Tags: madeleine albright | state department | exodus | rex tillerson

Albright: Scores of Diplomats Leaving State Dept. Creating Crisis

Image: Albright: Scores of Diplomats Leaving State Dept. Creating Crisis
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (AP)

By    |   Thursday, 30 November 2017 12:57 PM

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says America is facing a national security emergency because scores of diplomats are leaving the State Department at a "dizzying speed."

The comments from Albright, who oversaw the agency from 1997-2001, came in a column posted Wednesday night on The Washington Post website.

"This is not a story that has two sides" she said. "It is simply a fact that the United States relies on diplomacy as our first line of defense — to cement alliances, build coalitions, address global problems and find ways to protect our interests without resorting to military force. When we must use force, as in the fight against the Islamic State, our diplomats ensure that we can do so effectively and with the cooperation of other countries."

She noted change within the State Department is not unusual.

"In fact, the system is designed to bring in fresh blood on a regular basis," she said. "There is, however, a big difference between a transfusion and an open wound. There is nothing normal about the current exodus."

She said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has delayed filling "many of the most important diplomatic posts in Washington and overseas."

And she maintained: "All too often, foreign officials have sought to engage the department at a high level only to find no one with whom they can speak.

"The administration's disdain for diplomacy would be alarming under any circumstances, but two factors make it worse. First, while the United States is tying a rope around its feet, our competitors are running ahead. (President Donald) Trump's recent trip to Asia was considered by many a success because there were no obvious disasters, but that is hardly a reassuring standard by which to judge the performance of an American commander in chief."

And she warned of the long-term damage to America's diplomatic readiness.

"The administration isn't hurting the State Department by accident," she said. "Tillerson maintained a freeze on hiring long after most other Cabinet officials had stopped. The number of promotions has been cut in half and the quantity of incoming Foreign Service officers by more than two-thirds. He is effectively shutting down the State Department's pipeline for new talent."

She called on lawmakers to reject "the reckless cuts the administration proposed in our country's budget for international affairs."

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Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says America is facing a national security emergency because scores of diplomats are leaving the State Department at a "dizzying speed."
madeleine albright, state department, exodus, rex tillerson
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2017-57-30
Thursday, 30 November 2017 12:57 PM
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