I don’t know if there still is such a thing as a Georgetown cocktail circuit, but if so they must have been all a-buzz over the earth-shattering news emanating from their domicile on January 26th. Quoth the Washington Post:
THE STATE DEPARTMENT’S ENTIRE SENIOR ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM JUST RESIGNED!!!
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job running the State Department just got considerably more difficult. The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior Foreign Service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era. . . .[O]n Wednesday afternoon, [undersecretary for management Patrick] Kennedy, and three of his top officials resigned unexpectedly, four State Department officials confirmed. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions, followed him out the door. All are career Foreign Service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations. . . .
Several senior Foreign Service officers in the State Department’s regional bureaus have also left their posts or resigned since the election. But the emptying of leadership in the management bureaus is more disruptive because those offices need to be led by people who know the department and have experience running its complicated bureaucracies. There’s no easy way to replace that via the private sector. . . .
By itself, the sudden departure of the State Department’s entire senior management team is disruptive enough. But in the context of a president who railed against the U.S. foreign policy establishment during his campaign and secretary of state with no government experience, the vacancies are much more concerning.
This catastrophic tsunami of professional upheaval within the diplomatic corps prompted many a furrowed brow from such modern-day Alsops as Fareed Zakaria…oh, wait, his mongoloid brow always looks that way. Still, he and the other guardians of public policy were undoubtedly very, very concerned. The evisceration of the world’s preeminent foreign ministry and the resultant plummeting of international American prestige led to many a tut-tut, tsk-tsk, for-shame, and we-miss-Hillary of recrimination from this august cabal. They lamented that it was no longer 1955 so that they could wave about their long-stemmed pipes as an extra token of sapient consternation.
Of course, the reality of the situation was far removed from the romantic diaspora heralded by the chattering classes, and it didn’t take long at all for the drab truth to come to the surface. On January 27th, Vox offered a refutation, along with a tidbit about some underhanded editing that had taken place in the Post’s editorial office:
On Thursday morning, the Washington Post published a piece with an explosive headline: “The State Department’s entire senior management team just resigned.” The piece alleged that Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, one of the top officials [in] the department, and three of his deputies had left their jobs because they didn’t want to serve in the Trump administration. . . .[T]he initial headline was misleading – the word “management” strongly implied that all of America’s top diplomats were resigning, which was not the case. . . .
The State Department said that the four officials had submitted their resignations at the start of the new administration, as is standard practice with all political appointees throughout the executive branch of the government. Reporters who have covered the State Department for years said the Post report was overstating a normal feature of a transition. . . .
By the end of the day, the Washington Post had changed its headline to “the State Department’s entire senior administrative team just resigned,” though it included no editor’s note explaining the new language. . . .
The bottom line, though, is that the story as written — and as described by its initial headline — gives a misleading impression of what happened at the State Department and why.
Sorry, Valued Voter, but the MSM once again sold you a bill of goods. Left unsaid is why precisely these positions need to be re-filled anytime soon, or ever for that matter. If, as seems the case, the U.S. is entering an ‘isolationist’ era, as the jeering jeremiads of Judaic journalists would prefer to call it, why bother maintaining a bloated internationalist governmental relic of a more hegemonic time? It’s not as though this accursed department has done anything for us lately. Remember when such Soviet spies as Alger Hiss and (before him) David Salmon used State as their one-stop shop for all their treacherous needs, and were rewarded with lucrative federal pensions and comfy retirements for doing so? That was awesome. Remember when Dulles and Rusk used State as a conduit for siphoning CIA operatives into every Oriental backwater with an airstrip and a Coca-Cola billboard on the highway in the 50s and 60s? That was awesome. Remember when Hillary used State as a money-laundering front for her odious Foundation? Exponential awesomeness. By the way, Vox also remembers that last part, as the aforementioned rebuttal goes on to say:
Kennedy’s administrative duties included both embassy security and IT — which meant that he was the top official, other than Secretary Hillary Clinton herself, who could be blamed for what Republicans see as two of the biggest scandals of the Obama years (Benghazi and Clinton’s private email server). . . .
