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jerryking : u.s._state_department   8

Opinion | Mike Pompeo: Last in His Class at West Point in Integrity
Nov. 18, 2019 | The New York Times | By Thomas L. Friedman

....Pompeo has just violated one of the cardinal rules of American military ethics and command: You look out for your soldiers, you don’t leave your wounded on the battlefield and you certainly don’t stand mute when you know a junior officer is being railroaded by a more senior commander, if not outright shot in her back.........Pompeo instead let his ambassador to Ukraine — who depended on him for protection — be stabbed in her back with a Twitter knife, wielded by the president, rather than tell Trump: “Sorry, Mr. President, if you fire her, I will resign. Because to do otherwise would be unjust and against my values and character — and because I would lose the loyalty of all my diplomats if I silently went along with such a travesty of justice against a distinguished 33-year veteran of the foreign service.”............“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, but lose his soul?” — Mark 8:36......As two now retired, longtime State Department diplomats, Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky, wrote on CNN.com on Saturday, “At the very least, Pompeo enabled the smear campaign to go unchallenged, acquiesced in the Giuliani back-channel effort with Ukraine and failed to say a word in defense of Bill Taylor, George Kent or Marie Yovanovitch. These are breathtaking acts of craven political cowardice and beneath the dignity of any secretary of state.”

Mike Pompeo: Last in his class at West Point on ethics in leadership.........Reporters and columnists need to ask Pompeo every chance they get: “What moral code are you operating by that would justify such behavior?’’.....it’s now clear that Pompeo had not taken an oath to defend and protect the Constitution. He took an oath to defend and protect Donald J. Trump and Pompeo’s own future political career — above all else — and that’s exactly what he’s been doing. Shame on him.
character_traits  conspiracies  cowardice  diplomacy  disinformation  Donald_Trump  ethics  integrity  leadership  Michael_Pompeo  moral_codes  political_expediency  scriptures  Tom_Friedman  Ukraine  U.S._State_Department  U.S.foreign_policy  values  West_Point 
november 2019 by jerryking
The U.S. is sinking. Maybe it's time for Canada to jump ship.
Oct 30, 2019 | Macleans.ca | by Scott Gilmore.

Things are not going well for American foreign policy. At the geopolitical level, tectonic shifts in world power are leading to a relative decline in American dominance.......Institutionally, the U.S. State Department is in utter disarray......Donald Trump is steering from one collision to another.....we can speculate whether the U.S. decline is an inevitable result of historical political and demographic trends. Or whether it's entirely due to Donald Trump.....whether incompetence or fate, there is no question the American ship of state is leaking badly. The question we should now be asking ourselves, as Canadians, is whether we should help bail or build our own raft.....The instinctive answer is to grab a bucket......In the halls of Global Affairs Canada, the orthodoxy is that we sink or swim with Washington, and therefore, when the Trump circus finally leaves town, we should undoubtedly be there to help rebuild American prestige and influence wherever we can.

But—what if we didn’t? What if we simply boarded our own raft, or paddled over to another ally? What if we decided to “Trump-proof” Canada? What if we consciously and ambitiously began to build a new foreign policy alignment in anticipation of the next American wreck?.....Who else supports human rights, a rules-based international system and strong Western institutions like NATO? The obvious answer is the EU......we are far more likely to achieve our common goals of multilateralism and the rule of law if we join forces more closely. As Canada’s diplomats begin to brief Canada’s next government on the menu of foreign policy options, it would be nice to think that there is a tiny footnote that points out this one small but true idea—when it comes to Washington, there are other options.
America_in_Decline?  Canada  Canadian  crossborder  beyondtheU.S.  Donald_Trump  EU  foreign_policy  generating_strategic_options  geopolitics  Global_Affairs_Canada  imperial_overstretch  international_system  middle-powers  multilateralism  retreats  rules-based  rule_of_law  Scott_Gilmore  seismic_shifts  Trump-proofing  U.S.foreign_policy  U.S._State_Department  Washington_D.C. 
november 2019 by jerryking
Susan Rice Recounts Making Policy at the Highest Levels
Oct. 10, 2019 | The New York Times | By Abby D. Phillip.

