March 13, 2018

"State Department staffers who talked to The Daily Beast described the secretary of state’s downfall as a liberation..."

"... even as they grimly recognized that recent history, literal and metaphorical, suggests that what follows liberation is chaos and occupation."
While career State Department officials have a highly difficult relationship with the president, whose approaches on everything from refugees to Russia to race relations have prompted a wave of diplomatic departures, they are in lockstep with Trump over hating Tillerson – though for much different reasons....

50 comments:

zipity said...

That's because that department belongs to THEM.

Not the American people, and certainly not Trump.

D. B. Light said...

A lot of careerists at State identify more closely with their opposite numbers than for their principals, and more with their agency than for the government they serve. They should go.

D. B. Light said...

"with" not "for"

Darrell said...

Being Left should be grounds for unconditional dismissal in the US of A.

mccullough said...

No one cares what career diplomats think. They suck at their jobs

tim in vermont said...

They were much happier with Hillary, who carried out her office in the time honored manner of Tallyrand, demanding bribes for meetings.

XYZ Affair

Darrell said...

Thinking Hillary was great during her time as SOS should also be grounds for immediate dismissal.

Bob Boyd said...

The word that came to my mind reading this article was precious. They sound very precious there at State.

Rick said...

We're the only country in the world whose negotiators understand their job as penalizing their own country as much as possible.

Sally327 said...

I wonder if Rex suffered from the Colin Powell disease, wanting to maintain his credibility with the "establishment" while still enjoying the power and privilege of being Secretary of State in the "selected not elected" Presidency of George W., except Tillerson doesn't have the knife fighting skills that Powell had or the pre-existing reputation with Washington insiders that Powell had.

tim in vermont said...

If you go about 25 miles west of Mar a Lago, you will find people that ride swamp buggies with high platforms ideal for hunting swamp creatures. A few of those let free in the State Department might help out... (metaphorically, of course.)

dreams said...

State dept., I think they're a bunch of liberal Democrats, enough said.

tim in vermont said...

Foggy Bottom, sounds like a perfect place for one of those swamp buggies! Missed one there.

Bob Boyd said...

"They should go."

Where would they go? Where in the world would these people go? What would they do?

buwaya said...

" in the time honored manner of Tallyrand, "

Tallyrand, at least, broke with his master Napoleon as even he could not stomach the duplicity of Napoleon's Spanish policy - and he correctly predicted its bad end.

Granted, he took it as an occasion to take even more foreign bribes and betray France along with Napoleon.

You can push a corrupt man beyond his limits, but that does not mean he then discovers virtue.

EDH said...

“While Pompeo gives reason for pause, one can have reasonable confidence he won’t sideline the expertise of the building in favor of a handful of ill-equipped ‘advisers’ with limited experience and a disdain for career professionals,” this official continued.

Even members of the deep state views themselves as cells in an organism.

Chuck said...

Althouse I think you are going to need to make a conscious decision on whether to ridicule Rex Tillerson, or make him out to be a tough-minded reformer of Foggy Bottom.

In TrumpWorld, once you have personally insulted the God-King and disagreed with Him about a discrete factual matter, you are nothing. Less than nothing. You are in line for a Trumpian nickname. A non-person.

So my friendly advice is to just go for the stories that make out Rex Tillerson to be a total incompetent. I dunno; maybe that's what you are doing here.

I see Tillerson as a guy who has a net worth of $300 million or so, and a membership at Augusta National, and what more could anybody possibly want? I expect that Tillerson doesn't want, and certainly doesn't need, a book deal. That is the oh-so-good news to TrumpWorld.

buwaya said...

"one can have reasonable confidence he won’t sideline the expertise of the building in favor of a handful of ill-equipped ‘advisers’ with limited experience and a disdain for career professionals,”

I don't see why this fellow is so certain about the policy direction of Pompeo.

Kathryn51 said...

Tillerson was widely loathed for his deep budget cuts; an institutional realignment that many diplomats felt came at their expense; and an inner circle that longtime officials considered to hoard information to the point of insulating Tillerson from the concerns they had about the direction of U.S. foreign policy.

Haha - and they think Pompeo will be better? Or that they can somehow reverse the realignments? Pompeo understands The Swamp (unlike Tillerson) and he knows how to turn the screw, so to speak. Can't wait.

buwaya said...

"So my friendly advice is to just go for the stories that make out Rex Tillerson to be a total incompetent."