Given Trump’s emphasis on Clinton’s emails during the campaign, then, it’s easy to see why Kennedy (and some of his deputies) would have had their resignations accepted by the new White House once they offered to leave their posts.
A case of rats deserting the sinking ship, twisted into an epic narrative of a principled liberal exodus out of Donald Trump’s Egypt. And you wonder why CNN preferred to show dilletantish travel documentaries featuring heroin addict Anthony Bourdain rather than cover the Senate’s Benghazi hearings in anything resembling depth.
The Left’s love affair with the State Department has been a long and abiding one, regardless of which marionette party is pretending to hold power in the executive. The prestige associated with Foggy Bottom may be unwarranted, but is undoubtedly there. As the oldest executive department, and as the department chiefly responsible for crafting strategy to transform America from a republic to empire (Defense being more concerned with tactics), it has almost always been a magnet for interventionist busybodies who never took away any lessons from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness because the ending was too defeatist. The snowflakes being churned out of our factory farms of higher learning regularly rank State jobs as among the most desirable career options – it ranked #59 on the Forbes list of top-ranked employers in 2015. Counting the number of Secretaries of State who have not been members of the Council of Foreign Relations since its inception can be done on one hand, and plenty of fingers will be left over. Republican secretaries change this leftward drift not one whit, as they are chosen from elements acceptable to the patrician establishment: witness Dulles, Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, etc. And State shoves its big nose into a lot of global microissues – if you can’t procure an embassy job because you can’t tell dinner forks apart or because you can’t eat Brie cheese on canapes on account of lactose intolerance, you can change the world for the better via such worthy bureaus as the United States Global AIDS Coordinator or the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. Or if you have no social skills whatsoever, you can get a job at the Office of the Historian making sure that the thirteen busts of Robert Lansing on hand are not removed from storage without permission. Clearly, this vast apparatus is a regular Beulah Land for liberaldom.
Let me ask you: is it probable that the Left will cede this well-established plum beachhead?
Not bloody likely.
Don’t expect the newly-minted ‘maverick’ Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to do much to change this situation, either. Though he might not be a career diplomat, he has spent the entirety of his working life under the tutelage of ExxonMobil, and the one pertinent fact of life you learn in that outfit is that if you urinate into the wind, your pants will get wet. The office under his watch might become leaner and meaner, but the corporate culture is likely to remain intact. This is especially likely when one considers that, as head of the Boy Scouts of America, he implemented that organization’s new ‘inclusive’ policy of opening the membership and scoutmaster rosters to sodomites. Tillerson is there to assure that the proposed Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline is constructed with minimal fuss, to smooth the way with Russia’s Gazprom for a possible joint venture development of oil reserves in the South China Sea, and to secure American access to the Alberta oilsands via the completion of the Keystone pipeline. Cultural Marxists can work on all of these projects with a clear conscience. Eco-freaks tend to seek out federal largesse and tenure at the Environmental Protection Agency.
In short, the histrionics that attended the routine turnover of a few bureaucrats from a meddlesome DC institution are merely one more example of that charming leftist petulance known as ‘virtue signalling’ – a tale of sound and fury, signifying nothing. It will prove to have as much substance as the California secessionist movement or the threats of too many A, B, C, D, etc.-list celebrities to mention to relocate to Canada because their woman isn’t running the country. All three of these examples, incidentally, represent the sulky manifestation of virtue signalling, with the tantrum manifestation being displayed in the Berkeley riots and various light-hearted threats of assassination against Donald Trump. Taken as a whole, all these actions suggest no grand grassroots game plan, but simply the irrational spasms of an effete caste irate at not getting their own way and not even aware of what their way entails.
Such chaos can be consolidated and controlled to horrific effect, though, as Russia under Bolshevik rule discovered the hard way. It would appear we are heading towards the same precipice.