It's hard to say whether the dysfunctional state of American diplomacy is more the result of the president's mistrust of his secretary of state, or the secretary of state's mismanagement of his department. The U.S. and the world may be about to find out.
If Donald Trump replaces Rex Tillerson with someone he trusts more -- the president is reportedly considering CIA director Mike Pompeo -- the State Department may have more leeway to use the instruments of soft power that U.S. diplomacy needs to succeed. But restoring the department's influence in Washington, and strengthening Washington's in the world, will require a leader more adept than Tillerson.
Whoever takes his place needs to lead the department, not decimate it. Diplomacy is essential not only to finding out what's going on beyond U.S. borders, but to communicating and advancing U.S. policy around the globe.
The president deserves to have a secretary of state he trusts. By now, however, one thing should be painfully clear to the White House and Congress alike: The interests of the country are not served by a State Department that is demoralized and in disarray.
Commentary on 12/03/2017
Print Headline: In need of a leader