When Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, heard that the State Department Budget would be slashed by 30%, he said: “I’m going to need a lot more bullets!” As a retired Marine General, Secretary Mattis understands that the dollars spent by State are worth more than those in the Pentagon’s Budget. Similarly, 150 retired generals and admirals signed a letter to Mr. Trump, asking him to re-consider this down-sizing; because, they know how State Department programs can partially offset the need for Military action!
Throughout the entire Trump Regime, there are only a handful of key staff positions—Deputy and Assistant Secretaries—that are filled. Also, since these are political appointments, they would need to go through the often tedious Confirmation Process.
While 200 key positions remain vacant at State, it is expected that the Department might not be up to full-strength, at the key levels, until well into 2018.
Due to the size of the State Department, with some 170 overseas locations, the void at the top is especially debilitating. Secretary Tillerson must travel quite extensively, mostly out of the country. Who, then, would be in-charge when the Secretary of State is overseas? He surely needs several key assistants to keep things functioning properly.
Donald Trump appears to know nothing about Foreign Policy, nor does he seem intent on learning. Rex Tillerson, his Secretary of State—who should be his Chief Foreign Policy Advisor, was the CEO of Exxon-Mobil Corporation, and is a diplomatic novice, as well. With both Trump and Tillerson lacking in any form of Foreign Policy experience, who do they call when they need help…NOW?
Secretary Tillerson, in his former career at Exxon, knows that any confident executive would have screamed holy murder at a 30% budget cut.—especially for no apparent reason! Budget-size reflects relative importance—in government, as well as business. Mr. Tillerson, however, apparently didn’t bat an eye. What kind of message does that down-sizing send to the world, at large, about how America views Diplomacy?
Besides America’s vast global network of Embassies and Consulates, the State Department provides leadership and financing for numerous vital programs: eradicating illnesses such as malaria and diphtheria; empowering women in combatting rape, incest, honor-killings and sex-trafficking; promoting education and micro-banking; and providing clean water and sewer systems to rural area. Such programs help enable disadvantaged regions to become more economically aligned with the rest of the world.
Given the Importance of the State Department, as the face of America to the rest of the world, I can only wonder why its Budget was slashed so significantly. Besides the many geopolitical trouble spots, let’s not forget growing starvation due to Climate Change, and the potential for medical pandemics. Why…WHY is Donald Trump trying to eviscerate the very Department of State? Does he hate Secretary Hillary R. Clinton that much?