You can have a difference of opinion without either party being incompetent. Statecraft is not a science, let alone engineering.

Churchill disagreed profoundly with aspects of Allied strategy 1943-45, and God knows any number of people disagreed with many of Churchill's decisions, lots of which proved to be wrong, and costly. It would however be difficult to call Churchill incompetent.

There are often conflicts between such men, often carried out, with rancor, in their memoirs. I think it was Viscount Slim who said "generals, like poets, are an angry race".

buwaya said...

"Pompeo understands The Swamp (unlike Tillerson) "

I don't see why Tillerson didn't understand the swamp. I don't think this is correct. He dealt with the swamp for decades.

Sebastian said...

"whose approaches on everything from refugees to Russia to race relations have prompted a wave of diplomatic departures."

OK, I get that they don't like extreme vetting of refugees they'd prefer to come flooding in. But what's not to like about the Russia policy? Trump reset the reset--arming Ukraine, killing Russians in Syria, reconnecting with Eastern Europe, boosting defense. Is Foggy Bottom still stuck on Hill in '09?

And what is Trump's "approach to race relations"?

mccullough said...

Rex can bump Colin Powell from the paid speaker circuit now.

Jack Wayne said...

Being the SofS of the world’s largest Paper Tiger/Empire is not an easy job. Most of our Presidents and SofS’s in my memory are pretty bad at it. Plus, Tillerson’s background was not conducive to the type of SofS that Trump wants. Tillerson is a guy that’s used to finding oil and then bribing States to give him the concession at a reasonable price. My reaction when Trump appointed him was Wut? He’s no worse than Kerry and the others. But it seemed a mismatch to me.

tim in vermont said...

And what is Trump's "approach to race relations"?

Well, it’s more the way that it’s described. They don’t like that people call Trump a racist, whether he is one or not. His policy of increasing employment opportunities for American citizens of all colors is obviously retrograde.

Drago said...

Bob Boyd: "Where would they go? Where in the world would these people go? What would they do?"

There are lots and lots of brand new Soros funded shadow govt groups that would be happy to adopt these bureacracy orphans.

And then those folks would be free to supply LLR Chuck with new talking points everyday!

Drago said...

In Chuckworld, once you have personally insulted the God-King Durbin or Blumenthal and disagreed with Them about a discrete factual matter, you are nothing.

FIFY

Beldar said...

When Rex Tillerson agreed to be Trump’s Secretary of State, I am certain that Tillerson had an absolutely accurate assessment of Trump. It was surely clear to Tillerson before he took the job that Trump is, indeed, a moron, a serial and shameless liar and oath-breaker, a chaos agent, a man-baby whose every action is explained by narcissism. Accepting any subordinate role to such a principal is almost assuredly going to end badly for the subordinate. Today was always foreordained.

So why would Tillerson, the CEO of one of the world’s premiere businesses, jump on that hand grenade?

The obvious answer, consistent with his entire life history (of which I know quite a bit through close mutual friends and family), is:

Duty.

He kept us out of war for an entire year of a Donald Trump presidency — at least, any new wars. If you’d asked me a year ago, I’d say that was a pretty fine goal all on its own for anyone taking that job under this POTUS.

He executed a cut-throat downsizing of the Department of State, which won him very public and fierce opposition from the bloated career bureaucracy at Foggy Bottom — which is to say, he was a point man for Trump’s “drain the swamp” promise at that particular executive agency.

Tillerson is a serious man, an accomplished man respected in both business and political circles, and his selection as part of Trump’s initial cabinet was serious international and political business that gave the Trump Administration credibility early on. Almost his entire service to the POTUS and the nation was undertaken behind closed doors, and without his taking any personal credit whatsoever. Yet even from what was apparent to the public — the stage-managed kabuki shows that comprise most of international diplomacy’s public face, which only partly corresponds with actual diplomacy — he was nothing remotely like, and a vast improvement over, the international embarrassment to this country and its reputation as were his two immediate predecessors, John F’in Kerry and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Rex Tillerson took the job in the hope that whatever good he could do to the country, during whatever interim he had before Cadet Captain Bonespur inevitably had some random-@ss hissy fit and fired him, would be worth the inevitable humiliation of being mistreated by this sad, disgusting, and categorically unfit individual whom fortunes have made the 45th POTUS. For that, I’m grateful to him, and I salute Rex Tillerson.

chuck said...

