there is one, for an Ambassador is about two to three years. More important, however, please note that ALL AMBASSADORS, I repeat, ALL AMBASSADORS must submit their resignations when a new President comes in. That includes career Foreign Service Ambassadors, which is why I wrote ALL, a little something that much of the media reporting has "missed." The new President has the right to accept the resignation or not.

In hindsight, it would seem the President made a mistake keeping Yovanovitch at her post. She, for example, was clearly aware of the potential problem of having Hunter Biden on the board of the Ukranian Burisma Holdings company at the same time that Joe Biden served not only as Vice-President but as "point-man"for Obama on Ukraine policy. She said nothing. She was also aware of the involvement of senior Ukrainian officials interfering in our 2016 elections on behalf of Hillary Clinton. She said nothing.

She had the nerve to claim that Trump was undermining HER position as Ambassador, and, thus, of course, he was undermining US foreign policy! She breathlessly informed us that after about two-plus years at her post, Ukrainians were asking her if she was going to be replaced. Horrors! Ukrainians can do math. They knew that her usual tour likely would be coming to an end. The President does not need to undermine her; he can yank her out any time for any reason or even for no reason. Ambassadors, as well as FBI and CIA Directors, etc., serve at the pleasure of the President. Period. She must have thought she was King Louis XIV, you know, 'L'état, c'est moi'. But to be kind, let's just agree that she is just another in a long line of State officials who seem to have forgotten that the President sets and directs foreign policy, not State.

Ambassadors work for and represent the President not the State Department, a little fact that many career FSOs seem to forget.

Off to play with my dogs: they know who sets policy around here . . . I think . . .

13 comments:

  1. Diplomad, you may have just "triggered" a thousand delicate liberals!

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  2. This seems to be a persistent problem with the State Department. There are professionals, yes - more than are credited. But the Iron Law of Bureaucracy means that the diplo-bureaucrats who promote State Department power and influence get promoted over those who honestly do their duty to the country. And are obedient to elected authority (even when they despise the twits and detest the orders they have been given).

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    Replies
    1. It's an iron law of any bureaucracy. It develops its own interests, including being sure that the problem it was created to solve never gets solved (lest the bureaucracy in question have to fold).

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  3. People ask what the Deep State is, and this is what I show them. Career Denizens who have forgotten their job is to carry out the Policy as directed...not as they think it should be. If they cant stomach the person We The People have put into that position they can always resign...or transfer to a Democrat Staff Position for the next 4 years wear they can leak to the press with impunity.

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  4. Generally, it's the cat that sets policy.

    The Department of State seems to forget that they are employees of the President, and if they do not carry out the bosses wishes, they are gone.

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    Replies
    1. I hope they will be gone. So far, she is still a State Department employee, drawing a paycheck for doing something in an office somewhere.
      I thought that the executive had enhanced powers to actually fire (not just remove from position) the top career civilians: the Senior Executive Service, Senior Foreign Service, etc. I guess I was wrong because she hasn't even been forced to retire.
      I think she's not trustworthy and should have her clearance pulled, permanently.

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  5. The Joint Chiefs and other flag officers, the State Department bureaucrats and the CIA all reject the authority of both the President and the Congress, and likely the Courts. They are a Praetorian Guard. For now they are content to control foreign policy. They each have their own, and they negotiate differences among themselves. However, someday they will tire of elections and appoint Congress and the President themselves. We're almost there.

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  6. I think that there is more than just Hunter Biden cashing in on Ukrainian payola. President Trump kicking over rocks in Ukraine makes a lot of people very nervous. Hence this phony impeachment. They will risk losing power in order to keep the president from messing up the payoffs.

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  7. Yes the dogs know the policies are set by...DiploWife ;)

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  8. Well, it was interesting watching Schitt all but out the fact that Vindman's mystery contact at NSA was actually the whistle blower.
    The only impeachment that happened today was Vindman's credibility.

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    Replies
    1. And we have been warned about the "military industrial complex" for 60 years. Looked in the wrong place. At least there is at least one uniformed agent involved.

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  9. Here is what bothers me, and perhaps Diplomad can address it; Lt. Col. Vindman (don't call him Mister) is a high ranking member of the NSC as well as a U.S. Army officer who is certainly privy to top secret information. He claims he was asked by the Ukrainians not once but three times to be their Defense Minister. That job indicates to me, if accepted, Vindman would be in charge of the entire Ukrainian military. Why would the Ukrainians ask such a thing of a man who is clearly in a high ranking position and the "need to know" category?

    The legacy press is canonizing Vindman for not taking the job. I want to know what it is about Vindman that the Ukrainians even thought he would be willing to take the job of Defense Minister.

    To me, this whole scenario smells like a dead rat. We know that Vindman was not trusted by others, that has been testified to. Also there is the whole "uniform" thing where he shows up in full dress uniform, the first time being escorted by four D.C. police officers when his actual job at the NSC shows him in civies.

    So Diplomad, if you can shed some light on the things I have mentioned, I would appreciate it. I can't find any previous example of a foreign nation ever having recruited an American to take an high ranking office in their government.

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  10. If Vindman were aleeper agent for either UKR or RU, what would he do different from hi bio? He has an exemplary bio for well placed deep cover agent. Just Saying.

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