The Anti-Trump Bad News Is Good News
George Neumayr
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The cynicism of the anti-Trump media is comic. CNN head Jeff Zucker is perhaps the worst offender, ordering his propagandists/entertainers to attack Trump throughout the day, no matter how minor or imaginary his offense. The pettiness of it all is breathtaking. Over the weekend the media ran a succession of idiotic and immature stories claiming Trump had incited police officers to manhandle the public. Out came the blowhards to muse on the bottomless cruelty of the man. But what had Trump said? Only that he thinks it is silly that police officers gently guide the heads of nabbed murderers into police vehicles.

But perhaps conservatives should learn to enjoy this coverage, if only because it alerts them to bursts of common sense from the Trump administration that they otherwise might miss. Take the New York Times’ wonderfully deluded piece on the “desperation of diplomats” in Trump’s State Department.

Penned by Roger Cohen, the column rests on the conceit that left-wing State Department officials enjoy a divine right to undermine America’s interests. In the article, we learn that these laughably entitled deep staters no longer feel “valued.” We’re told that Rex Tillerson doesn’t hold enough listening sessions with them and that many of these liberal activists — I hope you are sitting down for this — are leaving the employ of the federal government:

An exodus is underway. Those who have departed include Nancy McEldowney, the director of the Foreign Service Institute until she retired last month, who described to me “a toxic, troubled environment and organization”; Dana Shell Smith, the former ambassador to Qatar, who said what was most striking was the “complete and utter disdain for our expertise”; and Jake Walles, a former ambassador to Tunisia with some 35 years of experience. “There’s just a slow unraveling of the institution,” he told me.

The 8,000 Foreign Service officers are not sure how to defend American values under a president who has entertained the idea of torture, shown contempt for the Constitution, and never met an autocrat who failed to elicit his sympathy. Trump seems determined to hollow out the State Department in a strange act of national self-amputation.

The other alleged horrors Cohen lists also sound promising, provided they get implemented:

The president signaled early on that military might, not diplomatic deftness, was his thing. Soft power was for the birds. This worldview (in essence no more than Trump’s gut) has been expressed in a proposed cut of about 30 percent in the State Department budget as military spending soars; a push to eliminate some 2,300 jobs; the vacancy of many senior posts, including 20 of the 22 assistant secretary positions requiring Senate confirmation; unfilled ambassadorships — roughly 30 percent of the total — from Paris to New Delhi; and the brushoff of the department’s input in interagency debate and in pivotal decisions, like withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. Days are now marked by resignations, unanswered messages and idled capacity.

The reasons for this dismemberment are unclear. Is it punishment for Hillary Clinton’s department? Or an extreme iteration of the “deconstruction of the administrative state” sought by Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon? Does it reflect the priorities of Trump’s base or White House suspicion of the “deep state” or the president’s love of generals? All these factors appear to play a part. The upshot is a radical militarization of American foreign policy, and that’s dangerous.

Liberals working at “idled capacity”? Sounds great. If they all went on vacation for eight years, the country would be better off.

According to Cohen, State Department liberals are also antsy, Office Space style, because Tillerson is bringing in the two Bobs, as it were:

The secretary has hired two consulting groups, Deloitte and Insigniam, to carry out a complete reorganization of the State Department next year. A survey went out to all employees; the process is very deliberate. Those empty name slots down the ghostly seventh-floor corridors may remain empty until mid-2018. There are certainly things to fix in a State Department whose mission has grown cluttered, with some two dozen special envoys and special advisers for everything from global youth to disability rights. But Tillerson has not explained to the department’s 75,000 employees what the revamp’s strategic aims are.

“The unanswered question with the cuts is: to what end?” McEldowney said. Another senior official, who has since left, pressed Tillerson for direction and was told: “It’s very simple. End terrorism. End radicalization. Deal with China.”

Besting Beijing, beating Islamist terrorism and boosting American business are clearly Trump priorities. As for the non-priorities, the possible elimination at the State Department of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, as well as questions over how the Office of Global Criminal Justice will be reconfigured, are indicative. Trump wants value for money. American values — freedom, human dignity and the rule of law — are another story.

So what is that you do? — the dreaded question asked in the movie Office Space — is one that the striped-pants set fears, for the only honest answer is: subvert the Trump administration and promote the agenda of statists and social engineers at the United Nations.

The rest of the piece rattles on about the astonishing “decency” and “nobility” of State Department diplomats who hate Trump’s guts and who think the American taxpayer owes them a living as they spend their days like Alger Hiss.

We can only hope that Cohen’s claim of a mass exodus is true. But it is probably overstated. Most of these liberal activists masquerading as diplomats wouldn’t dare leave their cushy posts. The Center for American Progress, after all, can only hire so many of them.

George Neumayr
George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author of No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.
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