TOUGH LOVE
My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For
By Susan Rice
Illustrated. 531 pp. Simon & Schuster. $30.

Tough Love is Susan Rice's memoir. Susan Rice doesn't allow herself to be defined by the events of September 2012 in Benghazi, Libya, after which she was demonized by the right-wingers in the U.S. ....Rice’s personal story is rooted partly in slavery in America and partly in economic migration to the United States.....Rice benefitted from privilege that gave her access to well-heeled private schooling, elite advanced degrees (i.e. Stanford University, and later was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford) and membership in the even more elite Washington society. Rice’s unflagging work ethic and drive stems from her family's belief that, "The only constraints we faced were our own ambition, effort and skill.” ......Early in her career at the National Security Council, Rice navigated some of the most difficult foreign policy challenges the country has faced in recent history, and in a pattern that continued into the Obama years her fate seemed constantly intertwined with Africa. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda provided an object lesson in the moral failures of inaction. Later, she dealt with another major crisis that would reverberate later in her career. The 1998 Nairobi embassy and Dar es Salaam embassy bombings.
Rice is clinical in her retelling of the foreign policy decisions of the Clinton and Obama administrations. And there is no attempt to neatly sew together an overarching narrative about her approach to foreign policy challenges based on her years of experience in government. In fact, that may be the lesson of her tale of “tough love.” Public policy, Rice argues, is pragmatic, and sometimes a little dark: “We did fail, we will fail. Our aim must be to minimize the frequency and the price of failure.”.....Rice's “assertiveness and relentlessness” has cost her reputation within the State Department as a difficult boss. Rice has considered--and ruled out--pursuit of elected office, preferring the comfort of policy-focused, behind-the-scenes roles.
African-Americans  APNSA  assertiveness  Benghazi  books  book_reviews  cost_of_inaction  failure  memoirs  NSC  Obama  policymaking  public_policy  relentlessness  Rhodes  Stanford  Susan_Rice  tough_love  U.S.foreign_policy  U.S._State_Department  women  work_ethic 
october 2019 by jerryking
Hillary Clinton’s Diplomatic Legacy
February 11, 2013 | The New Yorker | by George Packer.

The criticism that there is no encompassing “Obama doctrine” misses the point. Geopolitics today is too complex, messy, and various to be bent to America’s will by an overarching doctrine like containment, or a massive initiative like the Marshall Plan, or a single breakthrough like Nixon’s trip to China. A doctrine was what put the country in a deep hole; climbing out required restraint, flexibility, and opportunism. A first-term Secretary of State with one grand strategic vision wouldn’t have matched the demands of the moment, which called for a fox, not a hedgehog....The standard debates in American foreign policy—realism vs. idealism, heavy footprint vs. light footprint—don’t get to the heart of the problem with Obama’s foreign policy. It’s not that diplomatic engagement is the wrong approach; it’s just that the President’s first four years have given us the idea of diplomacy more than the thing itself. In a forthcoming book, “The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat,” Vali Nasr, a former adviser under Hillary Clinton and the late Richard Holbrooke, argues that, from North Africa to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the White House has relied too much on the military and the C.I.A. (mainly in the form of drones) to guide policy: “These agencies’ solutions were not, and could never be, a substitute for the type of patient, long-range, credible diplomacy that garners the respect of our allies and their support when we need it.” In Nasr’s view, a White House that feared being called soft and wanted to keep intractable foreign entanglements out of the news turned to Clinton only after things had fallen apart, as in Pakistan at the end of 2011, when she moved to repair a relationship that had degenerated into outright antagonism.

