State Department Is Broken

Can Rex Tillerson fix it?

Among the many stories of internecine battles within the Trump administration is the supposed discord between the White House and the State Department. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is reportedly frustrated with White House vetoes of his staff picks, the encroachment of Trump aides and family in the traditional business of diplomacy, and resents Trump’s unprofessional attacks on colleagues. Critics both inside and outside the State Department have questioned his leadership style and judgment, and some foreign policy watchers have speculated that Tillerson may be “the weakest secretary of state ever.” Others have written about growing State Department dysfunction, as well as Tillerson’s brusqueness and incompetence.

13
Shares
Google+ Print

State Department Is Broken

Must-Reads from Magazine

The Self-Degradations of Jerry Falwell, Jr.

Trump corrupts.

How far–how low–do religious leaders end up going when they decide that, in public life, the end justifies any means? Consider the case of Jerry Falwell, Jr. For the Liberty University president, the end was the advancement of social conservatism. The means: Donald Trump.

10
Shares
Google+ Print

We Will Never Ever Get Back Together

Podcast: What to expect in a post-Bannon world

The first COMMENTARY podcast of the week finds us—me, Abe Greenwald, and Noah Rothman—wondering at the grandiose plans of Steve Bannon after the White House. A new news channel! War in the Republican party! Etc! All this leads into speculation about 2020, because why not, and why Joe Biden might be the guy to challenge Trump. And then we descend into more crushing morosity as we contemplate whether our divisions nationally are just too large to heal. Give a listen.

2
Shares
Google+ Print

The Silly Season Is Upon Us

Sobriety in September.

August is traditionally the silly season in American politics and journalism, and this August is living up to the sobriquet.

4
Shares
Google+ Print

Bannon the ‘Strategist’? Please.

An imitation mastermind exits a make-believe position

The fact that Steve Bannon, ousted from his senior role at the Trump White House, was its “chief strategist” in the first place is testimony to how accidental this presidency was and is. Who would hire for such a job a person whose first serious involvement in American political life had come only a few years earlier when he found himself running a right-wing media website due to a tragic accident—and whose entire involvement in actual political events was limited to three late months on the Trump campaign? This is the sort of thing that, in a normal universe, might get someone a deputy assistant to the president post as a reward—not a personal fiefdom inside 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

26
Shares
Google+ Print

Spain’s Jihadis Are Awakened

A long time coming.

The horrific series of events in Barcelona is yet another macabre example of what is starting to feel like Europe’s new normal. This is the era of frequent, low-tech, mass casualty Jihadist attacks, in which any ideologically driven fanatic can jump in a van or pick up a knife and inflict carnage on the streets of our cities. The former head of Mi5, Lord Evans, has predicted that the battle against this form of terrorism is likely to last for a generation.

33
Shares
Google+ Print