Cabinet Chaos
Seeing the Administration Half Empty
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  • D4x

    Andrew Bernard writes: “Virtually none of the assistant secretary positions at the State Department have nominees”
    Sec Tillerson has re-organized the eight (8) of the ten (10) direct reports at Assistant Secretary level from the NOT-manageable organization chart as of Nov 2016: https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/rls/dos/99484.htm [USAID and UN Amb Nikki Haley have been confirmed.] AB can figure out which of these nominees are filling the eight (8) open slots by researching the names]

    Nominations PENDING as of Sept. 18, 2017:
    Nominated June 15: Eric M. Ueland, of Oregon, to be an Under Secretary of State (Management), vice Patrick Francis Kennedy.
    Nominated July 11: Mary Kirtley Waters, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Legislative Affairs), vice Julia Frifield.
    Nominated July 25: A. Wess Mitchell, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (European and Eurasian Affairs), vice Victoria
    Nuland.
    Nominated Sept. 5: Michael T. Evanoff, of Arkansas, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Diplomatic Security), vice Gregory B. Starr
    Nominated Sept. 11: Manisha Singh of Florida to be Assistant Secretary of State, Economic and Business Affairs.

    CONFIRMED AUG. 3, 2017:
    Nominated May 10: Mark Andrew Green, of Wisconsin, to be Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, vice Gayle Smith.
    Nominated June 26: Carl C. Risch, of Pennsylvania, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Consular Affairs), vice Michele Thoren Bond.

    As for the “rifts”. Recommended reading, Oct. 04, 2017: “…there really isn’t a “same page” in the literal sense. There are no talking points (at least that the president uses), and there is no script. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a North Korea strategy.” “The Trump Administration’s North Korea Strategy” By Rebeccah L. Heinrichs, Hudson Institute

    https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/10/04/the_trump_administrations_north_korea_strategy_112433.html

    Iran “rifts”? Recommended reading: Oct. 5, 2017: AP: “Nuke deal hangs in balance as Trump plans Iran policy speech “…the Iran deal comprised “only a small part” of the government’s approach to Iran, a traditional U.S. adversary in the Middle East that Washington considers the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

    The Iran deal’s future may hinge on a face-saving fix for Trump so he doesn’t have to recertify the Islamic republic’s compliance every
    90 days, as mandated in a provision of a 2015 U.S. law known as the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. …”
    https://www.apnews.com/e726f1c5747b434a912a3a896d6a4fbe/Nuke-deal-hangs-in-balance-as-Trump-plans-Iran-policy-speech

    Oct. 4, Bloomberg news: “Designating the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization could put pressure on the regime.
    by Eli Lake ‎October‎ ‎04‎, ‎2017‎ ‎2‎:‎25‎ ‎PM

    “…The centerpiece of Trump’s new Iran strategy will be the designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization,
    placing it in the same category as al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Congress mandated this designation over the summer, but allowed Trump to waive the requirement. …

    This includes a new policy on countering Iran’s threats to shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf and particularly the threat of anti-ship
    missiles and the harassment of U.S. Navy vessels. It will include a new
    emphasis on countering Iranian networks inside Latin America; Iran’s development of ballistic missiles; Iranian human rights violations against its own citizens; and support for terrorist groups and proxies in the Middle East.

    Two U.S. intelligence officials tell me that an element of
    the strategy that will not be publicized includes a ramping up of intelligence
    operations against the Revolutionary Guard and other Iranian proxies like
    Hezbollah in the Middle East. …

    Despite the administration’s crystallizing policy on Iran,
    U.S. officials tell me there is still no formal plan on how to secure Syrian
    and Iraqi territory after the Islamic State is driven out. This is particularly
    important in Syria today as Iran’s proxies and the Revolutionary Guard have
    already begun to take over some of these areas as the war against the Islamic
    State has turned.

    … it’s likely the Iranians themselves will accuse Trump of
    violating the nuclear deal forged by his predecessor, and threaten to pull out.
    Unlike Obama, Trump would probably consider that a favor.”
    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-10-04/trump-s-new-policy-will-focus-on-iran-s-meddlers
    No wonder Mr. Mead was ‘disappeared’ from TAI, which seems to have joined Ben Rhodes echo chamber, instead of learning how to use their brains in the absence of diktat Talking Points from the Hamas-inspired ‘resistance’ that makes American media responsible for any loss of credibility in 2017 the USA still retained after 25 years of failure after failure in foreign policy.

    • Andrew Allison

      Andrew Bernard writes . . . TDS nonsense.

