News president-elect Donald Trump ordered all politically appointed ambassadors to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day made a stir last week. The outgoing administration and disgruntled Democrats waved their arms great big, and called “foul” over a completely normal edict. Underneath though, many in the world watch and wait to see if a destructive US State Department is revamped by Trump. Here’s a hopeful look at how the new president can reassure much of the world.
US foreign policy these last 8 years has been a disaster. America’s reputation around the world has gone from one of trusted partner and friend to arm twisting bully for hundreds of millions of people. While mainstream media owned by the regimes in place parrot and point fingers at Russia, Syria, Iran, or China, the US is the stick in the mud of world conflict. For Mr. Trump though, there is a simple way to reassure the world American can be a friend and partner. The easiest way is to either ship out, fire, or to assign the State Department’s worst nightmares to Timbuktu. Here’s a short list of ambassadors and high ups President Donald Trump needs to take off the shelf of world détente.
If you were to ask anybody in Russia, the CIS, and especially in Ukraine to name the US dignitary most responsible for Ukraine’s civil war and its chaos, many would name Geoffrey R. Pyatt. Pyatt, who is now in place to spy on, and if necessary disrupt Greece’s government, became notorious for his virulent supported the 2014 Ukrainian revolution against Ukraine’s President Victor Yanukovych. Who can forget the disastrous moment when Pyatt was caught on tape with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland essentially trashing the EU, and playing at installing a government in Ukraine? If you read outside the mainstream, if you look underneath where the people live, Pyatt is one of the most hated US diplomats in history. Wherever the man goes suspicion and apprehension are sure to follow, and justifiably. Donald Trump needs this man in Greece like he needs a hole in the head. My suggestions here would be a post in Mogadishu, perhaps Costa Rica, or maybe a corner office in Washington so Trump’s people can keep an eye on one of our sneakiest State Department employees.
Victoria Nuland walks into a meeting at the Kremlin, in Beijing, or anywhere in the civilized world for that matter, and attendees cringe at the potential for dishonest dealings. If ever there were a symbolic figure of American’s hegemonic bent, she is it for many in the world. Nuland is not simply mistrusted though, she is despised like no US emissary I am aware of, not even Obama’s Secretary of State John Kerry is so appalling. Nuland is a stain on America’s trustworthiness, and the fact she holds the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest diplomatic rank in the United States Foreign Service, is a blemish for all nation states, even those completely under the United States’ thumb. The intercepted phone conversation in between Nuland and the aforementioned Pyatt is damning. In the recording, Nuland makes an obscene reference to the European Union. After discussing Ukrainian opposition figures Nuland states that she prefers the United Nations as mediator, instead of the European Union, adding “Fuck the EU,” and Pyatt responds, “Oh, exactly …. Amazingly, astonishingly, Nuland was never even reprimanded for these and other misguided actions, but this has been the state of US policy since Obama took office. The problem for Mr. Trump being, a return to normalcy with people like Nuland in place will be slow, or a complete “no go”. Nuland needs to be stationed in Washington or fired. The award winning investigative journalist Robert Parry (Iran Contra fame) frames Nuland correctly describing her masterminding the Ukraine revolution, and her part in the civil war that ensued, Parry cites the strategy Nuland devised to fool the American people:
“To sell this latest neocon-driven “regime change” to the American people, the ugliness of the coup-makers had to be systematically airbrushed, particularly the key role of neo-Nazis and other ultra-nationalists from the Right Sektor. For the U.S.-organized propaganda campaign to work, the coup-makers had to wear white hats, not brown shirts.”
Victoria Nuland in anywhere near a Trump administration is a disaster. This is my view, and the view of whole nations America needs to come to terms with.
Ian C. Kelly is in the Republic of Georgia orchestrating the further plans of one Hillary Rodham Clinton. Unfortunately, Hillary will not be sewing the seeds of discontent on the borderlands of Mother Russia any more, and so Mr. Kelly has no place there. Most Georgians I know would agree, all the Russians I know would, and I expect Mr. Trump does too. To frame this man correctly, all one has to do is look at the disastrous details in the places he’s been assigned. He previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) from 2010 to 2013, an organization no one east of the Don trusts. Besides being Clinton’s spokesman when her reign ruined the Middle East, his extensive experience working on issues relating to NATO, Russia, and the Balkans is clear enough failure. The man was part of the whole Yugoslavia breakup mess for Christ’s sake, who in eastern Europe could ever trust such a diplomat? The man has been one of our “Democracy builders” since the fall of the Soviet Union. Get this, Kelly was in charge of America’s development and implementation of U.S. policy towards Russia from 2007! Now there is a resume item President Trump may want to look at. Kelly anywhere near Russia’s border may be an act of war for some Georgians and Russians. His post should be on the Moon.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has zero credibility for people in the east of Ukraine, most of the CIS, and for all Russians. This is largely due to the one sided control of NATO players, and especially the unbalanced influence of the US. Daniel Baer is the US Ambassador to the OSCE. Thank goodness he’s a political appointee, so the openly gay Marshall Scholar won’t be twisting arms for Obama there any more. The reason I mention Baer is to call attention to this critical role. In the east of Ukraine, for instance, the population there thinks of “in country” representatives as clowns or worse. While mortar and artillery rounds fall on innocent civilians, OSCE representatives sit at a hotel bar having drinks. This is not “fake news” or conjecture, friends on the ground in Donetsk have sent me pictures. Baer’s job performance can only be considered positive if killing off Russian speakers in the Donbass is a key performance indicator. This is my view, and the view of several million others. The point is, Mr. Trump needs somebody in this role who is beyond scrutiny.
John F. Tefft sits in Moscow today, an insult on top of repeated injuries no doubt. Like other Obama appointees, this career diplomat has been everywhere there has been trouble with Russia in the last few years. The man Geoffrey Pyatt replaced in Ukraine, he must certainly have sewed the first seeds of the coup on Maidan Square. Former Ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia, and Lithuania, Tefft also served as International Affairs Advisor (Deputy Commandant) of the National War College in Washington, D.C. from 2000 to 2003. I don’t know about you, but sending War College people to talk about peace in Moscow or Kiev, it seems a bit stupid don’t you think? I mean, it’s not like the Russians can’t read. Tefft is a symptom of foreign policy gone to hell in my view. Even Newsweek got it right with the headline: “Ambassador Tefft Would Upset Russia, and That’s the Point”. In Tefft, and in all these other appointments, we can see the true intentions of the Obama administration. Russia was set up to be the villain and the great adversary all along, and the Obama administration never made any bones about being nasty.
In my view Donald Trump may have been the best choice for president no matter who ran. Early on I had reservations about his “loose cannon” reputation and his lack of foreign policy experience. The more I look at the diplomatic corps America has, the more I realize a farm hand would be a better emissary of my people. If one looks at the current state of affairs closely, this becomes readily apparent. Trump, a builder and developer at his core, is just the person to rebuild and move forward. Clinton and the other agenda were obvious status quo crisis creators. And this is the reason for my calling out these diplomats and those like them. The world does not need you, does not need the status quo. The world needs progress, not Cold War idiocy and corruption. Donald Trump simply must reboot the foreign service of America. This should be job two, right after getting the US intelligence community in line.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.