Daily Archives: April 7, 2017

Now we need diplomacy, but tRump’s been dismantling the State Department

Yesterday President 45 did a 180 on foreign policy, forgetting his previous strong position against military intervention in the Syrian civil war by authorizing missile strikes on a Syrian government military air base.

Today an op-ed in the NY Times commented on the need for diplomatic follow-up:

The real test for Mr. Trump is what comes next. He has shown a total lack of interest in working to end Syria’s civil war. Now, the administration has leverage it should test with the Assad regime and Russia to restrain Syria’s air force, stop any use of chemical or biological weapons, implement an effective cease-fire in Syria’s civil war and even move toward a negotiated transition of power — goals that eluded the Obama administration.

At the same time, it must prevent or mitigate the possible unintended consequences of using force, including complicating the military campaign against the Islamic State. All this will require something in which the administration has shown little interest: smart diplomacy.

What is easy to lose track of in the midst of this round of war frenzy is the the president stripped the State Department of many layers of expertise, leaving our country ill equipped to pursue diplomatic options, with additional budget cuts of close to one-third proposed by the tRump budget.

From a recent article in Government Executive magazine:

A situation in which Washington’s cherry blossoms are in bloom, yet all top positions surrounding the secretary of State are vacant, is a sign that “the White House has completely mismanaged this transition.”

So said Nicholas Burns, a veteran Foreign Service officer who held high State Department positions in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, in an interview with Government Executive.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a transition event since World War I when it was nearly April and you have no deputy secretary of State named, no undersecretaries, no assistant secretaries–the entire leadership roster is vacant,” he said. “It’s extraordinary, and it’s unfair” to Secretary Rex Tillerson, whose nomination Burns supported.

The president is likely to look for someone else to blame when things start going from bad to worse due to the dismantling of our diplomatic infrastructure, but he has no one but himself to blame. Well, maybe Bannon.

Feline Friday: Happiness is a mid-day snack

Duke Yes, it’s another Feline Friday. To start it off, here’s a candid photo of Duke taken last weekend. In this case, the picture is worth 1,000 words. While our other cats are largely snackers–they eat a bit, take a break, and return to eat more later–Duke methodically works his way through the available dishes of food. Sometimes I have to pick up the excess food and save it for the others when they’re hungry again. At other times, when there aren’t that many leftovers, I let Duke do the cleanup. As you can see, he does a very good job!

As I recall, this photo was taken mid-day. We had opened a can of chicken to make sandwiches for lunch, and I saved enough to give a treat to each of the cats. The other cats had their snack and moved on. Duke persisted, and was pleased with himself.

And, yes, we’re still in Portland. Meda’s conference runs through tomorrow. But don’t worry, I came prepared with the photos for Feline Friday!

–> Click here to see all of this week’s Lind family felines!