Monday, January 30, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He suggested that diplomatic staff who didn't "get with the program" on his immigration bans should lose their jobs.

Trump was reacting, through his press secretary, to a formal dissent memo being circulated among the diplomatic corps. It condemns the ban as counterproductive and a violation of American values, and suggests alternative measures to enhance border security. 

It is expected to gather hundreds of signatures from career diplomatic staff. There is a near-total vacancy in senior State Department positions (including the secretary) after a purge last week conducted immediately before the release of the entry bans. 

The "dissent channel" in the State Department was established during the Vietnam War as a way to allow diplomats with practical expertise to share their views without fear of retribution. 

So who cares about this?

  • Presidents who only listen to advice that flatters them will never get good advice.
  • Ideological purges and threats against people who dissent is textbook authoritarianism.