News World Yovanovitch is latest casualty of Trump war on career diplomats

Yovanovitch is latest casualty of Trump war on career diplomats

The treatment of U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch – disparaged by President Donald Trump and abruptly recalled from Ukraine – exemplifies what current and former U.S. officials describe as a campaign by Trump against career diplomats.

A veteran diplomat who has led the U.S. embassies in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine, Yovanovitch’s stint as ambassador in Kiev was cut short when she was recalled to Washington in May as Trump allies leveled unsubstantiated charges of disloyalty and other allegations against her.

Former Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, a career foreign service officer who served in top diplomatic posts under Republican and Democratic presidents, described her treatment as part of a wider “campaign within and against the department.”

“There is a quite reckless and dangerous effort underway not only to sideline career expertise but to sideline the department as an institution,” said Burns, author of “The Back Channel,” a memoir of his career that calls for a renewal of U.S. diplomacy.

Yovanovitch is now embroiled in the Democratic-led House of Representatives’ inquiry into whether Trump should be impeached for pressing his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to investigate unsubstantiated corruption charges against Democratic political rival Joe Biden and Biden’s son, Hunter.

She has agreed to give a deposition to congressional committees on Oct. 11. {nL2N26O0WG}

Trump has denied pressuring Zelenskiy and defended his request to the Ukrainian president, tweeting on Thursday that he has an “absolute right” to ask other countries to investigate corruption “to help us out.”

Described by colleagues as a consummate professional, Yovanovitch in March became the target of allegations – vehemently denied by the State Department – that she gave a Ukrainian prosecutor a list of people not to prosecute.

Trump allies called for her removal, accusing her of criticizing the president to foreign officials, something current and former colleagues found inconceivable. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, alleged that she blocked efforts to persuade Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

Trump himself, according to a White House summary, described her as “bad news” to Zelenskiy in a July 25 call in which he sought Zelinskiy’s help to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden, a former board member of a Ukrainian gas company.

“She’s going to go through some things,” Trump added.

“There is the particularly pernicious practice of going after individual career officers, either because they worked on controversial issues in the last administration, or as in the case of Masha Yovanovitch, a terrific apolitical career diplomat who was doing her job extraordinarily well, were attacked, deeply unfairly, for political reasons,” Burns said.

“We have career people who did their jobs, followed their instructions, served their country loyally, and they are being treated as pawns in a political struggle,” said a senior U.S diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pompeo has tried to improve morale at the State Department. Last year, he nearly doubled promotions of top American diplomats as he sought to restore ties with a workforce alienated by his predecessor, Rex Tillerson.

However, current and former officials say Trump’s push to marginalize career diplomats can be seen in his proposed roughly 30% State Department budget cuts, his appointment of the highest proportion of political ambassadors in modern history and his drastic reduction in the number of career officials with confirmed posts as assistant secretaries of state and higher.

As a result, there are fewer top jobs in Washington or abroad available for the most senior U.S. diplomats.

The State Department has been whipsawed by major policy decisions abruptly announced by Trump over Twitter. These include a 2018 suspension of security aid to Pakistan and a breakoff of talks in September with the Taliban on a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

It also has been shaken by high-profile investigations by the department inspector general and Congress into allegations of retaliation and other mistreatment of career officials by political appointees.

“My impression is that the president does not respect diplomats or diplomacy at all and this translates to many of his political appointees in the Department of State,” said Richard Armitage, a veteran Republican foreign policy expert who served as deputy secretary of state under Republican George W. Bush.

Asked why so many senior State Department positions are held by “acting” assistant secretaries, Armitage replied: “Because they don’t care about personnel. They don’t care about policy. They only care about the care and feeding of Donald J. Trump.”

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Indian woman, 25, involved in Andrei Popa murder, jailed

Larnaca District Court sentenced a 25-year-old Indian woman, resident of Larnaca, involved in the Andrei Popa case to 45 days in prison on Monday. The...

Night clubs request that they reopen with no dance floor and no bar services

The Pancyprian Association of Nightclubs (PA.SY.KE.D.) addresses a last appeal to the Minister of Health, the Minister of Finance and the Deputy Minister of...

Fifteen new coronavirus cases detected out of 2,709 tests

The Ministry of Health has announced that 15 new cases of the SARS-CoV-II virus were detected in Cyprus over the past 24 hours out...

Households and businesses affected by Medicane Ianos to be compensated

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis promised the flood-stricken households and businesses of Karditsa that the government will stand at their side with "speed and determination",...

Workshop on forging synergies between industry and scientific research organised for Industry Week

A workshop was organised on Tuesday, in Nicosia, to discuss ways to forge synergies between industrial production and scientific research sectors, in a bid...

Taste

Souvlakia

Pork souvlaki: Put the meat and all the other ingredients in a bowl (not metal) and mix well. Cover the bowl and keep in...

Pastelli (Carob Toffee)

The nutritional sweet of Pastelli is made with the syrup of carob pods, produced by boiling their pulp until it forms a thick, sticky...

Meatballs with tomato and cumin

Place all meatball ingredients in a bowl and knead well with hands. Keep the mixture in the fridge for approximately 1 hour to thicken. In...

Crushed wheat pilaf with sausages and halloumi

Ingredients: 1 cup bulgar wheat ¼ of the cup vermicelli noodles or spaghetti, broken into small pieces 1 onion 2 sausages 1 cup tomato juice 1 vegetable stock cube 1/3 ts...