Trump Administration staying safely away from the 'slippery slope' of peace
If there is one thing that scares Washington more than anything else is an uncontrolled outbreak of peace.
A declaration to end the 1950-53 Korea War could be a “slippery slope” to questioning the need for the U.S. troop presence in South Korea, the deputy head of the U.N. Command overseeing the Korean armistice said on Friday, ahead of new talks between Washington and Pyongyang.
“You have to question why North Korea is pushing so hard for that end-of-war declaration,” he told an event at Washington’s Carnegie Institute for International Peace.
Why, oh why, would anyone want an end to war? It boggles the mind.
“So what could an end-of-war declaration mean? Even if there is no legal basis for it, emotionally people would start to question the presence and the continued existence of the United Nations Command,” he said.
“And it’s a slippery slope then to question the presence of U.S. forces on the peninsula.”
It is indeed a slippery slope that leads to all sorts of dangerous stuff, like an end to an unsustainable empire and more global happiness. I shudder at the thought.
All of this scary peace stuff is being pushed through by our ally South Korea, and US Secretary of State Pompeo is not happy about it one bit.
The US Secretary of State expressed “discontent” with peaceful negotiations between North and South Korea, which signed a military pact during last month’s summit without consulting him.
...One wonders how Korean leaders are supposed to negotiate, given that it was Trump who canceled Pompeo’s scheduled North Korean visit in August, pointing to a lack of progress.
So we refuse to show up to the talks, hoping that will derail the peace talks. The Koreas have the talks anyway, and they come to new agreements without getting our approval beforehand.
And what a coincidence! The peace talks suddenly had a burst of progress when we don't attend them. Curious.
The Trump Administration isn't just not interested in peace. It isn't even interested in talking, period.
Proof of this was on display yesterday.
Matt Lee, a diplomatic reporter for The Associated Press, first asked Palladino whether he could name the American ambassadors in Riyadh and Ankara. When Palladino said he "didn't have that in front of me right now," Lee pressed him.
"The answer is that you don't have an ambassador in either place, right?" Lee asked.
Palladino sidestepped the question, instead insisting that the department has senior career diplomats in both countries. So Lee asked him to name the people who have been nominated to fill the empty ambassadorships.
"Who has been nominated to be the new ambassador to Turkey, and who has been nominated to be the new ambassador to Saudi Arabia? Who are the nominees who are awaiting Senate movement?"
Palladino responded that he didn't know.
"Matt, I don't have that in front of me right now. And — but let me just say these are senior Foreign Service officers that have had full careers, and we're confident in our team's ability," he said.
When Lee tried to ask another question, Palladino cut him off, turning to Fox News for the last question of the briefing.
"Let's go to Fox," he said.
Yes, let's go to Fox for a softball question. Let's ignore the fact that no one has even been nominated for either job of American ambassadors to Turkey or Saudi Arabia.
This is not an unusual situation in the Trump Administration.
In total, 56 countries have no US ambassadors—with vacancies in key places like Mexico, Pakistan, Egypt, Qatar, the UAE, and South Africa.
There is no ambassador even nominated at 25 embassies.
Does anyone remember how the State Department warned against the Trump Administration right before he took office? 60% of the State Departments’ top-ranking career diplomats left under Tillerson, and application for the foreign services dropped by 50%.
It's kind of hard to "lead the free world" when there is no one to talk to. I mean that literally.
“We want to know to whom should we talk,” said one South American diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity because the diplomat was not authorized to publicly discuss U.S. policy. “First, you cut everyone at the State Department. Now, after a year of getting to know people at the White House, you’re changing everything again.”
“I can point you to a half-dozen Latin American ambassadors here in Washington with whom I routinely speak who all, using the great Yiddish word, kvetch, tell me there is no one to talk to at State,” said Feeley, a career member of the foreign service who served as ambassador to Panama until March.
...In fact, of 716 “key positions” requiring Senate confirmation, 157 have no nominee and 187 have been nominated, but not confirmed
It's impossible to talk peace if there is no one to talk to.