      • Eurydice

        It isn’t even very good TDS nonsense; it’s just nonsense…as in, literally doesn’t make any sense.

        • Andrew Allison

          What do you expect? The victims of TDS are, quite literally, incoherent.

          • Eurydice

            Well, I think it’s also laziness and poor writing skills – an affliction that’s worse than TDS.

  • TPAJAX

    Sessions isn’t doing his job very well. He’s more worried about someone smoking a joint than the Clinton investigation and quite likely misconduct and corruption by the department that he now heads. Tillerson is pro-china, or at best he is easily cowed. I’ve seen many articles and comments about his lackluster resolve and responses from India-China disputes, SCS and ECS, to Korea.

  • Andrew Allison
  • Angel Martin

    I’m old enough to remember exactly the same sorts of stories about Reagan… the machinations and maneuverings within the “Triumvirate”… the calls to “let Reagan be Reagan”… the claims that Reagan wasn’t in charge and just read off cue cards in meetings… the claim that nuclear war was a “mathematical certainty” and Reagan was a mad bomber who would kill us all…

    Oh, and Reagan was a racist who was sympathetic to the Klan…

    plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose

    • Psalms13626

      Yup, every Republican is evil, stupid, racist, divisive, incompetent blah blah blah…. This has been Left’s MO since at least Nixon. They should get a new hymnal. This one is getting a bit long in the tooth.

    • Boritz

      Yes, I remember sitting in rehearsal with a community band when a twenty-something woman in the clarinet section melted down over Reagan’s likelyhood to push the button.

    • Eurydice

      One doesn’t even have to back that far – one just has to look at Obama and John Kerry.

  • Boritz

    “Whether the story is fake news or political gossip, it nonetheless points…”

    Ahm, no, if it is fake it is nothing and points precisely nowhere.

  • Tom

    “While he has been portrayed by the media as one of the above-mentioned “adults” on foreign policy, he has shown himself to be a political neophyte who hasn’t notched any successes at his job.”

    Given that he’s been SecState for all of six months, I would think TAI might cut him a little slack. Particularly compared to his two predecessors, who spent years in his position and accomplished–what, exactly?

    • D4x

      09 14 2017 Returnees cross into southern Syria from Jordan in August. Photo courtesy of Nabaa Media Foundation.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/290a70dba46d2b05b8307d3ad92cd2213b0aaa7c5fbfeb9e77fa9621dc81fb0b.jpg
      Sep. 14, 2017 AMMAN: Thousands of Syrians in Jordan have abandoned their status as refugees and voluntarily returned to Syria’s southern Daraa province in recent weeks, opposition officials say, as a ceasefire there enters its third month.

      More than 1,300 families—roughly 6,500 people—crossed into Syria’s Daraa province from Jordan since early July, a source in the opposition Daraa provincial council told Syria Direct. The provincial council documentsall arrivals as they cross into the province from Jordan.

      The reported influx of returnees comes as a Russian-backed ceasefire covering Syria’s southern provinces—including Daraa, Quneitra and Suwayda—enters its third month. The ceasefire, brokered by Russia, the United States and Jordan, took effect on July 9.

      In the six months prior to the agreement, from January to June 2017, just over 1,800 Syrian refugees returned to Syria, Olga Sarrado Mur, a representative of the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) told Syria Direct on Wednesday. …” [the rest of this report is very moving, some had been refugees for four years]

      http://syriadirect.org/news/%E2%80%98thousands%E2%80%99-of-syrian-refugees-return-from-jordan-to-southern-syria-as-ceasefire-enters-third-month/

      January 23-26: King Abdullah II of Jordan is in DC for meetings too numerous to list. The stability of Jordan due to 1.4 million Syrian refugees in a population 9.5 million was main topic.
      February 2017: Michael Ratney began serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. In July 2015, Michael Ratney was appointed as the U.S. Special Envoy for Syria. From 2012 to 2015, Mr. Ratney served as the U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem.
      https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/200454.htm

      June 10, 2017: “…Officials from the United States and Russia are quietly holding talks [in Amman, Jordan] on creating a “de-escalation” zone in [southwestern] Syria, Western diplomats and regional officials say.

      The U.S. and Russian special envoys to Syria, Michael Ratney and Aleksandr Lavrentiev and other officials have met at least twice in the past two weeks …” https://www.rferl.org/a/syria-safe-zones-us-syria/28539611.html

      July 7: “U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed on a cease-fire deal in southwestern Syria, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov said
      on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit, following a much-anticipated first meeting between the two leaders.

