New Op-ed: Democratic witnesses’ bad case of client-itis
Democratic witnesses' bad case of client-itis
The State Department has been a problem child ever since Alger Hiss.
Today, the State Department is populated not by crypto-communists but by a bunch of thin-skinned, passive-aggressive globalists with inflated self-importance, little self-awareness and a bad case of client-itis.
That’s what we've learned from the impeachment hearings.
In the latest installment, we met Marie Yovanavich the former ambassador to Ukraine.
She told us she suffers from hurt feelings because the president replaced her.
This is what some would call a luxury problem.
While she knew going in she could be replaced for any reason – she acknowledged that - we’re expected to feel sorry for her, in fact, be outraged, because she feels badly.
Sorry, but I expect the diplomats we send to the seamier parts of the world – and Ukraine certainly fits that bill – to have thicker skins.
Let’s put things in perspective.
Ambassador Yovanovitch says the night she was told she was being recalled to Washington she was awarding a posthumous prize to a Ukrainian anti-corruption activist murdered in an acid attack.
It shows a supreme lack of self-awareness for Yovanavich to put her travails in the same paragraph as someone who had acid thrown in their face. Talk about ruining your day.
A diplomat would say something along the lines of, “When I was told I was being recalled to Washington I was surprised and disappointed, but I realized I have nothing to complain about compared to Kateryna Handzyuk, who died after being doused with a liter of sulfuric acid.”
After all, Yovanovich remains employed by the State Department and is now also a professor at Georgetown University.
The premiere episode of the hearings gave us George Kent. He is some deputy assistant under secretary of questionable neckwear.
Kent spent much time telling us how he’s wonderful because he has an impressive Ancestry.com family tree. He deserves congratulations for identifying dead white males Democrats won't demonize for being dead white males.
Congratulations are also in order for revealing how American foreign policy has been operating on autopilot for decades.
Kent talked about “how we have defined our national interest broadly in Europe in the past 75 years,” a period which encompasses “the entirety of my foreign service career.”
He talked about the “rules-based international order” we created “after the carnage of World War II.”
He spoke as if Soviet tanks were still poised to drive through the Fulda Gap, cross the Rhine and seize Frankfurt.
Kent spoke as if nothing had changed in the past 75 years since the “creation of the rules-based international order ... after the carnage of World War II.”
One could not escape the feeling that if there weren’t a Russian threat, Kent would have to invent one because that’s been his expertise for the entirety of his foreign service career.
The old warhorse doesn’t want to be put out to pasture, so he invents or inflates a threat to justify his importance. That threat just so happens happens to be the Democrats favorite bogeyman these days, Russia.
Kent’s colleague, the charge d’affairs in Ukraine Bill Taylor, summed it up: “The whole notion of a rules-based order was being threatened by the Russians.”
We begin to see how personal interest and client-itis overlap.
Diplomats are supposed to represent America’s interests in far corners of the globe. Client-itis is the syndrome in which diplomats assigned to a country – their “client” - represent that country’s interest rather than America’s. It is endemic in the State Department.
Of course, every country would like heaps of money from U.S. taxpayers. The leaders of those countries are very good at concocting clever-sounding reasons why Washington should hand it over.
But it can be in the American diplomat’s interest too. Our ambassador to Fredonia would then be Washington’s plenipotentiary in a “frontline state” of “geostrategic importance” overseeing “important development projects,” rather than merely marking time in a forgotten backwater.
Imagine the frustration of someone who spent “the entirety of his foreign service career” on the front line of the Cold War, facing off against America’s nuclear-armed foe, the world’s fate in the balance.
He wakes up one day and finds he is in a forgotten backwater. What to do?
Convince your government – “the interagency” – that you are still as relevant as ever. As Bill Taylor said: “The Russians are violating all of the rules, treaties, understandings that they committed to that actually kept the peace in Europe for nearly 70 years.”
Never mind that the greatest threat to the U.S. today is not cirrhotic Russia but Red China.
But the diplomats remain obsessed with preserving a “rules-based international order” that is 70 years old.
This “rules-based international order” spawned the World Trade Organization, a religious-like devotion to free trade and has as an article of faith the conviction that Washington policy should be guided by what’s good for the global economy rather than what’s good for America.
The “rules-based international order” welcomed into its ranks a communist tyranny that doesn’t recognize private property (intellectual or otherwise), unalienable rights endowed by our Creator and other fundamental American values.
Beijing is now close to grabbing the steering wheel of “the rules-based international order” and is desperate to keep everyone on board.
Red China has allies in that effort in the apparatchiks of Foggy Bottom, a type we saw parading on television this week.
It was 71 years ago Alger Hiss was accused of working for the Soviet Union.
Today, one might ask many at the State Department if their loyalty is to America or the “rules-based international order” that has been responsible for destroying America’s middle class, economy and sovereignty.
One might also ask the State Department if it understands that President Trump, not “the interagency,” sets foreign policy.
-Curtis Ellis is Senior Policy Director for America First Policies.