A Failed Culture

That’s what exists in the State Department, has existed for administration after administration, and has been exposed lately by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s remark earlier in the week about State Department personnel: I think that they should either get with the program or they can go.  The precious ones in the culture are out in force.

Some examples, with my attitude…exposed [link added]:

This ban, which can only be lifted under conditions which will be difficult or impossible for countries to meet….

Then these self-important ones should stop wasting time on their hurt feelings over not being personally consulted and spend their energies instead on helping those countries meet the conditions.  Whether or not they should have been consulted is an entirely separate argument, but the boss had and has no obligation to consult with them (see below) for all that it might be a good idea to do so.  Even at that, though, “consult” does not mean “get permission from.”

“I hope the White House is not suggesting that the officials would be fired,” [John Bellinger, State Department and National Security Council legal adviser in Bush the Younger’s administration] said….

This is completely disingenuous. “You should resign” is not at all a threat of being fired.

…the dissent channel is “a long-respected format” for diplomats and other State Department officials to express disagreement.

Indeed it is. However, it’s not a channel for employees to veto their boss’ instructions.

“It’s a specific example of the total lack of understanding, let alone respect of basic democratic norms,” a second official said.

A carefully anonymous official, notice. With good reason, too; he doesn’t understand that the organization isn’t a democracy—no organization other than a nation as a whole can be—it has a boss and employees.

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