      “It is our first success,” said Tillerson in reference to cooperation between Trump’s White House and the Kremlin. …”
      https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria/1.800169
      [adding that surprise visit by FM Lavrov at the WH en route to the Arctic Council meeting in Alaska gave POTUS and Sec. Tillerson additional opportunities to ensure those very quiet negotiations in Amman kept going. Andrew Bernard has been so solely fixated on USA fighting ISIS in eastern Syria that he even refuses to read comments about this part of USA-Syria-Jordan-Iraq-Iran-Lebanon foreign policy when they are posted. And, he gets paid to undermine America with his blindness.
      I would add successes with Ukraine, and a few other nations, but, after all, when it comes to TAI, what difference would it make? The American Interest is actively subverting the Interests of America to the point where I really do only come here to support the dwindling commentariat.]

      • Tom

        Re: your last paragraph, I don’t think so. TAI was very good about reporting on the mishaps and misadventures of the Obama administration–they were certainly more willing to do so than CNN/the NYT/Huffington Post–and so I’m going to go with the idea that they accentuate the negative rather than the idea that they’re actively engaging in quasi-treasonous activity, because the former actually comports with their previously observed behavior.

  • FriendlyGoat

    An “a$$hole” is one who intentionally leaves others demeaned, did-energized and disrespected. We now have one of those as president, and he has raised our comprehension of this definition to unprecedented clarity. Tillerson, Mattis, Kelly and any others of high caliber have figured this out. We are complimenting them in making this assumption. There is nobody up there worth a hoot who is actually following the Trumpism model any more. If they are intelligent and if they are patriots, they are trying to save the country FROM this daily “sh*t storm”.

    Some of the hangers-on thought service to Trump was a stepping stone up a career ladder. Tillerson could not possibly have thought any such thing. He cannot be there for any reason other than to try to serve the country, not Trump personally. He has the stature and the independence to tell the country that the boss is worse than a moron. He probably won’t out of some kind of loyalty to America——but you never know.

  • Frustrated Entreprenuer

    So far the Trump administration seems to have avoided any huge Foreign Policy errors, and actually done some things right. I am surprised at how well things are going (positive examples such as Syrian Strike, NK, routing of Isis).

    Are there huge crises in the world? Yes. But at least they are being worked on. North Korea, Syria, Iraq,Iran, and Afghanistan to name a few crises. I don’t see any positive solutions for NK, but at least it’s being worked on. Same with Iran. My 2 cents is there will be nuclear arms races in both areas of the world.

    Trump’s actions in Foreign Policy are a change from the last 8 years, that seemed to be more pretty words with no real actions that hurt US credibility, and was a lot of kicking the can down the road. Or when action was taken (Libya and arming of rebels in Syria), possible consequences were not thought through. Nicky Haley in the US is definitely a change in tone, from the previous UN ambassador.

    There is a lot of work to be done, and huge challenges that are being ignored by both major political parties in the US. The US Navy is over stretched and just does not have enough hulls to do what it’s being tasked to do. How is the US going to afford the needed construction to get to 350 ships? And China looks like it’s on its way to a 500 ship Navy.

  • Joseph DeMarzo

    The author is joining the MSM echo chamber in riding the NBC “moron” story. Also, the article is disingenuous. It states that Mattis stated that Trump should “recertify” the deal and links to an article on his testimony. However, Matts did not say Trump should certify the deal, he said that Trump should not leave the deal. Mattis actually is 100% in line with Trump, i.e., decertify but stay in the deal. On this point alone the author either lacks knowledge of the fine points or is intentionally alleging that a dispute exists when none in fact does.

    It seems that the media picks a different Cabinet member each week to create stories of “discord”. Interestingly, the alleged “moron” comment was made in the summer, yet the article comes out in early October, after the “Trump’s Katrina” Puerto Rico theme failed. Sad!

  • Tom Scharf

    Yes, the MSM has no responsibility at all to do their job, the fact they don’t is of course a bad reflection of the President in this author’s twisted view and not on them. The MSM has done nothing but make themselves into a laughing stock lately. Perhaps the author should review all the dystopian predictions our prestigious and illustrious press made after the election to see how many have actually come to pass. The round up and execution of all minorities hasn’t happened yet and I haven’t found a single concentration camp. If this is Hitler than I guess historians must have misreported the 1930’s. I’m sure they will learn their lesson right up until the next election when the same tired old playbook will be used yet again.

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