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View Diary: Idiocy at the State Department (85 comments)

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  •  There are certainly examples of that, (0+ / 0-)

    from propping up "friendly" governments, to supplying weapons and training to those who later turned against us (we assisted what became the Tailban during the Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan),  to relying on intelligence sources who tell us what we want to hear (e.g. Rafid Alwan, "curveball", who supplied the Bush administration with evidence of Iraqi WMD, but may have had ulterior motives).

    But the State Department does spend considerable resources through its Foreign Service Institute to train its personnel in the languages where it operates.  Despite this though it does also rely on translators.

    •  Many of those biggest blunders (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IreGyre

      in foreign policy are actually the result of decisions made at the highest levels of government, i.e. in the political process.

      •  I agree that State cannot be blamed for policy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Orinoco, IreGyre

        State does not set policy. That's established by Congress and the White House. State does not overthrow governments.

        But, as I learned most acutely in analyzing the Honduran coup, State is responsible for critical intelligence, communications, and framing of issues. For example, the fact that the Ambassadors to Honduras during the presidency of Manuel Zelaya were extreme anti-communists ended up with State mis-framing the issue as communism vs. capitalism. That was not what was going on.

        Also, State was aware of the coup ahead of time, but did not communicate to the plotters that extralegal action would result in a cutoff of aid to Honduras. State then failed to cut off aid as American law requires, for which Hillary Clinton bears direct responsibility (since aid was flowing through the MDC, which she headed). And most flagrantly, the US sent as its negotiator to the OAS an apologist for the Guatemalan dictatorship, a thuggish man by the name of Lew Amselem.

        The loss of U.S. influence in Latin America from this one incident was enormous. Honduras has declined into being a narco state, and the situation continues to spiral down. Even though State does not set policy, it could have prevented this outcome.

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