Trump’s State Department Poses a Grave National Security Threat

It is a travesty that one man has swiftly tarnished America’s reputation on the world stage, but it is increasingly apparent that it is part of Trump’s plan to isolate America from the rest of the civilized world.

An integral element of Trump’s isolationism plan is dismantling the country’s ability to conduct foreign affairs with other nations without inciting new tensions or inflaming long-simmering hostilities. So it is little surprise that Trump’s oil industry CEO is actively dismantling the one agency tasked with “skillfully conducting relations with other nations” without arousing animosity or increasing enmity – the Department of State.

No sane human being could keep a straight face and say Donald Trump understands or embraces the concept of diplomacy, even on a rudimentary level. In fact, Trump is the embodiment of a rude and abrasive bully that makes enemies at the rate most people use a toilet. That lack of appreciation for the art of existing in a complex, and often antagonistic, world without being in a constant state of aggression epitomizes Donald Trump and belies his so-called “deal-making” acumen. It also explains why Rex Tillerson is purging the Department of State of highly-qualified career Foreign Service professionals that are one of the most valuable assets in keeping America safe, and the world from a perpetual state of war.

The New York Times reported late last week that long-serving diplomats are finally speaking out about Vladimir Putin’s love interest Rex Tillerson and the wholesale purge going on at the State Department. In an August Los Angeles Times article it was reported that “current and former State Department officials say it appears that one goal in the current reorganization is to reduce staff by attrition, what one critic called ‘death by a thousand cuts.’”

Apparently there is not a question of Tillerson’s motive in decimating the diplomatic positions en masse; “experts have been aware of Tillerson’s plot to destroy the State Department from the inside for months.”

For an idea how little Tillerson, as surrogate for Trump, thinks of America’s diplomats or their safety, it is worth noting how he disregards congressional legislation regarding how the Department functions. Despite Congress passing legislation in 2012 mandating that the top State Department security official have unrestricted access to Tillerson, he spent the first nine months in office refusing to meet with the State Department’s chief of security, Bill A. Miller. The New York Times reported that during those first nine months Tillerson turned down repeated, including urgent, requests from Miller and security staff to brief him according to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security officials.

The only way the top security guy, Mr. Miller, could be “allowed to speak to Mr. Tillerson” was after he forced the issue by citing the letter of the law and the requirement that he had to be given ‘unrestricted access’ to the country’s head diplomat, Tillerson. Miller was eventually “granted” just five minutes in Tillerson’s presence; despite the congressional mandate of “unrestricted access.”

Shortly thereafter, the career Foreign Service officer and chief of security was “pushed out” of the State Department. Mr. Miller joined a veritable parade of the State Department’s most senior diplomats as part of Tillerson’s “downsizing” effort. Instead of going quietly like Miller, other “departing” diplomats are making their sentiments, and concerns about the fate of the nation, a public issue. The diplomats speaking out may have had an impact on members of Congress who are raising their own questions about why Trump and Tillerson are “intentionally hollowing-out” the senior diplomatic ranks and “weakening” America on the global stage in the process.

Last week  the House Foreign Relations Committee issued a letter to Tillerson citingwhat they said was “the exodus of more than 100 senior Foreign Service officers from the State Department since January.” In the letter, Democrats expressed their concern about  “the intentional hollowing-out of our senior diplomatic ranks.” (author bold)

Members of the Senate also noticed that Tillerson was “deconstructing” America’s diplomatic corps at a time the nation can least afford to appear weakened or unwilling to discourse without using Twitter insults. In a bipartisan effort, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent Tillerson a letter similar to the House version expressing their concern. They warned the Putin-ally Tillerson that:

America’s diplomatic power is being weakened internally as complex global crises are growing externally.”

Most likely members of Congress are acutely aware that Trump has no intent in using America’s vanishing “diplomatic power” to deal with any international issues, much less “complex global crises;” he has a smart phone and a Twitter app.  Trump makes bizarre and offensive pronouncements and blatant threats as willingly as he pulls America out of international agreements; he has no use for diplomacy.

Tillerson has been on a dangerous  tear pushing senior diplomats out with no intent on replacing them since he assumed control; almost certainly under orders from Trump. In fact, about a month ago former Secretary of State, Republican Colin Powell warnedthe Trump administration that gutting the State Department posed a grave national security threat. Trump’s national security advisor told Mr. Powell the “purge” was because senior diplomats were “people who did not support the president’s agenda;” like conducting foreign policy matters through Twitter. Trump said at the time that he didn’t need diplomats because “I am the only one that matters.” He also said he wasn’t sure if he even needed Rex Tillerson; an ominous sign that an even more serious State Department purge could be in the offing.

Remember, in August Trump thanked his and Tillerson’s love interest Vladimir Putin for “cutting the diplomatic staff in Moscow” when he expelled 750 diplomats; Trump said they were not going to be replaced. It is also noteworthy that in keeping with Trump’s enmity towards women and minorities, disproportionate numbers of diplomats being “pushed out” are women and people of color. And Tillerson has not nominated anyone to fill any of the 34 top political positions still vacant at the State Department.

It is no secret that Trump’s intent for the government is dismantling as much of it as he can legally get away with; his various cabinet and agency appointees are sworn enemies of the departments they control. And despite how dangerous it is to suffer an administration openly dedicated to “deconstructing the administrative state,”  it is perilous beyond words to have a White House occupant directing his Secretary of State to deliberately destroy American “diplomatic power” from within.

It leaves one to ponder if Tillerson is, like Trump, doing Vladimir Putin’s bidding by reducing America’s diplomatic power, or if diplomatic solutions to  global issues are completely off the table in Trump’s America.  No matter what their motivation, Trump and Tillerson have transformed the State Department into a grave national security threat because according to Trump, he’s the only one that matters.