Imagine, I’m sitting in the kitchen table at 0430…told you I don’t sleep…and on page eight of the New York Times is a top of the fold article decrying the demise of our State Department. I yawn, stretch, and go fetch another cup of coffee. Going to require caffeine to get through this bit of repetitive journalism.
I’m an admitted news junkie, for which there is no twelve-step program. NPR plays in my house all hours of the day and I subscribe to three newspapers…oh, make that four, I also get the local rag that publishes once a week…have to see if the neighbors have been arrested, lately. Shit, need to make sure I am not being sued for running a business out of my house. The locals will never tell you they have filed a lawsuit until the paperwork shows up on your doorstep.
Anyway, I’ve made it to page eight of the NYT and there it is, the latest “unbiased” lament concerning Trump and Tillerson’s assault on Foggy Bottom. You know, that bastion of wisdom on all things not American. The place where only “carefully,” “educated,” “cautious” foreign policy comes to life.
What bullshit. (Hey, after Trump’s explicative concerning Haiti and Nigeria “shit” is a standard bit of U.S. journalism. George Carlin would be proud…one of his best skits was the contention there were “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.” The words are: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. The only ones that still seem to catch attention are the f-word and c-word. And the latter is largely due to the poor behavior of a minority of American males…including the current President…but that’s a story for another day.)
Back to my thoughts on the State Department. Having worked for the folks at Foggy Bottom in various contract positions, I have some up-close and personal observations. Let’s start with the fact they do little but consume oxygen and needlessly expend taxpayer dollars.
The State Department does not dictate foreign policy. Don’t believe me? Go ask Colin Powell, or George Schultz, or Hillary Clinton. There is a reason Secretaries of State collect so many frequent-flyer miles. They have nothing better to do than ride about the skies being pampered by members of the United States Air Force. (Yes, the Secretary of State gets an official plane. Admittedly, not as nice as Air Force One, but it sure beats economy class.)
So, they jet off to foreign shores and solve the problem. Hmmm, let’s see. That pesky Middle East mess, still there…despite endless excursions from State Department “experts” over the last 60, yes, 60, years. Same thing is true of our relations with China, Latin America, Russia or elsewhere on the globe.
Diplomats don’t resolve problems…they just delay solutions…it’s called “job security” at the State Department. You want a problem solved, dial up the Pentagon. Seems the sword is a hell of a lot mightier than the pen. Just ask Saddam Hussein. Or perhaps you could catch Hitler or Mussolini’s latest email address. I understand they have thoughts on this subject. Suspect Manuel Noriega, Daniel Ortega and Fidel Castro could add interesting insights.
Because, lord knows, State did so much to solve our issues with Panama, Nicaragua, and Cuba.
Frankly, I don’t care if Tillerson has failed to fill half of the State Department political appointee positions or that at least 350 “foreign service officers” have quit in the last nine months. (I was an Air Force officer…never saw an “foreign service officer” armed or on the front line…they don’t deserve the title.) What I do like is the thinning of a rank that does nothing more than suckle at the taxpayers’ teat.
Fine, I’ll admit we need ambassadors to escort dignitaries and show up at imperial events. Hell, a full one-third of the current 168 U.S. ambassadors are already political appointees. Let’s make the rest a similar treat and then have the designated “honoree” pay their own way. The third that sit in those positions today won the “honor” by donating a wheelbarrow of cash to the current or previous Oval Office occupant’s campaign. They certainly can afford to cover their own expenses for a few years of unproductive fun in a foreign capital—might as well make that the case for all ambassador-level postings.
Enough of the State Department and its whining employees. Need a passport? There seems to be an excess of employees at the Department of Homeland Security. And they might be able to process the paperwork in less than six weeks…maybe.
Eric C Anderson
20 January 2018