This is how diplomacy is dying! - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

This is how diplomacy is dying!

The smoke clouds over the decision to suspend visa services for our citizens made by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara have not yet dispersed. If we look at the statement made by the U.S. Department of State spokesperson, the decision made with the coordination of the “Department of State,” the “White House” and the “National Security Council.” Even the statement itself implies that the decision was made beyond the Department of State. We are right to become suspicious because the fact that the authority and responsibility of the Department on foreign policy decisions have been suspended has been debated for a while now.

It is being discussed in Washington whether “the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a ‘moron’ or not.” Although the White House and Department of State announced that such a term was not used, Tillerson himself did not deny it. Even Trump jokingly inviting Tillerson to an “IQ test,” saying he has absolute confidence in Tillerson and calling tension claims as “fake news” are not enough to cover up the fact that there is a problem between the two. Trump has posted many tweets, primarily about North Korea, invalidating Tillerson.

Trump putting forward his son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner in international affairs disturbs the Department of State. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley’s attempts which rendered Tillerson a ‘neutral element’ is another handicap. According to the allegations, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly persuaded Tillerson from resigning. It was written in the nationalist publications that Tillerson would leave and Haley or CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who are emphasized to be loyal to Trump, could take his place.

Tillerson’s attempts to strengthen the Department of State were also repulsed by President Trump. The budget of the Department was decreased by 32 percent as military expenditures increased by $54 billion. Upper floors of the Department almost turned into a ghost town. While career diplomats were drawn back to the background, many experts from Obama’s period were purged. As many significant positions in the department are being kept vacant, embassy appointments to over 50 countries have not been made.

Silence dominates the neighborhood of “Foggy Bottom” which is currently the center of American diplomacy. There is an authority-task confusion at the department and nobody trusts each other. Hundreds of files which contain action plans have been piled up on shelves. “Foggy Bottom” has lost its glamour in the eyes of foreign diplomats. Everybody has focused on personal connections, primarily Jared Kushner and Nikki Haley. Diplomacy circles think that White House and Pentagon have vaporized the department’s role in foreign policy making. Max Bergman’s,This is how diplomacy dies” from “Center for American Progress” summarizes the chaos.

Trump is at loggerheads with the Republicans’ congress leaders. What’s worse is that Trump has been maintaining a polemic with Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Corker which has reached the point of insult. Corker, who announced that he would not run for re-election in the 2018 midterm senate elections, opened a front against Trump. While Corker blames Trump for leading the U.S. toward World War III, Trump supporters announce Corker as Tillerson's most loyal supporter on the Foreign Relations Committee. 

The “Foreign Relations Committee” is a very influential mechanism in forming foreign policy decisions. Trump needs Corker for the tax reform, Iran nuclear agreement and many other issues. Corker will continue his duties until the beginning of 2019. That is why, nationalist media organs such as “Breitbart” and other pro-Trump radicals want Corker to resign and vacate his seat.

It is not easy to understand who is behind the visa-ban among all this chaos happening in diplomatic decision-making mechanisms. Trump did not post a tweet; Tillerson and the National Security Adviser General McMaster did not speak. The visa decision seems to be lost in the Washington swamp; it goes deeper upon being inspected and nobody directly takes responsibility.

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