Former Ambassador to Syria, Robert S. Ford, Quits State Department in Frustration with Obama. Asks for More Arms Supply to “Moderate Rebels”.
Basic Conclusion: Robert Ford and other U.S. Ambassadors around the world have become completely irrelevant, as has Sec State John Kerry. This includes the entire 9,000+ state department. A recent article in the NYTimes, by Michael R. Gordon, June 10, 2014, entitled “Former Ambassador To Syria Increasing Arms Supply To Moderate Rebels” relates the trials and tribulations of a career Foreign Service Officer [FSO] and his professional and personal objections to the present US foreign policy which stipulates that CIA will vet out ‘moderate Syrian rebels’ and arm them accordingly without any major US weapons transfer.
If one reads between the lines of the story, one conclusion appears paramount. The State Department and those who have served the institution loyally have become irrelevant to any peace process or even the cursory concept of “DIPLOMACY”—whatever that might mean.
For over the past thirty or more years, I have witnessed the steady demise of State Department’s once lofty presence and reputation. Yes, that part of our tax supported government which had pinnacled during my tenures in both the Kissinger and Baker administrations, waned imperceptibly over time. This attrition of State’s basic power coincided with the increase in budget for military and intelligence functions.
In a far more palatable form, one could say that the U.S. Military leaders like Gen. Petraeus, Gen. Stan McCrystal and Gen Martin Dempsey, as well as others, reflexively assumed the mantle of the Roman Centurion Guards who decided all matters concerning the management of war, negotiations and policy-- without discussion or remorse. Theirs was the only decision required and implemented. The Roman Senators, the Emperor and even the so-called diplomats were at best an inconvenience, if not completely inconsequential.
No Centurion Guard and eventual Emperor could have been more judicious in policy while at the same time acting more ruthlessly in battle than Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher/warrior. Clearly we Americans do not possess the likes of anything comparable to a Marcus Aurelius. However, we do have Centurion Guards disguised in such fancy and unintelligible acronyms as CINCPAC—Commander of The Pacific Fleet; CENTCOM—Commander of Central Command [Iraq, Afghanistan, South Asia]; SOUTHCOM- Commander of Southern Command, et. al.
Over the past thirty years, the military along with the CIA have assumed the functions of the Executive Branch; the Legislative Branch; and the State Department. If we taxpayers want to save hundreds of billions of dollars, we can first eliminate the most antiquated of all parochial systems –The State Department. At a time when the internet can access anyone/anywhere in nano-seconds, the need for an Ambassador who in principle represents the POTUS becomes redundant. Furthermore, most FSOs are reduced to ersatz ‘travel agents’ arranging CODELS (Congressional Delegations) --- or ‘boondoggles’ for our legislators who have found nothing better to do than waste our taxpayer dollars traveling around the world in extravagantly inane self-designated missions/visits.
Robert Ford will never achieve his misplaced dreams of arming anything but his own pocketbook for espousing ideas which have very little currency in reality, and at best expresses ‘much sound and fury’ signifying nothing. I bid a fond adieu to a once noble enterprise entitled ‘Diplomacy’. I must welcome in the disparate bureaucracies that will act as vultures on a carrion of flesh called “war”, “civil war”, “terrorism” or even “crises”.
Remember: ‘Money makes the world go around’.
Not exactly a Marcus Aurelius’s aphorism. But close…it’s from the musical “Cabaret”.
“Cabaret”--the more appropriate metaphor for today’s troubling times.