> You are in line for a Trumpian nickname.

"Sleepy-eyed son of a bitch", was a classic, a nickname of truth and beauty. If Trump can come up with more like that it is worth anyone's job.

Sebastian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

"a chaos agent, a man-baby whose every action is explained by narcissism." I thought single-factor theories went out of fashion a while ago. Of course, Trump is a clown. But the clown has governed differently than most of us expected--some chaos, some progress. Narcissism is a given; the question is how it is channeled.

"The obvious answer, Duty." Perhaps. I don't know the guy. I would have guessed power and prestige.

"He kept us out of war for an entire year of a Donald Trump presidency — at least, any new wars." Trump gave a green light to war on ISIS, which brought the US farther into war--successfully. He also OKed more aggressive action in Syria--so far, so good though I have my own misgivings. He ramped up pressure on North Korea--some results, long-term outcome uncertain of course. Since there no indications that Trump wanted to "go to war" anywhere, and his election spiel was to stay out of unnecessary neocon wars of choice, Tillerson did not "keep us out of war."

"He executed a cut-throat downsizing of the Department of State." Yes, he seems to have made a good start. The gnashing of teeth now shows there is a still a ways to go.

"Tillerson is a serious man, an accomplished man respected in both business and political circles." Certainly an accomplished business man. But how "respected" is he? I thought Dems hated an friend of Vlad.

"undertaken behind closed doors, and without his taking any personal credit whatsoever" But he did insult the boss in a semi-public way. I understand, but given the "absolutely accurate assessment" he supposedly made beforehand, he should also have decided to keep his mouth shut on anything but policy

iowan2 said...

Is the SOS Job for the life of the administration? Christ, these are all adults and the end of their very successful careers. I am sure all of these men have been kicked in the balls for real, and weathered the storm. I am at a total loss about why Tillerson being fired a big deal. He disagreed with the President. What did he think was going to happen? Shame the President into changing his mind? Trick the President into doing it Tillerson's way? Hold his breath until President Trump saw the truth according to Tillerson?
This is hardly worth any of ink spilled on it. Oh except to use the occasion as a proxy to prove the President is icky, and mean.

Matthew Sablan said...

... Huh. I didn't think Trump would have pro-Trump leaks ready to go.

Because I didn't think there would BE any pro-Trump leaks.

iowan2 said...

BTW, Tillerson was only appointed because the Oil Tycoon was Putin's choice. That was one of the many markers used to prove collusion. And by extension, firing Tillerson proves Russian collusion, because leftist logic.

The Godfather said...

Just think how different things would have been if Tillerson had created the Rex and Renda Tillerson Foundation, and spent his time as Secretary scoring "voluntary" contributions to the Foundation from foreign leaders and business interests. Renda could have had a lucrative career as a public speaker at $500,000 or so per talk. He wouldn't have had to care about whether the President's policies were good or bad anymore than . . . a previous Secretary of State did.

Michael K said...

Keep em going.

It was surely clear to Tillerson before he took the job that Trump is, indeed, a moron, a serial and shameless liar and oath-breaker

Beldar, isn't Patterico missing you ?

steve uhr said...

The career employees at State deserve better than Hillary, Donald, and Rex. Donald decides to meet with the NK leader and has no interest in hearing from non-partisan people who have spent decades studying the region. Trump hasn't even appointed an ambassador to SK. But he can do no wrong so everything will end well. Or not.

Drago said...

steve uhr: "The career employees at State deserve better than Hillary, Donald, and Rex."

LOL

I must have missed that clause in the constitution.

Uhr: "Donald decides to meet with the NK leader and has no interest in hearing from non-partisan people who have spent decades studying the region."

The "non-partisan" people who spied on domestic political opponents and weaponized sensitive intelligence information to de-legitimize a candidate, a President-Elect and a President.

Perhaps the East German Constitution is more "your bag, baby".

mccullough said...

Who cares if Trump is a serial liar, etc.

Washington and Jefferson owned slaves. The only thing that matters is if you can get the job done. Most of our presidents didn’t. They are like the quarterbacks of the Bears.

FDR was effective as hell during WW2. Reagan was very effective. W was a terrible. So was Obama. Clinton’s presidency was completely inconsequential. Harding was more important.

If Trump pulls off something with North Korea and black unemployment keeps improving, then he’ll be a great president.

