Written by Hadi Gholami Nohouji exclusively for SouthFront
The Donald Trump era has been, more than anything, an era of confusion and chaos all the while it has also signaled the end of the State Department as we know it and its role in the decision making process in the United States.
Since being elected and officially assuming the command on January 20th 2017, the 45th President of the United States has showed little interest in diplomacy all the while he has also shown that he doesn’t really take into consideration the experts’ guidance when taking a decision.
Among the different executive branches of the U.S. government the worst hit — so far, at the very least— has been the State Department that has effectively been reduced to a shadow of what it once was.
The situation has gotten so precarious that many former officials and U.S. ambassadors are warning that the damages may be irreparable even if the current President doesn’t last the entirety of his mandate, that is to say, until 2020.
But is all this an exaggeration on the part of the U.S. media, especially those openly opposed and hostile to Trump and his team? Although this could seem like true but this is not the case since the Department of State is in grave conditions.
Specifically, there are still over 50 vacancies in the ambassadors section since the oil tycoon-turned-into Secretary of State Rex Tillerson —who is also suspiciously absent during major times of crisis— hasn’t really tried hard enough to fill in the vacancies.
Still, that isn’t very surprising given the fact that the actual Secretary of State is now more like a spokesperson of the President than someone whose guidance in foreign affairs could have more weight than the POTUS himself.
Even more severe is the situation in the U.S. Foreign Service’s headquarters in Washington D.C., where, since Trump became president, there has been a shortage of top-ranking career officials to the point that It could, according to experts, “destroy” the State Department.
A recent report by the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) shows that the number of minister counselors (the equivalent of two-star generals in the Military) in the State Department has gone down by 15 percent, career ministers (the three-star equivalent) by 42 percent and the career ambassadors (the four-star generals of the American diplomacy) by a whopping 60%.
This, in turn, is specially decreasing the United States’ capacity in order to engage in diplomacy around the world since there aren’t nearly enough experienced people present who could use their expertise in order to secure diplomatic solutions for, to give an instance, the North Korean issue.
There is the danger that this lack of expertise in the States Department and also the lack of interest in diplomacy in the White House could push the U.S. towards more extreme and military measures when faced with crisis and major problems, something that has shown that will not have good consequences for the world and especially for those involved.