Obama and Clinton wanted to “pivot” away from the Middle East, toward the Pacific, but a bloody hand keeps reaching out to pull America back.
George_Packer  George_Marshall  U.S.foreign_policy  legacies  diplomacy  Middle_East  Mideast_Peace  Obama  Hillary_Clinton  geopolitics  Pakistan  complexity  messiness  restraint  flexibility  opportunism  U.S._State_Department  grand_strategy  Vali_Nasr  CIA  drones  Marshall_Plan  foxes  hedgehogs  long-range  books 
february 2013 by jerryking
The Sunshine Warrior - NYTimes.com
By BILL KELLER September 22, 2002

His inclination to act derives, too, from his analytical style, a residue, perhaps, of the mathematician he started out to be. In almost any discussion, he tends to be the one focusing on the most often overlooked variable in decision making, the cost of not acting. ....the tensions between State and Defense are rooted in starkly different views of how America should deal with the world. The State Department tends to see the world as a set of problems to be handled, using the tools of professional diplomacy and striving for international consensus. This Defense Department tends to define leadership as more (in the Pentagon's favorite buzzword of the moment) ''forward leaning,'' including a willingness to act unilaterally if need be and to employ muscle. Rumsfeld and Cheney, who have been friends since the Nixon administration, are visceral advocates of this more assertive view, but Wolfowitz is its theorist -- its Kissinger, as one admirer put it. ...Dennis Ross went to work for Wolfowitz shortly after writing a paper trashing the work of Team B. ''What I always found in him that separated him from everybody else on that side of the political spectrum is not that he didn't have predispositions, but that he was much more open, much more intellectually open, to different kinds of interpretations,'' Ross says....''In the end, it has to come down to a careful weighing of things we can't know with precision, the costs of action versus the costs of inaction, the costs of action now versus the costs of action later.''
U.S._military  leadership  leadership_development  U.S._Army  military_academies  red_teams  Dennis_Ross  Paul_Wolfowitz  cost_of_inaction  Pentagon  U.S._State_Department  diplomacy  consensus  interpretation 
may 2012 by jerryking
Hezbollah as 'a hot cell for innovation'Why our intentions 'don't just fail, they backfire'
Apr 19, 2009 | Toronto Star | Lynda Hurst.

we're still using anachronistic ideas to hold together a global order that no longer exists. A revolution is in progress where the unthinkable all too readily becomes the inevitable.

The result? More – and more dangerous – reversals of intent and outcome.

"What's happening today is that our intentions don't just fail, they backfire on us," says the Beijing-based geo-strategy analyst. "We deliver the opposite of what we intend because we so misunderstand the way the system now works."

The "war on terrorism" creates even more terrorists. The attempt to build a risk-proof financial system produces more risks than anyone is able to foresee. The bid to spread capitalism across the globe widens the chasm between rich and poor. The effort to contain nuclear proliferation leads to rogue states such as North Korea and Iran playing gimme-gimme games (or maybe not) with the final option.

Think Mikhail Gorbachev setting out only to reform the Soviet Union, but instead triggering its downfall, which in turn leads the U.S. to conclude its values have won the Cold War. Not so, Ramo says. Or George W. Bush reckoning he can inject democracy into Iraq and, presto, out comes peace: "Absurd in the extreme."

The new rules are
still being formed. They will be based on one central premise: countless
variations in the scheme of things will continue to occur at warp
speed, and adapting to them equally as quickly will be crucial. The
unpredictable demands of constant newness can immobilize institutions,
however, not just individuals. It can blind them to unsprung traps,
freeze once-honed navigation skills. The structure of the U.S. State
Department has barely changed since the end of World War II.

Governments can't prepare for everything in the future, but they can
build resilience into their systems. Real power will be the ability to
come back strong after an unexpected shock. That will mean persistently
assessing the big picture, not just its component pieces.
new_normal  uncertainty  Joshua_Cooper_Ramo  geopolitics  unpredictability  resilience  21st._century  adaptability  managing_uncertainty  Hezbollah  unintended_consequences  unexpected  political_power  accelerated_lifecycles  U.S._State_Department  immobilize  paralyze  constant_change  revenge_effects  rogue_actors  unthinkable  misunderstandings  Cambrian_explosion  iterations  Octothorpe_Software  Mikhail_Gorbachev  the_big_picture  warp_speed  financial_system 
may 2009 by jerryking

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