HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » "State Was Caught Flat-Fo...

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 10:18 PM

"State Was Caught Flat-Footed"...Pompeo Left State Vulnerable During the Crisis

Foreign Policy
“State Was Caught Flat-Footed”: Following Trump’s Line, Sources Say Pompeo Left State Vulnerable During the Crisis
Former diplomats say that “no steps were taken to protect Americans overseas” and that Pompeo, seeing political danger, wants to stay as far from the crisis as possible.
By Abigail Tracy
March 24, 2020


Mike Pompeo owes his success in Trumpworld, first as CIA director and now America’s top diplomat, to performing for an audience of one. While not as removed as his predecessor, Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State has often seemed to treat the State Department (Trump likes to refer to it as the “Deep State Department”) as an afterthought, if not an impediment. But as the threat of the novel coronavirus grew globally, diplomats grew increasingly concerned that Pompeo’s lack of leadership would have a human toll. “Pompeo suffers now from the same infirmity that he suffered prior to the pandemic, a lack of credibility, except now the consequences are even more grave,” a former State Department official told me. “This is not just for the public, but also for the workforce.”

With roughly 75,000 employees scattered around the world, many in countries where the contagion took hold before the novel coronavirus hit American shores, the State Department isn’t a typical workplace. Sources I spoke with have criticized Pompeo’s decision to follow the Trumpian line—“totally under control”; it’s just like the flu—arguing that it left diplomats and Americans overseas at risk. “State was caught flat-footed just like everyone else because of the deliberate approach of the White House to downplay the problem…. How did State not stand up a task force?” a former ambassador told me. “Under any other secretary, a task force would have been stood up months ago. To review conditions in every single country.” (On Thursday of last week, the State Department did set up a task force, the Coronavirus Global Response Coordination Unit, to bring American citizens overseas back to the U.S.)

snip//

But inside Foggy Bottom what sources describe as a lack of clear guidance and specifics has left diplomats thirsting for more information. “His communications were vague and general about the workforce and did not exhibit much interest or concern,” a second former State Department employee, still in touch with many former colleagues, told me. “In my view he has mostly checked out on the leadership side of things, feeling, I guess, that he has other things to focus his energies on. He appears to be leaving the response and communications to others, his subordinates, to maintain some distance. Not sure what to compare it to but I think the sentiment is that he could be doing a lot more.”

“For weeks friends at the State Department told me how nervous they were going into work,” Brett Bruen, a former foreign service officer, told me, noting that people coming back from overseas were expected to come to work, without precautions or safety procedures. And for those abroad, the reality is even more complicated. “No steps were taken to protect Americans overseas either, Bruen added. “They were told don’t travel to these countries, but the rest of the world is a greenlight. That was just really dumb both because we knew from what was happening here and in other countries that things were getting worse.” The State Department took the extraordinary step last week of issuing a Level 4 travel advisory, warning Americans not to travel abroad and that those overseas “in countries where commercial departure options remain available” to return to the United States as soon as they can. The Department is aggressively working to bring Americans stranded abroad home. Citing a senior State Department official, ABC News reported Monday that 5,700 Americans have been repatriated from 17 countries to the U.S., but at least 13,500 Americans remain stuck abroad. “Here we are, in literally a world of hurt, scrambling to find a way to bring back an unprecedented number of Americans,” Bruen continued.


more...

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/03/mike-pompeo-state-department-coronavirus

2 replies, 638 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 2 replies Author Time Post
Reply "State Was Caught Flat-Footed"...Pompeo Left State Vulnerable During the Crisis (Original post)
babylonsister Mar 24 OP
gibraltar72 Mar 24 #1
SaintLouisBlues Mar 24 #2

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 10:44 PM

1. Depending on country may be safer.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 11:37 PM

2. Not exactly a wartime consigliere. Barr is nothing but a doughy pantload!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread