Saturday, January 28, 2017


This was one of the article headlines in Thursday's Washington Post ...

The State Department’s entire senior administrative team just resigned

As far as I can remember, the last time something like this happened was during the McCarthy Era ...

Only then people working in the State Department were chased (some resigned) out of the South East Asia section because they were accused of having communist sympathies. The evidence? They "allowed" China to become communist (1949) on their watch. 

These accusations and suspicions encouraged Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) and his band of political hooligans to try and find "who lost China?" (ultimately, it was Chiang Kai-Shek who lost China). This led to the political with hunts we now associate with the McCarthy Era.

While the mass departures at the State Department in the 1950s is more complex than what I'm presenting here, know that the political vacuum it created had a significant impact on U.S. foreign policy years later. Specifically, when it came time to understand what was happening in Vietnam (then, French Indochina) we pretty much had short timers with no political pull, party hacks, and people who were pretty much afraid of their own shadow. The political hacks and cowed professionals didn't understand (or care to explain) that Ho Chi Min, who led a nationalist struggle against the Japanese during WWII, was an admirer of Thomas Jefferson and an ardent nationalist. 

The moral of the story to the headline above is a simple one: It's a big deal when the State Department loses professionals and experts who know the people, the cultures, and history of global hot spots. The impact of so many State Department experts - with a lifetime of world experiences - abandoning Donald Trump's sinking foreign policy ship will be felt well into the next generation.

With China now promoting free trade and globalization (as opposed to Trump's myopic economic nationalism), and with Russia pushing more disinformation in Europe (since it worked so well in the U.S.), in many ways we are witnessing the slow motion collapse of the American empire.

But, sure, let's all wear Chinese-made hats that say "Make America Great Again." Bumper sticker slogans that can be uttered mindlessly - and repeatedly - will show the world we mean business.  *cough, cough*

Welcome to political freak show America. 

Just know one thing: You're not going to enjoy the closing act.

- Mark 

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