Rashid A Mughal
SO this time it is John Bolton who was shown the door. The list now includes the names of more than 60% of the diehard Trump supporters (including white supremacists like Steve Bannon) who jumped on the Trump bandwagon after he entered the White House but had to leave either because they fell apart with Trump or because of the mounting media pressure or both. In three years of his becoming the President of the most powerful country of the world, he had four National Security Advisors-approximately a tenure of ten months each ,on average. Washington surely is a difficult place to live. The latest episode reminds me of the Hollywood movie “Valley of the Sharks”. If you have not seen it, I strongly suggest to take time off and see it. It will give you an idea how things work in this important capital of world and the only super power.
The press and media do not spare any one and anything. The out-going British Ambassador to USA, Kim Darroch, who had to relinquish his job, before expiry of his normal tenure in July, was also perhaps a victim of this “vibrant media”. He described the situation which led to his leaving the assignment pre-maturely as “Diplomatic Vandalism”. His only mistake was that he described the handling of US foreign policy under Trump as thoroughly in-consistent, biased and heavily tilted towards Israel. The agreements signed by his predecessors, to which he refers to as anti-American and withdrawing from those is certainly not helping USA keep its image of a mature, balanced and respected leader of the free world (eg Climate Change, TPT and threatening to quit NAFTA and NATO).
During the last three years of Trump’s Presidency, USA seems to have lost the moral position it enjoyed in the days of FDR, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter and more recently Obama. The British Ambassador’s only fault was that he courageously pin-pointed the glaring departures from the normal foreign policy norms. His secret messages/cables, sent to his Foreign Ministry in London, infuriated Trump and he used un-diplomatic language to describe him. Britain’s Ambassador resigned on 10 July, just days after diplomatic cables criticizing President Donald Trump were leaked, causing embarrassment to two countries that often celebrate having a “special relationship.” The resignation of Kim Darroch came after Trump lashed out at him on Twitter, describing the Ambassador as “wacky” and a “pompous fool.” The criticism came after leaked documents revealed the envoy’s dim view of Trump’s Administration, which he described as “dysfunctional, inept and chaotic”.
“Since the leak of official documents … there has been a great deal of speculation surrounding my position and the duration of my remaining term as Ambassador,” Darroch said in his resignation letter. “I want to put an end to that speculation. The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.” “History shows that there are often bespoken procedures for filling the embassy in Washington, DC,” he said. Though the matter had been brewing for days, Darroch made his decision the morning after a debate between the two contenders to replace Theresa May as party leader and prime minister, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt. Hunt, who is Britain’s Foreign Secretary, had vowed to keep Darroch in the post, but Johnson pointedly did not. “I think it’s very important we should have a close partnership, a close friendship with the United States,” Johnson said. Darroch’s forthright, unfiltered views on the US administration — meant for a limited audience and discreet review — appeared in leaked diplomatic documents that were published in Britain’s newspapers. In London, the Foreign Office spokesman said “it was too soon to say what the fallout would be from the leak”. Nothing like this has ever happened before. There must be consequences. What they are in detail I can’t tell you this afternoon,” he said. But he said the trans-Atlantic relationship was “so deep and so wide that it will withstand any individual squall.” He also said he feared there might be more leaks to come. Darroch has served as Britain’s envoy to Washington since 2016, and the cables cover a period from 2017 to recent weeks. He was a prominent figure in Washington and popular among Trump White House officials, who were always over at the embassy for parties and events.
Trump’s tweets caused fury among many British politicians and officials, who found themselves insulted by the President’s decision to have the administration cut off contact with their Ambassador. It underscored that the close relationship between the two countries has become increasingly lopsided — a severe problem at a time the country is preparing to set out a new path with its departure from the European Union and the Brexit drama which thrown the entire country in chaos and confusion. “It is shameful that Kim Darroch has effectively been forced out for doing the job that diplomats are appointed to do,” Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted. “Boris Johnson’s failure to stand up for him — and stand up to the behaviour of Donald Trump — spoke volumes.” But Trump supporter and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage described the resignation as, “the right decision.” His departure indicated a chill in UK-US relations, at least for some time. But things have since changed. Trump favourite, Boris Johnson is now the Prime Minister and has received assurances of cooperation form Trump. Things might change after the UK elect their new Prime Minister in the new elections. But the whole episode indicates and has made one thing very clear, Trump hates criticism which is the crux of Democracy and he also wants to rule according to his likes and dislikes. He also wants to show the world that he is the real Boss (which in fact he is).
— The writer is former DG (Emigration) and consultant ILO, IOM.