Our 45th President has traipsed over
to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, planning to rub
elbows with world leaders, repair some relationships, and possibly
shred even more. He had hardly landed before he started threatening
to cut off aid to the Palestinians unless they participate in peace
talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Palestinian
leaders are justifiably angry that 45, without a conversation with
them, said he would move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the city that
both Palestinian and Israelis consider their capital.
45 has been President, the world has been losing respect for us.
According to a November Gallup poll, approval of US leaders among 134
countries has hit a new low of 30 percent, down 18 percent from the
48 percent approval rate in President Obama’s last year, and
even lower than the previous low of 34 percent in George W. Bush’s
last year. Only Liberia, Macedonia, Israel and Belarus increased
their approval rating of the US, while Portugal, Norway, Belgium and
Canada saw approval ratings plunge by 40 points or more. 45 has been
currying Israel’s favor, so it is no wonder that they are more
approving of him. But US leadership lags behind support for
leadership in both Germany and China. Only Russia has a lower
approval rating than we do.
45 is ignoring most of the rest of the world. A year into his
Presidency, he has not appointed ambassadors for fully half of the
world. The Bureau of African Affairs, part of the State Department,
has no leader. There is an “acting” Assistant Secretary
for African Affairs, Donald Yamamoto, a career foreign policy
professional who has worked for both Presidents Bush and Obama.
Yamamoto has some responsibility for the Bureau of African Affairs,
but it is not his priority.
is no ambassador to the African Union, which is perhaps a blessing
because that person may have had to defend 45’s ignorant remark
about s***hole countries. But 45 didn’t have to make such an
ignorant statement in order for us to know how he felt about people
of African descent. He illustrates his disdain every time he opens
his mouth. He did not have to compare Haiti to Norway, all he had to
do was fail to appoint an ambassador to Brazil, which is home to the
largest population of Afro-descendents outside the African continent.
is no US ambassador to Belize, Bolivia, Burkina Faso or Cape Verde.
No ambassador to Cote D’Ivorie or Cuba, Guinea or Ghana,
Jamaica or Kenya. Neither Madagascar nor Mali, Mozambique nor
Nigeria, South Africa nor Tanzania, Togo nor Trinidad have US
Ambassadors. Blessedly, 40 percent of 45’s appointees are
career foreign policy experts. Some, like Calista Gingrich’s
appointment as Ambassador to the Vatican, are clearly political
plums. But how can 45 justify having no ambassadors to two of the
most important countries on the African continent, oil-producing
Nigeria, and economically advanced South Africa? I guess he will be
forced to pay attention to these s***hole countries if there is an
oil crisis and we need some Nigerian oil!
and the Caribbean are not the only parts of the world that have been
ignored by this administration. Highly desirable appointments, like
those to Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany have been
filled. Even as 45 has squabbled with North Korea’s Kim
Jong-un, he has appointed no ambassador to South Korea.
could have been completely avoided if 45 had allowed Obama appointees
to stay in place until he found people to replace them. Instead,
people had to come home in the middle of the school year, hurriedly
making arrangements for new schools, new housing (some had rented
their homes), and more. Why did 45 demand resignations so abruptly
when he had few replacements, breaking precedent and also thumbing
his nose at the world? Our NATO allies look askance at him because
of his obnoxious and belligerent behavior. He has made strange
remarks about terrorism in the UK, taken swipes at France and
Germany, and generally behaved like an overgrown child when gathering
with other world leaders, pushing the Prime Minister of Montenegro
aside so he could get in front of a group photo at a NATO summit in
May. Incidentally, there is no US Ambassador to Montenegro.
staffing the government is not a priority of this administration.
When he was elected, he indicated that he thought some agencies were
“huuuuge”, and there were positions he would not fill.
He has been much slower than his predecessors in staffing up every
agency, but especially the State Department. By the end of their
first calendar year (2001 for Bush, 2009 for Obama), Bush had 139
State Department confirmations, with 14 pending. Obama had 119
confirmed and 18 pending. 45 has 61 confirmed and 28 pending!
who are connected to s***hole countries can rest assured that foreign
policy is not this administration’s strong suit. 45’s
failure to appoint ambassadors to African countries perhaps reflects
the disdain he feels for us. But his disdain is yet another
reflection of his ignorance.