No one gives a shit if the San Francisco Warriors don’t want to visit the White House or if Rex Tillerson’s pride is hurt. He was a fucking oil guy. Dime a dozen. He didn’t start Exxon. Mattis is an impressive guy. Tillerson’s “duty” was to make profits for a bunch of oil stockholders. He did a good job at it. Just like Mitt Romney did a good job making money for his investors.

But these guys don’t matter. They aren’t important. And they are such crybabies when they find out what the rest of us knew. No one gives a shit about them except their families. Just because the people who worked for them kissed their asses doesn’t make them anything.

Rex Tillerson is not half as smart as Trump. Neither is Romney.

They are just figuring this out now

rcocean said...

Hopefully the Left-wing shits who hated Tillerson, will hate the new SoS even more.

The problem is there so much noise from the "hate Trump" MSM noise machine, we don't know why Trump REALLY fired Tillerson

I'm assuming, based on what I've read, that Tillerson and Trump just didn't see eye to eye on a lot of issues and Trump just got tired of dragging a reluctant SoS along with him.

Bob Loblaw said...

Tillerson was widely loathed for his deep budget cuts; an institutional realignment that many diplomats felt came at their expense...

These people genuinely think the department is beholden to nobody, least of all the people or our elected executive.

mccullough said...

Government is not a jobs program.

Good on Rex for driving that point home

bagoh20 said...

"In TrumpWorld, once you have personally insulted the God-King and disagreed with Him about a discrete factual matter, you are nothing. "

Does anyone remember any open dissent in the Obama administration. Me neither. That's probably because he was of undeniable perfection. Certainly not becuase they feared for their position or the political fallout of disagreeing with the lightworker.

Even being in the opposition party and opposing him would get you labeled a racist. Insulting Trump will get you awards - maybe an Oscar, or a Nobel.

Ray said...

Gut feeling is Tillerson was the right person a year ago, has helped a huge amount, and it’s time for a new person.

Reminds me of Trumps campaign managers. Each helped build to the next level.

State is a mess, and needs a lot more cleaning. My guess is Tillerson’s progress on cleaning the Aegean stables at state stalled.

Achilles said...

Beldar said...
When Rex Tillerson agreed to be Trump’s Secretary of State, I am certain that Tillerson had an absolutely accurate assessment of Trump. ....

I used to think Beldar was intelligent.

Poor Beldar.

I am sure Beldar can tell us why Trump is wrong about NKorea, the Iran Deal, and other notable issues and why Tillerson is right. Not snickering at all here.

A bunch of people kept doing the same stupid things, failing, and calling themselves smart. We see you people for what you are now.

Nothing is more pathetic right now than a "conservative" #nevertrumper.

Bad Lieutenant said...


steve uhr said...
The career employees at State deserve
to be hanged with piano wire from meathooks.

FIFY

John Lynch said...

I didn't mind the crying from State. They always did their best to undermine every Republican administration since I was born. Whatever your party, when the civil service refuses to serve one side, that's dishonest.

When you have an organization that is so thoroughly uncooperative, what are the options? You can win them over (impossible with Trump as President) or purge.

Michael K said...

"no interest in hearing from non-partisan people who have spent decades studying the region"

The same ones who gave us a nuclear NK.

Have have to be kidding.

Birkel said...

Everybody who complains of chaos must imagine, in no particular order, one of a few limited scenarios:

1) The Swamp would self-drain. Patently stupid.
2) The Swamp would allow itself to be drained. Patently stupid.
3) The Swamp can continue as it had. Possible but with increasingly poor outcomes.
4) The Swamp doesn't exist. Absurd.
5) The Swamp would prove itself the better of the President from an institutional perspective. Possible but descending into wildly dangerous territory.

There are others and I cannot imagine many good, easy, non-chaotic possibilities.

The disease was allowed to fester. Removing it was never going to be easy. And what's worse, it was always going to be actively resisted by those who stand to profit by the status quo.

Birkel said...

Put another way:
The benefits of a smaller centralized government are diffuse. The costs are acute to those insiders. In that environment, typically, the squeaky wheel gets the grease so those who stand to lose make a lot of noise.

Systems that might even have been useful are now bankrupt. They serve little purpose except to those inside the system. Therefore, they are defended vigorously.

This analysis pertains to any organization not disciplined from without, as businesses are when not protected by the state.