Yovanovitch laments ‘amoral’ and visionless state of the State Department at award ceremony

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CNBC Television / YouTube Trump attacks Marie Yovanovitch on Twitter 1579195677.jpg...
CNBC Television / YouTube

In her first public comments since the impeachment hearings, retired Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch told students at Georgetown University Wednesday that her former employer is currently in a shambles. “Right now, the State Department is in trouble,” she said in an acceptance speech for the Trainor Award, celebrating her decades-long work as a U.S. diplomat. “Senior leaders lack policy vision, moral clarity and leadership.”

Yovanovitch suggested the department’s current emphasis on sizing up monetary contributions country by country is both shortsighted and counterproductive to the nation’s long-term foreign policy goals. “It’s not about a handout for foreign friends; it’s about enlightened self-interest,” she explained. “For example, it’s hard to see how cutting funds to the World Health Organization in the middle of the coronavirus crisis keeps Americans safer.” Unfortunately, this is the type of concept that requires an explanation under the Trump-era leadership of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Yovanovitch also said some of the current shortcomings were an outgrowth of the “hollowing out” of the department internally, in terms of expertise, institutional knowledge, and personnel. “The policy process has been replaced by the decisions emanating from the top with little discussion,” Yovanovitch observed. “Vacancies at all levels go unfilled and officers are increasingly wondering whether it is safe to express concerns about policy, even behind closed doors.”

The veteran diplomat also warned that America’s current trajectory could leave us isolated as our allies find “more reliable partners.”

“To be blunt: An amoral, keep-’em-guessing foreign policy that substitutes threats, fear and confusion for trust cannot work over the long haul, especially in our social media-savvy, interconnected world,” Yovanovitch said. “At some point, the once-unthinkable will become the soon-inevitable: that our allies, who have as much right to act in their own self-interest as we do, will seek out more reliable partners, partners whose interests might not align well with ours.”

As dire as her prognosis was, she still chooses to be positive about the future of U.S. diplomacy. “Some people say I’m too optimistic, and that may be, but throwing up our hands is a self-fulfilling prophecy,” she said. “In these trying times, optimism is no longer a default setting for many of us—it’s a choice.”

What a testament to Yovanovitch’s strength of character after what Donald Trump and his henchmen put her through. Brava!

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3 Comments on "Yovanovitch laments ‘amoral’ and visionless state of the State Department at award ceremony"

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William J Stefens
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William J Stefens

Good for her to speak truth to power regarding Trump and his administration’s clustf&$@ foreign policy. Trump’s short sighted choices based on emotional reactions is not a substitute for true policy created by those with the intelligence, competence, and experience, and emotional maturity to create true policy that is good for America and our allies.

Rutokin
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Rutokin

I applaud her for her courage and dedication of service, thank you Ms. Yovanovitch. Pompeehole has disgraced the State department. It’s a damn shame what they got rid of all those career people who have served so well. And not to fill so many vital positions is a security threat. This will soon pass, November can’t get here soon enough

chris whitley
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chris whitley

Well you know how it is. It costs a lot for trump to golf. We can’t be spending all this extra money on frivolous crap. We have to save it so that trump can go to his own courses and pay triple rate or above to golf. I know it’s expensive to rent a golf cart but I never heard of two thousand dollars a day, especially when you own the dam golf cart and the dam golf course. Congress needs to look at this. I don’t know but to me it looks like just plain old stealing.